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: email@example.com.
Yes, you’re right they said that about gays, and they also were wishy washy about the ex-gay therapy too. It was just recently that they came out as non-discriminatory at all, if anyone can believe them. The article from the Advocate reported it on november 27, I think. So, I still won’t give my monies to them just yet. i’d like to see more because they’ve changed their tune so many times.
I only gave the Salvation Army $1.00 this year. Wonde Why>???
At http://www.StopTheArmy.com we also advise not to support the Salvation Army. We have items you can quickly print from your computer and drop into their kettles with a message about them not supporting the LGBTQI movement.
Please check us out! http://www.StopTheArmy.com
I guess one question your piece raises, Nicole, is how would you like to see The Salvation Army change in this regard?
What steps can be taken to improve relationships, develop relationships and build bridges.
There are already signs that this is happening, so what can be done to continue that?
After Reading the excellent article by Editor in chief, Nicole Lashomb, concerning the illusive Salvation Army, I simply must express my admiration and Deep respect for this wonderfully talented and skilled editor!!! Very well spoken, my good lady! Sincerely Yours Petterson, Sweden. (Gay, of course…)
I couldn’t agree more. It’s not they they’re changing. You don’t change half way. If your intentions are true and you’re like Jesus, you love and help every person, every human without bias. This organization is still not trustworthy. It needs to prove itself and that can only be done through years of changing the wrong they’ve done for many more of those years. Thnx for such a great article.
This was brought to my attention by someone who (currently) works at a Salvation Army location: http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/nodiscrimination
A better artical to read…to stop giving to a charity that gives back so much is like cutting off your nose to spite your face, and what of the 20% of the people they say they help, where are they to go. The Salvation Army probably helps more gays that all gay organisions combined
If you think that way, maybe we should even start giving monies to the KKK or the Black Panthers. I mean, they do some good within their people, but does that make them worthy of our monies? I beg to differ. I’m certain there are a few gay people that still give to them, who think like you. Change comes when pressure mounts. The Salvation Army is feeling the money pressure and the hypocrisy of their “rules and mandates” according to their “bible.” When you do good, you should do it for everyone and not just a few or 20% of the people. I won’t give monies to organizations that promote hate, no a one of them. That’s my contribution to this well written article.
The KKK and the Black Panthers ? Are you for real….. The Salvation Army helps anyone that asks without regard to who they are…..just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean they hate you, do you hate the people you don’t agree with you, if so your kinda small minded
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
What kind of message is the Salvation Army sending to the public and the rest of the world? Have you forgot the command the the Lord, your God gave you? Love one another? How is this an act of love? This is discrimination!
And from Matthew 22:37-40
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
So are you gonna hate your neighbours if they are gay? Yes, the bible sees homosexuality as a sin, but Jesus didn’t tell us to condemn them and judge them. Instead, Jesus wants us to love our God, and our neighbour as yourself.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I believe this in not the right way to treat a person, again, this is discrimination.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Everyone else is created in God’s image, amen? Agree?
So why are you discriminating and condemning a creation of the Almighty God?
Why are you judging his creations?
As someone who received salvation and know Jesus Christ,
isn’t it our responsibility to bring them to God instead of discriminating them
What good can come out of judging a person ?
By doing this, are you bringing them closer to God?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, I urge that this action to be stop immediately.
This is definitely not something our saviour will do, amen?
Instead, we should welcome them with open arms,
invite them to christmas party through this opportunity and
let them know the meaning of christmas and importance of salvation.
I pray that the Lord will give Salvation Army the wisdom and courage
to love all their neighbours and sow the seeds of love and gospel.
In Jesus’s name i pray,
This is old news. Why rake up old mud?
I have always handed them (S. A.)a sizeable amount every year that would have bought some very nice gift for a family member. No more. I am as straight as an arrow, but have one child who is not. How dare they take this stance and expect the society at large to support them with $$$. Not only will Gays stop giving to them, but so will everyone who has a gay family member, or close friend. Death? Are you serious? How Hitler like of them!
Please read the following article regarding this issue. As you will see, the comment made by a single pastor in Australia was promptly rebuked by the Salvation Army when it came to their attention. Oh, and at the bottom of this article there’s a link to a supposed image of 2 female bell-ringers with a sign saying Gays not allowed. This is clearly shown to be a photo-shopped picture intended to stir up trouble.
I gave the the Salvation Army only a $1.00 this year. Wonder Why????
Many thanks to each of you who participated in this discussion, whether by sharing this editorial on your social media network, passing it along to a friend or by taking the time to share your thoughts directly on our website. I have received an incredible amount of passionate feedback about it, positive and negative alike, which has caused me to further consider my convictions concerning this topic.
In regards to the post about the Snopes article, I am not sure what point was trying to be made. I read the blog referenced in depth and I don’t think it proves that the Salvation Army is not anti-gay. However, what it did say is that the interpretation of certain biblical passages used in its handbook regarding homosexuality are left open to interpretation by those who read the Bible, including various churches, religions, etc. I think that it’s fairly obvious that even Christian churches greatly differ in how the Bible is perceived or interpreted. The question here is not whether the interpretation of each church is accurate, but rather how the Salvation Army Church interprets the Bible regarding “homosexuality,” as it solicits monies from us all.
