Skip the Salvation Army’s “Red Kettle.”

Via John Pappas
on Dec 7, 2010
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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 ~


Salvation Army Bell RingerThere 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. (

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. (

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 (

Salvation Army Refuses Housing Shelter To Transgender Woman (

Reminder: The Salvation Army is NOT a charity. It is a private fundamentalist Christian church (

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 (


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About John Pappas

John Pappas is a struggling Zen practitioner with a slight Vajrayana palate (but he won't admit it) stumbling between the relative and absolute through the Buddhist Purgatory otherwise known as the Great Plains of South Dakota. Emerging writer, librarian and aspiring hungry ghost, John spews his skewed perception of the dharma all over his personal blog, Subtle Dharma Mouth Punch as well as on the ephemeral Elephant Journal and occasionally (while having no artistic ability to speak of) on Dharma/Arte. John also loves tacos, homebrew, yoginis and obscure Cthulhu references. You can follow him on twitter under the handle @zendustzendirt


53 Responses to “Skip the Salvation Army’s “Red Kettle.””

  1. allucanbe says:

    This was a really well presented explanation that many are probably unaware of in regard to the Sally Ann. I have been aware for a very long time, I have a gay brother, and as a result was informed years ago. I'm not a fan of any organized religion as they all have their own agendas and such antiquated, closed-minded beliefs. As you said, there are many worthy organizations who need charity especially this time of year and they don't impose their religious viewpoints at all, so I choose to donate to them.

  2. Coconut says:

    On the other hand, I'm gay and find that the Salvation Army is the one place that my brother-in-law (who molested me throughout my childhood) is able to make a contribution. We all have our own bells to ring, plenty of them. Maybe it's the season to understand and be compassionate for giving when, where and how each of us can?

  3. Joseph Boquiren says:

    Wow. That was an eye opener. I also like John Pappas's bio. It's kinda where I am in my Zen practice.

  4. Wayne says:

    I understand peoples frustrations when religious dogma pervails seemingly still in the middle / dark ages and it is and due to ignorance will continue to but still they carry other good messages of love and compassion and I speek of this from the stand point of spending some time in a rehab facility of theirs and as a heroin adict of 20 years I now am clean I have my own unit and am going to university next year to study philosophy and with out the salvos this, I am sufe would not of been possible….I am a practising Buddhist…not a "christian"…..and let he without sin cast the first stone……much love and compassion to all and help them if you can they do help so many…even if they dont share your views…..

    • I support local charities when they agree to help those in need without attaching strings. Many local Christian groups in my general area provide wonderful services to all for the good of many – my money goes to them. Those that use their charity as a bargaining chip for public policy can do without my support.

      My intent is not to demonize the SA but to inform people of their politics and views. Imagine your dismay and difficulty if they pulled funding because they disagreed with a gay marriage proposal to state legislature.

      Thanks for your comment and I applaud your sobriety.


  5. katilady says:

    unfortunate that they do not show much of the compassion they preach of wayne.

    afterall, they'd rather cut services, that is STOP helping people, then accept money from the city? why? because then they would have to provide benefits to employees with domestic partners. that, to me doesn't speak of compassion, but hypocrisy.

  6. nathan says:

    thanks for this post John. was talking with my mother recently about these very issues concerning the Army. another thing that I really question is how huge this organization has become. they have one of the simplest, but slickest marketing campaigns in the nation with those little red baskets. everyone from country music stars to the NFL promote them as a completely neutral charity helping and loving everyone, while completely bypassing their social/political views, as well as the heavy evangelical efforts they make. It's to the point where they are almost the Wal Mart of charities these days, crowding out much smaller, local organizations and sweeping the political and spiritual agendas they have under the rug of a polished, friendly image that people emotionally connect with too easily, and unthinkingly.

  7. elephantjournal says:

    Tara M that's in a tough zone – there are many charitable organizations who are the only one's who will serve certain populations on a large scale – SA and Catholic Charities come to mind. They both are founded on Christian teachings and could be considered anti-gay. Thing is – they really help people in need. Maybe literally short changing those in need is not the right form of protest? Does it hurt the right people?

    Zane E Nice article. I have been avoiding them because of this for years 🙂

    Waylon Lewis Really sad.

