Target: Linda Bond, General of the Salvation Army
Goal: Remove references to a passage that calls for the deaths of non-celibate homosexuals from a Salvation Army training handbook.
The Salvation Army may be emblematic of charity and good tidings around the holiday season, but the officials behind the red buckets and ringing bells tell quite a different story. The Christian organization has come under fire in the past for their anti-LGBT practices and stances, and a recent statement from Australian media relations director Major Andrew Craibe now verges on hate speech. In a radio interview with queer journalists Serena Ryan and Pete Dillon, Craibe asserted that non-celibate homosexuals should be put to death for their actions, citing a Biblical passage still included in a training handbook used by the organization.
Like many anti-LGBT figures, Craibe called upon scripture to justify his hateful position. Referring to a particularly incendiary passage from the book of Romans, the Salvation Army official claimed that he must “have an alignment to the Scriptures” and therefore agrees that gay people are evil and deserve death. The Salvation Army Australia has since issued a statement claiming that Craibe was referring only to spiritual death, not physical, but the organization’s inflammatory stance remains clear. Elsewhere in the interview, Craibe also stated that he believes homosexuality to be a choice that must be resisted, like consuming alcohol or drugs.
While the Salvation Army has apologized for what they believe to be a misunderstanding, their official position on homosexuality remains negative. The Romans passage in question is still listed in a handbook the organization uses to train new soldiers. Tell Linda Bond, the General of the Salvation Army, that such hateful messages should never be used as training material.
Dear General Linda Bond,
A recent radio interview with Major Andrew Craibe of the Salvation Army Australia has again brought to light your church’s disturbing stance on homosexuality. When questioned by queer journalist Serena Ryan, Craibe admitted that he believed all non-celibate homosexuals deserve death in accordance with the book of Romans. While the Salvation Army Australia has issued an apology and claimed that Craibe meant spiritual death, not physical punishment, your organization’s official position on homosexuality remains founded upon intolerance.
The inclusion of Romans 1:18-32 in Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine implies that non-celibate members of the LGBT community are not welcome as soldiers in the Salvation Army. Referring to such a passage only fosters hatred for a vulnerable minority. I ask that you revise the Salvation Army’s official stance on LGBT members and remove all references to this inflammatory passage from your training materials.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jamin via Wikimedia Commons.