Salvation Army and Gay Rights

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culturedmom's picture
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Salvation Army and Gay Rights

http://www.bilerico.com/2011/11/why_you_shouldnt_donate_to_the_salvation_army_bell.php

As the holidays approach, the Salvation Army bell ringers are out in front of stores dunning shoppers for donations. If you care about gay rights, you'll skip their bucket in favor of a charity that doesn't actively discriminate against the LGBT community.

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. Many LGBT people are rejected by the evangelical church charity because they're "sexually impure."

The church claims it holds "a positive view of human sexuality," but then clarifies that "sexual intimacy is understood as a gift of God to be enjoyed within the context of heterosexual marriage." The Salvation Army doesn't believe that gays and lesbians should ever know the intimacy of any loving relationship, instead teaching that "Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life."

Obvioulsy this is only a question for those who are for gay rights.

I ahve always given to the bell ringers everytime I see them. It's a tradition. My kids have even taken their change on their own to give to the bell ringers when we go to a store. But knowing this I don't think I will anymore.

Will you stop giving to bell ringers because of this? Would you tell them why you are not giving when they ask for donations as you walk by?

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

I rarely give to the bell ringers as it is.. I wouldn't stop or deter me, I am horrible when it comes to boycotting anyway. Meaning.. even if the company is doing negative things.. even horrendous things, I don't vote with my money that way. I buy as frugally as I can for the brand or item I want, regardless of where I get it from. As for philanthropic organizations I stick with ones that are close to home, church and individuals, or missionaries usually.

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

I'm not surprised this is their view as they are an evangelical Christian organization; however, just because that is their stance doesn't mean they don't help or aid members of the LGBT community.

The Salvation Army runs some of the bigger homeless shelters, soup kitchens, street missions around here. I suppose I can't say for sure, but I strongly doubt they actively turn away those whose lifestyles they disagree with.

The Salvation Army is also a church, like a regular meet on Sundays sing and preach church, they may speak to their faith beliefs at those meetings, but again, I doubt they bar entry to LGBT people or anything like that.

I think people who are surprised at the Salvation Army's stance, probably just don't realize that it is essentially just a church who does a lot of outreach work (as opposed to the local food bank or whatever, who's sole purpose is providing food, and isn't anything bigger).

Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

I wouldn't give to the Salvation Army anyway because it's a church. There are lots of secular organizations that are worthy of my money.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

I don't give to them for this very reason.. Really we give all year long in many ways, whether it is donations to the neighboughood house clothing exchange or food for panhandlers who look hungry. I tend to try to give directly when I see a need or having something to give and skip the organizations.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
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"kris_w" wrote:

I'm not surprised this is their view as they are an evangelical Christian organization; however, just because that is their stance doesn't mean they don't help or aid members of the LGBT community.

The Salvation Army runs some of the bigger homeless shelters, soup kitchens, street missions around here. I suppose I can't say for sure, but I strongly doubt they actively turn away those whose lifestyles they disagree with.

I have heard that they will deny services members of the LGBT community. There was some uproar about it in the Pride Collective at my university and they handed out comment $5 bills to put in the bell ringers bins that year (They said "This is what I would be donating if the Salvation Army did not discriminate against LGBT individuals" or something like that).

They are a church though and base their service model on their beliefs. It doesn't surprise me that they wouldn't want to serve those who they disagree with.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796
from the comments

Tabitha Woodruff · Anti- Human Trafficking Specialist at The Salvation Army USA
As a bisexual who works at the Salvation Army in Columbus, Ohio, I have never seen the Salvation Army discriminate in employment or in services. I love working at the Salvation Army and everyone there is very understanding about my orientation and beliefs. Some of the clients provided comprehensive case management by my department were gay and one was transgender. They received the same quality of services that everyone else in our program did, and we were happy to serve them. Salvation Army policy explicitly forbids us from asking anyone to change their sexual orientation or religious views in order to receive service, and Salvation Army insists that any such behavior would be un-Christlike. We never have and never do make such disrespectful requests. Is there ANY evidence to support these allegations? Any citations? Proof?

Bolding is mine.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6568

"kris_w" wrote:

I doubt they bar entry to LGBT people or anything like that.

I know someone who stayed at our local Salvation Army homeless shelter. I do not believe they would deny someone based on sexual orientation, however you do need to follow the rules of the organization while there.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Lillie, that is a good point - I know that this is viral on FB, but I don't know what proof there is that it is true.

