Image for Salvos apologise for 'put gays to death' quote

Salvos apologise for 'put gaysto death' quote

The Salvation Army is once again battling its own homophobic demons as it swiftly apologises for comments by a senior local spokesperson suggesting the Salvos’ doctrine involves death for non-celibate gay people.

The explosive comments came as Melbourne’s LGTI radio station JOY94.9FM attempted to get some background information about the Christian organisation’s views about gay people, following last week’s questioning of its homophobic history.

Radio hosts Serena Ryan and Pete Dillon were aghast when Major Andrew Craibe – the Salvation Army’s Territorial Media Relations Director for the Southern Territory in Victoria – confirmed that the Salvos agree with New Testament scripture suggesting homosexual acts should be punished with death.

From Romans 1:18-32: “Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error… They know God’s decree, that those who practise such things deserve to die – yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practise them.”

“Well, that’s a part of our belief system,” admitted Craibe when Ryan questioned him about it in a live broadcast on Friday. “You know, we have an alignment to the Scriptures, but that’s our belief.”

He added: “That is part of our Christian doctrine.”

Shouldn’t it be more about love, suggested Ryan? “Well, the love that we would show is about that: consideration for all human beings to come to know salvation,” replied Craibe. Or die? “Well, yes.”

After the interview, Ryan said she ‘felt a bit sick’. “I’m walking away from this feeling terribly sad, because we painted a really clear picture of what their dogma is, and I feel there is no salvation in the Salvation Army if you are of a homosexual persuasion,” she said. “I feel it’s a double standard to ask for money when in fact you fundamentally reject the existence of a good portion of the human race.”

The full audio of the interview is available to hear below.

As word of this interview spreads and further fuels calls for a boycott of the charity, the Salvation Army yesterday issued an apology and clarification in a ‘question and answer’ form.

Signed by Major Bruce Harmer, the Salvos’ Communications and Public Relations Secretary for the states of NSW, ACT and QLD, the response is shown in full below.

Do Salvation Army full members believe, as per the Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine, that practising homosexuals should be put to death? Why, or why not?

Salvation Army members do not believe, and would never endorse, a view that homosexual activity should result in any form of physical punishment. The Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine does not state that practising homosexuals should be put to death and, in fact, urges all Salvationists to act with acceptance, love and respect to all people.

The Salvation Army teaches that every person is of infinite value, and each life a gift from God to be cherished, nurtured and preserved.

Why include in your handbook the Romans text from The Bible, which indicates that God insists that homosexuals deserve to die?

This is a misunderstanding of the text referred to. The Scripture in question, viewed in its broader context, is not referring to physical death, nor is it specifically targeted at homosexual behaviour. The author is arguing that no human being is without sin, all sin leads to spiritual death (separation from God), and all people therefore need a Saviour.

Isn’t this inherently anti-Christian, to believe people should be put to death?

The Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory acknowledges that the response in the interview has led to a serious misunderstanding of our teaching and that clarification should have been given during the interview.

The Salvation Army believes in the sanctity of all human life and believes it would be inconsistent with Christian teaching to call for anyone to be put to death. We consider every person to be of infinite value, and each life a gift from God to be cherished, nurtured and preserved.

Do you feel you owe an apology or explanation to all those gay and Lesbian volunteers and people your organisation supports?

The Salvation Army sincerely apologises to all members of the GLBT community and to all our clients, employees, volunteers and those who are part of our faith communities for the offence caused by this miscommunication.


The Salvation Army encompasses a diverse community with a wide range of opinions on human sexuality and other subjects.

The leadership of The Salvation Army in the Australia Eastern Territory continues to reflect on Christian and Biblical tradition, and especially on the themes of justice and mercy, to further deepen the understandings of our own members and build a more healthy relationship with the GLBT community.

We pledge to continue to offer services to all Australians and to treat each person with dignity, respect and non-discrimination.

Comments arrow left

Jason_ said on the 22nd Jun, 2012

The Salvation Army is so hypocritical, a few days ago it was reported that Darren Hayes got it all wrong and that the Salvos position statement on homosexuality was taken out of context and was "outdated".

