Non-Profit Not Good For Gays

No Salvation For Salvation Army, Says Journo

Floridian sappho-journo Lisa Neff wants to do good, but not with the Salvation Army:

One belief of Salvationists is “the Salvation Army does not consider same-sex orientation blameworthy in itself. Homosexual conduct, like heterosexual conduct, requires individual responsibility and must be guided by the light of scriptural teaching.

“Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex. The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life. There is no scriptural support for same-sex unions as equal to, or as an alternative to, heterosexual marriage.”

I’ve considered taking up a shift as a bell-ringer and making sure the leaders of my local Salvation Army chapter know who I am, who I love, and how much I appreciate the good work and the promise to serve all but that I disagree with the misguided beliefs and cruel politics.

But that idea sets off bells in my head and rings false in my heart. I just know that I can’t ring the bell. I can’t contribute to the red kettle. I can’t donate for discrimination.

We’ve been thinking about this issue a lot recently: the Salvation Army does loads of good, but, as Neff points out, doesn’t support gay rights. In fact, it’s categorically against gay rights. Can we ignore their queer politics and look at the greater good? More importantly: should we?

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  • Laurie

    This is sad, but doesn’t surprise me. Yesterday I was accosted by one of their bell-ringers screaming “Merry Christmas!” and basically blocking shoppers from exiting a store without donating. I didn’t though, because I was annoyed by the aggressiveness and the presumption of Christianity (Yes, I am that picky!). Now I’m glad I didn’t, I’ll save my money for a worthy organization like UNICEF.

  • stebbins

    Um…no, we shouldn’t. Give, just not to them. Plenty of worthwile causes that don’t discriminate against the gays.

  • Matt

    There are plenty of organizations doing good works that don’t prostletyze or condemn gays and lesbians. Give money to them, and ignore the bell-ringers.

  • John

    I am firmly in the camp of walking right by the red kettle, hands firmly in my pockets (so to speak). As the others point out, there are plenty of organizations that do good works with our donations without condemning us.

  • Bitch Republic

    No one should support the Salvation Army. If people stopped giving to these homophobic organizations, they’d change or go away and new organizations would emerge to provide the services they were offering.

  • James

    So, what are these other organizations we should give to? I agree that the Salvation Army is not going to get my money, but it would help if you provided some names of others who should get my donation. Thanks!

  • Jay


    Old boy scouts.

    About two weeks ago, I e-mailed Panera, at one of whose stores the SA was dinging away, to complain about the noise (and the evil). And the SA has not been there since. I’m sure it wasn’t just my complaint, but how nice to get this kind of response when you complain about something evil in the world.

  • