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Barbara Weicksel

VIEWS & VOICES

The Salvation Army doesn’t ring the gay bell

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Since the Salvation Army is on every street corner and outside every store with their little red kettles trying to reach your heartstrings at this time of the year, I’m thinking perhaps this is the right time to fill you in on the do-gooders who aren’t really such good doers.

Let me state upfront that the Salvation Army has done good work – I don’t deny this – what I’m saying is this… If you’re gay or you support gay rights – you should not put money in the little red kettles.

The Salvation Army has a history of discrimination against gays and lesbians here in the States and elsewhere in the world. Yes, they do offer their services to all who are in need, however if you are a practicing homosexual (having sex) then you are ineligible for full membership in the Salvation Army.

They also believe if you are a Christian and you are attracted to members of the same sex you should embrace celibacy as a way of life. In other words – if you’re gay and having sex – you can’t work for them.

There are also documented cases of pure discrimination of gays and lesbians who went to the Salvation Army for help.

The gay couple was told that help would only come if they broke up and the lesbian couple and their children were told that they had two choices: One of the lesbian women could live on the street and the Salvation Army shelter would take the other lesbian and the children or… they could all sleep on the street.

The Salvation Army also gave money here in California to help Prop 8 halt the marriage rights of gays and lesbians.

Yes, I’m aware that The Salvation Army is a Christian organization whose roots are deep in the teachings of the Bible.

And yes, I’m also aware that The Salvation Army is considered a “church” and thus entitled to all the tax-exempt and other misguided “gifts” our government deems to bestow upon them.

And yes, I do understand that they have every right to make their own rules and serve whomever they please. It doesn’t mean that I have to agree or that I can’t voice my total disgust with their system.

Maybe it’s just me – but I believe that an organization that labels itself a charity and collects money from anyone and everyone – should in turn give services to anyone and everyone.

If I were to place money in one of those little red kettles would that bell-ringer ask me first is I was a member of the LGBTQ Community? Would the money fly back out of the kettle because it was “unclean?” Of course not – they take the money from everyone. But if my partner Susan and I needed their help – help would not be forthcoming without some sort of straight hoop for us to jump through.

So, just to be clear… LGBTQ money is perfectly fine to flow through the Salvation Army – but the LGBTQ Community is not worthy to partake in what help flows from our own contributions. Does this make any sense to you – on any level?

Try and imagine how you would feel if you needed help and were turned away from a shelter simply because of who you are and who it is you fell in love with. Charity is defined as something given to a person in need, there’s nothing in the definition about exceptions for the LGBTQ Community. These exceptions belong entirely to The Salvation Army.

If you are considering where to give your money this year, I’m asking you to walk past the little red kettles, and please consider your local food bank, or Habitat for Humanity or any of the many different charities who offer help without any sort of prejudice.

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73 more reader comments:

  1. shared

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:29pm
  2. that’s why i don’t donate to them or buy from them they suck.!!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:31pm
  3. Which is why I don’t support them and never have. :)

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:35pm
  4. Hence why they don’t even deserve a penny from me.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:36pm
  5. I used to give. Not anymore. But if I ever need their services, I won’t hesitate.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:38pm
  6. Ignorance is bliss… You should do your homework…

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:38pm
  7. I remembered hearing about people putting fake money in the kettles years ago because of this. I just don’t care for charities that aren’t actually charitable.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:39pm
  8. A deal was cut by The Sally and W. Bush early in his first term allowing the S. Army to refuse employment based on orientation. Fortunately there are more and more secular charities that don’t discriminate. The list of christian orgs that hold a bible up in front of you and insist you open it before they fill your bowl is appalling. The success rate of the Salvation Army A.R.S., adult rehabilitation center, is in large part due to people who are not ‘adherents’ to this bizarre faith like Dr. Edward Lataille who devised their program. The S.A. makes a whole lot more than their various rehab and charity programs cost to run. Go to a S.A. Sunday service sometime if you want to be creeped out. These are people who’ve reset their minds to the 19th century. They drive nice cars though.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:40pm
  9. I was surprised you didn’t put a picture of the salvation army voucher with this article. Very well written, and here is a link.

    https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=394902727250900&id=141377152603460&set=a.283598935047947.66707.141377152603460&refid=17

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:40pm
  10. Not putting money in the kettles IS NOT hurting the SA… it is hurting the needy families in your own community, who will be depending on donations to EAT this Christmas. This is bigger than an aggreanceon LIFESTYLE… The ripples of our decisions go way further than we think… Did you ever stop and think that MAYBE just maybe the same $ you didnt donate would have went to help a family with a GLBT child???? I guess not.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:43pm
  11. I have an openly gay friend who works for them . Ringing the bells every year. I know in Michigan, we have the non discriminate thing for jobs where they can’t judge u to determine if your good for the job or not this goes for everything race, gender, disability, sexuality. I don’t know…

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:44pm
  12. That is why I don’t give them money when I see them during the holidays. I stopped years ago!

