Major Andrew Craibe, Territorial Media Relations Director for the Southern Territory in Victoria, Australia, did an interview with gay journalists Serena Ryan and Pete Dillon on the radio show Salt and Pepper. They questioned him about the homophobia in Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine, the handbook used to train Salvation Army members, or as they refer to them, “soldiers.” The handbook quotes anti-gay biblical passages, including Romans 1:18-32, which talks of “God’s wrath on unrighteousness."
Here’s the exchange between Ryan and Craibe via the Examiner:
Ryan: According to the Salvation Army, [gay parents] 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 they should die.
Craibe: You know, we have an alignment to the Scriptures, but that’s our belief.
Ryan: You’re proposing in your doctrine that because these parents are gay, that they must die.
Craibe: Well, well, because that is part of our Christian doctrine –
Ryan: But how is that Christian? Shouldn’t it be about love?
Craibe: Well, the love that we would show is about that: consideration for all human beings to come to know salvation . . .
Ryan: Or die . . .
Craibe: Well, yes.
Major Bruce Harmer, Salvation Army Communications and Public Relations Secretary for the Eastern Territory, has released a statement saying that Major Craibe’s interview was a “miscommunication". The statement reads in part:
The Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory acknowledges that the response in the interview has led to a serious misunderstanding of our teaching and that clarification should have been given during the interview.
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.
Apology or no apology, I’m taking my business elsewhere. The Salvation Army’s doctrine needs to change. Find your second hand clothes elsewhere, gays, ‘cuz you are not second class!