The Wire reports that a major Christian charitable organization, World Vision, has changed its employee handbook. The handbook used to prohibit sex outside of marriage, with marriage being defined as a strictly heterosexual union. Now their definition of marriage has been expanded to cover sex outside any kind of union.
That may not seem like a big deal to some, after all it is just an internal policy. But to others it sounds like the beginning of a turning tide. This change in definition now means that a Christ follower that is united in a same-sex marriage is now eligible to be employed by World Vision. Some are thinking, “If a major organization like that, with a mission to work with Christian groups, can change its definition, who else might change?”
World Vision president Richard Stearns told Christianity Today that this change is not a compromise,
“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,” he said. “It also allows us to treat all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage.”
“This is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. We have decided we are not going to get into that debate. Nor is this a rejection of traditional marriage, which we affirm and support.”
“We’re not caving to some kind of pressure. We’re not on some slippery slope. There is no lawsuit threatening us. There is no employee group lobbying us,” said Stearns.
For years, the notion of same-sex marriage has been cast as in opposition to Christianity. But more and more people are coming forward saying that they are gay, were born that way, and think it is sinful to deny how God made them. And they want to attend a church, help in charitable causes, and be recognized as just as valid a Christian as the next person.
Stearns says that they are “deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues.”
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