A senior Salvation Army officer has repeatedly refused to disavow the organization’s belief that homosexuals are deserving of death when challenged on Australian gay radio.
Major Andrew Craibe, the Media Relations Director of the Salvation Army Australia’s Southern Territory, was speaking to Melbourne gay radio station Joy FM on Thursday to encourage people to donate towards the organization’s charitable works following a boycott call by pop star Darren Hayes.
Hayes, who is openly gay and in a civil partnership with his British partner, made the call after learning of the organization’s views on homosexuality.
When challenged on parts of the Salvation Army’s ‘Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine’ which cite Romans 1:18-32, a passage which declares homosexuals deserving of death, Craibe refused to distance himself from them as he said they were what his religion believed.
‘That’s a part of our belief system,’ Craibe said.
‘We have an alignment to the scriptures … That is part of our Christian doctrine and that’s our understanding of that.’
According to Salvation Army policy, practicing homosexuals are barred from becoming full members of the group.
Craibe said that the choice for homosexuals to be celibate if they wished to become full members was no different to his choice to abstain from alcohol – another requirement for full membership.
However Craibe said that those beliefs would not come into play when it came to who received assistance from the organization and practicing homosexuals were welcome to join in fellowship with the organization and worship with the Salvation Army.
The Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine outlines the principle doctrines of the Salvation Army as established in 1878 and confirmed again by the organization in 1980.
According to the Handbook, ‘It is required of officers of all ranks that their teaching, in public and private, shall conform to these … Articles of Faith.’
The book of Romans states in relation to homosexuality that ‘those who do such things deserve death.’