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Senior Anglican priest accuses Salvation Army of lying about commitment to LGBT+ rights

Patrick Kelleher November 21, 2019
Senior Anglican accuses Salvation Army of lying about commitment to LGBT+ rights

Kelvin Holdsworth (Photo by Gordon Smith) and Salvation Army representative (Tim Boyle/Getty)

Anglican priest Kelvin Holdsworth has hit out at the Salvation Army and accused the charity of lying when it claims it is no longer anti-LGBT+.

Holdsworth, who is provost at St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, shared a PinkNews story on Twitter titled ‘The Salvation Army really want you to know they’re not anti-LGBT anymore’ and said the organisation was “lying”.

“You can’t be a member of the Salvation Army and wear their uniform or be an officer (like being ordained) if you are gay and married or in a partnership,” the priest – who has been vocal in his support for LGBT+ rights and is openly gay – wrote.

“Christians shouldn’t tell lies in public or bear false witness,” he continued.

Salvation Army recently claimed that its anti-LGBT+ views are in the past.

Holdsworth’s comments came following a statement from the Salvation Army, released to Out, which claimed that the charity has left its anti-LGBT+ views in the past.

“As we’ve better understood the needs of the LGBTQ+ community, we’ve evolved our approach,” said David Jolley, director of communications for the charity.

“As we build and remodel emergency shelters and transitional housing across the country, we consider ways to help LGBTQ+ individuals feel safe and cared for,” he continued.

But many are not convinced, as the Salvation Army’s anti-LGBT+ views have been well documented over the years.

You can’t be a member of the Salvation Army and wear their uniform or be an officer (like being ordained) if you are gay and married or in a partnership.

In 2014, it was revealed that gay people were only allowed to serve as officers with the organisation if they promised to remain celibate.

In a “Nondiscrimination Communications” memo sent out at the time, the Salvation Army said: “Leadership roles in denominational activities such as teaching or holding local officer roles require certain adherence to consistently held spiritual beliefs.

“This would apply to any conduct inconsistent with Salvation Army Beliefs and would include same-sex sexual relationships.”

An Australian chief for the charity suggested that sexually active gay people should be put to death in 2012.

They continued: “For anyone in a Salvation Army ministry position, the theological belief regarding sexuality is that God has ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman and sexual activity is restricted to one’s spouse.”

Furthermore, members were told that they could be terminated from the organisation if they were found to have attended a same-sex wedding in uniform. They were also expressly forbidden from officiating at same-sex weddings, both in and out of uniform.

The organisation also came under fire in 2012 when a chief with the charity suggested that sexually active gay people should be put to death. Meanwhile the US branch was accused in 2014 of refusing to help house a homeless transgender woman.

PinkNews has contacted the Salvation Army for comment.

 

More: Homophobia, Kelvin Holdsworth, Salvation Army

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