  8. Nikki says:

    First, let me say that I don't agree with the Salvation Army's view on homosexuality. Along with the Catholic Church and many many organizations, I'm certain that they will come out of the dark ages – but they are big ships to steer. But, it makes me really sad to see John proposing that anyone skip giving them their spare change. That's simply wrong and you're mis-informing people. In between gigs working at big international ad agencies, a boss of mine convinced me to come with her and spend 2 years in the marketing department at the Salvation Army midwestern HQ in Minneapolis….As odd as it was, it was the best experience in my 15 year career. An open Buddhist, I did not agree with many of their religious views. But that absolutely did not matter, and everyone fully respected my opinions as well. These are some of the kindest people you will ever meet. Angeles, actually. Here are some other facts, John:
    1) The Salvation Army would never turn away a single soul from getting help.
    2) The Salvation Army serves the extreme downtrodden and forgotten in our society…those that have fallen deeper down the cracks than where other non-profit/homeless charities serve.
    3) Those Bell Ringers? They are either people from the shelters who the Salvation Army pays to ring bells (they are usually not capable…or considered for any other jobs) OR, they are the clergy themselves.
    4) The people in uniform you see give their lives over to helping others. They get a car and housing, and a nominal nominal salary. They are basically volunteers. Chairity Navigator rates the Salvation Army one of the best organizations to give to repeatedly….because of their low administrative costs — the money you donate actually goes to helping people.
    5) 99% of the donations that goes into that red bucket is people's spare change. It's absolutely not money being taken away from another charity. It's simply money that is otherwise spent on a latte.

    Please don't discourage people from helping the Salvation Army. I have watched Salvation Army "officers" pick up and hug men who were passed out on the sidewalk and had pissed and crapped in their pants…I have watched them peel disgusting socks off of bloody frostbitten feet. Do not disparage until you have walked in those shoes. You should share the same compassion for the Salvation Army that they share for the bottom of our society. A day in an urban center of the Salvation Army might just open your mind to the good they do. Their published religious views are certainly closed minded. And unfortunate. And shared by 55% of the people that live in this country. I have compassion for them too, and trust that our greater society is on a path to change, and I will do my part my continuing to show compassion for everyone.

    I kindly request that you withdraw your protest until you have spent time on the inside of a Salvation Army homeless center.

    • tamingauthor says:

      Nikki, beautiful response. And so accurate.

      Brings up the important question of whether or not respecting the views of others is a two-way street or not.

    • Lula says:

      I discourage people from donating and I convinced my office this year to find another organization to give back. After a quick research I found plenty of worthwhile organizations. No Salvatory Army should not be supported. until they change their stance on homosexuality (and other things btw)
      There are other-better-organizations to support.

  9. 13thfloorelevator says:

    Err . . . what did you *think* the SA was up to?

  10. NoYourRight says:

    OMG! You mean the Salvation Army is going against political correctness! There is still an organization left who aren't devout followers of the "gospel" of MTV! Because I mean, let's just face it — politically correct (morally deplorable) behavior sure has done wonders for our society lately… hasn't it? America sure was a rotten place in the past, wasn't it? All of this "tolerance" sure has improved living conditions and made life better for everyone, that's for sure.

    Funny how The Salvation Army actually went out and helped people after Katrina while everyone else was going around in circles doing nothing. I'm sure that all of the homophobic-PHOBICS (gays and liberals who are intolerant and AFRAID of people who are uncomfortable with their actions) will be sure to turn away food, water, medicine and shelter when the next natural disaster hits and just wait for FEMA to show up… eventually (yea, right).

    At any rate, whenever I see people regurgitating their propaganda filled rhetoric that they have been seeing on their T.V.'s and in the papers, it's a dead give away about where they have been getting their "opinions" (brain wash). "Homophobic" means that you are AFRAID of homosexuals… like being afraid of heights, or spiders, or confined spaces. Many people aren't afraid of homosexuals, they're just disgusted by their actions. they're not AFRAID of people who fart and pick their noses in public, they're just disgusted by them. Calling someone a "fartophobic" or "boogerphobic" would be incorrect. Most people aren't "afraid" of boogers OR farts… they're just grossed out and don't want to be around them. If someone were to FORCE YOU to TOLERATE them while they farted and picked their nose… HOW WOULD THAT MAKE YOU FEEL? If you don't like it then you're "intolerant" of their "life choice" to act in a disgusting manor, and therefore — a "bad" person (so saith the TV set). Just because the powers that be are FORCING people to TOLERATE things that they find offensive, it's not going to make them LIKE IT.

    This little article just made me want to give more to the Salvation Army. First, they were heroes in hurricane Katrina. Now they make an outspoken opinion which flies in the face of the politically correct "moral-less majority". It's almost like they're saying to the world "This is who we are, DEAL WITH IT" HA! HA! Now where have I heard that before?

