The Salvation Army in Kenya has apparently called for an end to discrimination against gays and lesbians.
The Star reported that the organisation’s General Andre Cox stated at a thanksgiving service in Nairobi on Sunday that churches should not be judgmental towards the LGBT community.
According to the publication, he said that homosexuality was a social challenge and that gays and lesbians should be accepted and guided according to biblical teachings and not be condemned.
He added that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.
Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya, with penalties of between five to 14 years imprisonment, although prosecutions are not common.
The Salvation Army, a Christian denomination and an international charitable organisation, has been at the centre of various controversies over its stance on homosexuality.
There have been claims that the group is homophobic but it has insisted that it is open to all and that it does not discriminate against LGBT people and employs people of any sexual orientation.
According to the Salvation Army’s position statement on homosexuality, the Bible “forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex”.
It also states that “Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life”.
However, it also insists that “there is no scriptural support for demeaning or mistreating anyone for reason of his or her sexual orientation. The Salvation Army opposes any such abuse”.
In 2012, Major Andrew Craibe from the Australian Salvation Army said in an interview that the organisation believes that gay people should be put to death
The Salvation Army officially distanced itself from Craibe’s remarks and said that he had misunderstood the scriptures.