Current TV’s Stephanie Miller: It’s an Internet lie that Salvation Army is anti-gay

Salvation Army Has Suggested Gays Be Celibate, Jobless, Homeless, and/or Dead. But They’re Really Not Anti-gay.

Oh. My. God.

I cannot believe the clip I just watched of Current TV’s Stephanie Miller, a big progressive talk radio host and openly gay, talking to Major George Hood of the Salvation Army. In the clip, titled “The truth about the Salvation Army’s stance on LGBT issues,” Miller agrees with Major Hood that the gay community’s concerns about the Salvation Army’s anti-gay history are all Internet lies.

A part of me hesitated before writing this post.  I don’t like bashing liberal allies.  And regular readers may have noticed that we don’t usually criticize other progressive blogs, for example, for that reason.  But what Stephanie Miller did during this broadcast yesterday, exonerating 40 years of Salvation Army anti-gay hate – claiming it wasn’t even real, and agreeing with the Salvation Army hack (who himself has defended not hiring gays in the past) that those “blog sites” are just liars. Jesus Christ.

First what Miller and Hood said.  Then a long litany of the Salvation Army’s anti-gay hate over the decades, since apparently the Google isn’t working over at Current TV.

STEPHANIE MILLER: We’ve gotten a lot of letters about the Salvation Army being anti-gay, can you address that?

SALVATION ARMY’S GEORGE HOOD: Well it’s a great misunderstanding that’s spread across the country, and we’re doing everything we can to re-educate and help people understand that the very mission of the Salvation Army calls for meeting the needs of humans without discrimination…. So discrimination is not something that we would gladly carry the banner or pride over, we want to dispel the notion that we do discriminate when the fact is we’re working very hard not discriminating and it is a part of our mission.

MILLER: You know, Chris, you can help me with some of the things, you know, again, you’re right, Major, once things get out there, you know

HOOD: Many of those things start fueling through blog sites and postings on the Internet and it’s really really tough to shut them down when they get out there.

MILLER: And you don’t discriminate against hiring gays?

HOOD: We do not.  We have many who work for us and will gladly tell you they work for us.  It’s not a question that we ask in an interview process.

MILLER: Okay.

MILLER’S SIDEKICK: Are you saying there are things on the Internet that are not true?

(Everyone laughs)

Funny, because you sure did discriminate, Mr. Hood.  How do we know?  From a quote a Salvation Army spokesman gave to the Washington Post.  His name is George Hood.

George Hood, a senior official with the Salvation Army, said the group never discriminates in delivering its services, but on the question of hiring gay employees, ‘it really begins to chew away at he theological fabric of who we are.’”- Washington Post, 7/10/2001

You can argue that this was 11 years ago, but read one.  I’ve got tons of examples from this year alone.  But before we go there, George Hood knows darn well why people think the Salvation Army discriminates against gays, and when he says the reason is those blogs sites spouting lies, rather than his own quote to the Washington Post, then it’s George Hood, and through him the Salvation Army, that’s the liar here.

And Stephanie Miller ate it up, and spit out to all of America as “the truth.”  She actually interviewed the man who defended not hiring gays, and exonerated him from the very thing he had already admitted publicly.

Hood’s quote is enough on its face to show what a liar he and the Salvation Army is on this issue.  But let’s walk through the rest of the anti-gay horror that is the Salvation Army, since now we have to since Miller and her cohorts think the Salvation Army’s anti-gay past is funny, and a lie.  There is so much information, and it’s 1am, so hang with me – the list of anti-gay sleights is quite large.

2012: Salvation Army Official Says Non-Celibate Gays Deserve to Die

Salvation Army Australia, this year:

On the 21st of June 2012, in an interview with Melbourne radio station Joy 94.9 FM, Major Andrew Craibe, the Salvation Army’s Territorial Media Relations Director for the Southern Territory in Victoria, stated that non-celibate gay people deserved to die. He explained that this was part of the Salvation Army’s belief system, as discussed in “Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine.” He also claimed in the interview that being gay was a choice, like the consumption of alcohol.

And here’s the audio:

And here’s a partial transcript from Pink News:

In the interview, Ryan told Major Craibe that she had read the Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine, published in London. She went on to point out several parts which she found disturbing including “The problem of evil” (page 28) which cites Romans 1:18-32 and its vitriolic condemnation of homosexuality.

“For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. 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.”

Asked whether the Salvation Army took the wording literally, i.e. that practising homosexuals should be put to death, the Major Craibe replied in the affirmative. Truth Wins Out transcribed the resulting discussion

CRAIBE: Well, that’s a part of our belief system.

RYAN (cutting in): So we should die.

CRAIBE: You know, we have an alignment to the Scriptures, but that’s our belief.

RYAN: Wow. So we should die.

It goes on just as bad.