The Salvation Army has made its position clear for many years. This is not news to those of us who have been persecuted by religious beliefs. According to its website, at least until recently when the link was conveniently removed, under their “positional statements,” regarding the topic of homosexuality, it stated: “Scripture opposes homosexual practices by direct comment and also by clearly implied disapproval. The Bible treats such practices as self-evidently abnormal. … Attempts to establish or promote such relationships as viable alternatives to heterosexually-based family life do not conform to God’s will for society.”
You can see the removal of this link at: http://www1.salvationarmy.org/ind/www_ind.nsf/vw-sublinks/80256E520050A2E280256CBA0028A203?openDocument.
Regarding the PhotoShopped photo also referenced in the same post, I would hope that no one would be as foolish to believe that it was an actual photo of Salvation Army volunteers posing with an anti-gay sign. There would be legal ramifications against that, I’m sure. In addition, I imagine that many who viewed that “sign” (had it existed) and were unaware of the organization’s stance on gay people, would be much less likely to donate to the organization too. That photo was something that someone posted on Facebook to allegedly make a statement about the organization’s tainted past regarding gay people. I think most people would agree that Facebook is not a credible source of information.
So, my point is that many Christian churches such as the United Church of Christ, the Metropolitan Community Church, Presbyterian Church, the Episcopal Church, and others, are open and affirming to gay people and do not believe that being gay “or acting on it” is a sin, unlike the Salvation Army, as it has been proclaimed by the organization and various members/leaders of it throughout many years. The mere fact that certain churches believe that being gay, or should I say participating in gay sex is a sin, means that they inherently discriminate against or are biased against the LGBT community in its entirety, simply by believing that it is a sin and is something to repent for or be saved from. This is exactly the mentality that has lead to so many suicides within the LGBT community and that continues to deprive it of its rights.
Everyone knows you’re not supposed to “sin.” So, what message does that stance send to gay people? They are sinners, just because their gay? They are wrong to be who they are simply because they are being their authentic self? They don’t deserve the same rights that their heterosexual counterparts enjoy simply because they are gay? It is absolutely absurd. Sure, I am a sinner. However, my sins do not derive from the perfect being that God made me to be, in his image, gay and all. Only when we’ve acknowledged gay people to be equivalent to straight people, and their relationships and rights valued as such, is when the church and affected families will begin to heal from years of destruction that “faith” has caused to the LGBT community. I long for that day.
As for the Salvation Army, I look forward to when it releases a statement regarding its reformed belief that being gay and having “gay sex” is not a sin. I doubt that will happen. In the meantime, they will continue to do damage control by back peddling, proclaiming to be proponents of the LGBT community, while hoping that the storm, caused by its long held beliefs, will somehow pass as they continue removing evidence from its website regarding the “sin” of homosexuality.
I think you were right on first and now I think you’re the authority on this. I believe your response more than explains your documented research, very well I’d say, about the dark lies that the Salvation Army is trying to hide all of a sudden. If they had a stance before and were truly 100% inclusive and non-homophobic now, why not state it, state why they were so ignorant before and learn from their mistakes? It would seem to me that all they’re doing is covering their not so “Christian” past and by removing all commentary and web pages about it doesn’t make them a good company, it makes them either a bunch of liars or a bunch of people who won’t admit they were wrong. Either way, it shows a lack of conviction and truth, which only deters any good position they may be taking now, or they may be trying to make us believe now. No matter how it’s put, they and those who defend them keep doing the same thing, putting their foot in their mouths deeper and deeper. It’s almost as the GOP now mad at Pope Francis because he practices true “Christianity”. You can’t win for lose with these loose canons. God doesn’t create junk people and we, gay men and women, are certainly not calling you junk or judging you, so who’s the real Christian here? Love thy neighbor, or did you all forget that too? Maybe you did since after all you’re just as shady as this organization has been. I commend the editor of the Times again for continuing to share important and credible information through her posts.
A more modern adaptation is that Romans 1:18-32 deals with ritual orgies performed by idolaters, frequently involving children and without consent of some of the participants. Nowhere in the Bible does it talk about some loving, committed relationships being more equal than others. Like so many of those they condemn, the Salvation Army is practicing cafeteria Christianity — using this passage as a license to hate, and maybe even kill, while ignoring all the things Christ said — that you are ordered to love those you think are unlovable.
I am saddened that the LGBT community commenting here (as well as the article author) never considered that giving money to evangelizing religious-based organizations might be a problem, to gays, to women, to non-Xtians.
I needed help and went to them about 15 years ago. On the back of my application for assistance was a checklist of religions where I was supposed to indicate my religion (I don’t think atheist or agnostic was listed). I was afraid that my true answer would affect the help I might receive. Ditto for the question about whether I was open to attending Bible Study. I finally decided to take my chances and put “decline to state”.
Then I saw the cartoon pasted on the desk facing the clients. It showed a man informing an somewhat ethnic-looking man (swarthy with a prominent nose) that he didn’t need to do good deeds, that ONLY believing in Jesus would get you into heaven and everyone else was doomed. Lovely.
I got a referral (from a somewhat reluctant fat guy dressed up like a military officer) and a little help for my rent. I’ve never gone back no matter how much I needed help.
Apparently, it’s not just gays that aren’t welcome, it’s atheists, Jews, Buddhists, etc.)
P.S. MY tradition says everyone has an obligation to “heal the world” and do good deeds. Not disrespect other peoples beliefs, not demand they read your holy book or listen to a sermon before they feed or help you.
PLEASE, people, help the poor, help the homeless, help anybody who needs help…by giving money &/or time and love to groups that are non-religious, non-judgmental, and which put the people ahead of an agenda.