World Vision asks board members to sign traditional marriage agreements
Evangelical humanitarian organization World Vision is asking its board members to sign a document agreeing that marriage is a union of a man and a woman, Religion News Service (RNS) reported Thursday.
The announcement comes after a controversy over the acceptance of gay employee marriages in March, in which the U.S. branch of World Vision made a complete reversal on their new stance in less than 48 hours.
The non-profit's latest decision is in line with its evangelical beliefs, which define marriage in biblical terms.
In a departure from these beliefs, World Vision had announced three months ago that they would recognize the same-sex marriages of their employees, and eliminate traditional marriage language from their employee handbook.
At the time, they said they were not endorsing gay marriage, but also that the board members were "overwhelmingly in favor" of the decision.
"I want to reassure you that we are not sliding down some slippery slope of compromise, nor are we diminishing the authority of Scripture in our work," U.S. President Rich Stearns wrote in a letter to employees.
"We have always affirmed traditional marriage as a God-ordained institution. Nothing in our work around the world with children and families will change."
Despite this disclaimer, many prominent Christian leaders denounced World Vision after their decision.
"Because of this policy change and the need to maintain continuity of care for the people who most need our help, I encourage Assemblies of God churches and individuals to begin gradually shifting their support away from the U.S. branch of World Vision," Assemblies of God General Superintendent George O. Wood said in a statement.
"It's obvious World Vision doesn't believe in the Bible," Evangelist Franklin Graham said. "I am sickened over it."
Less than two days later, World Vision asked for forgiveness, and reversed its stance.
"The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman," a letter to supporters read.
"We feel pain and a broken heart for the confusion we caused for many friends who saw this policy change as a strong reversal of World Vision's commitment to biblical authority, which it was not intended to be," Stearns said, according to Christianity Today.
Two board members resigned over the policy reversal.
Former National Association of Evangelicals Government Affairs Vice President Richard Cizik said that the organization's most recent announcement restores the faith of evangelicals in the non-profit.
"I think they were a little premature, knowing where most evangelicals were on the issue," he told the RNS.
"They not only retreated, but now they're establishing their bona fides."