Last night a key Salvation Army figure was on gay and lesbian radio in Melbourne and his comments were far worse than their current position statement.

Take a listen and spread the word:

Cant post links yet so just replace the [dot] with a real .


TheOldie said on the 22nd Jun, 2012

there you go


pointzer said on the 22nd Jun, 2012

It's good when the religious wing nuts mouth off. It drives more of the fence sitters over to the gay side. :cool:


peter888 said on the 22nd Jun, 2012

Wow - and I was just about to give them another donation of ... nothing!


TheOldie said on the 22nd Jun, 2012

Yep after what BadTranny posted and other comments on here I walked straight past them on Thu at Circular Quay.

I have dropped $'s almost every week for about 15-20 years.

Just need to check out who to give the $'s to now.


ammonite said on the 23rd Jun, 2012

holy ****

I think he was trying to say it's part of their scripture and they don't question it, but at the same time they don't go around killing people either - and according to him it doesn't effect the way the treat people.

I don't think I find that an acceptable excuse though. The Bible does say we should be put to death, but the Catholic and Anglican churches for example reject this and publicly say so.

Another thought - I think he said that all people who don't find 'Salvation' should die, so I wonder if 'die' might mean to him not attaining eternal life in heaven etc as opposed to physical death?


Jason_ said on the 23rd Jun, 2012

Obviously what he wanted to say was homosexuality was inherently wicked and evil and that it is an evil lifestyle 'choice'.

When homosexuals come in contact with him he must think they're of the devil.

I wonder why samesame is yet to write anything on this in support of our comrades at Joy FM.


Asherbella said on the 23rd Jun, 2012

The ethos of any reputable charity is primarily: 'to help those in need without reservation or hesitation'.

Admonishing a person or denying them support based on their sexual orientation or more specifically belief in marriage equality charity-wise is a breach in professional duty of care and more fundamentally than that a lack of caring. If you give care to or provide charity to law-abiding persons in need of support with any degree of discernment based on their marital status or yearning to be married when it's illegal for them to do so, that's called uncharitable and goes against the basic Christian spirit of 'judge not lest ye be judged', 'love thy neighbour. and to treat others as you yourself would like to be treated....


Irene said on the 23rd Jun, 2012

Ammy, I think you've nailed it. This is the book they're referring to:$file/Library-SalvationStory.pdf

In that book, it doesn't say that homosexuals should die. It makes a reference to Romans which says that homsoexuals should die. The Salvos are one of the cults that believes in the literal interpretation of the bible. So the guy was between a rock and a hard place. That said, I'm 100% an atheist who has only contempt for religion of any sort.

Also, the interviewers were rude - they continually interupted him and spoke over the top of him. They weren't interested in what he had to say; they were interested only in their own agenda (and mine too). That's fine, but why even bother pretending to interview him?

Anthony Mahera

Anthony Mahera said on the 24th Jun, 2012

Wouldn't it be fun for a gag to stick his picture on Grindr and post his description as "sorry no gays please". Then we can bitch about him in the Douche Bags of Grindr thread! :)


rudeboy86 said on the 24th Jun, 2012

Yeah they're also pretty shit when it comes to treating Sex Workers with any dignity as well...


rudeboy86 said on the 24th Jun, 2012

I never give to the bastards anyway...


mark_ said on the 24th Jun, 2012

^ let's hope 'the bastards' will never give to you.


scotte_75 said on the 24th Jun, 2012

Any organisation that tells LGBTQI youth that they are not worthy, deserve to die, are wrong, does not deserve funding from the LGBT community. My money is better spent on organisations that treat human being as just that.


toldandretold said on the 24th Jun, 2012

The Book of Romans is in the New Testament.


Simon666 said on the 24th Jun, 2012

Bring back the lions. Metaphorically, of course.


