Salvation Army says Gays should be put to death

An interview with official Major Andrew Craibe, the Salvation Army’s Territorial Media Relations Director for the Southern Territory in Victoria, can be seen partially(and heard in its entirety) here. One of the interviewers reads directly from the Salvation Army Guidebook:

Later on in the interview they talk about allegations that the group refused assistance to a person in need who wouldn’t agree to participate in an “ex-gay” program.

It’s hard to understand how anyone working as a spokesperson for a Christian group wouldn’t have some canned response to that – I’m sure anyone speaking on behalf of, say, the Catholic Church would be able to cite some document in which the Church officially declares some “love the sinner, hate the sin” policy. The excerpts quoted in the article sure are pretty damning, given that he doesn’t appear to have an answer.

Kind of peeved they didn’t bother with a transcript of the whole thing, though.

More context:

It appears the official SA position is “hate the sin, kill the sinner”.

Bigoted organization is bigoted, news at 11!

Seems like it’ll be news to some people here. Last time this was discussed there were plenty of Dopers defending them. (To be sure, some of those people were posting in defense of the group not because they were ignorant of their stance but because they were sympathetic to it.)

Good thing they stop reading there, eh? Because just after that…

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whenever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

Of course, this is Pauline doctrine, as evidenced by Romans 2:16 where Paul says “…according to my gospel”.

Not God’s gospel, not Jesus’ gospel. PAUL’S GOSPEL.

I have a small problem with that.

I don’t want to sound like I’m defending the SA’s homophobia, but this whole thing seems to be a bit sensationalistic to me.

The offensive passages in The Handbook of Doctrine were as follows:

Those don’t seem to be particularly noteworthy tenants for Christians to hold. The problem was apparently in the cited Romans 1:18-32, which mentions homosexual sex as a symptom of sin.

But the sinners described as being worthy of death go a little bit beyond just engaging in homosexual acts:

I’m not a Christian, so I could be wrong, but it also seems clear to me that the “death” involved here is spiritual death, i.e., going to hell.

I’m not saying it’s okay that the SA is out saying “homosexual acts lead to you going to hell,” but interpreting all this as “LGBT People Should Be Put to Death” seems dishonest to me.

Of course, Paul was always trying to take credit for John’s work.

If the interviewee had disagreed when explicitly asked if Salvation Army theology taught that people who have gay sex should be put to death, I’d agree. It could well be argued that it wasn’t a fair question to ask, but the senior official with the Salvation Army gave a clear and damning answer nonetheless.

The straightforward reading of that passage in Romans, incidentally, says that people who have gay sex deserve to die. (It’s a passage I’m familiar with.) Certainly churches may and do interpret scripture with an understanding that the simplest reading is not necessarily correct. But at least according to this one official with the Salvation Army, that organization (which openly is a Christian denomination in its own right, not merely a charity) interprets those verses straightforwardly. Given that organization’s generally awful record on LGBT issues, I can’t say it’s a huge surprise.

And completely leaving George and Ringo out of the whole thing.

You saw what I did there.

Hey, at least he’s upfront about it. I really hate the groups that want to put people to death but weasel around on saying so. If you’re going to kill people, man up and acknowledge it.

How . . . Victorian!

I agree with cckerberos, though, that interpreting the Salvation Army spokesperson’s statements as saying “gays should be put to death” is weaseling a bit in the other direction.

I condemn and reject any doctrine that holds that gays “deserve death” for being gay. But such doctrines are not necessarily the same thing as saying “the state ought to impose capital punishment for homosexuality”, which is what the melodramatic phrase “gays should be put to death” implies.

There are plenty of conservative Christians who do literally, explicitly advocate instituting capital punishment for homosexuality in the civil legal code, which is appalling. But AFAIK the Salvation Army does not support any such policy, and this guy’s remarks don’t suggest to me that he or anybody else in the Salvation Army seriously thinks that they should.

So for everybody who charged into this thread thinking they were going to be outraged by Salvation Army protesters chanting “Fry the Queers” outside the state legislature, I recommend taking a deep breath, untwisting the panties, and dialing down the shock and horror. Not really anything to see here except unremarkably typical homophobes being homophobic in an unremarkably typical way.

Okay, I’ll start by acknowledging that I conflated these two in an earlier post and I never bothered to fix my error after I noticed it later. I should have been more careful and not made that error in the first place.

It’s true that no one in this conversation said gay people should be put to death, and the passage in Romans does not say that. (You have to page back to Leviticus to find that one.) However, this person – a senior official with the Salvation Army, according to the article – when explicitly asked by the interviewer, indicated that they agreed with the passage in Romans that says those who have gay sex deserve death. And there’s nothing really unclear about that.

Now, I agree that that is better than saying anyone who has had gay sex should be put to death. And in the Salvation Army’s defense, they are not advocating for a public policy of executing those of us who have had gay sex, as indeed some minor Christian groups argue.

However, in my opinion, it’s still pretty outrageous for them to say that anyone who has had gay sex deserves to die, even if they’re not arguing that the government should step in and make it happen. My panties are not twisted in the slightest, and while I’m well aware that many, many people out there agree and that this attitude is, as you put it, “unremarkably typical”, it’s still something that people legitimately should be upset about. If I were wearing the most comfortable underwear in the world, I still wouldn’t find their attitude acceptable.

Neither do I, as I noted in my previous post (the “condemn and reject” bit).

I’m just agreeing with cckerberos that the phrase “gays should be put to death” is an unfair, unjustified and arguably even dishonest exaggeration and hyperbolic misrepresentation of that unacceptable attitude.

Lorry knose, there are enough Christians (not to mention plenty of non-Christians) already who are literally and sincerely advocating that the state should judicially murder people for being gay. We don’t need to make the situation seem even worse than it is by inaccurately tarring more mainstream groups with that brush.

I approve of his forthrightness, even if his message is stone-age bigotry. It’s refreshing in its’ novelty.

This is why I never give those bell-ringing assholes a cent!

If only Saul of Tarsus had taken that left turn at Albuquerque and not the road to Damascus, he would not have become Paul, the total pain in the ass. Ah, well, I can still shop at Goodwill. Tonier clientele, anyway.

Good for the SA! They don’t want “the state” to execute homosexuals. Perhaps decriminalizing the murder of gays would be a good idea from their POV. Or how about a good neighborhood stoning in a back alley? Or maybe they are grateful for AIDS, which kills large numbers of gays, but straight deaths from it are like a form of collateral damage.

I would have liked another followup question. If “God” says gays “deserve to die”, is it a sin for a Christian to kill one?