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General calls on Salvationists to denounce racism

General calls on Salvationists to denounce racism

General calls on Salvationists to denounce racism

11 June 2020

The Salvation Army International Positional Statement on Racism states that the Army denounces racism in all forms.

General Brian Peddle has reminded all Salvationists of The Salvation Army’s existing International Positional Statement on racism in the wake of events surrounding the death of George Floyd in the United States.


The following is the wording of a post The Salvation Army’s world leader made on his Facebook account:

Racism is a negative force in our world and yet a reality for many as we victimise others and, in turn, ourselves by applying value and respect based on a person’s identity, which is associated with colour, ethnicity or origins.

As the leader of the international Salvation Army serving in 131 countries, I am acquainted with injustice, inequity, gender inequality and a lengthy list of societal challenges that lead to people saying, “I can’t breathe.” While this statement is linked to the United States, if you listen carefully you can hear it coming from the Rohingya people, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. You can hear it from the victims of COVID-19 where ventilators are not available and breathing is impossible.

Life is hardly fair for everyone.

As the General of The Salvation Army. I am asking all Salvationists to read again our International Positional Statement on Racism. Though given as a guide, I propose to you that the biblical principles noted are not up for debate. ‘In His Image’ is equally applicable to all humanity. Let me be clear ... The Salvation Army denounces racism in all its forms. I choose not to be passive on this matter and, adapting the words from my predecessor [Founder William Booth]: “I will fight (racism) I will fight to the very end (of racism).”

In this Facebook post, I am asking Salvationists to join me in denouncing racism and to commit to reading the statement below. If repentance is appropriate, then repent. If we can rise up together and be light in the darkness, then rise up!

Perpetuating His love is the only option!

General Brian Peddle

The Salvation Army International Positional Statement on Racism

Racism is the belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics determined by hereditary factors and that this endows some races with an intrinsic superiority over others. ‘Racism’ also refers to political or social programmes built on that belief.1 The use of the term ‘race’ itself is contested but is generally used to refer to a distinct group sharing a common ethnicity, national origin, descent and/or skin colour. The Salvation Army denounces racism in all forms.

Racism is fundamentally incompatible with the Christian conviction that all people are made in the image of God and are equal in value. The Salvation Army believes that the world is enriched by a diversity of cultures and ethnicities.

The Salvation Army firmly believes that racism is contrary to God’s intention for humankind, and yet we recognise that the tendency for racism is present in all people and all societies. Racial discrimination can take many expressions, including tribalism2, casteism3 and ethnocentrism4. Racism is not only the result of individual attitudes but can also be perpetuated by social structures and systems. Sometimes racism is overt and intentional, but often it is not.

While many Salvationists have acted firmly and courageously against racism, The Salvation Army acknowledges with regret, that Salvationists have sometimes shared in the sins of racism and conformed to economic, organisational and social pressures that perpetuate racism. The Salvation Army is committed to fighting against racism wherever it is experienced and will speak into societies around the world wherever we encounter it.

As we pray for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven, The Salvation Army will work towards a world where all people are accepted, loved and valued.

The statement and background information can be downloaded by clicking here.

1 Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014; Oxford English Dictionaries,; Merriam-Webster Dictionary,
2 Favouritism towards members a tribe or other social group especially when combined with strong negative feelings for people outside the group.
3 Prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of caste, with origins in India.
4 Belief in the intrinsic superiority of the nation, culture, or group to which one belongs, often accompanied by feelings of dislike for other groups. (Collins English Dictionary – dictionary/english/ethnocentrism)


  1. Janine and Robert, thank you for your heartfelt words of encouragement and support. Never before have I experienced this deep understanding of how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been treated in this country. Your leadership on this issue matters and I am blessed, for once in my life the pendulum is swinging the other way. God grant me the serenity, my brothers favourite prayer, a survivor of prison who I regret to say passed away in his sleep at the age of 46. Black lives do matter.

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