Leaked internal documents reveal Salvation Army’s antigay animus despite public denials

Staff Reports

The Salvation Army’s campaign to win back LGBT donors and staff was undermined Thursday by the release of several internal documents leaked to the LGBT website Queerty, which demonstrate the organization’s ongoing anti-gay teachings.

Queerty published several documents that it says “confirm what we’ve suspected all along: The Christian charity discriminates against LGBT people, but it doesn’t want anyone to know about it.”

Related: The Apology To LGBTQ People That The Salvation Army Won’t Release

Of course, this isn’t an entirely new revelation. But the documents underscore the tug of war within the church between religious laws, which leadership believes requires discrimination when it comes to marriage and sex, and civil laws, which ban discrimination in hiring and in the workplace.

One of the documents, a four-page email sent last February by Midwest Commissioner Paul Seiler titled as “LGBT issues in light of equality of marriage laws,” lays out the Salvation Army’s theological views on homosexuality, which it calls “a profound complexity,” the oranization’s position on marriage (“between one man and one woman”) and its expectations that unmarried officers be “celibate in the expression of their sexuality.”

Related: The Salvation Army Doesn’t Ring The Gay Bell

The email — marked “not for public use, including social media of any sort” — details a number of anti-gay policies that includes forbidding Salvation Army officers from marrying same-sex couples, and from wearing the Salvation Army uniform when attending a friend or family member’s same-sex marriage.

Seiler’s email adds that “leadership roles in denominational activities such as teaching or holding local officer roles require certain adherence to consistently held spiritual beliefs. This would apply to any conduct inconsistent with Salvation Army beliefs and would include same-sex sexual relationships.”

Publicly, however, talking points from the Salvation Army’s “Nondiscrimination Communications” memo says claims of anti-gay discrimination “are false:”

  • The Salvation Army does not believe that homosexual orientation is a sin.
  • We emphatically reject accusations of discrimination based on sexual orientation; claims to the contrary are false.
  • We simply do not discriminate against the people we serve or hire. Our doors are open to all.
  • We serve and hire all people without discrimination.

Queerty says it is not trying to argue with the Salvation Army’s theological views, but reconcile a problem of beliefs “which are shared privately among (Salvation Army) insiders, are at direct odds with the organization’s public message, which states, in blanket terms, that it does not discriminate based on sexual orientation.”

More at Queerty.

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