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:46pm
  13. Why would a CHRISTIAN organization go OUT OF ITS WAY to hire out of the GLBT community??? You cannot tell me that you boycott everyone who believes in conventional Christianity.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:47pm
  14. You don’t agree with the Salvation Army’s stance on the lgbt community. It’s great that you are standing up against higotry.
    But who are you hurting by not donating to them? Families that RELY on the Salvation Army to feed their children and put clothes on their back.
    Some of us (in the the lgbt community) are so willing to stop supporting organizations that don’t fully support us, without thinking about who it affects. And this makes us no better than the people who are the opposite side withdrawing support from charities who support us.
    Think about it people.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:48pm
  15. Why can’t you accept what’s right in front of you. It’s well known that they discriminate based on orintation.

    By the way: Homosexuality is not a “aggreanceon LIFESTYLE”. It is a genetic trait just as heterosexuality is a genetic trait.

    Ignorance apparently isn’t bliss after all…

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:54pm
  16. A statement directly from the Salvation Army’s website. Please read it.
    http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf/vw-dynamic-index/B6F3F4DF3150F5B585257434004C177D?Opendocument

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:56pm
  17. @Travis: I donate to other organizations that help needy familys. Simple as that SA is not the be all end all when it comes to ways to help out the less fortunate.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:57pm
  18. I’m a member of the lay clergy for the salvation army. I keep trying to get them to take me off the books and they won’t do it.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:58pm
  19. No they sure don’t. I will not support any homophobic companies

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2:59pm
  20. @nicholas: you are correct, they are not.
    But they still help a lot of families

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 3:01pm
  21. And your attempts to hide your bigotry behind thinly veiled concern for the less fortunate is both obvious and pathetic.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 3:03pm
  22. That was directed at “Sundai”

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 3:04pm
  23. This story doesn’t hold true for all regions. I just recently talked to a lesbian woman who works for the Salvation Army as a bell ringer and also at one of the Salvation Army shelters, and she says they house Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, and Gender Queer people all the time in our region. I was also told that they allow the LGBT people full participation in their charity services to include the soup kitchen.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 3:11pm
  24. christ loves all and we all have same rules to abide by 10 commandments. when sa gets thier head out of thier kettle then they can see that homosexuality is not adultery. can i get an amen?

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 3:12pm
  25. Shove a kettle up their butts.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 3:15pm
  26. Amen, Brother! By the Power of Love, verily wilt they pull their heads out of their asses!

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 3:17pm
  27. Sundai Wishintheywasonmylevel: Lady, I Boycott ALL Bigots, no matter how they deign to justify that bigotry.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 3:21pm
  28. Travis Harry: There are other Organizations that help as well that don’t discriminate. Those that “rely” on SA for their stuff haven’t looked hard enough at the options around them, it’s extremely rare for SA to be the only aid in town.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 3:24pm
  29. The problem is that some of the S.A.’s money is ultimately going to anti-gay causes– which ends up hurting LGBTQ people like me. As other posters have pointed out, there are other charitable organizations to help those in need that DON’T discriminate in the process.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 3:40pm
  30. wow that is sad, they r supposed to be a non profit charity that helps the needy and less fortunate. but they wont help gay people because of their sexual orientation.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 3:45pm
  31. I will stop putting money in their kettles!! How can they deny people in need?

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 3:59pm
  32. I will no longer donate money to their little kettles!! How can they deny people in need?

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 4:00pm
  33. I have papers that look like checks that I put in their kettles. They read: ” this would’ve been a real check except I don’t donate to any charity that funds anti gay legislation. Gay holidays to u all”. My partner and I have been doing it since they donated to prop 8 in CA. They will never get another dime from us.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 4:13pm
  34. People, there are other charities out there that actually spend contributions to feed people who need help during the holidays. If I give to the Salvation Army, I don’t know if my money is being used to help the needy or to a right wing political cause. I won’t be giving any money to the salvation Army, but will donate to local rescue missions instead. That way I know my money is being used for good instead of for political purposes.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 4:15pm
  35. The Salvation Army also objects to Jewish people.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 4:18pm
  36. Withholding donations from the SA is no worse than boycotting Chick-fil-a. Both have the potential to adversely affect innocent employees and families. Regardless, it is every individual’s right to spend/donate their money as they see fit, and for me personally, I will find other charities to support.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 4:19pm
  37. yep I will no longer donate to a religious organization that spends its donation on political agenda

