World Vision and same-sex marriages

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Letter to The Irish Times (31 March 2014)

Sir ,

What must rank as one of the fastest U-turns in modern times has been the decision of World Vision US, a Christian humanitarian organisation with an annual budget of about $1 billion , to reverse its policy after two days on hiring employees in same-sex marriages.

Last Monday it announced that it was changing its employment policy to allow the hiring of such employees. By Wednesday, after pressure from evangelical and pentecostal Christian organisations throughout the US, it reversed its decision. A major pentecostal denomination, The Assemblies of God, had urged its members to boycott World Vision and instead support evangelical organisations which followed biblical teachings .

In its message last Wednesday addressed to its “Dear Friends”, the president of World Vision US, Richard Stearns, said that that the organisation now realised it had made a mistake and was choosing to “revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman. We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness. We are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion we have caused many of our friends who saw this decision as a reversal of our strong commitment to Biblical authority.”

The incident shows the power of the US fundamentalist Christian movement to successfully oppose any recognition of the human right to marriage equality. Yours , etc,

BRENDAN BUTLER,

The Moorings,

Malahide,

Co Dublin.