The CEO of ABS says the move will impart clarity and unity to the organization.
American Bible Society (ABS) employees have until January 31 to sign a precise statement which locks down their promise to attend church and personal compulsion of abstaining from any kind of sex prior to marriage. In the view of ABS, marriage can only happen between a woman and a man. Any non-signee will be unemployed as of February 1. The statement in question is given the name “Affirmation of Biblical Community.”
Roy Peterson, the CEO of ABS, said in a statement that the motive behind such an action is the belief of the over 200 strong workforce that is made of individuals with a personal and deep link to the Holy Bible. He expressed hope this step will impart clarity and unity as ABS continues in the third century of its existence. The ultimatum was presented to the employees on December 5, 2017 giving them about 13 months to decide. Until now, about 20 percent or 36 workers have put down their papers. According to Peterson, the numbers are only marginally higher compared to the normal annual attrition rate, He cited figures to prove his statement. In 2016, a total of 27 workers changed jobs. In 2017, it went a little up to 30.
One of the individuals who quit last year was Jeremy Gimbel, a gay employee of ABS who managed the web team. After spending 10 years of his life at ABS, he felt the policy was written to target gay individuals. Another former staff member who had introduced his husband to his colleagues not long before this development was suddenly presented with the Affirmation of Biblical Community.
Yet another troubling sign of the regressive, anti-LGBTQ agenda of faith-based organizations. This is an important bellwether for things to come. The progressive religious community needs to push back against bias moves like this hard and fast. https://t.co/rnfikbFhDp
— Steve Sprinkle (@unfinishedlives) January 25, 2019
For people familiar with the ABS, this new policy was a shock. These painful conditions could not be much further from its once inclusive culture. Of course, the religious elements were always to be found in the workplace but at the same time the ABS of yore welcomed all kinds of spiritual expression. Even the morning prayer was an optional one. A few prayed and a few meditated. Some even browsed their smartphones. In short, the ABS was a place of co-existence. The present straight-jacketed policy is the end of a 20-year shift of the organization towards evangelicalism. In 2001, it dropped its century old phrase “without note or comment” when it came to Bible publishing.