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 4:31pm
  38. Who are they hurting??? GLBT

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 4:42pm
  39. Years ago, I was offered a job at their Atlanta regional office. I turned it down due to the discriminatory policies. I also do not contribute to their Christmas kettles. Instead, I give money to organizations who help people based on need and nothing else.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 5:04pm
  40. And I actually donated to them.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 5:08pm
  41. I used to give money EVERY TIME someone was ringing a bell. I know it goes to a good cause, but I can’t in my right mind donate anything more to them…

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 5:14pm
  42. I walk right by and tell my daughter why we don’t give to them

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 6:36pm
  43. Boycott them they have been bigots for years….

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 7:14pm
  44. I haven’t given to them in years for this reason. The first year I put slips of paper in the kettles that said “This used to be money until I found out you use it to fund anti-gay and anti-choice legislation,” I think this year I will put slips that say “Stop discriminating” and/or “God loves gay people too,” etc.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 5:41pm
  45. Sundai Wishintheywasonmylevel Your a idiot. There is no conventional Christianity. There is only Christianity and that is to love you neighbor as you love your self, not to judge others, and to follow the teaching of Christ. Your version is not really Christianity but a bigoted religion that you call Christianity.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 5:55pm
  46. I can’t belive they have the heart 2 turn someone away it hurts so bad 2 think it it breaks my heart

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 6:12pm
  47. People have always questioned me as to why I won’t donate $ or volunteer for this so called organization…this is my biggest reason as to why I will never do anything!

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 7:42pm
  48. for 1. You shouldnt have to disclose your sexuality, for 2. They shouldnt discriminate no matter what. and 3. This must be only in certain areas because I volunteered for them and Im An Out Lesbian! :)

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 9:09pm
  49. well they certainly dont mound taking taking from the Gay community…..they always trying to get me when i leave a store. like really?!

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 9:13pm
  50. mind *

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 9:13pm
  51. I for one will c them burn before I give them a penny.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 9:14pm
  52. My favorite thing to tell them is that I was created in his image therefore god is gay

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 9:16pm
  53. Me too. Enough of this bollocks. Out all the haters especially when they hide behind a wall of fear & hatred.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 9:19pm
  54. BOYCOTT! I wont even donate my old crap to them anymore.

    Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 11:17pm
  55. Makes u just want to rip the bell out of their hand …

    Posted on Monday, December 3, 2012 at 4:34am
  56. this is ridiculous….

    Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 6:33pm
  57. thats sad. and bullshit

    Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 6:38pm
  58. That’s old news.

    Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 6:38pm
  59. F them.

    Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 6:39pm
  60. True – they are a bunch of bigots, masquerading as a charity.

    Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 6:50pm
  61. Well, then I won’t support them!

    Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 6:54pm
  62. Good thing I never supported them! So sad that some ppl are so brain washed by religion F*%# them!!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 7:15pm
  63. i wish they would ask me to donate… imma tell em im gay so they dont want my money…

    Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 7:29pm
  64. Oh, no! They never have rung the gay bell! In spite of their new dance moves.

    Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 7:50pm
  65. I have never donated to those religious bigots. If they want me to start donating to them, then they need to accept gays as humans deserving of their charity as much as straight people.

    Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 7:55pm
  66. and because of that reason i will no longer be putting my money in their stupid red bins

    Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 8:28pm
  67. We have them in Fiji, I hope they don’t do the same

    Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 9:06pm
  68. I applied to ring the bell one year while very very pregnant and with a broken back. They wouldn’t allow me to work because I needed accommodation (a chair). They refused to recognize my documented disability because I was not confined to a wheelchair. Gays and disabled persons were not among Christ’s forgotten or rejected. Salvation Army is just another group of hypocrites that hide behind the Jesus flag.

    Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 9:09pm
  69. I dunno if if I believe the whole gay thing…. The other day, my girlfriend And I saw an obviously gay woman ringing the bell…

    Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 9:56pm
  70. Started putting vouchers in the kettle. When they stop excluding LGBTQ from their services, I’ll give again.

    Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 10:06pm
  71. They also don’t help you if you aren’t a Christian

    Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 11:39pm
  72. What a dis-service to the poor. Why should I ever donate again when there are so many other organizations that help the poor simply because it’s the right thing to do?

    Posted on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 12:34am
  73. Not feeling so bad now about not donating all those times I passed it up… I’d rather donate to an organization that says “you look like you need help, here you go” and even if the person says “I’m gay” or “I’m an atheist” The person who made the offer will say “so? Get in there and get helped.”

    Posted on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 3:20pm