2012: Salvation Army Called Homosexuality “An Unacceptable Urge,” Defended Discrimination Against Non-Celibate Gays

And let’s zoom forward to just this year, when the Salvation Army headquarters called homosexuality “an unacceptable urge” and defended discriminating against promoting gays who aren’t celibate.

More on the unacceptable urge:

On June 18, 2012 the Salvation Army was featured in an ABC news report that stated “Salvos back away from anti-gay comments” in which the [local] army stated “The Salvation Army in Australia is distancing itself from a statement by its international parent organisation that homosexuality is “an unacceptable urge“.”

2012: Salvation Army Takes Position Against Gay Marriage in UK and Australia, Trying to Influence Legislation

Then there’s the fact that in 2012 the Salvation Army took a position against gay marriage on its UK Web site.  And the Salvation Army lobbied against gay marriage in Australia too.

Anna Brown, convener of the Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby, said the charity had also opposed gay marriage at a House of Representatives inquiry.

“Actively campaigning against marriage equality is counter to the principles of compassion and humanity, and these are the very values that motivate most Australians to donate to the Salvation Army,” she said.

“It’s difficult to reconcile how an organisation seeking to alleviate social disadvantage can play a role in perpetuating views … founded in prejudice (that) cause significant harm to the health and wellbeing of gay, lesbian and transgender Australians and their families.”

“Homosexual practice would render any person ineligible for full membership (soldiership) in the [Salvation] Army”

More on that “homosexual urge” quote – I found it on the Salvation Army Australia’s own Web site a number of years ago:

“[Homosexual activity is] as rebellion against God’s plan for the created order…. Homosexual practice, however, is, in the light of Scripture, clearly unacceptable. Such activity is chosen behaviour and is thus a matter of the will. 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 [Salvation] Army.” – Salvation Army Australia Web site (emphasis added)

That’s yet another pretty clear statement that the Salvation Army support(ed) discrimination against gays.

2012: Salvation Army Allegedly Fires Employee for Being Bisexual

Danielle Morantez:

After a great deal of soul-searching, I realized that I couldn’t, so I decided to take the next step in discussing my concerns with my supervisor in accordance with employee handbook’s “conflict resolution” section: last Friday afternoon I handed Captain Stephanie a letter. In it, I came out as a bisexual woman, expressed my concerns about the aforementioned passages in the employee handbook, and attached copies of the same….

I arrived on the 23rd exhausted from a weekend filled with stress and anxiety. Imagine my surprise, then, when Captains Bill and Stephanie informed me that they had decided not to fire me, that they respected my integrity and honesty, and that they were deeply grateful for my presence on the Salvation Army team. They even said that Asit George, a Salvation Army Major who outranked them, had approved their decision, saying that it was completely fine to keep me on staff. I asked the captains point blank if I needed to be worried about the jeopardy of my job any further, and they said “no.”

I was so relieved to be able to keep both my job and my integrity that Adam and I went out for lunch to celebrate. After my break, Capt. Stephanie and I began packing backpacks full of brand-new school supplies for distribution to the children of low-income families. We had a wonderful and candid conversation about family dynamics, our belief systems, and our pasts.

Forced to Fire Me
The conversation was interrupted by Captain Bill, who summoned Stephanie into his office. They both returned at about 4pm, their eyes brimming with tears. We returned to the office, where they told me that they had just been informed that their decision to keep me had been overruled. Captains Bill and Stephanie were being forced to fire me. Their superiors told them that they were not allowed to even discuss it with me – I was to sign an exit interview sheet and they were to immediately escort me from the property.

Feeling shocked and deeply betrayed, I asked if I could at least show them my system for reorganizing files, so that they could more efficiently help the clients in my absence. They agreed. Stephanie was heartbroken. She cried the entire time we went through the paperwork, continuously apologizing to me and saying that firing me was “the worst thing [she’s] ever had to do.” Captain Bill said that he was only allowed to say what the Salvation Army told him to and that since he was forbidden from revealing his own personal opinion, he would not say another word.

And for the rest of the time, he didn’t. He just sat there with tears in his eyes.

Salvation Army USA Turned Away Gay Couple in Need

But what about Hood’s other assertion, that of course the Salvation Army would never discriminate against gays in its provision of services?  Well, ask gay blogger Bil Browning and his boyfriend – because they say the Salvation Army discriminated against them because they’re gay.  From the NYT, last year:

Bil Browning and his boyfriend were homeless. To protect the identity of the boyfriend (now ex-boyfriend), Mr. Browning will not say specifically where, just that it was in “southern Indiana,” about 20 years ago. But he is very explicit about who refused to give them shelter.“The Salvation Army refused to help us,” Mr. Browning recalls, “unless we broke up and then left the ‘sinful homosexual lifestyle’ behind. We slept on the street, and they didn’t help when we declined to break up at their insistence.”

