Monday, November 26, 2012

The Salvation Army Continues Their Long Tradition of Christian Bigotry

Australian “queer” journalists (not my label) Serena Ryan and Paul Dillon recently interviewed the Salvation Army’s media relations director in Australia, Major Andrew Craibe.  During that interview Craibe made a statement which would shock no one who pays attention to the Christo-fascist Salvation Army

Ryan: According to the Salvation Army, [gay people] deserve death. How do you respond to that, as part of your doctrine?

Craibe:  Well, that’s a part of our belief system.

Ryan: So we should die.

Craibe: You know, we have an alignment to the Scriptures, but that’s our belief.

As the original article points out, the Salvation Army guiding document (secondary to the Bible, one would suppose) is the Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine which, the “alignment to the Scriptures” in question is Romans 1:18-32. To quote the Bible; which for the sake of beating it over your head is either the inerrant “Word of God” or the inspired “Word of God” depending on the level of cognitive dissonance and doublethink in the believer.

            Romans 1:18-32 (NIV)

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Well…that’s pretty disgusting if you ask me, but then again I am just an atheist. What do I know about morality, not demonizing people, and commanding eternal and divine punishment? It's juts not in my wheelhouse. 

Going into damage control is the Salvation Army’s Major Bruce Harmer who stated:

“…the interview has led to a serious misunderstanding of our teaching…” and the Salvation Army “does not believe, and would never endorse, a view that homosexual activity should result in any form of physical punishment. The Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine does not state that practising homosexuals should be put to death and, in fact, urges all Salvationists to act with acceptance, love and respect to all people.”  

That is as long as they don’t act on their natural tendencies, of course. Its Ok to be gay, just don’t act gay. MOAR REPRESSION!

Harmer continues:

“This is a misunderstanding of the text referred to. 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.”

Of course, it doesn’t really mean what it says. The “spiritual death” line is a pathetic defense. That is an after-the-fact excuse and rationalization. Romans 1:18-32 is quite clearly disgusting. Even if you were leave out Verse 32, reading that passage is stomach-turning in its religious hate all on its own. Verses like these only become symbolic interpretations when it is necessary while other verses are held true and must be held as true. How is it decided which to follow and which to ignore? It cannot be religiously inspired morality informing people their religious morals are outdated, incorrect, or heinous. I wonder where it comes from...

Go on….think about it.