Those kindly Salvation Army folks stand and politely ring their bells and we drop in dimes, quarters and a few lonely, crumpled-up bills. ‘Tis the season but there is a reason why I don’t grace my local Salvation Army Chapter with anything during the holidays or any other time for that matter. Many consider it cold-hearted of me but I have good reason.
From the Salvation Army website, they list their positional stances on many topics, including homosexuality:
The Salvation Army believes that homosexuality can be properly considered only in the broader context of a biblical understanding of human sexuality in general. The creation account set out in the opening chapters of Genesis reveals the following truths: <random bible quotes. go to the page directly to see all of them>
The Bible thus teaches that God’s intention for mankind is that society should be ordered on the basis of lifelong, legally sanctioned, heterosexual unions. Such unions (marriages) lead to the formation of social units (families) which are essential to human personal development and therefore to the stability of the community.
Scripture opposes homosexual practices by direct comment (Leviticus 18:22, 23; 20:13; Romans 1:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10) and also by clearly implied disapproval (Genesis 19:1-29; Judges 19:1-30; 2 Peter 2:1-22; Jude 3-23). The Bible treats such practices as self-evidently abnormal. They reject both the obvious implications of human physiology and the potential for procreation. Romans 1 sees homosexual acts as a symptom of a deeper refusal to accept the organising scheme of God for the created order (Romans 1:23-25).
The Army recognises that same-sex friendships can be enriching, Christ-honouring relationships, bringing joy through mutual companionship and sharing. However, same-sex relationships which are genitally expressed are unacceptable according to the teaching of Scripture. Attempts to establish or promote such relationships as viable alternatives to heterosexually-based family life do not conform to God’s will for society.
Did you get that? The Salvation Army’s view of the world which is based on a literal interpretation of Christian Scripture rules that even to “promote” a homosexual relationship goes against God’s plan.
For example when the Salvation Army cut funds to certain organizations because it went against their Christian core.
The Salvation Army says it will no longer take city money and will cut back on some programs because of San Francisco’s domestic partners law. The organization said the year-old ordinance conflicts with its Christian beliefs on the importance of family. Under the ordinance, any business that holds city contracts and provides spousal health insurance to married couples must do the same for the gay or unmarried partners of its employees. “We simply cannot agree to be in compliance,” Salvation Army Lt. Col. Richard Love said Wednesday. The charity is one of the largest nonprofit social service organizations in San Francisco. The Salvation Army, with an $18 million annual budget for services in San Francisco, holds $3.5 million in city contracts, Love said. The organization said it will scale back programs for senior citizens and the homeless. (link)
Every coin you drop into a Salvation Army “red kettle” will ring of the same homophobic rhetoric. You can read more of these Salvation Army positional statement here which includes how the Salvation Army views abortion, family planning…whatever. The purpose and mission of the Salvation Army is to evangelize the word of God without discrimination. They are an evangelical entity that is providing “charity” in order to propogate a religion.
If you are fine with that, then please, drop a coin in the kettle this holiday season. For my dollar I prefer to support local, grassroots charity organizations that attempt to help others without evangelical zeal, homophobic rants or religious strings attached. I skip the Salvation Army kettle and drop my coinage into a local, church-run homeless shelter. They openly help those in need without requiring a provision of faith or prayer. They advocating helping others without insisting on listening to a sermon. They provide charity as it was meant to be delivered – with no strings attached,
So wave to the nice “soldier” in red, nod at his bell ringing, even smile at him but don’t drop him a dime. Unless you like to support homophobic attitudes, then by all means drop him a few coins.
But me, I am planning on giving to my local homeless shelter, my local library and a few grassroots organizations that are working on alleviating the suffering of others this holiday season…with no strings attached.