UK Salvation Army chief defends ban on gay members
The UK’s Salvation Army chief has admitted the organisation still bans gay people from serving as members.
The international Christian organisation has long come under criticism for its approach to LGBT people – with internal policies actively banning gay people from serving as officers, unless they remain celibate.
The Salvation Army has insisted that allegations of homophobia are a “myth” and that it “abides by all applicable anti-discrimination laws in its hiring”.
However, the head of the Salvation Army in the UK admitted that gay people were still banned from becoming officers.
Commissioner Clive Adams was challenged by Paul O’Grady for TV show ‘The Sally Army and Me’ – which has heavily promoted the Salvation Army’s work.
O’Grady was allowed to wear the group’s uniform for the cameras – but as a gay man he wouldn’t actually be allowed to be an officer.
Lewis confirmed: “You wouldn’t be allowed to be a member.”
“You could volunteer for us, you could come to our church services [but if you want to become a soldier in the Salvation Army, you have to commit to what we believe.”
O’Grady said: “That’s upsetting, really, because I know so many men and women who are gay and lesbian and they’d be the most wonderful officers.”
Despite claiming to never discriminate against LGBT people in its service provisions, extreme concerns have been raised about the work of the Salvation Army internationally on many occasions.
In 2012, an Australian Salvation Army chief suggested that sexually active gay people should be put to death.
And in 2014, the US Salvation Army was hit by allegations that it refused to help house a homeless transgender woman.