In the midst of same-sex marriage gaining approval and 16 states legalizing it, The Salvation Army, which regularly provides Christmas dinners, clothing, and Christmas toys for children in need, has once more come under scrutiny. This is due in part to a self-titled “liberal” writer refocusing on the continued debate over same-sex marriage and The Salvation Army’s past history of opposition to the LGBT lifestyle. Specifically, the holiday season has caused a few online sources to revisit a controversial Australian radio show hosted by LGBT journalist Serena Ryan.
On the 2012 broadcast, Andrew Craibe, a Salvation Army Media Relations Director, was questioned about the company’s previous history and their views on the LGBT community. Ryan inquired: “According to the Salvation Army gay parents deserve death. How do you respond to that, as part of your doctrine?”
Craibe stated: “(T)hat’s a part of our belief system.” When pressed by Ryan he added: “Well . . . well . . . because that is part of our Christian doctrine.”
Ryan asked: “(H)ow is that Christian? Shouldn’t it be about love?” At which point Craibe responded: “Well, the love that we would show is about that: consideration for all human beings to come to know salvation . . .”
Following the radio interview TGV News reported The Salvation Army put out a statement to clarify the company’s current position: “The Salvation Army encompasses a diverse community with a wide range of opinions on human sexuality and other subjects. The senior leadership of The Salvation Army continues to reflect on Christian and Biblical tradition, and especially on the themes of justice and mercy, to further deepen the understandings of our own members and build a more healthy relationship with the LGBTQ community. We pledge to continue to offer services to all and to treat each person with dignity, respect and non-discrimination.”
With public approval currently rising, some individuals and organizations are not quick to forgive and forget. Nevertheless, the Salvation Army has been making an effort to remove the “anti-gay” mark with which they’ve been branded. More recently, the Truthwinsout website published a statement they received from Jennifer Byrd, Director of Communications, for The Salvation Army.
Byrd said: “As you know, The Salvation Army strives to live out our mission of meeting human need without discrimination. Our doors are always open to anyone who seeks our help, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. We simply do not discriminate against the people we serve or the people we hire.”
Could The Salvation Army be working towards polishing their tarnished reputation? With the holidays coming their charitable works would certainly be appreciated. This reporter doesn’t pretend to have all the answers but does at least hope that the media will focus more on the present and the true meaning of the season as opposed to rehashing the past in an attempt to garner ratings.
(Images courtesy of Flicker.com and Sathriftnorthchi.wordpress.com)