The following was posted on Facebook by my friend and colleague Miranda Hassett, Rector of St. Dunstan's, Madison, WI. Sometimes you come across things that are so well said, you have to share them. She wrote:
"Received a letter from the local Salvation Army leader; seems like they're really on a push to get people to keep supporting them, given the rumors about the Salvation Army being anti-gay. Here's my response, after a little thought and a little research, for what it's worth...
'Dear .... ,
I have before me a letter explaining that the Salvation Army does serve LGBT people, contrary to rumors, and inviting me to encourage members of my faith community to support the Salvation Army and volunteer with your Red Kettle campaigns. I appreciate this outreach, the conciliatory tone and desire to build bridges. And I'm genuinely glad to know that the Salvation Army is not discriminatory in those whom it helps or employs.
However, the Salvation Army is not just a non-profit; it is also a church. And I can find, nowhere, any assurance that the Salvation Army as a church does not continue to hold and to teach that GLBTQ people are fundamentally disordered and should remain celibate and/or seek change. I know many Christians of good heart and good faith whose understanding of the Bible means that this is their conviction, and perhaps always will be. I don't think that makes them horrible people or bad Christians. But we in the Episcopal Church, over our decades-long journey from judgment to tolerance towards full inclusion of GLBTQ people, have learned that what we teach - and even what we believe in the privacy of our hearts about these brothers and sisters - has an impact just as surely as what we do to help, welcome, or serve. Treating people with kindness while believing inwardly that their affections, relationships, their very selfhood is wrong, is a partial kindness at best. I am convinced that religious teachings that condemn homosexuality - even in the most pastoral, gentle, roundabout language possible - are a significant part of the high suicide rate among GLBTQ teens.
The Salvation Army does a great deal of good as a non-profit. But unless and until I can be assured that the Salvation Army, as a church, does not hold or teach that GLBTQ people are less fully human, less made in God's image, less entitled to the blessings of marriage, sexuality and parenthood, than heterosexual people, I will neither support the Salvation Army myself nor encourage my members to do so.
I send this letter with my prayers and good wishes for your work among those in need.'"