    Thank god that there's still someone left in our "free society" who's still "allowed" to have an unpopular opinion. Without people sharing different opinions, we would all be like a big ol' pack of mindless zombies without any kind of "free thought" left… wouldn't we?

    I'm surprised that they haven't been charged with a "hate crime" yet for not mindlessly following along with what everyone else is doing. They should be ashamed of themselves for not jumping on the band wagon! Wait, why did everyone jump on the band wagon again? Oh yea, cause EVERYONE else did! And no one wants to be left out. Where is that band wagon heading again? Ughh… it's about human rights! (you can do anything you want these days if you say it's in the name of human rights, you know… like people used to do with Jesus).

    Funny how some people want everyone to have the "freedom" to tolerate whatever THEY do but believe that anyone who doesn't like what THEY DO or who are offended by it, need to be treated with complete and total, all-out INTOLERANCE.

    "We should be able to do whatever we want, whenever we want, to whoever we want, and if you don't like it then your intolerant". LOL!


    I find it sad that most people don't get the humor in that quote…

    Anyways, I just find it hilarious that the powers that be are now just taking the exact opposite of Christianity (basically it's called Satanism, look it up) and forcing it down everyone's throats like they used to do with Jesus. If your against debauchery then your a heretic! The mindless, zombie masses (ALL OF WHOM would have been devout BIBLE THUMPING CHRISTIANS a few years back), jump on the band wagon for "human rights" (which rarely have ANYTHING to do with actual human rights and are merely kinds of behavior that have clearly proven themselves to be a poison for a society). Then the retarded peeps form lynch mobs against any heretics whom may disagree… just like they always have.

    It's hilarious that people these days think that they're so progressive and ahead of the curve… as the world falls into decay around their ears. People are still to stupid to figure out that our leaders are pro-homosexual because they don't want the idiots who emulate "Will and Grace" and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" to breed.

    Now that I have worked this all out in my head, Fuck the Salvation Army. I don't want to encourage gays to breed either!

    • BoulderBabe says:


    • Jack Daw says:

      whoa. I doubled up on my dosage just reading that.

      If it made you give more then wonderful. You obviously weighed your choices out well.

      I just don't give to the Salvation Army because there organization is homophobic and use their funds to influence public policy. That, of course, is fine for a lobbying group but for a charity? No thanks. I am perfectly fine giving my money to a less judgmental charity.

      Shit. Where is my retarded lynch mob. I know I left it somewhere….oh. there it is.

    • tamingauthor says:

      Excellent discourse on the topic.

      Radical gay activists are failing to see the hypocrisy of their positions. Good to see someone bring it to their attention.

    • shaed says:

      Wow, and you call liberals moral-less?

  11. tamingauthor says:

    Reciprocity. Golden Rule. Fair and equitable dealings. Good faith negotiation.

    The radical activist gay community has failed to recognize their duty to give that which they hope to receive.

    They ask for tolerance and compassion for their different views and different choices. It is only right that they reciprocate and show tolerance and compassion for those holding yet other views.

    The righteousness and militancy of gay activists has robbed them of moral credibility. They are creating a future backlash that will needlessly harm the innocent. It is time they become more mindful of their actions.

    This article shows the worst side of the gay activist world. It shows intolerance, hate, hypocrisy, and a general lack of a moral compass. In one bold gesture it accrues negative public relations to gays and to Zen.

    What should John Pappas do? He should head to the nearest mall and assist the Salvation Army in their efforts to raise money to help people who need help regardless of their views on sexuality. He should show he is tolerant and will work with people even though their views differ from his. He should demonstrate that his homosexuality is not a license to hate or disparage those who do not share his preferences.

    He should show he is a man of compassion who does not judge others harshly as a result of their sexual or religious views. He should show he is not an opportunist who takes advantage of the latest political correctness to foment hatred and division. He should demonstrate he is not that which he accuses others of being.

    And he should not identify himself as a Buddhist when he attacks other views on proper sexuality. That is not a Buddhist right action and his saying he is a Buddhist does not ipso facto make his view the compassionate view.

    • Thanks for your commentary on what a "proper" Buddhist is. I'll be sure to file that…hmmm…where should I put that.

      AH! There we go. It is a tad uncomfortable to sit but the discomfort isn't too bad.

      Thanks for the invigorating comment!


  12. John says:

    I see. Posturing is more important than charity. Not exactly building up that Karma when you pass by the red kettle with a haughty "sniff."

