It’s December 1. I’ve just seen my first brass band of the year and seen my first red kettle. Which means that it’s about time for the annual “Don’t give to the Salvation Army” posts to start appearing. I wrote up why a couple of years ago. (There are of course plenty of others around the net). But this is not that post. This is instead one to say “We’re winning”.
The Salvation Army has a long and documented history of homophobia. See my previous post. Or Wikipedia. Or the rather more pointed Rationalwiki. Or any of the sources linked from there. Almost everything written about this history is true. And if this history is enough for you not to donate to them, that’s entirely your decision. (For what it’s worth I agree with you and donate to Shelter instead – please don’t stop donating entirely).
But their position is changing. Their current official position on inclusion reads:
The Salvation Army stands against homophobia, which victimises people and can reinforce feelings of alienation, loneliness and despair. We aim to be an inclusive church where members of the LGBT community find welcome and the encouragement to develop their relationship with God.
A diverse range of views on homosexuality may exist within The Salvation Army – as among the wider Christian (and non-Christian) community. But no matter where individual Salvationists stand on this matter, The Salvation Army does not permit discrimination on the basis of sexual identity in the delivery of its services or in its employment practices.
This is a vast change. Last year they did not have an official position, stating they were rethinking. Either two or three years ago their position was outright homophobic. (It’s not all better yet – the Salvation Army of course still holds to the Catch 22 of “Marriage is between a man and a woman. Sex should only happen within marriage” – although that’s meant as a discipline for members). And in other good news, the American Salvation Army is upset that the International Salvation Army isn’t as against abortion as they would like. Also in the middle of 2013 they removed all links to “ex-gay” ministries from their website.
What started out as a reminder of problems turned into a post showing that the world is getting better. This is a good day.