Major Andrew Craibe, media relations manager for on of the Australian branches of the Salvation Army reminded the world that the belief of the Salvation Army is that gays should be put to death. It is easy to cnfuse his statements with that of the Taliban or the Westboro Baptist Church, but this is the Salvation Army and this is what he said.
In speaking with Serena Ryan and Pete Dillon on their Salt and Pepperradio show the subject of gay rights came up and Craibe had this to say:
Ryan: According to the Salvation Army, [gay people] deserve death. How do you respond to that, as part of your doctrine?
Craibe: Well, that’s a part of our belief system.
Ryan: So we should die.
Craibe: You know, we have an alignment to the Scriptures, but that’s our belief.
The doctrine they’re referring to is, as Queerty’s Dan Avery reports, the Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine, which borrows heavily from Romans 1:18-32 and states:
For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error. . .
They know God’s decree, that those who practise such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practise them.
Until he had this interview Craibe had gone relatively unnoticed in the media world. now that he has come out an a genuine hater, it is difficult to imagine how people are going to feel comfortable giving their money to the Salvation Army at this point.
The national Salvation Army has distanced themselves form Craibe’s remarks with Major Bruce Harmer saying:
Craibe’s comments were “extremely regrettable” and Salvation Army members did “not believe, and would never endorse, a view that homosexual activity should result in any form of physical punishment.” Harmer goes on to apologize, citing a misunderstanding of the “death” passage (he says the passage refers to “spiritual death” and not physical death):
The Salvation Army believes in the sanctity of all human life and believes it would be inconsistent with Christian teaching to call for anyone to be put to death. We consider every person to be of infinite value, and each life a gift from God to be cherished, nurtured and preserved.
Craibe’s comments reflect a general position within the Salvation Army of belittling homosexuals and using the Bible to justify their exclusion from society.
The Salvation Army’s “Position Statement” on homosexuality, found on its Web site, reads in part:
“The Salvation Army does not consider same-sex orientation blameworthy in itself. Homosexual conduct, like heterosexual conduct, requires individual responsibility and must be guided by the light of scriptural teaching. Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex. The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life.”
Since the controversy erupted the page referred to above has been deleted but the comments will probably affect the Salvation Army for quite some time.