    Wake up! Christians don't 'hate' homosexuals and they don't fear them. They disapprove of the lifestyle. Your misconception leads you to so many mistakes.

  13. Roger Wolsey says:

    For a theological take on this…

    The Methodist movement was birthed in England in the late 1700's by John Wesley. The Methodist Church took off like wildfire in the US after the American Revolution. The Salvation Army was created as a split off of the Methodist Church during the "Holiness movement" era in the U.S. in the 1800's. And, as I understand it, like the Church of the Nazarene (which also split off from the Methodists), the Salvation Army believed that being truly Wesleyan meant the believe that humans can become fully sanctified and attain Christian perfection (that all of one's thoughts and actions are based solely from God's love) within their lifetimes. The Methodist Church focused on other teachings of Wesley that leads us to believe that while reaching such a state may be possible, we'll likely not be aware that we're in it, and we'll be prone backsliding away from it. Hence, we Methodists see ourselves on a constant journey toward an ideal aim, but we do so humbly, avoiding saying, "I've attained perfection!", etc.

    At any rate, when it comes to the charitable arms of the Salvation Army and the United Methodist Church (UMCOR), both do an incredible amount of work in the world. Let me repeat, and INCREDIBLE amount of good. They do more than any one Christian or independent, unaffiliated, Christian congregation ever could.

    That said, when you give a dollar to the Salvation Army, a small percentage of it (probably 5-10% – they haven't stated what that % is) does not go to direct aid to needy persons, but rather, is used to help support the administration of the charity. Whereas, 100% of all donations to UMCOR ( goes directly and solely to actual aid to persons in need – with no roselytizing or evangelizing involved. (Monies contributed by the 32,000 United Methodist local congregations cover the administrative expenses.)

    You can decide for yourself if one of those models is more "perfect."

  14. Roger Wolsey says:

    ack. by "roselytizing" above, I mean of course proselytizing. (timely object lesson in my not being perfect : )

  15. Moral Etiquette says:

    Just like the Salvation Army has every right to their Evangelical beliefs or to pull funding- any person of color, creed, or orientation can choose to simply put their charitable funds elsewhere. It's my money, I can surely spend it where I want and if that's NOT in the red bucket then so be it. The Salvation Army chooses to push their religious beliefs through charity- nobody chooses homosexuality. No one said the Salvation Army can't have their own morals or opinions and use/take charity money how they so fit; part of being a business(and that's what they are) is putting heart into your wallet. Just like the SA shouldn't have to change their ways, I shouldn't get chastised for taking this new knowledge and applying it to my morals- which is I no longer will be donating to them. They don't have to change their ways, but I'm changing mine. Period. End of story. That simple.

  16. […] men, dressed in Salvation suits, stand behind the women, dressed in red Masai […]

  17. Old news, but worth repeating.

    “Positional stances”? Ugh. Either “positions” or “stances” would do just fine alone.

  18. I will continue to give spare change to the Red Cross for two reasons: 1 – they kept my grandfather and his family alive one year when as a child he had no food, no heat in the house and parents without jobs. 2 – As someone who lost our home and all our belongings in Hurricane Katrina, the Salvation Army is the only organization that offered their help without making me fill out mounds of paperwork and jump through hoops.
    Do I agree with all of their political stance? No. Nor am I aware of any group that I am in 100% total agreement with.

  19. Emily Seipel says:

    Nothing wrong with copying off a few sheets of dollar bills and taking a sharpie to them: "Sorry, my queer/allied dollar is going to _________(charity of choice)". Fold them up and slip it right in the kettle!

    • John Pappas says:

      Actually, I think photocopying money is illegal even for snarky purposes. But I also don't like to annoy the bell-ringers. It is like yelling at a Walmart cashier for the policy of their corporate body.

      But it does make me feel good to walk by.

      • blackberrypie says:

        I was thinking the same thing @Emily. Doesn't have to be a copy of a real dollar bill but could be printed out "funny money" from the internet. Another thing to write on the back "This will be real money donated when your organization starts supporting civil rights & human dignity for ALL individuals regardless of race, age, religion, or sexual orientation."