Dsquare said on the 24th Jun, 2012

Agree up to and excluding the metaphorically bit.


lloydy said on the 24th Jun, 2012

I have said it before and I will say it again: the Salvo's are GOOD people. I have personally been helped by them for my drug issues and I was openly gay in the rehab I was in and when I was picked on by some of the jail boys, the Major's handed out anti homophobia leaflets. Do not tarnish them with the same brush.


mark_ said on the 24th Jun, 2012

Are you trying to confuse us Lloydy? Everyone else here is happy to go with generalisations about a group of tens of thousands of individuals— some of whom are unpaid, most of whom are doing dirty work which the federal and state governments are happy to offload onto them.

We make generalisations about them but we criticise them for making generalisations about us. Some of us like to carry on like a pork-chop in the middle of the road, some of us want an old-fashioned church wedding , some of us want to lick anuses. We are very diverse.


MrAsh said on the 24th Jun, 2012

It's not only in Australia the Salvation Army has been courted with controversy regarding their beliefs on homosexuality, it's globally (see links below).

I feel the response given by the Salvation Army is another stock standard P.R. spin, like the Gloria Jeans response a couple of weeks ago. I really don't believe the organisation has changed their stance, nor would the majority of their 'soldiers' or 'adherents' be truly accepting of homosexuals.


Jason_ said on the 24th Jun, 2012

It is almost like there is a battle between the different branches of the salvos in Australia. Why do they have two different websites for NSW/ACT/QLD and a different one for the rest of Australia?

Seems like the Salvos in NSW are more progressive while in VIC they are conservative.

I hope the progressives win.

Mama Catastrophe

Mama Catastrophe said on the 24th Jun, 2012

Yeah many of their workers are decent folks and don't deserve to be tarred with the same brush but unfortunately as the old saying goes - you lie down with dogs and you get fleas. The salvos, as an organisation, have a long history of anti gay activity and have gone too great lengths to try and force their poisonous views on others. Mama is glad they helped you in your time of need, but dont let that fool you into thinking that, as an organisation, they respect GLBTI folks. Their hatred for us is that great that in 2004 they threatened to close every one of their soup kitchens in New York if the city enforced legislation that would require them to offer health benefits to the partners of their gay staff - fuck the 10s of thousands of innocent homeless people who relied on these soup kitchens - their hatred for us was more important.


Dsquare said on the 24th Jun, 2012

I always thought the Salvos were one of the least offensive religious organisations, tambourines not withstanding. Guess I was wrong.


CalumB said on the 24th Jun, 2012

^^ mark_

You should know that "the bastards" have consistently refused to aid LGBT people in the past. They have consistently campaigned in NZ, Australia, and overseas, against LGBT rights. Their apology is nothing by a claytons apology, too little too late.


peter888 said on the 24th Jun, 2012

Sorry, I meant a slow agonising death, not death.


GrdStdntCnslng said on the 24th Jun, 2012

I worked at a homeless shelter in a suburb of Detroit Michigan and the S.A. were very loyal to the LGBTQI youth and adults. They actually sought them out to help them get clean and give them condoms and when there were clean needle programs available - them too (they all dried up now the financing is gone)... BUT I think their motivation is not "kindness" it's curing "gayness" because even though they act kind I have heard many preaching at some of the religious based homeless shelters the one I worked at, S.A. etc and they have "alternative motivations" that they don't make known. However, if it helps people get clean and they are strong enough to realize that they are ignorant b*stards who don't know wtf they are talking about and they should love themselves for them - then it can be a win. However- for the youth still finding themselves it's NOT COOL... it can F*CK them up a whole lot more :( It's SAD! I don't donate to any organization that is anti- anything. I don't to runaway shelters, aids homes, LGBTQI shelters when one is available near me (sometimes they open and close fast) etc... the religious operations are not very reliable which sad considering the creator is supposed to be a forgiving lord. I do not believe he frowns upon any of his children for any reason.


mundaetraversa said on the 24th Jun, 2012

There are plenty of organisations made up of thousands of good people...who tolerate hateful policies instituted by their leaders. It seems obvious that there must be good people working for the Salvo, given the nature of their work and sheer numbers of employees and volunteers. But each of these good people has a responsibility to know what it is their cherished agency advocates. I do not, have not, and will never work for the Salvation Army - why do I seem to know more about their published policies than their own people? No matter the spin, we can all read and we know what the policy says. I doubt anyone would defend it if it stated that members of other faiths or races should die.

