Busted: After negative media attention the Salvation Army has cancelled a conference to arrange child marriages for Christian homeschoolers.
The “Let Them Marry” retreat was planned for November, and was “designed to bring together like-minded families who are committed to young, fruitful marriage and to help them overcome the barriers which have kept their children unmarried.”
In essence, the conference was a gathering for parents to arrange marriages for their teen daughters without their child’s consent, while making a profit from the transaction.
After multiple reports about the conference dedicated to arranging child marriages, concerned citizens contacted the the Salvation Army of Wichita/Sedgwick County where the conference was to be held. As a result of citizen complaints, the conference was cancelled.
The Salvation Army of Wichita/Sedgwick County released the following statement announcing the decision to cancel the event:
The Salvation Army has denied a request by the Let Them Marry organization to conduct its event at Camp Hiawatha.
Our decision is based upon our long-standing concern for the welfare of children. At The Salvation Army, we work every single day to provide a safe, caring place for children, many of whom have been left vulnerable due to the actions of adults.
We remain steadfastly focused on our mission of advocating for and protecting children.
The “Let Them Marry” website issued the following brief statement:
Note: The November Get Them Married Retreat has been cancelled.
And the group, embarrassed by all the negative publicity, attempted to deny any wrongdoing:
Note: Contrary to vicious internet rumors we do not support or in any way condone child sexual activity of any sort, child marriage, or any other illegal activity. Nor do we support or condone forced marriages. We believe that parents should NOT seek a spouse for a child where that child has not actively sought for the parents to do so.
Yet despite the group’s denial, a glance at the the website’s Frequently Asked Questions shows that the group not only condones child marriage but actively promotes child marriage. Further, the group cites Biblical scripture to defend the position that children are essentially the property of the father to be sold into marriage without their consent.
For the record, the Salvation Army deserves credit for doing the right thing and rejecting the conference. However the underlying problem remains. The “Let Them Marry” group and philosophy continues to exist, and as long as that group and philosophy continues to exist, children will continue to be exploited.
For more on the group and the canceled conference see: Conference Will Arrange Child Marriages For Christian Homeschoolers.