Mr. Browning’s boyfriend was wearing a “Silence = Death” AIDS pin on his jacket, which must have tipped off the Salvation Army worker. “He told us we needed to be saved,” Mr. Browning says. “If we were willing to attend church services, he could help. We would have to break up, only one of us could stay in the shelter, and if there was room for the other, he would have to be on the opposite side of the room, and we wouldn’t even look at each other.”

2011: Salvation Army Calls on Gays to be Celibate

And here’s quote the NYT pulled from the Salvation Army Web site last year, before the SA changed the link and put something completely different up there, in order to make them sound super pro-gay:

The Salvation Army’s “Position Statement” on homosexuality, found on its Web site, reads in part: “The Salvation Army does not consider same-sex orientation blameworthy in itself. Homosexual conduct, like heterosexual conduct, requires individual responsibility and must be guided by the light of scriptural teaching. Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex. The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life.”

So, the Salvation Army, that is simply about helping people, has a stated position that gay people should be celibate.

WTF does that have to do with helping poor people, having a public statement on your Web site telling gay people to be celibate?  Sure not sounding like your run of the mill charity, are they?

2004: Salvation Army Threatens to Stop Serving NYC Rather than Obey Pro-gay Law

The NYT also notes that in 2004, the Salvation Army threatened to pull out of NYC after the city council passed an ordinance requiring that organizations that get contracts with the city must provide benefits to the partners of gay employees.  Again, they’re not simply a charity.

2001: Salvation Army Secretly Works with Bush Administration to Make it Easier to Discriminate Against Gays

Back in 2001, the salvation Army’s George Hood was interviewing with the Washington Post because the Salvation Army got caught secretly asking the Bush administration to make it easier for government-funded organizations to discriminate against gays:

“The [Bush’ administration is working with the nation’s largest charity, the Salvation Army, to make it easier for government-funded religious groups to practice hiring discrimination against gay people, according to an internal Salvation Army document.

The White House has made a “firm commitment” to the Salvation Army to issue a regulation protecting such charities from state and city efforts to prevent discrimination against gays in hiring and domestic- partner benefits, according to the Salvation Army report. The Salvation Army, in turn, has agreed to use its clout to promote the administration’s “faith-based” social services initiative, which seeks to direct more government funds to religious charities….

George Hood, a senior official with the Salvation Army, said the group never discriminates in delivering its services, but on the question of hiring gay employees, ‘it really begins to chew away at he theological fabric of who we are.’”- Washington Post, 7/10/2001.

Yeah, no one knows how these rumors about the Salvation Army being anti-gay got started.  No one except the Salvation Army.

2001: Salvation Army Rescinds Domestic Partner Benefits for Gay Employees on West Coast

Then there’s this:

The Salvation Army Western Territory approved a plan in October 2001 to start offering domestic-partnership benefits to gay employees. Members of various evangelical Christian interest groups protested the decision. Focus on the Family founder James Dobson excoriated the Salvation Army for abandoning its “moral integrity” and urged his radio listeners to bombard the organization’s offices with phone calls and letters. The American Family Association also accused the Salvation Army of a “monstrous … appeasement of sin” that resulted in a “betrayal of the church.” In November 2001 The Salvation Army nation wide rescinded the Western Territory’s decision with an announcement that it would only provide benefits coverage for different-sex spouses and dependent children of its employees.

2000: Salvation Army Lobbies Against Repeal of Hideously Anti-Gay Law in Scotland

In Scotland, back in 2000, the Salvation Army publicly lobbied against the repeal of a hateful anti-gay law:

The amendment stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

1980s: Salvation Army Lobbies for Anti-gay Laws in New Zealand

The Salvation Army also had a history of lobbying for anti-gay laws in New Zealand all the way back to the 1980s.

Now let’s revisit Stephanie Miller’s interview yesterday with the Salvation Army’s George Hood

STEPHANIE MILLER: We’ve gotten a lot of letters about the Salvation Army being anti-gay, can you address that?

SALVATION ARMY’S GEORGE HOOD: Well it’s a great misunderstanding that’s spread across the country, and we’re doing everything we can to re-educate and help people understand that the very mission of the Salvation Army calls for meeting the needs of humans without discrimination…. So discrimination is not something that we would gladly carry the banner or pride over, we want to dispel the notion that we do discriminate when the fact is we’re working very hard not discriminating and it is a part of our mission.

MILLERYou know, Chris, you can help me with some of the things, you know, again, you’re right, Major, once things get out there, you know

HOODMany of those things start fueling through blog sites and postings on the Internet and it’s really really tough to shut them down when they get out there.

MILLER: And you don’t discriminate against hiring gays?

HOOD: We do not.  We have many who work for us and will gladly tell you they work for us.  It’s not a question that we ask in an interview process.

MILLER: Okay.

MILLER’S SIDEKICK: Are you saying there are things on the Internet that are not true?

(Everyone laughs)

I’m not laughing.  If you aren’t either, download these vouchers and put them in the Salvation Army’s red kettles instead of cash – give your money to a charity that doesn’t hate.

salavation army vouchers anti-gay


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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