Saturday, August 6, 2016

Dear Salvation Army, Taking on Controversial Issues

The views on this blog do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Salvation Army, it's employees, or partners.

The Salvation Army takes a stand on a lot of key issues, from human trafficking to poverty.  The Army challenges the issues of the day with the voice of truth, under-girded by love.  The Salvation Army has always been on the cutting edge of world issues.  But it seems to me that we're missing some of the most important issues.

The Salvation Army has spoken out loudly on human trafficking, and as well we should.  Human trafficking is an abomination.  It is pure evil.  But why not also address a topic that leads to much of this human trafficking?  The issue of pornography.  We could take a greater stance on pornography, and target it for scrutiny.  Our position statement on pornography is rock solid, that's a great start. But how can we advocate against it?  How can we raise awareness? Pornography is denigrating to humanity.  Pornography causes men and women to see each other as non-human objects.  Pornography is a scourge upon humanity, it must be challenged.  I believe we'll find our voice on this issue. 

Next is an incredibly vital issue, it is the issue of abortion.  This is a controversial topic. This topic is not politically correct and it is not a liberal-approved cause.  But it is as important as life itself. Literally.  Abortion is nothing less than modern day child sacrifice.  The church must stand against abortion in the strongest terms possible.  This issue is of concern in the Salvation Army.  While in the United States and most Salvation Army territories the TSA position statement remains very pro-life; unfortunately the international position statement is not.  The IHQ position statement could actually be described as pro-abortion in some respects (Read it here.)  Abortion is never OK.  Taking forceps and cutting apart a living child within the belly of his or her mother is madness.  Sucking the brain out of a living child inside his or her mother with a sort of vacuum like device, is not Christian.  It isn't even humane.  There can be no exceptions, not even for incest or rape, because it still requires taking one life for the convenience of another.  The only question that matters is: "Is the unborn child a human life?"  If the answer is yes, then that life can't be snuffed out for the emotional convenience of the mother.  

The Salvation Army has historically spoken out on issues of social justice and political reform.  The Salvation Army should be hosting pro-life rallies, lobbying governments, and speaking out in the media to end the horrible tragedy of abortion.  The silence is deafening on this issue and we need to speak up.  Today.  Lives hang in the balance. To read more about abortion click here

Next let's talk about marriage.  The only biblical position in marriage is that of being between one man and one woman.  Any other position is outside the Bible.  Scripture is as clear as crystal about this issue (1st Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-28, 1st Timothy 1:10, Matthew 19:4-6).  The issue of gay marriage has in less than 20 years radically transformed society not only in the United States, but across Europe and the world.  Many churches have spoken out, and many organizations are taking a stand against the radical redefinition of marriage; and more recently the redefinition of gender itself.  These redefinitions are harmful to society, harmful to young people, and most harmful to children who are being raised up into a society that is telling them anything goes.  
The Salvation Army can take a stand on this issue.  We need to hold closely to the biblical definition of marriage.  And some in the Army are concerned that leadership might move to the left on this issue.  Historically it's been shown that when major organizations move away from their core founding principles, they quickly fall apart and dissolve.  It begins with a mass exodus of the front-line leaders who still hold to the core principles. Then goes the rest.  I don't want to see that happen.  If you look on the Salvation Army IHQ website, at the position statements, marriage is unlisted.  In fact the army has bent over backwards to reach out to and support the "LGBT community" while making little mention of the biblical position.  Some corps have taken to even participating in gay pride parades, which is quite suspect and sends all the wrong messages to a confused culture. It's a concern. But I'm of firm belief that strong, biblical leaders are the vast majority within the Salvation Army and once mobilized will quickly put an end to any nefarious endeavors to step outside the scriptures.  The spirit of 1865 will win out. 

Recently the Salvation Army international has taken to boldly supporting the invocation of tens of thousands of Muslim refugees into Europe.  IHQ even posted a petition request to lobby the United Nations to bring in even more refugees.  In reality, since Europe has taken in these refugees, unchecked and unvetted, there have been a string of violent terrorist attacks in countries like France, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and others.  Unfortunately ISIS terrorists did in fact seed themselves within the ranks of the refugee population and used the opportunity to wage terror.  

This is a difficult issue. I'm all for helping out refugees, and setting up camps to feed and clothes those affected by regional instability, but perhaps it should've been done in a more wise manner.  Maybe the Salvation Army needs to be encouraging safety and security more so than misguided compassion that leaves the door open to terrorist violence.  

Another important issue relates to the genocide of Christians in the middle east.  Did you know the number one persecuted minority in the world is Christianity?  The media doesn't talk about it much unfortunately.  It doesn't fit their narrative of colonial Christian oppression in the west.  But it's true.  It doesn't get much air time sadly.  Which is why the church needs to speak up on this issue.  How can the Salvation Army begin to stand for the persecuted Christians in the middle east?  

According to the International Society for Human Rights, an estimated 80% of acts of discrimination against religion in the world are against Christians.  Much of the violence has been perpetrated against Christians in Iraq, with hundreds of thousands being forced to flee the country.  The symbol related to what is being called the Christian genocide is this, maybe you've seen it pop up on social media:

To learn more about the Christian genocide and how to take action click here.  Matthew 5:10 (ESV) says "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

And finally, the issue of religious liberty is front and center on the national stage in the United States.  More and more so in Canada and Europe, religious liberty is already a thing of the past.  If pastors or Christians share biblical views on marriage, or speak the truth about radical Islam, they can be charged with hate crimes, fined, or even imprisoned.  Many nations already persecute and minimize religious groups, most notably China, Iran, and North Korea.  But in the last ten years Europe has begun to restrict speech and so has Canada.  Very recently Russia made evangelizing illegal across their entire nation.  In the United States the war is raging for religious liberty.  How can we as the Salvation Army take a stand for our freedom of speech and freedom of conscience?  

Should Christian business owners be required to cater gay marriage ceremonies?  Should Christian churches be required to marry LGBT couples or be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars? Should Little Sisters of the Poor be required to perform abortions?  Should Christian businesses be required to pay for their employee's abortions?  These legal battles are taking place. These moral issues are being discussed hotly today in our culture.  How can we in the Salvation Army advocate for religious freedom and for the freedom to preach the Bible in all areas of life?  Take a stand, because our culture is swiftly changing and moving toward dangerous areas.

There are several great organizations where you can learn more about the issue of religious liberty.  Some of them include:

In conclusion, the Salvation Army has always been edgy.  The Salvation Army has always taken a stand on controversial issues of the day.  That's what kept the Army at the forefront of culture, society, and world concerns.  And many times it meant being arrested, pelted with rocks, hated, or criticized in the media.  Sometimes that's what it takes to be relevant in a troubled world.  We in the Salvation Army take a stand on many key issues of our day, we stand strong on poverty, homelessness, hunger, human trafficking, domestic violence, education, alcoholism/drug addiction, and disaster relief.  Now let's take a stand on issues like abortion, pornography, marriage, gender, persecution, and political corruption.  Take care and God bless.  

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