Michael Khalsa

Michael Khalsa said on the 24th Jun, 2012

If anyone would like to contact Major Andrew Craibe here are his contact details:

Major Andrew Craib, Territorial Media Relations Director
The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territory
Phone: (03) 8878 2406
Mobile: 0417 537 950
Email: [email protected]

If anyone knows Major Bruce Harmer details please post.


chicknwing said on the 24th Jun, 2012

Keep in mind, this isn't ALL the salvos, just one. Maybe a few others. Just don't group them in with each other. Us gays don't want to be grouped together like that.


mark_ said on the 24th Jun, 2012

Thanks for your advice but simpletons LIKE generalisations. Like sleepy Mexicans, like rhythmic Africans, like OCD Germans, like penny-pinching Scots, etc, etc


ultimo167 said on the 25th Jun, 2012

The Salvation Army believes that homosexuality is morally wrong and that those who engage in homosexual acts are sinners. To them, one way or another, we are all doomed to burn in hell forever. Their spokesperson was simply being honest about their dogma and so, 'tis all a bit queer post event for the Salvation Army to come out and say, no, no, we did not really mean 'die now' but still, 'suffer forever'. And these are among the gaggle of Christian Churches from which the Federal Government gets its advice on how to prevent suicide among gay teens, and men?


mark_ said on the 25th Jun, 2012

^ If you believe all that ask Peter Garret and his ALP mates why they are continuing the s0-called 'Chaplaincy program' in our secular, taxpayer-funded schools.

They consider that it does have SOME benefit but it also saves the taxpayer SOME money.


DavoJimbo said on the 25th Jun, 2012

There are plenty of worthy places to donate money and/or goods to that do not embrace homophobic religious nutters - so why support one that does.


Gezzaboi said on the 25th Jun, 2012

Now I know why I was refused help from the Salvo's rehab program in Brisbane and the Gold Coast...


NATEE said on the 26th Jun, 2012

To be honest, I think the kindest most accepting and peaceful charity has to be the St Vincent De Paul Society. I salute them for all their efforts in creating equality and assisting the disadvantaged as much as possible. :).

Nathan Sydney

Nathan Sydney said on the 27th Jun, 2012

I love how they dtermine what is to be read literally in the bible and what is not.

This is an EPIC fail in my book. NO MORE DONATIONS. Havent donated to them for years because I knew of their sexuality position statement.


squarebluefish said on the 27th Jun, 2012

Look, I've gotta say that I was severely unimpressed with Serena Ryan's handling of that interview. I think she was bullying, condescending and was pushing her own agenda from the very start. There was no attitude of respect or any willingness to leave room for a perspective other than hers. She went into that interview with the blatant intention of setting upon this man and his faith because it doesn't gibe with her own ideas about the world. Andrew Craibe was patient, respectful, listened to long, self important, self righteous monologues that were designed to make him seem like an inferior being for his beliefs and his association with a charitable organisation, he did not raise his voice or use insulting language and not once did he interrupt the hosts. The same cannot be said for Ryan and Dillon.
I'm a LGBTQI friendly girl who's previously identified as bi and now just avoids choosing a name for myself because I fall in love with people for who they are, their genders differ and I don't want people to assume I'm part of a social group based on that. I have no problem with identifying one way or another, it just doesn't work for where I am now. I support gay rights, gay marriage, gay parents, pretty much anything you care to name concerning the gay community - I'm about love. I think Exodus is despicable and should be abolished. I'm not Christian but I have no problem with the basic tenets of the religion. I've been suspicious about the Salvos for a long time and am hesitant in my support of them financially (meaning dropping a few coins in a bucket and giving my old stuff to them to sell). But Serena Ryan was behaving just like a right wing bigot, pushing all the right buttons to make a reasonable, respectful man seem like a monster to a community that is based on love. She went in with all guns blazing, he agreed to speak to her and Dillon on behalf of the organisation he has real faith in. I don't think he's the one who should be ashamed of himself here. Not in the least.