Having said that, if it IS true, that is despicable. I don't typically give them money anyway, just because I so rarely carry cash.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
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"wlillie" wrote:

Tabitha Woodruff · Anti- Human Trafficking Specialist at The Salvation Army USA
As a bisexual who works at the Salvation Army in Columbus, Ohio, I have never seen the Salvation Army discriminate in employment or in services. I love working at the Salvation Army and everyone there is very understanding about my orientation and beliefs. Some of the clients provided comprehensive case management by my department were gay and one was transgender. They received the same quality of services that everyone else in our program did, and we were happy to serve them. Salvation Army policy explicitly forbids us from asking anyone to change their sexual orientation or religious views in order to receive service, and Salvation Army insists that any such behavior would be un-Christlike. We never have and never do make such disrespectful requests. Is there ANY evidence to support these allegations? Any citations? Proof?

Bolding is mine.

This seems like tangible ways they have hurt the gy rights movement. while they may not discriminate on an individual bass, I think working against the institution of Gay Rights is far more damaging.

Since 1986 the Salvation Army has engaged in five major assaults on the LGBT community's civil rights and attempted to carve out exemptions that would allow them to deny gays and lesbians needed services as well as employment.
•When New Zealand considered passage of the Homosexual Law Reform Act in 1986, the Salvation Army collected signatures in an attempt to get the legislation killed. The act decriminalized consensual sex between gay men. The measure passed over the charity's objections.
•In the United Kingdom, the Salvation Army actively pushed passage of an amendment to the Local Government Act. The amendment stated that local authorities "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship." The law has since been repealed, but it led many schools and colleges to close LGBT student organizations out of fear they'd lose their government funding.
•In 2001, the organization tried to extract a resolution from the White House that they could ignore local non-discrimination laws that protected LGBT people. While the commitment would have applied to all employees, the group claimed that it needed the resolution so it "did not have to ordain sexually active gay ministers and did not have to provide medical benefits to the same-sex partners of employees." After lawmakers and civil rights activists revealed the Salvation Army's active resistance to non-discrimination laws, the White House admitted the charity was seeking the exemptions.
•Also in 2001, the evangelical charity actively lobbied to change how the Bush administration would distribute over $24 billion in grants and tax deductions by urging the White House deny funding to any cities or states that included LGBT non-discrimination laws. Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary, issued a statement saying the administration was denying a "regulation sought by the church to protect the right of taxpayer-funded religious organizations to discriminate against homosexuals."
•In 2004, the Salvation Army threatened to close all their soup kitchens in New York City to protest the city's decision to require all vendors and charities doing business with the city to adhere to all civil rights laws. The organization balked at having to treat gay employees equal to straight employees.

Joined: 05/31/06
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I'm happy to give to them, and I consider myself very pro gay rights. I'm also not very religious. We do include some religious organizations in our annual giving, without a qualm.

When LGBT charity volunteers are standing out there in the cold ringing bells I would absolutely throw them some money, too!

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

Those are just bullet points from the blog though; I've never read a news story or something about someone being denied services because of their sexuality. Are you sure they haven't just warped it like a lot of people do to make it sound like something worse than it is?

It's a big charity for military because it's one of the easiest ones for us to get involved with without a long term commitment to get involved. You sign up for as many hours as you want to each season and don't have to worry about getting a call back the next year to ring the bell. Sounds insane, but it's really nice to not here that disbelieving "oh" when you tell a previous charity you've volunteered at that you've moved.

I like the things they do with the money, the way they collect the money (does anyone not have fond memories of putting change in the bucket knowing it was going to help other kids?), and what they do with the money. You don't have to worry about getting junk mail or random phone calls at the most inconvenient time and look at what they do with that money!!!

http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf/vw-local/Programs

and their code of conduct says nothing about who to sleep with
http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf/0/4D8246FFEF9151A4852576D4005CC11D/$file/CodeOfConduct2010rev.pdf

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
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So you are denying the points they stated?

Ijust ask because I've looked up each point. Shall I post an article or confirmationof each bullet point listed? If I do will it matter? Just wonderign because if you bring up as a debate piont that the "facts" are not proof then the only way to contnue the debate, if one is willing, is to then post other references of said facts. However if you are just saying that as a way to distract, then it's not really worth me taking the time of posting facts from other sources.

Joined: 10/22/06
Posts: 1033

Like Alyssa mentioned, I rarely have cash, so don't often donate to the Salvation Army. While I was unaware of this issue with the SA, I think they still (seemingly) help a lot of people. Whether you are bigoted or not, hungry is hungry and homeless is homeless. It's hard to believe that they are asking sexual orientation before passing out warm clothes or that people are answering such questions (gay or straight). If that really is the case, I guess it would make me rethink a contribution. We have lots of good, local options that we choose for our charitable donations, but if those were not available, I might give to the SA. Or work harder to help people on a more personal level where I would be directly involved in the funds/help being disbursed.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
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I'm not trying to distract, I just think "facts" are usually skewed on blogs like that. They want people to be angry about the cause and often twist things to that other people will be angry too. I would like some links please. I know they are against legalizing gay marriage from the stuff I found, but the rest is either outdated crap or twisted.

