Salvation Army Scotland has scrapped a controversial manual on how to combat racism after the charity came under heavy criticism for including a section listing a number of issues that could lead to violence against minorities.
The Salvation Army Scotland Guide to Motivating and Appealing To People Who Are Black, Asian, Syrian, Bangladeshi, Hindu, Jewish, Kurdish or Pakistani – meaning also those from some ethnic backgrounds – is no longer available on its website.
The online guide, approved for purchase in April, was posted on the Salvation Army’s Scottish website last month and offers questions to ask members of a person’s race, such as if they hold “shocking racial prejudices”.
It also advises readers “to use any type of training material that will get the desired result, such as to use prayer or reading the Bible”. The manual also stated that some employees should be “given some training in matters of tolerance of others”.
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The information was highlighted in a social media post by the Scottish Minister for Social Justice, Kevin Stewart, on Sunday. “I have written to the Salvation Army Scotland to ask why it still exists,” Stewart wrote. “If the issue of discriminatory behaviour exists at all I have concerns that it is being exacerbated by religious instruction.
“Faith can be a force for good, but not when one side of the equation appears to preach bigotry and intolerance. I think people should be able to set their own values, but not be taught to hate people on the basis of their own race or ethnicity.”
A copy of the manual, which was posted anonymously, described “racist tendencies” as “something that can arise naturally and could come from any number of stimuli.”
According to an analysis of cached versions of the guide by Quillette, it also included advice on how to “approach and approach someone with racist attitudes and beliefs”, including discussing difficult topics, giving birth to positive attitudes, and the need to “attract followers in regards to racist attitudes”.
A spokeswoman for the Salvation Army Scotland confirmed the guide’s temporary removal from its website and said the training section “should have been edited”.
“Salvation Army Scotland is aware of the concerns over its guidance on religion and religious beliefs and is still examining what needs to be done to address any perception that those of religious belief are racist,” she said.
“We are disappointed that the Guide to Motivating and Appealing to People Who Are Black, Asian, Syrian, Bangladeshi, Hindu, Jewish, Kurdish or Pakistani has been posted online. This was not only against the highest standards of professionalism, but against the Salvation Army Scotland values as well.
“Some of the points within the material which seem to have caused concern are a reflection of the rough lines of communication of peoples’ concerns, rather than that of those of the Salvation Army.
“We can confirm that the training section which was sectioned out in a copy published online should have been edited in line with the values and beliefs of the Salvation Army to make it clearer to all those reading that it does not agree with the views.”
Salvation Army members in England faced questions following the publication of a similar manual, which listed “a number of points in relation to how your religion and religious beliefs can be used to encourage harmony and understanding with those who differ from you, from religious minorities to people of other faiths”.
A spokesman for the Salvation Army said at the time the manuals were intended to challenge stereotypes and taught ways in which to live in harmony. He added: “No one is being discriminated against. It’s not about being racist.”
This article has been amended to remove an error in the original. A Salvation Army Scotland spokesperson said: “We have removed an inappropriate section from this activity which does not reflect the values of the Salvation Army in Scotland. This was not done for malicious gain.”