World Vision America has reversed its decision to allow same-sex marriages in its employee code of conduct today.
World Vision's original code of conduct demanded "abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage" but the organization announced Tuesday that it would extend the policy to same-sex marriages.
World Vision USA President Richard Stearns stated: "I want to be clear that we have not endorsed same-sex marriage, but we have chosen to defer to the authority of local churches on this issue.
"World Vision is a multi-denominational organisation that welcomes employees from more than 50 denominations, and since a number of these denominations in recent years have sanctioned same-sex marriage for Christians."
However that decision was reverted today, with the U.S. Board of World Vision admitting its mistake and issuing the following message regarding the recent change in its employment conduct policy:
The statement from Richard Stearns and Jim Beré, Chairman of the World Vision U.S. Board, reads:
Today, the World Vision U.S. board publicly reversed its recent decision to change our national employment conduct policy. 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.
We are writing to you our trusted partners and Christian leaders who have come to us in the spirit of Matthew 18 to express your concern in love and conviction. You share our desire to come together in the Body of Christ around our mission to serve the poorest of the poor. We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness.
In our board's effort to unite around the church's shared mission to serve the poor in the name of Christ, we failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.'s commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage and our own Statement of Faith, which says, " We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God. " And we also failed to seek enough counsel from our own Christian partners. As a result, we made a change to our conduct policy that was not consistent with our Statement of Faith and our commitment to the sanctity of marriage.
We are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion we have caused many of our friends, who saw this decision as a reversal of our strong commitment to Biblical authority. We ask that you understand that this was never the board's intent. We are asking for your continued support. We commit to you that we will continue to listen to the wise counsel of Christian brothers and sisters, and we will reach out to key partners in the weeks ahead.
While World Vision U.S. stands firmly on the biblical view of marriage, we strongly affirm that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect.
Please know that World Vision continues to serve all people in our ministry around the world. We pray that you will continue to join with us in our mission to be " an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God ."
World Vision is one of the largest Christian charities in the world, providing disaster and other forms of aid to 250 million people annually. It operates in nearly 100 countries worldwide and has revenue of approximately 1 billion US dollars per year.
Although globally World Vision hires more than 6,000 non-Christians in its 40,000 strong workforce, in the US it does not hire any. It has won court cases allowing it to discriminate on the basis of religion, and to require employees to sign a declaration of faith.