Salvation Army slaps ‘gag order’ on employees so they don’t talk about LGBTQ issues

December 22 2010: A Salvation Army soldier rings the bell for donations in midtown Manhattan during Christmas season.

December 22 2010: A Salvation Army soldier rings the bell for donations in midtown Manhattan during Christmas season. Shutterstock

“If you run into a Salvation Army bell ringer this Christmas season, don’t strike up a conversation about President Trump or gay marriage,” warns FOX News host Todd Starnes is telling his audience.

Starnes says employees “have been told to stop posting their opinions about gay marriage, abortion or anything political on social media because it might reflect poorly on the organization.”

The far right pundit says he has leaked copies of internal memos from the home office to staffers instructing them to keep mum about controversial topics.

Related: Salvation Army opens LGBT specific homeless shelter, but you should be dubious

The religious charity has come under fire in the United States over the past decade for their atrocious record on LGBT rights. To attempt to stem the ongoing outrage over the group’s previous stances on LGBT issues, they started a public relations campaign to deny that they are anti-LGBT while never acknowledging their history.

In short, they’ve tried to sweep their past under the rug when they could end the whole thing by simply apologizing and promising to do betterWithout the apology, any attempts they make will be met with skepticism.

Instead, the Army has now apparently instructed employees to simply not talk about their opinions or beliefs on the subject.

Related: Salvation Army busted discriminating against transgender people (again)

“Political or social opinions (such as hot topic issues like LGBTQ Marriage, Officer Housing, or Abortion) should not be included in profiles, and officers should refrain from posting anything that expresses a political view,” the guidelines for Salvation Army officers state according to Starnes.

“This is a threat to our reputation, our fundraising efforts, and ultimately our ability to serve people in need,” read an email to staffers.

In 2014, our sister site, Queerty, exposed two internal Salvation Army USA documents that laid out exactly how the religious org planned to battle the negative publicity. The memos described their plan for a “strategy of containment” that included whitewashing their past, confusing potential donors, and refusing to take responsibility for their horrendous history of discrimination.

Of course, Starnes’ report has the religious right up in arms with his report. Not because the group is trying to brush their anti-LGBTQ history under the rug and protect their fundraising, but because they won’t talk about “sexual sin” in front of the red kettles.

The Army has pussyfooted around the issue because while their anti-LGBTQ history has potentially cost them millions in donations over the past decade as queer folk and allies boycott the red kettles, they also don’t want the religious right leading a boycott of them for being too LGBTQ-friendly.

Until the Salvation Army takes a public stand once and for all on whether or not they support LGBTQ people with more than words, the whiplash between the religious right and civil rights activists will continue.

As their savior told his followers, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

 

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