December 7, 2010

Skip the Salvation Army’s “Red Kettle.”


Salvation Army is a generally wonderful organization…with an agenda worth looking at.

I’ve updated the author’s original article, below. Unfortunately, the basic point is still true. They’re wonderful in some ways! Belief isn’t the problem here. We can all love and respect Jesus and Christianity. Discrimination is the question here. I love the bells and hope they continue to evolve! They’d done lots of good. But for now, there’s still organizations (listed in my updates to the author’s article) that give without agenda or discrimination. ~ ed.


In more recent news, a former Executive Director of the Salvation Army has been charged with stealing over 2 million dollars worth of toys and attempting to re-sell them for profit.

Not quite the same vein, but again, it’s recent news regarding Sally Ann.

The Article

Update: “If you feel it is appropriate, by all means boycott them. I’m doing the same. However, be sure to find another charity to replace the SA. Don’t let cynicism overcome the fact that there are lots of people out there who need help…

…I like to recommend people donate to Goodwill and/or Easter Seals instead. I am not claiming in any way that they are the best run or most important non-profits (although they both do very important work), but they share Salvation Army’s ubiquity while being secular, non-discriminatory organizations.

(For those not aware, Goodwill helps people find jobs through job placement, education, and financial assistance. Easter Seals provides assistance to the physically and mentally disabled.)”

“Organizations like Goodwill, Toys for Tots, the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and Feeding America can do everything the Salvation Army does. The difference is that they’ll do it without taking a piece of your donations to fund a politically active anti-gay church.”

Update: The Salvation Army has removed some info from their web site, after coming under fire for discriminatory practices for years. Hopefully, they’re evolving. That said, they still seem a bit old-fashioned, and not in a nice way. They continue to have reservations about gay hiring and benefits. Here’s more unbiased, continually updated info via Wikipedia. For those curious, It would be good to read the full section, as there’s a lot of good and bad (mostly, sadly, discrimination, including the recent “In November of 2013 it was made known that the Salvation Army was referring LGBT individuals to one of several conversion therapy groups.[53] …”)

And, from 2012: Of course, it isn’t the first time the Salvation Army’s conservative view of homosexuality has been brought to attention. “The Salvation Army has a history of active discrimination against gays and lesbians. While you might think you’re helping the hungry and homeless by dropping a few dollars in the bright red buckets, not everyone can share in the donations,” Bil Browning noted on The Bilerico Project last year. “The organization also has a record of actively lobbying governments worldwide for anti-gay policies — including an attempt to make consensual gay sex illegal.” …Huff Post

Also: “Yeah it was nice that time they threatened to shut down all of their soup kitchens in NYC if a law passed enabling businesses to extend employment benefits to the long-term partners of gay employees…” Source, Wikipedia which offers further sources: In 2004, The Salvation Army said they would close operations in New York City unless it was exempted from a municipal ordinance requiring them to offer benefits to gay employees’ partners. The City Council refused to make the exemption. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s administration chose not to enforce the ordinance. The administration right to decline to enforce was upheld by the New York State Court of Appeals in 2006.[46]

~ Original Article follows ~


There are few things more iconic during this busy holiday shopping season than those “soldiers-in-red” we see in front of Macy’s or any random stripmall in middle America.

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 advocate 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.


For more: Reminder: If you are donating your clothes, avoid the Salvation Army. (self.reddit.com)

The Salvation Army says it refuses to distribute Harry Potter and Twilight toys collected for needy children because they’re incompatible with the charity’s Christian beliefs. (edmontonsun.com)

Just a reminder: The Salvation Army is not a charity, but a charitable church that tries to undermine gay rights. (self.atheism)

UC Berkeley students seek Christmas ban on Salvation Army bell ringers: The student government passed a resolution to ban Salvation Army bell ringers from campus because of the Christian organization’s bias against homosexuality (campusreform.org)

Salvation Army Refuses Housing Shelter To Transgender Woman (thinkprogress.org)

Reminder: The Salvation Army is NOT a charity. It is a private fundamentalist Christian church (en.m.wikipedia.org)

Just a reminder that the Salvation Army is actually an anti-gay church – they campaign against equality, and close down their homeless shelters and soup kitchens rather than comply with nondiscrimination laws (freethoughtblogs.com)

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