On Monday, many in the world of child sponsorship were shocked when World Vision announced its decision to change its employee conduct policy, allowing gay Christians to work in its United States branch.
The World Vision U.S. board spent several years praying about and discussing this issue, according to a letter by World Vision U.S. CEO Richard Stearns. World Vision U.S. will continue to expect abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage for all staff, and will continue to require every employee to agree to the doctrinal issues in the Apostles’ Creed or World Vision’s own Statement of Faith.
Stearns pointed out in his letter that World Vision employees belong to more than 50 denominations, a number of which have sanctioned same-sex marriage for Christians.
Stearns wrote, “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.”
And with that announcement, Christian leaders across the country were ready to voice their opinions.
Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, quickly issued a statement against World Vision’s new policy, calling it offensive. Others speaking out included Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; and John Piper, retired megachurch pastor.
Child ambassador volunteers have resigned, and sponsors have canceled their sponsorships, while many have taken to social media to debate their opinions on World Vision’s decision.
As a sponsor and child ambassador myself, it has been heartbreaking to watch this play out.
This post, however, is not intended to change the reader’s opinion on World Vision’s new policy. I will not argue this issue. It has all been said before, and likely will continue to be hashed out over and over until the end of time.
While that debate rages, though, I will urge you not to cancel your sponsorships. Please, do not give up on these children, with whom you have formed loving, long-lasting relationships. And if you have not yet sponsored a child, maybe now is the time to do so.
This new policy will in no way affect your sponsored children across the world. Why punish them?
These are real children, and much more than just a photo stuck to the refrigerator with a magnet. These are children who are living in poverty. They may have difficult home lives. Their sponsor may be the only person who affirms to them that they are loved.
No matter a person’s feelings on this new policy, I pray that sponsors will not let this come between them and their children.
Do you not believe that you are important to your sponsored child? Please read the quotes under the photos in this post. They are directly from letters from my own children, whom I sponsor through World Vision.
And for every Bible verse that backs up your opinion for or against World Vision’s new policy, I suggest there are just as many verses commanding us to care for the poor.
“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” – Psalm 82:3-4
UPDATE: World Vision has announced today that it has reversed its new policy. For more information, click here.