"Homophobia in the Salvation Army"
The broadcast last week of, "People and Faith" on Swedish Radio featured a program entitled 'Homophobia in the Salvation Army' that highlighted the Swedish State Government financial subsidy to EKHO's efforts to change the Salvation Army’s Bible interpretation-position relative to homosexuals (being accepted as full fledged church members).
The program participants are:
- Stefan Gustavsson, director of the Swedish Evangelical Alliance, who questions why the government pays money to an organization in order to change the biblical vision of a Christian community.
- (Commissioner) Marie Willermark, leader of The Salvation Army in Sweden / Latvia, who clarifies the Salvation Army's position on the issue.
- Patrick Olterman, Corps Commanding Officer Malmö, who think it is tragic that the debate is about EKHO's grant application and not on how (church) congregations receive homosexuals.
- Cay Lennart Larsson, ‘Rainbow Priest’ (Lutheran Church), bisexual and former member of the Salvation Army, who says he loves the Salvation Army but not their ethical position condemning homosexual relationships.
My comments: (focusing on the broadcast’s content)
‘But hey, Cay Lennart, I understand that you think that the Salvation Army should have another Biblical viewpoint, but how can you say that the Salvation Army’s ethical position condemns homosexuals? The closest reference I can find that touches the question is this statement’: "We believe that God's view of sexuality is that it is expressed (lived) lovingly and mutually between a man and woman in marriage, and further, that it should be characterized by mutual consent and free will."
How can you call this ‘condemning homosexuals’?
It is as faulty as saying that, "the Salvation Army condemns heterosexuals who are not married." But the Salvation Army condemns neither heterosexual or homosexual or bisexual persons for that matter.
But there is no human right (stipulating that one has a claim) to be a Salvationist. All associations, churches and organizations have some form of restrictions on who may (qualify to) be a member or not.
What is the reason that people living in a homosexual relationship may not be accepted as Salvationists (SA soldiers) or officers in the Salvation Army? Let me say that I am no official spokesman on behalf of the Salvation Army; I simply have the right to my opinion.
The reason that those who are living in sexual relationships outside of marriage between a man and a woman cannot be a Salvation Army soldier or SA officer is that the Salvation Army still believes in the authority of the Bible. It is expressed clearly in the Salvation Army's first doctrine: "We believe that the Old and New Testament Scriptures were given by inspiration of God, and that they only (alone) constitute the Divine rule of Christian faith and practice."
If one does not believe in the Bible, of course, then one need not worry about what is written there. However, if one believes in God and the Bible there must be consequences in how one live their life.
From my perspective three things are required to (qualify to) become a Salvationist:
· One must be saved
· One must accept the Salvation Army’s articles of faith
· One must be willing to live by the Salvation Army's ethical values.
This applies to heterosexuals, homosexuals and all others.
(Translation: Sven Ljungholm)
▼ February (11)