The World Vision decision to begin hiring homosexuals has created a divide among Christian leaders who have previously been the Christian organizations biggest supporters. World Vision currently ranks 10th on Forbes list of the 50 largest U.S. charities. World Vision proclaims itself to be "a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice."
After an announcement on Monday that World Vision will now be hiring homosexuals as part of their workforce, many Christians are voicing their disappointment with the charity. World Vision U.S.A. president Richard Stearns spoke withChristianity Today to talk about the organization's decision to allow openly homosexual men and women to be hired by World Vision.
"Changing the employee conduct policy to allow someone in a same-sex marriage who is a professed believer in Jesus Christ to work for us makes our policy more consistent with our practice on other divisive issues. It also allows us to treat all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage."
Stearns went on to state that the decision for World Vision to begin hiring homosexuals is not an approval of gay marriage, but rather acknowledgement that the Christian community is divided on the issue. As battles are fought in courtrooms and Church denominations about recognizing homosexual marriages, World Vision decided to let governments and churches debate the issues. In their hiring rules, World Vision will not let a person's sexuality determine their employment status.
According to Stearns, World Vision has always maintained a high policy of morality and conduct within their organization. They have the right to do so because they are an autonomous and openly Christian charity organization. The decision for World Vision to begin hiring homosexuals is such a big deal, because it is an admission from the charity that they do not see homosexuality as an issue of "morality". Adultery remains a fireable offense, but homosexuality is not.
This subtle distinction is not ultimately a major shift in company policies, according to Stearns. But Christian leaders adamantly disagree. They believe that by taking a "non-stance" on the issue, World Vision is choosing to take a stance on homosexuality. John Piper of desiringgod.org challenged Stearns' stance, stating that World Vision trying to remain neutral on homosexuality is a trivialization of the Biblical understanding of marriage.
Dr. Russell Moore, the president of the ethics and religious liberty commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, tweeted his disapproval of the situation.
I'm glad Carl Henry didn't live to see this: http://t.co/2ehK4xokEaFranklin Graham, the son of famous evangelist Billy Graham and the CEO of Samaritan's Purse, also released a statement of disapproval regarding the World Vision decision to being hiring homosexuals. Graham referenced his relationship with World Vision founder Bob Pierce and that Pierce would be heart broken over the direction World Vision is taking.
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) March 24, 2014
"World Vision maintains that their decision is based on unifying the church - which I find offensive - as if supporting sin and sinful behavior can unite the church. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the Scriptures consistently teach that marriage is between a man and woman and any other marriage relationship is sin."
As many other Christian charities take their cue for dealing with hiring and dealing with the government, expect the decision by World Vision to have tremendous ripple effects across the Christian community. As World Vision begins hiring homosexuals, it will be interesting to see how the decision affects the charity's finances.
[Image via World Vision International]