A senior Salvation Army official has defended the organisation’s anti-gay doctrine on an Australian radio show, saying non-celibate homosexuals deserve to die.
The comments were made Thursday during an interview broadcast on GLBT radio station Joy FM.
Major Andrew Craib, Territorial Media Relations Director for the Salvation Army, appeared on the show following public calls for a boycott of the organisation by openly gay pop star Darren Hayes.
Hayes, who married boyfriend Richard Cullen in 2006 in a civil ceremony, kicked off an online furore when he Tweeted about the organisation’s anti-gay stance to his 60,000 followers.
“Important for gay people to know the true position of the Salvation Army when considering who to donate to. Sad,” he said.
But when quizzed by Joy FM’s Serena Ryan, Major Craib refused to distance the organisation from its stance on homosexuality.
Ryan expressed concern over passages in the Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine, a manual used to train Salvation Army soldiers.
The manual cites Romans 1:18-32, which refers to homosexuality as “unnatural”, “degrading” and “shameless” and says “God’s decree [is] that those who practise such things deserve to die”.
“Well, that’s a part of our belief system,” Craib responded.
“So we should die?” Ryan asked.
“We have an alignment to the Scriptures, but that’s our belief,” Craib said.
Craib went on to repeat his position several times throughout the interview.
But he said the Army’s beliefs would not affect who it gave assistance to or allowed to worship in its ranks.
Salvation Army policy bars “practising” homosexuals from becoming full members of the group, but will allow membership if they are celibate.
The Salvation Army in New Zealand recently issued an apology to the GLBT community for its hand in the opposition to the 1986 Homosexual Law Reform Bill.