Note well: It’s not that he’s required to marry a Salvationist. He’s required to marry another Salvationist officer.

Good lord, it’s practically a cult.

“I knew the rule and that this was coming and that I would be let go,” he said Wednesday. “But for the Salvation Army to let me go because I will marry outside of the (Salvation) Army, I think is wrong. I pray that people will write letters and call the Salvation Army to change this ruling. It wouldn’t be for my benefit, but for future officers.”…

Harsh said his fiancée has filled a void not only for himself, but also for his daughters following the death of his wife, who died June 28 at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee due to complications associated with a heart attack…

Helen Lord Burr, a member of the Oshkosh Salvation Army Advisory Board, said the Salvation Army has specific rules and they’re the same all over the world

Although joyous that he helped build the Salvation Army in Oshkosh, including bringing back Sunday worship services, Harsh said there were challenging times. In addition to losing his wife, Harsh had brain surgery three times while in Oshkosh.

The rules are the same all over the world? From the Salvation Army’s FAQ:

Originally Salvation Army officers (full-time ordained ministers) were required to marry other officers if they wished to remain in the ministry. But this is now changing, and it will be more possible in the future to find an officer who is married to a non-officer. However, Salvation Army officers still usually marry other officers by choice. This creates a special partnership in ministry, and in local centres in particular this joint ministry can make the work more effective.

Wikipedia also claims that the rule’s been “relaxed in recent years,” although whether that means allowing officers to marry non-Salvationists or merely Salvationists who aren’t officers isn’t clear. In any event, the Brits dropped this nonsense almost a decade ago. The logic of religious celibacy is that it frees the mind from earthly temptations the better to focus on God (theoretically), but what’s the logic of this? It smacks of keeping the bloodlines pure.

Since he’s asking for public intervention, I’m going to do something I normally don’t do and point you to the Oshkosh SA’s e-mail interface. Please be polite.