Last year, Queerty exposed two internal Salvation Army USA documents that lays out exactly how the religious org planned to battle the negative publicity from my campaign to get them to apologize for their anti-LGBTQ past.
After reading the memos describing their plan for a “strategy of containment” that includes whitewashing their past, confusing potential donors, and refusing to take responsibility for their horrendous history of discrimination, it seems appropriate to release exactly what they don’t want revealed: the public apology that the church leadership refuses to issue.
In two separate documents, the Salvation Army clearly is more interested in using PR spin to deflect attention and make LGBTQ people doubt whether or not the group’s history is worthy of an apology. In a 24-page memo titled “2014 Nondiscrimination Communications & Protocols,” the org’s public relations department spells out exactly how local and regional branches of the not-for-profit should respond to critics.
“In April 2013, The Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board adopted an aggressive issues management plan, with specific emphasis on addressing allegations of discrimination on on [sic] ongoing basis,” the document reads under a section marked “Preparations.” It notes that “The Salvation Army NHQ communications team and Richards Partners have held issue briefings and media training workshops in 2013 and 2014 for more than 150 of the highest ranking officers and respective public relations officials.”
Sadly, the organization has been in constant communication with me in an attempt to duplicitously silence my campaign demanding an apology. In 2013, the group’s public relations team expressed interest in issuing the public apology to LGBTQ people that I requested, and asked me to write it for them. I did, and the team said they’d pass it on to national and regional leadership for approval.