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The Salvation Army is really, really trying to convince people it’s not anti-LGBT. Again

Vic Parsons December 16, 2019
Salvation Army

The Salvation Army's red collection buckets are a familiar sight on the streets at Christmas time. (Tim Boyle/Getty)

The Salvation Army is trying to change its “anti-LGBT+” reputation with a new prop carried by its Christmas bell ringers this festive season.

The Salvation Army bell ringers, who stand by red kettles jingling bells and asking for donations, will carry a prop supposed to help them explain the Christian church and charity’s approach to LGBT+ people.

Designed to help the bell ringers answer questions about the Salvation Army and LGBT+ people, the cards include a link to online testimonials from LGBT+ people helped by the Salvation Army’s array of social services, according to CNN.

This means that there will be testimonials from LGBT+ people who have used the Salvation Army’s homeless shelters, rehab clinics and food pantries.

“For years, Facebook posts, forwarded emails and rumours have been leading some people to believe the Salvation Army does not serve members of the LGBTQ community,” the cards say.

“These accusations are simply not true.”

Ross Murray, director of education and training at LGBT+ advocacy organisation GLAAD, explained that the Salvation Army’s history of excluding LGBT+ people from its services, such as denying same-sex couples and adhering to a traditional theology that consider gay sex to be a sin, means it will take more than info cards carried by bell ringers over Christmas.

“The Salvation Army has been advertising that it will help LGBTQ people in need, which is a good step, but it can’t be the only step,” said Murray.

“The Salvation Army’s anti-LGBTQ history was multi-faceted. And its path to LGBTQ acceptance is also going to have to be multi-faceted.”

Last month, Anglican priest Kelvin Holdsworth hit out at the Salvation Army and accused the charity of lying when it claimed 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.

More: bellringers, Christmas, Salvation Army

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