The Salvation Army removed two links to “ex-gay” organizations from its website on Tuesday. The move came after the LGBT advocacy organization Truth Wins Out criticized the charity group for the endorsements.
Harvest USA and Pure Life Ministries were both listed as sexual addiction resources. Both faith-based counseling organizations practice “reparative therapy,” which aims to turn gay people straight through prayer.
The Salvation Army’s director of communications Jennifer Byrd blamed the whole thing on computer glitch — oh, those pesky computer machines! — saying the links were from an archived page that was accidentally republished when the organization relaunched its website back in October.
“We apologize for our oversight and any confusion this may have caused,” she said in the letter. “The Salvation Army does not consider homosexual orientation a sin. Please know that we serve anyone who comes to our doors without discrimination.”
This is quite a reversal from statements made by the organization the past, which, until recently, has been vocally opposed to all things LGBT.
“Harvest USA and Pure Life Ministries are two destructive organizations dedicated to demonizing LGBT people,” said Truth Wins Out associate director Evan Hurst said in a statement released earlier today. “The Salvation Army did the right thing today by removing these ‘ex-gay’ groups from its website before they could harm more innocent victims.”
Truth Wins Out executive director Wayne Besen added:
“We thank the Salvation Army for acting swiftly and decisively in addressing our concerns about links to ‘ex-gay’ organizations. This is a step in the right direction and congruent with their antidiscrimination campaign. We hope this action leads to further progress in gaining the full confidence and trust of the LGBT community.”
The Salvation Army’s relationship with the LGBT community has been tense and at times downright ornery over the years. Though it has been working to repair its homophobic image, the Christian organization has a long history of lobbying against LGBT rights.
We think it’s great the charity group is making a concerted effort to be more inclusive, but we still won’t be dropping any coins in their little red buckets any time soon.