The official, Major Andrew Craibe, is the Salvation Army’s Territorial Media Relations Director for the Southern Territory in Victoria. Australian pop star Darren Hayes, the openly gay former lead singer of Savage Garden, recently called for a boycott of the Salvation Army because of the church’s anti-gay beliefs (just as Bilerico founder Bil Browning did here in the States). Hayes’s comments caused quite the firestorm, so Major Craibe appeared on Ryan and Dillon’s radio show, Salt and Pepper, to discuss the Salvation Army’s official position on homosexuality and whether it’s evolved over time.
Below is the interview with Salvation Army Major Andrew Craibe in full:
Ryan told Craibe that she prepared for the interview by reading all 170 pages of Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine, a manual published by the group’s international headquarters in London and available online. She asked him if that text was still being used to coach Salvation Army soldiers and people preparing to enter church membership. When Craibe replied in the affirmative, Ryan proceeded to point out several chapters that she found particularly troubling, including a section called “The problem of evil” (page 28) which cites Romans 1:18-32, the section of the Bible containing an infamous and violent 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.
Ryan expressed incredulity that the official Salvation Army handbook cites a scriptural passage which calls for the execution of LGBT people, and asked Craibe how he would respond to a hypothetical LGBT person receiving guidance from the Salvation Army who discovers the homophobic citation (around the 7:00 mark).
RYAN: . . . that says, according to the Salvation Army, that [they] deserve death. How do you respond to that, as part of your doctrine?
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.
They then discussed the handbook’s section on sin (pages 61-63), which cites the same passage from Romans.
RYAN: It’s going into Romans again . . . I accept that you’re out there wanting to help people . . . I don’t accept that this sexuality that is part of my DNA is a choice. I also don’t accept the support of any religion in a financial sense, and this is what the gay community is up in arms about: that you’re proposing in your religious doctrine and the way that you train — this is part of your training of your soldiers — that because we’re gay, that — we must die. If you go to Romans, book 1, 18-32, it’s all there, mate. I mean, how can you stand by that? How is that Christian?
CRAIBE: Well, well, because that is part of our Christian doctrine –
RYAN (interrupting): But how is that Christian? Shouldn’t it be about love?
CRAIBE: — that’s our understanding of that. Well, the love that we would show is about that: consideration for all human beings to come to know salvation –
RYAN: Or die. . .
CRAIBE: Well, yes.
Later on, Ryan pressed Craibe again on his statement that LGBT people deserve death, asking at 10:23:
RYAN: Honestly, Andrew, tell me — as a human being, how can you qualify that?
CRAIBE: Well, I qualify by way of, that’s where my belief system is structured, you know? It’s what it comes to, that salvation story, and that we can be redeemed from that. That’s my belief.
Check out the interview in full; it’s pretty unbelievable. Some other highlights: Ryan and Dillon (left) asking Craibe to explain just how the Salvation Army polices its members to ensure they aren’t “practicing” homosexuality and questioning him about allegations that the group refused assistance to a person in need who wouldn’t agree to participate in an “ex-gay” program; Major Craibe claiming that homosexuality is a choice that, like consuming alcohol, needs to be “resisted” (Ryan and Dillon shoot that one down right away); his defense that the Salvation Army’s anti-gay statements only apply to its members – as though that somehow absolves the group of any responsibility for its bigoted views — and Craibe asserting that people disturbed by the radical homophobia of the Salvation Army should still contribute financially to the group.