Many do not realize that the bell-ringing Salvation Army is actually a Christian church organization with many conservative tenets and a military-style structure. Last week, an Australian Salvation Army official, Major Andrew Craibe, addressed questions about the organization’s anti-gay policies in a radio interview, acknowledging multiple times that the Bible calls for LGBT people to be put to death if they do not “come to know salvation” (i.e. chastity).
Hours after Truth Wins Out first reported the interview, the Salvation Army Australia issued an apology for Craibe’s “miscommunication,” explaining that the Bible refers not to “physical death” but to “spiritual death”:
The Scripture in question, viewed in its broader context, is not referring to physical death, nor is it specifically targeted at homosexual behaviour. The author is arguing that no human being is without sin, all sin leads to spiritual death (separation from God), and all people therefore need a Saviour. […]
The Salvation Army sincerely apologises to all members of the GLBT community and to all our clients, employees, volunteers and those who are part of our faith communities for the offence caused by this miscommunication.[…]
We pledge to continue to offer services to all Australians and to treat each person with dignity, respect and non-discrimination.
The statement does not fully address the Salvation Army’s on-going anti-LGBT policies. The controversy in Australia has erupted after openly gay pop star Darren Hayes (formerly of Savage Garden) called for a boycott because of the group’s antagonistic beliefs on sexuality. LGBT blogger Bil Browning did the same this past year in the U.S., citing the organization’s anti-gay lobbying efforts and its expectation that gay people who benefit from its charity be celibate.