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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Walk On By Salvation Army Bell Ringers

Posted by on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Bil Browning:

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.... On its webpage, the group claims that "the services of The Salvation Army are available to all who qualify, without regard to sexual orientation." While the words are nice, their actions speak volumes. They blatantly ignore the position statement and deny LGBT people services unless they renounce their sexuality, end same-sex relationships, or, in some cases, attend services "open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army's doctrine and discipline." In other words, if you're gay or lesbian, you don't qualify.

Go read the whole thing.


Comments (31) RSS

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The_Shaved_Bear 1
I never give to them. They are a total xtian bible bs group.
Posted by The_Shaved_Bear on November 22, 2011 at 10:36 AM · Report this
kcrobinson 2
The issue isn't purely black and white. A discussion on Reddit a few days ago has lots of comments from people who work/volunteer for Salvation Army as pro-lgbt atheists and see no evidence of any religious or homophobic practices.…
Posted by kcrobinson on November 22, 2011 at 10:36 AM · Report this
Why is slog totally ignoring the racist & anti-gay attack that almost killed salon Danny Vega recently?
Posted by Gee I wonder on November 22, 2011 at 10:38 AM · Report this
Three years ago one of my community college students became homeless during the semester. The only shelter in our midwestern capitol city with any openings for women and children was a SA shelter. This lesbian household was told they had two choices: One of them could live on the street and the shelter would take the other mom and the kids as a "family," or they could all sleep on the street. My student let her partner and kids be a "family" in the eyes of those abusive fuckers while she slept outside. Two school employees even called to try to intervene. My dear great aunt dedicated her life to working with the SA, but that evil organization will never get a cent of my money.
Posted by greendyke on November 22, 2011 at 10:41 AM · Report this
This is a great reminder that their policy allows too much wiggle room. For example, the Sally runs a decent inpatient drug/alcohol rehab next to their store by Safeco Field. With the shutdown of public health rehabs, it's one of the few options left for poor people trying to kick. Patients need to stay in the closet or get booted. Booted with a sweet Christian smile, but booted.
Posted by gloomy gus on November 22, 2011 at 10:47 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 6
@3 uh, this is a good question. I didn't even hear of it till your comment.…

Why didn't this make slog?
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on November 22, 2011 at 10:53 AM · Report this
The sole reason that the Salvation Army exists is to prey on those in desperate need to "save their souls for Christ." Give to a REAL charity, not to an organization in search of victims.
Posted by TechBear on November 22, 2011 at 10:56 AM · Report this
They're also anti-choice. I prefer Goodwill as my charity-of-that-nature.

Posted by offfwhite on November 22, 2011 at 10:58 AM · Report this
Fortunate 9
They also donated money to the Prop 8 Campeign. They have money to spare to deprive people of equal rights then they obviously don't need any other money.

They are an evangelical church who's primary mission is to spread a far right interpretation of Chrsitain beliefs. Helping the poor is incidental. It is just a means by which they can get a captive audiance for their religious indictrination, and give them a lever to use over those people to force them to adhere to their religious principles.

Posted by Fortunate on November 22, 2011 at 11:26 AM · Report this
Give locally. Lambert House is a good place to start.
Posted by SammySeattle on November 22, 2011 at 11:30 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 11
People are only just realizing that the Salvation Army is a pile of shit? It's in the *name*.
Posted by keshmeshi on November 22, 2011 at 11:33 AM · Report this
RE:  the attack on openly-gay Salon owner Danny Vega:

Per the SPD blotter: On November 15th at approximately 7:45 p.m., the victim was walking in the 4200 block of South Othello Street when he was assaulted by three black males. The victim told officers that at some point during the attack he lost consciousness. The suspects stole several items from the victim’s person and fled the area in an unknown direction. The victim walked home and called police. Seattle Fire responded and treated the victim. He was then transported to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. The suspects are described as three black males, approximately 18 years old.
Posted by The Ghost of the Tuba Man on November 22, 2011 at 11:35 AM · Report this
Why does Fred Meyer allow an openly homophobic group to drive their customers insane by loudly ringing bells "INSIDE" their stores. At a minimum make them stand outside. I refuse to go to Fred Meyer during bell ringer season just because of the bells.
Posted by econoline on November 22, 2011 at 11:36 AM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 14
I've ignored them since they gave up the uniforms and the little bands that used to play. Plus, the bell ringers are much more obnoxious and aggressive than they used to be.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on November 22, 2011 at 11:39 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 15

They allow that for girl scouts and brownies as well.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on November 22, 2011 at 11:41 AM · Report this
Thanks for the link, Dan. Appreciate it.
Posted by bilerico on November 22, 2011 at 12:11 PM · Report this
Aren't they supposed to be a non-profit? As such, aren't they to refrain from discrimination based on things like sexual orientation (that one might actually still be legal for them to do), or RELIGION? As a non-prof, they are not allowed to demand any religious allegiance from you. It is ILLEGAL. Perhaps they need a few lawsuits, or a big class action suit? Especially since their CEO makes BOATLOADS of cash, as does the CEO of Goodwill.
Posted by cattycat on November 22, 2011 at 12:25 PM · Report this
John Horstman 18
Also, don't buy wreaths from the Boy Scouts.

@15: ? Girl Scouts, unlike Boy Scouts, is an expressly secular and sexuality-neutral organization. What's the connection?