twoten85 said on the 27th Jun, 2012

This may make me unpopular, however I still give money to the salvo's. They have helped people I know through tough times and in all fairness there are idiots in every organisation... if a few of them wanna crap on about whatever, there will be/has been backlash. I don't support their anti gay views, however they do help people and I am not going to deny them that credit based off recent events... I just think it's silly that is taken Gloria Jeans-Gate/ACL to spark up rows and bring out EVERY place that does not support marriage equality for all people...


Simoneybabe said on the 28th Jun, 2012

What do you think? Post your comment...


The_Freak said on the 28th Jun, 2012

Are you trying to confuse us Lloydy? Everyone else here is happy to go with generalisations about a group of tens of thousands of individuals— some of whom are unpaid, most of whom are doing dirty work which the federal and state governments are happy to offload onto them.

We make generalisations about them but we criticise them for making generalisations about us. Some of us like to carry on like a pork-chop in the middle of the road, some of us want an old-fashioned church wedding , some of us want to lick anuses. We are very diverse.

I agree with you to a point. Yes, we do tend to generalise and put all the "god-faring" into the "nasty religious right who want to do us harm" basket. They too, also make generalisations as you point out, about us and yes we are all very diverse people. I'm sure there are countless kind, caring people in the Salvos, doing what they see is "God's work" in helping those less fortunate in their economic circumstances or helping with those fighting addictions and as you rightly pointed out, this work is unpaid, dirty, maybe thankless and which both levels of government are reluctant to touch with "a barge pole".

My only concern, regarding how they really feel towards GLBTQI people, is that they ultimately refer back to their "Salvationist Handbook Of Doctrine", which doen't appear to be "flexible" or "gay friendly" (as most religious doctrines aren't)

Now, I'm an older guy and dont get around as much as I possibly should, but unless I've missed something, there isn't an equivalent of this doctrine in the homosexual world (or if there is, will someone please forward it to me). :D

That doesn't excuse "rampant generalisations" (agreed), but certainly should err on the side of caution in dealing with an organisation that believes your spirituality = death because "you don't believe what we believe". And as a practising atheist, I guess maybe that makes me, in their eyes perhaps, a "double threat".


crazzymikey said on the 28th Jun, 2012

everyone likes the gays for our money but it often stops there


DavoJimbo said on the 28th Jun, 2012

You have that right , Mikey. Let them dance for it - I do not need to give it to any of them - let alone those that would have anything at all negative to say about my being gay....


John35 said on the 6th Jul, 2012

the salvos teaching/rule whatever on homosexuality is pretty much the same as other mainstream churches (ie Catholic Church and most Anglicans) - which is actually quite simple - It's ok to be homosexual, as long as you stay celibate and don't "engage in homosexual acts" which obviously doesn't mean stuff like going to Kylie and Lady Gaga concerts and watching reruns of Priscilla - they mean no bum sex, or to be scientific and comprehensive - no genital activity.
Most of the verses in the bible they quote to back this up are actually interpreted wrongly - because they aren't talking about consensual sex but coercion/rape and straight married people just fooling around (cheating on their partners) And most of it was pointing the finger at the Greeks! (nuff said!)
Also if you take it all literally, one passage says "You shall not lie with a man, as with a woman. " which i guess lets lesbians off the hook!


shazzboy said on the 6th Jul, 2012

Christianity is nothing but a perverted Jewish cult. White people should not be Christian, if anything we should be Polytheistic or Animist as our ancestors were.

Buckleez Chance

Buckleez Chance said on the 7th Oct, 2012

You're not the only one who thought the same way, SquareBlueFish. Kind of felt sorry for the Salvo spokesperson who couldn't fight his way out of a paperbag. Bully tactics don't impress anyone. Though the publicity around the world wouldn't do any harm for JOY radio and the two presenters.