In an attempt to create unity, World Vision managed to poke a hornet’s nest around the issue of same-sex marriage. President Richard Stearns openly acknowledges the mistakes the relief organization made while flip-flopping on the issue.
On March 24, World Vision announced that it would allow employees to be in same-sex marriages. Within 48 hours, the $1 billion Christian organization reversed course, saying that it had made a mistake. The backlash illustrated how evangelicals will continue to wrestle with a growing cultural acceptance of same-sex marriage.
In an interview with Religion News Service on Thursday, Stearns suggested that the number of sponsors lost was under but around 5,000. Those who sponsor a child pay $35 each month, so the loss could have tallied up to $2.1 million a year.
Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.
What has been the reaction since the reversal?
This has been a painful week in terms of the division that we created around our initial decision, and then reversing the decision two days later has created a lot of concerns with our employees and our key partners around the country.
Can you say how many child sponsors have been lost?
I don’t actually have today’s number but it’s less than 5,000 so far. We’re learning that a number of people are calling back since the reversal to reinstate their sponsorship. They’re forgiving; they’re saying, “Hey, we stand with you.”
What about nonreligious partners? Have you lost any partnerships with them since the reversal of the decision?
Not that I’m aware of at this point. We’re still obviously evaluating the impact of all of this on all of our partners. The important thing for World Vision is that every organization has to clearly define who they are and what they stand for. And we’ve done a pretty good job of that for 63 years, and this week has unfortunately caused a lot of confusion and dissonance across the country, certainly with our closest partners and sponsors, pastors and churches, some who have been with us for decades. The mistake I think we made was to confuse those folks about where we stood on what we feel and they feel on certain issues, certainly the issue of traditional marriage.
Source: Charisma News | SARAH PULLIAM BAILEY/RNS