My Letter To Deadspin And You Can Play Regarding Partnerships With The Salvation Army
To Whom it May Concern,
This letter is going to detail the experiences that Black and Blue and Gold bloggers Philip Kneitinger and myself have had in talking to the Sabres organization, notably team President Ted Black and Community Relations Directory Rich Jureller.
In April of 2012, I contacted the Sabres, urging the organization to cease its partnership with the Salvation Army, whose discriminatory practices towards LGBT individuals are well recorded. Both Ted Black and Rich Jureller promised that the Sabres would not partner with discriminatory organizations if the well recorded allegations were proved true. In 2012, Jureller’s and Black’s fact finding seemed to consist solely of asking the Salvation Army if they discriminated. It probably will come as no surprise that this is how that went:
“I am writing to inform you that we have met with Major Donald Hostetler and Major Thomas Applin of the Salvation Army to address your concerns regarding their organization’s alleged discrimination. During our discussion they made it clear that the Salvation Army does not discriminate against any class of individuals and they comply with all laws regarding the provision of benefits to Salvation Army employees. They also refuted the accuracy of online claims of discrimination.
The attached letter from Major Hostetler summarizes their position on this matter. He requested that we share the letter with you and encouraged you to speak with him directly should you have any further concerns or questions.
We are satisfied with their response to the allegations and will continue to work with the Salvation Army in the future.” – Rich Jureller, April 4th, 2012
This comes despite the Salvation Army’s well recorded fight in 2004 to not have to abide by New York City’s non-discrimination ordinance so that they could continue to not hire LGBT individuals.
Recently a letter from the Salvation Army’s Midwest Commissioner, Paul Seiler, has come to light. Dated February 21, 2014, the letter reads:
Leadership roles in denominational activities such as teaching or holding local officer roles require certain adherence to consistently held spiritual beliefs. This would apply to any conduct inconsistent with Salvation Army beliefs and would include same-sex sexual relationships.
Highlighting that the Salvation Army discriminates in how it treats its employees.
For anyone in a Salvation Army ministry position, the theological belief regarding sexuality is that God has ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman and sexual activity is restricted to one’s spouse. Non-married individuals would therefore be celibate in the expression of their sexuality. This is the long-standing expectation of all individuals in ministry roles in The Salvation Army, including lay people.
Several different ways. The consequence for violating these internal policies?
Officers are ordained and commissioned by The Salvation Army are expected to follow a number of organizational and denominational policies and there are consequences for internal disregard, which may include termination.
I have taken the liberty of attaching photos of the Salvation Army’s internal document along with the reply Jureller forwarded me from the Buffalo chapter of the Salvation Army in 2012.
It is utterly bizarre to me a that the NHL, which has gone to great lengths to mete out homophobia with its partnership with You Can Play, still retains ties to a discriminatory organization like the Salvation Army through individual teams. It is stranger still that these teams themselves would contribute to You Can Play while at the same time partnering with an organization that does exactly what You Can Play is trying to stop. (Not to mention the teams that partner with the Boy Scouts of America.)
This is of course not restricted just to the NHL and can probably also be said of numerous NFL, NBA, MLB, and MLS teams, but the question remains…why?
Alexander S. Bauer
Black and Blue and Gold