You have the right to not donate and to share your reasons why, but I think the sharing should be much more complete instead of pulling snippets as that blog did without any background information or what the actual facts really were.

eta-It's Wrong to imply they don't treat all people asking for help the same. Wrong. It makes the credibility of the author null and void. Add the huge contribution link in the middle of the article and they seem really desperate.

Joined: 03/08/03
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I don't know but maybe they are like the Boy Scouts. Discrimination is at the policy level at the top but it doesn't really filter down on a local, hands on level. Just a theory. I doubt they would turn away a hungry or homeless person.

Joined: 01/18/06
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I'm like Blather. I don't give to churches. I donate to other organizations that aren't religiously affiliated. It's not difficult for me to walk past the men in red jackets, cause I almost never carry cash, anyway.

I do donate my old clothing and stuff to their stores though (we haven't got a Goodwill here, so SA it is). They just don't get my money.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

Here is their official stance:

Homosexuality

The Salvation Army holds a positive view of human sexuality. Where a man and a woman love each other, sexual intimacy is understood as a gift of God to be enjoyed within the context of heterosexual marriage. However, in the Christian view, sexual intimacy is not essential to a healthy, full, and rich life. Apart from marriage, the scriptural standard is celibacy.

Sexual attraction to the same sex is a matter of profound complexity. Whatever the causes may be, attempts to deny its reality or to marginalize those of a same-sex orientation have not been helpful. The Salvation Army does not consider same-sex orientation blameworthy in itself. Homosexual conduct, like heterosexual conduct, requires individual responsibility and must be guided by the light of scriptural teaching.

Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex. The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life. There is no scriptural support for same-sex unions as equal to, or as an alternative to, heterosexual marriage.

Likewise, there is no scriptural support for demeaning or mistreating anyone for reason of his or her sexual orientation. The Salvation Army opposes any such abuse.

In keeping with these convictions, the services of The Salvation Army are available to all who qualify, without regard to sexual orientation. The fellowship of Salvation Army worship is open to all sincere seekers of faith in Christ, and membership in The Salvation Army church body is open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army's doctrine and discipline.

Scriptures: Genesis 2:23-24; Leviticus 18:22; Mark 2:16-17; Romans 1:26-27; Romans 5:8; I Corinthians 6:9-11; I Corinthians 13; Galatians 6:1-2; I Thessalonians 4:1-8; I Thessalonians 5:14-15; I Timothy 1:15-16; Jude 7

Recommended for approval by the Commissioners' Conference
Approved for use within the USA by International Headquarters

http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf/0/B6F3F4DF3150F5B585257434004C177D?Opendocument

So they don't agree with it but won't deny services. But it is clear from their history that they will lobby for the ability to discriminate.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I don't know but maybe they are like the Boy Scouts. Discrimination is at the policy level at the top but it doesn't really filter down on a local, hands on level. Just a theory. I doubt they would turn away a hungry or homeless person.

BTW, glad you brought up the Boy Scouts. We are no longer scouting.

My concern was the lobbying they did. I'm really torn but I don't think I will be giving anymore.

Joined: 03/08/03
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I finally caved and let Nathaniel join. Smile

culturedmom's picture
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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I finally caved and let Nathaniel join. Smile

Hahahaha. If you have a good den then I think you find it is well worth it. Sadly in MI the pack here sucked. If you have any cub scout related questions feel free to ask. Smile What is he a Wolf? Did he get his Bobcat yet?

Joined: 03/08/03
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I have no idea, he just started and my husband goes with him. He always gets a little anxious right before a meeting but then has a great time.

Joined: 06/04/07
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Our agency deals heavily with the Salvation Army and I can assure you that they don't discriminate based on orientation at all. The only time they don't assist those in need is when they don't have the funding to help or a person's emergency doesn't fit their criteria. It's also not affiliated only with the Evangelical Church as the Knights of Columbus in our region do the majority of the bell ringing as well as other local churches. The rest are actually those that are homeless or in economic crisis and paid to bell ring. The majority of our churches of all faiths have come together and unified to give most of their charity money for the homeless or those in crisis to the Salvation Army so it's a one-stop shop instead of needing a person in need to bounce from church to church for help. I know this agreement is not the same everywhere, but it certainly works for individuals who are not associated with any church and have no one else who can help.

