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.)