@17: Unfortunately, religious organizations are allowed to be non-profits simply by virtue of being religious organizations and without complying to all of the other regulations, including actually being not-for-profit (e.g. Catholic Church). It's a bad law in violation of the First Amendment establishment clause, but our Supreme Court is continuously staffed with enough anti-secular asshats that it stays.
Posted by John Horstman on November 22, 2011 at 12:36 PM · Report this
Medina 19
@17, as 18 states, the Salvation Army is a church, not a charity. In fact, being a church shields them from the IRS requirements to disclose donations. Apparently, they are voluntarily disclosing to some watchdog organizations. Still, donating to them is about the same as supporting a church.
Posted by Medina on November 22, 2011 at 1:18 PM · Report this
I'd really like to emphasize the last paragraph, though: "Instead of donating to the Salvation Army, choose a different charity that will help everyone without prejudice."

Salvation Army has a lot of problems, but they DO provide supportive services that are very needed. Please make sure that your efforts to donate to the right charities don't end up with you donating to no charities at all. There are a number of local and national charities that provide services for ANYBODY experiencing homelessness, mental illness, or drug addiction (locally, I suggest YouthCare or DESC).
Posted by Marone on November 22, 2011 at 1:38 PM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 21
In San Francisco, I donate (when I can afford it) to Project Open Hand, which provides hot meals and groceries to people who cannot afford it, originally people with AIDS but now people with other illnesses as well as seniors. I also donate, when I can, to the AIDS Emergency Fund/Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, which provides small grants to pay immediate bills (like electricity or rent) for people's whose illnesses have unexpectedly cut into their income.

My grandparents always donated to St. Anthony's Dining Hall, which mostly feeds homeless, and although it's run by the Catholic Church, of which I am wary, all of the money goes to feeding people and no one, to my knowledge, is turned away for showing up with a same sex partner.
Posted by Kevin_BGFH on November 22, 2011 at 1:51 PM · Report this
Just to present a different side: My best friend's brother is an alcoholic. He is in residential treatment with a SA program. They seem to be helping him in his journey (he blogs weekly about his recovery), and they don't press too hard on the higher power aspect.
Posted by clashfan on November 22, 2011 at 3:47 PM · Report this
Yes Dan. Just like "all who qualify" means crack addicts too.

But you have to give up crack if you want their help.

And attend their sermons. Their sermons and embracing "christianity" (ie, the Salvation Army, which is a Christian sect regardless of what they say) are the cornerstone of the "help" they give people.

In other words, they prey upon the most vulnerable in society as a recruitment method. "Join our church and we'll help you out of the gutter" is their modus operandi. Which is enough of a reason to not donate anything to them in my books.
Posted by gromm on November 22, 2011 at 5:43 PM · Report this
Like others above have said, the Salvation Army is a church not a charity. They do some good charitable things, but bottom line they are a church. If you don't want your money going toward spreading their doctrine donate elsewhere. I have been doing so.
Posted by WestSeven on November 22, 2011 at 5:56 PM · Report this
Tell them you'll donate when they start helping people who aren't straight.
Posted by firedryer on November 22, 2011 at 11:05 PM · Report this
Nevermind. They'd have to be secular to get -my- money.
Posted by firedryer on November 22, 2011 at 11:06 PM · Report this
I used to donate heavily to the Salvation Army. (Well, heavily for me, anyway). But I stopped several years ago because of their anti-gay stance. We need to talk this up, so that more people understand why they should not keep tossing in their coins and dollars.
Posted by Dan Not Savage on November 23, 2011 at 8:08 AM · Report this
@2 - So few things are black and white. I've worked with the homeless for years, so I know Salvation Army helps a lot of people in need. But so do A LOT of other organizations who aren't anti-gay and pro-life. A LOT!! Your local food bank is always a good place to start.
Posted by Sar on November 23, 2011 at 8:57 PM · Report this
I used to date a boy who grew up in a family of Salvation Army Officers - pretty limiting views. They were worried I was corrupting their little boy with my atheism and my leftist morals (i.e. no morals in their view). I'm pretty sure he was the one corrupting me (the Salvationist kids did more drugs than any group I knew growing up). He did get me a job at a Salvation Army summer camp, and, aside from a morning prayer, the camp was very secular. Still, their stances on LGBT issues, and the awful new slogan, "Doing the Most Good" are quite problematic, so I won't be donating any time soon. There are too many local charities that are more open minded here on the East Coast as well.
Posted by BrooklynLady on November 24, 2011 at 8:54 AM · Report this
The Salvation Army does not require any kind of participation in church activities in order to receive services. Our family has received much help in times of need from our local SA church, I am about to start volunteering for them, and I'm a UU. We have never been approached about joining. My children have attended summer camps run by the SA, and except for one service on Sunday, they were not "forced" to do anything religious in nature. They bowed their heads respectfully during prayers at meals and bedtime, but were never expected to "speak to the spirit" in any way.
That being so, and although I am normally a supporter of boycotts for reasons such as these, I can't support this one. The good they do in our community far outweighs the misguided dogma they expect their members to hold to. I saw the people they help when I waited in line for food during a dire time for us a couple of years ago. These people need their services.
Posted by sunmountain on November 25, 2011 at 5:22 PM · Report this

Salvation army does not hire gays, and puts big money into conservative politics (read - anti-gay). They're a big voice in D.C.

Further, SA gets hundreds of millions in gov't funds every year (see article above), and then gets credit as an evangelical Christian organization. Not okay.
Posted by BellieBelle on November 28, 2011 at 1:01 AM · Report this

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