Federal Way’s World Vision reverses short-lived policy to hire gays

Rich Stearns, president of World Vision, during an interview with the Mirror in 2009.  - File photo
Rich Stearns, president of World Vision, during an interview with the Mirror in 2009.
— image credit: File photo

After World Vision officials announced changes to its hiring policy on Monday that would allow Christians in same-sex marriages to be employed at the agency, the organization reversed its decision on Wednesday following widespread criticism.

“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,” wrote Richard Stearns, president of the Federal Way-based Christian humanitarian relief giant, and World Vision board chairman Jim Bere in a letter to supporters.

They noted the board “acknowledged they made a mistake” and chose to return to the agency’s longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and “faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.”

Stearns announced on Monday the organization would hire Christians in legal same-sex marriages in a letter he sent to more than 1,100 employees.

“ … Since World Vision is a multi-denominational organization 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, the board — in keeping with our practice of deferring to church authority in the lives of our staff, and desiring to treat all of our employees equally — chose to adjust our policy,” Stearns wrote in the letter to employees. “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. We have chosen not to exclude someone from employment at World Vision U.S. on this issue alone.”

Stearns said he and the board initially made the policy change to prevent this “divisive issue from tearing World Vision apart and potentially crippling our ability to accomplish our vital kingdom mission of loving and serving the poorest of the poor in the name of Christ.”

The agency reversed its decision after many donors posted on World Vision’s Facebook page that they would no longer fund the organization’s hunger programs.

Many same-sex marriage supporters also criticized World Vision on its Facebook page for its reversal on Wednesday.


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