Engagement Could Get Man Fired

A Wisconsin man has been suspended and stands to lose his job for disobeying Salvation Army orders, the Oshkosh (Wis.) Northwestern reported.

Capt. Johnny Harsh, who has led the Oshkosh Salvation Army for more than three years lost his wife Capt. Yalanda "Yoley" Harsh, when she died unexpectedly in June.  Now he wants to remarry.

A Salvation Army rule dating back to 1865 states that an officer in the agency may only marry another officer of the organization. Harsh is engaged to a woman who is not affiliated with the Salvation Army and they plan to marry in June.

Harsh said he wasn't suprised by the suspension.

"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."

Furthermore, Harsh said he's received warning letters from agency officials informing him that his fiancée could not stay at his residence. Harsh said the Salvation Army provides some of his housing expenses.

Major Robert Thomson, Salvation Army Divisional Commander for Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, said it's a personnel matter and "highly confidential" concerning Johnny Harsh.

"I think that you should marry anybody that... who you love," Harsh's daughter, Lisa, said.  "I don't see why he got suspended because it makes no sense."

The rule stems back to when many Salvation Army workers were missionaries and moved around. The notion was that a marriage wouldn't last unless both partners were committed to the same cause.

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