In a letter to employees about the change, the board said:
"We are, as our mission statement so clearly expresses,“an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.” And it is this mission that unites us—Baptist, Pentecostal, Seventh day Adventist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Orthodox, nondenominational, etc.--more than 50 different expressions of the Christian faith represented within WVUS alone. In fact, for 60 years the Christian mission of World Vision has been a platform uniting followers of Christ around the world.
As World Vision employees, we are first and foremost united in our response to Jesus’ call to follow Him and to serve the poor. This unity gives us space to acknowledge a range of views on issues among the Christian churches we attend and the denominations we represent. Those issues include methods of baptism, divorce and remarriage, views on evolution, the role of women in church leadership, and whether birth control is acceptable. At World Vision we hold a strong view of the authority of Scripture in the life of the church and in the lives of each of us as followers of Christ, but we intentionally choose not to require specific beliefs or practice in any of these debated issues as conditions of employment at World Vision U.S. In other words, we don’t have a list of issues on which we mandate agreement as a litmus test for hiring. Instead, we leave these areas under the authority of the various church bodies to which each of us belongs and to the freedom of all of our employees to discern for themselves, fully understanding that there is a range of views within and among our churches."
Indeed, some of the churches affiliated with Word Vision (United Church of Christ, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church USA) *have* affirmed gay and lesbian marriage, and so to me, this stance seemed consistent with the past statements by World Vision that they are not a theological arm, but an operational arm.
This is not news, right? That World Vision is a partnership between many different denominations within the Christian church, which are comprised of many (sometimes drastically different) beliefs and practices? This has been the case for years, and I believe is partially why other relief organizations that are specific to particular denominations exist. As a Lutheran, I can't expect Word Vision's policies and practices to align completely with LCMS Lutheran doctrine and teachings...because it isn't a Lutheran organization. Neither can Catholics, or Evangelicals, or any other denomination present expect that World Vision will completely and accurately capture their belief system. Rather, the underlying goal of broad faith-based organizations like World Vision, I think, is to encourage and facilitate unity within all denominations of the church.
Back to the story.
After that announcement, Twitter, blogs, Facebook, and all forms of social media were almost immediately flooded with announcements from Christians that they had pulled their support for their sponsored children through World Vision in response to the announcement. Here's just a few excerpts: