Position of members of the Pentecostal faith towards homosexuals; any implications for those who offer counselling or assistance to homosexuals [SLV38446.E]

No specific reports of harassment or mistreatment of Pentecostal church members who minister to homosexuals in El Salvador could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

The United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI) has approximately 80,000 constituents, 328 churches and 600 preaching points [points of worship and preaching outside of established churches] in El Salvador (UPCI 2001). In a 4 April 2002 telephone interview, UPCI's General Director of Foreign Missions estimated that there are approximately 30,000 to 40,000 tithe paying members of the UPCI in El Salvador. It is one of the two largest Pentecostal churches in El Salvador, the other being the Assemblies of God (ibid.).

The General Director specified that UPCI takes the position that the scripture clearly teaches that homosexuality is not a correct lifestyle (ibid.). Smaller churches in El Salvador which are affiliated with the UPCI would necessarily embrace this position (ibid.). However, the General Director explained that homosexuals would not be ostracized from the UPCI and the church would minister and reach out to homosexuals, as well as support them in their "rehabilitation" (ibid.). He was not aware of any instances of church members being harassed because of their outreach to homosexuals and stated that much of the outreach, support and counselling offered in these circumstances would be carried out in a confidential manner between the individual and his or her church (ibid.).

According to its Website, the Assemblies of God USA and Assemblies of God organizations world-wide are presently the world's largest Pentecostal denomination with "some 38 million members and adherents" (Assemblies of God USA n.d.a). The Assemblies of God's position on homosexual relations is outlined on its Website as follows:

The Assemblies of God believes strongly that God has declared great displeasure and opposition toward homosexual conduct. However, He yearns to restore and forgive all who come to Him, including homosexuals. Unfortunately, many today mislabel those who speak out against the sin of homosexuality as hate-mongers and prejudiced people seeking to oppress and take away the rights of homosexuals. But these persons view homosexuality from a skewed social perspective devoid of true biblical morality. The Church, however, is called to be faithful to God's Word in all things. For this reason the Assemblies of God opposes homosexuality and the gay lifestyle recognizing such as sin. But we encourage all members to reach out in love to homosexuals extending to them the grace that leads us all to Christ's forgiveness (Assemblies of God n.d.b).

The statement above is based on the Assemblies of God position paper, "Homosexuality", which was approved by the General Council of the Assemblies of God in 1979 (ibid.).

References to gay-positive Pentecostal churches located in the United States can be found on the Internet (Religious Tolerance.org n.d.; RPI n.d.; St. Petersburg Times 22 July 2001) but, predominantly, the Pentecostal movement is characterized as "one of Christianity's most conservative sects" (ibid.).

Please consult SLV35927.E of 5 December 2000 for further information on Pentecostal churches in El Salvador.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Assemblies of God USA. n.d.a "About the Assemblies of God." http://www.ag.org/top/about/about.cfm [Accessed 2 Apr. 2002]

_____. n.d.b. "Assemblies of God Beliefs: Homosexual Conduct." http://www.ag.org/top/beliefs/relationships/relations_11_homosexual.cfm [Accessed 2 Apr. 2002]

Reconciling Pentecostals International (RPI) [Tampa]. n.d. "Fellowship of Reconciling Pentecostals International." http://www.reconcilingpentecostals.com/ [Accessed 4 Apr. 2002]

Religious Tolerance.org. n.d. "Homosexuality and the Pentecostal Movement." http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_upci.htm [Accessed 4 Apr. 2002]

St. Petersburg Times [Tampa]. 22 July 2001. "Gay Pentecostals Find a Place to Worship." http://www.sptimes.com/News/072201/Floridian/Gay_Pentecostals_find.shtml [Accessed 4 Apr. 2002]

United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI), Missouri. 2001. "Missionary Bio." http://www.upci.net/missionaries/howell/bio.htm [Accessed 3 Apr. 2002]

_____. 4 April 2002. Telephone interview with General Director of Foreign Missions.

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases


World News Connection (WNC)

Unsuccessful attempts to reach the Regional Director of the Assemblies of God

Internet sites including:


Annual Report for International Religious Freedom 2001

Christianity Today

The Church of God

The International Gay and Lesbian Association

Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada

Religious Tolerance

United Pentecostal Historical Centre