By: Nicole Lashomb/Editor-in-Chief—
Many thanks to each of you who participated in our online discussion pertaining to my last editorial regarding Salvation Army and its anti-gay stance, 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 that one user referenced, I am not sure what point was trying to be made. I read the blog referred to by “Jim” 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 those who read the Bible, including various church leaders, 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 one of these links at: http://tinyurl.com/ykagnut.
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. 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 in the first place and is something to repent for or be saved from. This is exactly the mentality that has led to so many suicides within the LGBT community and that continues to deprive it of its full rights.
Everyone knows you’re not supposed to “sin.” So, what message does that stance send to gay people? 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. Perhaps 2014 will be that year. 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.
To view the conversation or add to it, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/lysozwo.
*Nicole Lashomb is the 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.