An Australia-based Salvation Army official is catching heat for implying in an interview that gays should be put to death.
Truth Wins Out blogger John Becker and The Atlantic are just two of the media outlets reporting that Major Andrew Craibe, a media relations director for one of the Salvation Army's Australian branches, had the following exchange with Aussie journalists Serena Ryan and Pete Dillon:
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.
You can listen to an audio recording of the interview, courtesy of Becker, below:
Ryan said she prepared for the interview by reading "Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine," a manual published by the group’s international headquarters in London which reportedly cites the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality.
Salvation Army spokesman Major Bruce Harmer quickly released a statement distancing the organization from Craibe's "extremely regrettable" remarks, noting that members do "not believe, and would never endorse, a view that homosexual activity should result in any form of physical punishment."
Harmer goes on to note: "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."
This isn't the first time that the Salvation Army has found itself at odds with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. In fact, Craibe's comments came just days after Aussie pop star Darren Hayes, who is openly gay, called for a boycott of the organization in light of its anti-gay views.
In November 2011, Bilerico Project blogger Bil Browning urged holiday season shoppers to skip the iconic "Red Kettle" campaign due to the Salvation Army's conservative stance on homosexuality.
"While you might think you're helping the hungry and homeless by dropping a few dollars in the bright red buckets, not everyone can share in the donations," Browning wrote at the time. "The organization also has a record of actively lobbying governments worldwide for anti-gay policies -- including an attempt to make consensual gay sex illegal."
Previously, Jeffrey Curnow, the public and corporate relations manager for the Salvation Army, defended the position to Chicagoist, noting:
"I appreciate the opportunity to correct the record when it does come up. In fact, the Salvation Army serves countless people across the country every day from any variety of backgrounds, including gays and lesbians. This number probably reaches into the thousands, though it is impossible for us to determine, primarily because we would simply never ask about a person's sexual identity.
Because The Salvation Army is a church we do have theological positions on a variety of topics. These positions are intended for our church members or those who are interested in our church. Just as you wouldn't expect everyone you meet to share all your ideas or beliefs, we would never expect everyone we help, our donors, or even our non-church-member employees to necessarily agree with these theological positions."
View other right-wing statements about the LGBT community below:
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