  20. […] new push is for people to boycott those red kettles this year because of the organization’s position on […]

  21. Jim says:

    I spread my charity among all charitable groups in whatever form I am able to, whether it be monetary or volunteering, including the Salvation Army. I know the Salvation Army doesn't share my views with issues like homosexuality but I am compassionate to all people irregardless of their beliefs. If I were to be selective to find a charity that agrees and disagrees with everything I do I would not have the time to do any charitable work. I would not hesitate to help someone in need just because they would not agree that Gay people should not be entitled to the same rights as everyone else. "Be Kind Whenever Possible. It is Always Possible." (Dalai Lama XIV)

  22. Cameron Chandler says:

    HQ Palos Verdes…some of the most exclusive oceanfront land in the world. Execs drive around in Mercedes cars. I can't afford to drive around in a Mercedes. About twenty years ago, Sally's CFO was on the downlow in a sexual affair with one of my buddies, both in marriages with wives at the time. Commenter above thinks five to ten percent of donations goes to overhead: I think much higher….in the range of fifteen to twenty percent because of the corporate "lifestyle" of living large off a big slice of what goes in the kettle. For these reasons, I quit dropping money in their kettle long ago.
    These Christians, like so many others, can't find the love, but have a quick handle on the judgment dump. They might want to meditate on their own paths, and search for a little humility and Christ-like Compassion rather than trying to feel good about themselves by constantly demeaning others.

  23. oz_ says:

    I see this as a good example of the same kind of intolerance and ignorance of which the author accuses the Salvation Army.

    The plain fact is: the Salvation Army is not a lobbying organization, therefore, what they believe is up to them, and they should be free to do so, since they don't seek to impose their beliefs on anyone. This is the key point underlying a truly tolerant worldview, and sadly, the author misses the irony. Smells like projection to me.

    Another plain fact is that those donations go to help all sorts of people without any discrimination – as their website FAQ notes:

    Does The Salvation Army discriminate in its delivery of services against those of a particular race or sexual orientation?
    We serve where there is need and make no distinction based on ethnicity or sexual orientation.

    And yet another plain fact – the Salvation Army exhibits very good stewardship with its donations: 82% goes to the social programs, which is a pretty respectable number – and one potentially higher than the "local, grassroots charity organizations" this author prefers. I know of some local non-profits providing similar services who cannot seem to get more than 50% of those donations to the poor, because administrative costs eat up so much. So interestingly, this author seems to be more interested in making a social statement than in the most efficacious path to helping the poor. Or at least, this is the *effect* of his actions, whether he intends it or not.

    When it comes to charitable organizations, we need MORE not LESS diversity, and this piece is a call for the latter. Thus, it represents an intolerant call to diminish civil society's social safety net. I think that's too bad.

  24. JennyB says:

    That position paper is from the Salvation Army in INDIA and the news about the Salvation Army severing ties w the city of San Francisco over domestic partner benefits is from 1997. To put that into perspective, in 1997 same-sex marriage was not legal anywhere in the US and in fact, consensual sex w/ a person of the same gender was illegal in many states. The Salvation Army reversed the domestic partner benefits decision over 5 years ago… Internationally, they have had some "Salvationists" say some reprehensible things but domestically they have, at least lately, been apparently making an effort at amends w/ the gay community.… The Salvation Army is hardly on the forefront of LGBT issues but that's not what they do. I don't share their religion or agree with all their ideas but I also know that they help some people that everyone else would rather forget about.

  25. ReneeL says:

    FYI, Goodwill is not the place to donate either, they don't really help the disabled as much as they would like you to believe, it's all about making money for the the company executives.

  26. Marilee says:

    I know where live the bell ringers are people who are staying at SA homeless shelters, where they make you leave the shelter from 8:30 am until 5 or 6 pm every day except weekends.
    They usually do not help you figure out what your next step is. Resources are great if you know what they are and how to use them. But they were no help in my experience.

  27. Jan says:

    Everyone has a finger of righteous indignation that we seem to point at everyone that doesn't agree with us, and yet get upset if that finger, on someone else's hand, points at us. Don't care for the SA views, don't give. They have their beliefs, they stand by them, right or wrong. You do the same with your beliefs. Writing an article asking someone not to give, because of your beliefs contradict what you believe, makes the writer no better, or worse than the SA. The SA invited you to their argument, why did you chose to attend?

  28. elephantjournal says:

    Local soup kitchens and food pantries need help. Here's a video we did recently:

  29. Al Hayfever says:

    On the other hand, a gay friend of mine posted on Facebook just the other day PRAISING our local Salvation Army branch for helping out his mother & him a few years ago when they were in need, no religious or homophobic baggage attached. (He actively ENCOURAGED his friends to drop something in the red kettle.) So clearly not every branch of SA operates under the same policy.

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