FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013
TWO Recommends a Cessation of All Donations to The Salvation Army Until Offensive Referrals Are Eliminated
CHICAGO – Truth Wins Out called on people today to withhold holiday donations from The Salvation Army until the organization removes all anti-LGBT materials from its website, starting with two “ex-gay” ministries that are listed as sexual addiction resources.
“Don’t drop change in The Salvation Army’s bucket until it changes its website into a platform that doesn’t refer clients to dangerous groups that attempt to pray away the gay,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Ex-gay organizations are harmful, ineffective, and rejected by every mainstream mental health association in the world.”
The existence of this resource was surprising, considering that The Salvation Army’s public relations arm has launched a new campaign that portrays the organization as pro-LGBT. On its website is a page that “debunks the myth of LGBT discrimination.” According to the website:
“For years, Facebook posts, forwarded emails and rumors have been leading some people to believe that The Salvation Army does not serve members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. These accusations simply aren’t true.”
Yet, The Salvation Army is still referring people who are sexually addicted to two notorious “ex-gay” ministries. The first group in question is Harvest USA, which was an Exodus International affiliate (formerly the world’s largest ex-gay group), before Exodus disbanded. According to Harvest USA’s website:
“Harvest USA began in 1983, as an outreach ministry in Center City, Philadelphia to the homosexual community to provide hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The ministry reached out to men and women who heard the gospel and desired to leave behind the gay lifestyle.”
The second group in question is Pure Life Ministries. This is the sexual addiction group where “ex-gay” activist Michael Johnston was sent after attorney Michael Hamar and TWO’s Wayne Besen caught him having sex with men. (Johnston is now an employee of this ministry) Here is what the group is saying on its website:
“Whether you’re addicted to masturbation, ensnared in Internet pornography, struggling with homosexuality, or merely battling an onslaught of impure desires, you’ve come to the right place.”
“While we appreciate The Salvation Army’s recent outreach to the LGBT community, we won’t settle for cheap spin, we insist on substance,” said TWO’s Wayne Besen. “If The Salvation Army is truly committed to non-discrimination, it will immediately eliminate these ‘ex-gay’ groups as resources, and scrub its entire website of all anti-gay materials.”
Truth Wins Out (TWO) is a non-profit organization that works to demolish the very foundation of anti-gay prejudice. Our philosophy is simple: We attack the underpinnings of homophobia by debunking harmful lies, discrediting hateful myths, and countering anti-gay organizations. By chipping away at the underlying ignorance that fuels anti-LGBT attitudes, we can ultimately win our fight for fairness and achieve full equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people worldwide.