Thursday, November 29, 2012

Charity Case

This is the time of year when you start seeing those folks standing outside stores and shopping malls with the Salvation Army kettles, ringing their little bells, asking you to put in some money.  It’s a tradition going back decades, and they do it to help those less fortunate.  The Salvation Army also has collected and distributed a lot of funds and help during the recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, and they do provide help for the less fortunate.  That’s very noble of them, and I am sure that there are a lot of people who are grateful for their assistance.

But remember one thing: the Salvation Army is not a charity.  It is an evangelical church, and despite protests to the contrary, they are anti-gay and promote discrimination in their hiring practices against LGBT people.  No, they do not discriminate against people who avail themselves of their services or receive help from them, but if you want to work for them, you can’t be gay.

Far be it from me to tell you who to give your money to in terms of charitable giving; that is strictly between you and your purse.  If you want to support the Salvation Army in what they do, please do.  But remember that it comes with a little bit of a price.

As for me, when I see those people standing outside the mall or a store, I smile and walk right on by.  I do not wish to embarrass them by giving them any money that might be tainted by being earned by someone who would chew away at their theological fabric.  That would be very uncharitable.

(For more on the Salvation Army’s history on LGBT people, check out Americablog.)

9 barks and woofs on “Charity Case

  1. If you read the AmericaBlog article you see that they do discriminate against LGBT people Salvation Army USA Turned Away Gay Couple in Need – Links to the NYT fot follow-up. I like your way of doing it. I have never smiled at them. Will start doing that. Thanks,

  2. When I got to your second paragraph, you and I were on the same page. If you hadn’t pointed out their discriminitory practices, I would have. I too, pass them by.

  3. I have one issue with this however, through an experience I had in Kroger’s vestibule on a cold December afternoon. I politely explained to the youngish black bell-ringer that the reason I wasn’t going to toss a couple of bills into the pot was for the very reason MB outlines. The young man shrugged and said he knew nothing about policy, that this was just a badly needed job for him. So since then I’ve followed my husband’s lead and contributed a couple of pieces of “silver” even while knowing it goes to pay for the administration of an organization whose policies I deplore.

    Help me out here . . . .

    • I doubt the bell-ringer’s job depended on whether or not you contributed, and — cynic that I am — I’d guess that he was told not to engage with people who challenged him on the policy.

      As I said in the post, they do great things for people in need. But at a price to others.

  4. Your issue is noted and understood. However, I do contribute to the Salvation Army as I can see their money and work in action on an almost daily basis. Countless old drunks and winos get hot coffee and doughnuts and warm clothing from the Army. I’ve known people who were, through no fault of their own, in dire circumstances and the Salvation Army helped them. I’ve known people who were in terrible shape because of their lifestyle or lack of mental ability and the Salvation Army helped them repeatedly. I’ve seen many children show up with winter coats and school clothes because the Salvation Army helped.

    *The Army has always been a church/religious organization.*

    Personally, I refuse to contribute one penny to the United Way as they spend so much money on employees, offices, and “education.”

    • Of all the charities, the Salvation Army spends more of the money towards people, and less on salaries. I never realized they didn’t treat everyone the same.

      But I will never donate to the United Way, or the Red Cross, others, depends on the sitution at the time.

  5. I’d agree with your position, but my former sister-in-law was Jewish and schizophrenic and often lived on the streets. The only people in the world who actually helped her (lots of people tried) long-term were the Salvation Army folks. I’m a Christian, but I’ve had issues with Evangelicals, who I believe have intolerant tendencies. But the Salvation Army people were amazing, and they didn’t care what her beliefs were. They just helped, as their Christian duty or calling or whatever.

    • My position is quite clear: I am very aware that they provide a service and I am very, very happy your former sister-in-law was helped by them. That’s not the issue. The issue is that they discriminate against LGBT people in their hiring practices. They’ll help anyone in need, but they won’t hire them if they’re gay. That’s a deal breaker for me.

  6. Pingback: The Reaction: Charity case: Anti-gay bigotry at the Salvation Army - hardPuppy - Network Blog

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