Australian pop star Darren Hayes has asked LGBT people to think carefully before donating to the Salvation Army in Australia after learning that the organization believes homosexuals must stay celibate and would refuse full membership to anyone in an active same-sex relationship.
‘Important for gay people to know the true position of the Salvation Army when considering who to donate to,’ the former Savage Garden singer tweeted to his 60,883 followers on Friday.
‘Swap “eye color” for “sexuality” and “blue eyes” for “homosexuality” to see the absurdity of this statement.’
The Salvation Army’s position statement on human sexuality terms homosexuality ‘rebellion against God’s plan for the created order.’
‘The Bible expressly opposes homosexual practice,’ the statement reads.
‘We firmly believe that obedience to God together with the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, make it possible for all to live a lifestyle pleasing to Him. This may include celibacy or self-restraint for those who will not or cannot marry.’
The statement claimed that sex between people of the same-sex was ‘chosen behavior’ and thus within people’s willpower to refrain from it.
‘It is therefore able to be directed or restrained in the same way heterosexual urges are controlled. Homosexual practice would render any person ineligible for full membership (soldiership) in the Army.’
The Salvation Army says homosexuals should not be discriminated against and are welcome to worship and join in fellowship with it.
However the Salvation Army this year wrote to both the Australian Senate and House of Representatives to oppose same-sex marriage.
Australian Salvation Army spokesman Major Bruce Harmer told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper that most Australian faith based charities held similar positions and said that people should consider its work with the needy.
‘On that measure, the Salvation Army is one of the most compassionate and non-discriminatory in the way it works with people who are marginalized in our community, including many who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender,’ Harmer said.
The news comes just a week after the Salvation Army in New Zealand apologized for its part in lobbying against the decriminalization of homosexuality there.
‘Since the events of law reform in 1986 the Army has reflected deeply on its actions and the hurtful way some members publicly expressed their view on this legislative change,’ a New Zealand Salvation Army statement read.
‘Our present hope is to rebuild bridges of understanding and dialogue…we may not agree in the future on all issues, but we can respect and care for one another despite this.’