The Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) has called for unity with the Salvation Army following a disturbing radio interview with one of its senior officials.

Major Andrew Craibe, a Salvation Army media relations director in Victoria, left JOY94.9 radio hosts Serena Ryan and Pete Dillon almost speechless during a June 21 interview after he defended the organisation’s Handbook of Doctrine which states gay people should be put to death.

That interview and other recent discussions about the organisation’s stance on the gay community were prompted by openly gay ex-Savage Garden singer Darren Hayes’ recent Tweet to his followers: “Important for gay people to know the true position of the Salvation Army when considering who to donate to. Sad.”

Hayes made no mention of a boycott of the Salvation Army in the tweet, later saying, “Although I, like many, think Salvation Army comments on sexuality are harmful to equality I did not call for a ‘boycott’. Not true”.

But the MCC issued a response to what they describe as Hayes’ boycott, calling for unity between the LGBTI community and the Salvation Army.

“We recognise that most Salvos are loving people who work hard to care for the poor,” the statement said.

“Homophobic statements made by Major Andrew Craibe on JOY94.9 do not represent the views of the majority of Salvation Army members. The Salvos are a powerful movement for reconciliation and justice in Australia, and MCC stands together with our friends in the Salvation Army.

“The call to boycott the Salvos is misguided and divisive, and will only make problems worse, especially for LGBTI people within the Salvation Army. MCC calls on all concerned people to work for reconciliation and forgiveness between the Salvos and the LGBTI community.”

The statement is signed by eight reverends from gay-friendly churches, including MCC Sydney and Brisbane and Crave.

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