It's that time of the year and you will see the Salvation Army folks ringing those bells. But in recently years, the LGBT community has called out the SA for their views towards us.
Fellow blogger, Bil Browning wrote a pretty good piece on the issue and it was a hot topic on Twitter last night. However, if you don't know the story here is some info from the SA website:
The Army recognises that same-sex friendships can be enriching, Christ-honouring relationships, bringing joy through mutual companionship and sharing. However, same-sex relationships which are genitally expressed are unacceptable according to the teaching of Scripture. Attempts to establish or promote such relationships as viable alternatives to heterosexually-based family life do not conform to God’s will for society.
For this reason, and in obedience to the example of Jesus whose compassionate love was all-embracing, Salvationists seek to understand and sensitively to accept and help those of a homosexual disposition and those who express that disposition in sexual acts. Salvationists are opposed to the victimisation of persons on the grounds of sexual orientation and recognise the social and emotional stress and the loneliness borne by many who are homosexual.
The Army regards the origins of a homosexual orientation as a mystery and does not regard a homosexual disposition as blameworthy in itself or rectifiable at will. Nevertheless, while we are not responsible for what we are, we are accountable for what we do; and homosexual conduct, like heterosexual conduct, is controllable and may be morally evaluated therefore in the light of scriptural teaching.Interesting stuff, eh?
For this reason such practices, if unrenounced, render a person ineligible for Salvation Army soldiership, in the same way that unrenounced heterosexual misconduct is a bar to soldiership. The Army recognises the strength of feeling about sexual identity, and the difficulty many find in expressing this identity in keeping with scriptural standards.
However, it believes firmly in the power of God’s grace to enable the maintenance of a lifestyle pleasing to him, including a lifestyle built upon celibacy and self-restraint for those who will not or cannot marry. No one who yields to the lordship of Christ and who undertakes by his grace to live in accordance with the teaching of Scripture is excluded from Christian fellowship and service in the Army.