Because they're well known and willing to bell ring and fund raise, Salvation Army has much more money to assist in emergencies than the human service agencies are allotted in our state, especially for adults without children. Many states don't even have emergency funding for human services for all individuals so those in need would be relying even more so on institutions such as this one. To refuse to donate because of possibilities that their POV on one issue while they don't discriminate regardless of their POV, I think is fairly sad when they absolutely help every person in need. To not do so would be against their own convictions.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
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My objection isn't to them turining away individuals or even discrimination on an individual basis (like the kind you have mentioned Beertje). I don't think they would ask anyone first if they are gay before giving them a meal. However, my objection and concern is to the lobbying and discrimination they do (or try ot do) on a larger institutional scale.

Joined: 06/04/07
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"culturedmom" wrote:

My objection isn't to them turining away individuals or even discrimination on an individual basis (like the kind you have mentioned Beertje). I don't think they would ask anyone first if they are gay before giving them a meal. However, my objection and concern is to the lobbying and discrimination they do (or try ot do) on a larger institutional scale.

I totally understand and agree with the concern, but I don't believe they can use the resources they receive for emergency assistance to assist those in need for lobbying their personal religious agenda. If they were, then I'd definitely would be raising a huge stink about the ethics of it all as I would find that to be misrepresenting the intent of the funds when fundraising.

culturedmom's picture
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When you give to any non-profit, the funds are split into various administrative needs as well as the assistance it is collected for.

Spacers's picture
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"fuchsiasky" wrote:

I don't give to them for this very reason.. Really we give all year long in many ways, whether it is donations to the neighboughood house clothing exchange or food for panhandlers who look hungry. I tend to try to give directly when I see a need or having something to give and skip the organizations.

Same here.

Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

"culturedmom" wrote:

When you give to any non-profit, the funds are split into various administrative needs as well as the assistance it is collected for.

Sure, administrative needs to execute the monies for what it's intended for. Lobbying for a different need/want would not fall under this, rather out of a different pot of funds.

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
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Nope, Tracey. They are all co-mingled. Honest. I'm a fundraiser by profession.

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"boilermaker" wrote:

Nope, Tracey. They are all co-mingled. Honest. I'm a fundraiser by profession.

Why would they be co-mingled when there's separate agendas/needs/etc? That just baffles me. Years ago, I worked for a nonprofit that dealt with many different funds intended for different uses and for auditing, we had to have everything separated, each cost allocated to each fund/pot of money for which it was intended for. Has that since changed?

wlillie's picture
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The Salvation Army isn't audited. They don't have to.

boilermaker's picture
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"Beertje" wrote:

Why would they be co-mingled when there's separate agendas/needs/etc? That just baffles me. Years ago, I worked for a nonprofit that dealt with many different funds intended for different uses and for auditing, we had to have everything separated, each cost allocated to each fund/pot of money for which it was intended for. Has that since changed?

No-- but when you drop money into a bucket-- it is considered an "unrestricted" gift-- so they will use it for whatever they need. If you made a gift of $1,000 and said that it had to go to food, sure, that would go to food. But when you don't designate it, it can be used for whatever the organization would like....

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
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And wllillie-- I'm sure they are audited. Most non-profits are to maintain their 501 (c)(3) status....many of them will publish their financials, as well, so that donors can audit them.

Joined: 05/31/06
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I'm sure that they are audited, they are a billion some dollar international organization. Since they are a church, they don't need to disclose their financials like many non profits do. Maybe that is what you mean?

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

Yep, that's what I meant. Sorry!

Joined: 06/04/07
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"boilermaker" wrote:

No-- but when you drop money into a bucket-- it is considered an "unrestricted" gift-- so they will use it for whatever they need. If you made a gift of $1,000 and said that it had to go to food, sure, that would go to food. But when you don't designate it, it can be used for whatever the organization would like....

But if the bucket is advertised as to exactly what it's used for, such as the Red Kettle Bell Ringing, the money can't be used for other purposes.

All the money raised during the Red Kettle Campaign stays locally and will help run the food pantry, after school programs and help with funds distributing Christmas presents.

http://www.observertoday.com/page/content.detail/id/566203/Ring-that-bell--volunteers-help-Salvation-Army.html?nav=5047

All of the money raised will to the go to local social services programs of the Salvation Army in Claycord.

http://blog.sfgate.com/incontracosta/2011/12/05/120-years-after-it-began-in-san-francisco-the-tradition-continues-in-claycord/

I don't see the Salvation Army's bell ringing as it being unspecified even though they're putting in in a bucket. They're advertising exactly what the money is used for and it's not for lobbying.