By: Nicole Lashomb, Editor-in-Chief—
By the end of 2013, you would think that anti-gay Salvation Army would come to a greater understanding of the LGBT community, even if by a small fraction. Instead, it has doubled down and amped up its hypocritical and bigoted position, even defending part of its doctrine that “gays need to be put to death.” Sound dramatic? It is … and it’s true.
For an organization that “serves” the needy, one would think it should be about charity. Instead, it is an organization full of politics that attempts to eradicate anyone that does not conform to its ideals. While the organization has made recent attempts to debunk the myth that it is not anti-gay through its public relations efforts, it has been largely unsuccessful.
Though the organization boasts that roughly 20 percent of the youth in its shelters identify as LGBT, there is additional pressure on those youth to denounce who they are, even leading to referrals to ex-gay groups. I wouldn’t call that “charitable.” Charity should not come with such a high cost, especially one that attempts to strip you of your identity.
According to a 2012 article on the Huffington Post, a Salvation Army Media Relations Director, Andrew Craibe, participated in a radio program with journalist Serena Ryan to “discuss a recent call by LGBTQ parents for a boycott of the nonprofit for its anti-gay policies and beliefs.”
In the manual used to “train” Salvation Army “soldiers,” the Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine, refers to the sin of homosexuality multiple times, even citing Romans 1:18-32, which reprimands homosexuals and indicates that they “deserved to die.”
When questioned about this “belief,” Craibe confirmed and defended that indeed, it was a part of their creed.
This year, the Salvation Army has flipped-flopped about their stance of gays again. They claim to be more openly gay, yet they still give monies to “pray the gay away” organizations, according to another Huffington Post article. All of this is certainly confusing to me and unless I am certain of their intentions, I will continue my yearly tradition.
This Holiday Season, I will not be donating to the “Army of Salvation.” However, I will be putting my gay dollars to work in local community and national organizations that actually serve the needy, every one of them without discrimination and who believe we are all entitled to at least a modicum of pride, respect and dignity.
*Nicole Lashomb is the co-owner, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Rainbow Times. She holds an MBA from Marylhurst University and a Bachelor’s from SUNY Potsdam. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.