Protest staged in front of Salvation Army in HastingsLast year, Jesse Dahlquist and Crystal Gibson say they were the subject of an attempted assault in the parking lot at The Salvation Army in Hastings. Those perpetrating the assault, Dahlquist said, were people against homosexuality, and they had targeted the two young Hastings adults because of their sexual orientation.
By: Chad Richardson, The Hastings Star-Gazette
Last year, Jesse Dahlquist and Crystal Gibson say they were the subject of an attempted assault in the parking lot at The Salvation Army in Hastings.
Those perpetrating the assault, Dahlquist said, were people against homosexuality, and they had targeted the two young Hastings adults because of their sexual orientation.
When Dahlquist and Gibson ran into The Salvation Army here to tell their story, they said they weren’t taken seriously.
That prompted the two openly homosexual residents to do some research on the Salvation Army, and they didn’t like what they uncovered.
Online, they read The Salvation Army’s stance on same-sex marriage (they are against it) and they read a similar position statement on homosexuality (they call for celibacy for those who are homosexual). That got the 19-year-old Dahlquist and the 20-year-old Gibson thinking about staging a protest outside the location in Hastings, and on Tuesday they did just that.
Throughout the day, Dahlquist and Gibson were joined by friends who stood on the boulevard with homemade signs saying things like “Born this way,” “Love is love” and “The Salvation Army is homophobic.”
During the protest, several people stopped by to chat, including one man who was getting ready to head inside the store. He was unaware, he said, of The Salvation Army stance on homosexuality.
“I support you guys,” the shopper said.
“A lot of cool stuff happened (throughout the day),”?Dahlquist said after the protest concluded.
“We were born this way, and we’re not going away,” Gibson said.
Gibson took the day off from work to stage the protest with Dahlquist. He is attending college and took the day off, too.
The Salvation Army stance
The Salvation Army is a faith-based organization that is no stranger to protests by gays and lesbians.
On the Salvation Army website, their position on homosexuality is spelled out in a long statement.
Essentially, it boils down to this: “Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex. The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life. There is no scriptural support for same-sex unions as equal to, or as an alternative to, heterosexual marriage.”
While that is their stance, the organization says in the statement that its services are available for anyone to use.
“Likewise, 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 keeping with these convictions, the services of The Salvation Army are available to all who qualify, without regard to sexual orientation.”
More on The Salvation Army’s stances can be found by visiting www.salvationarmyusa.org.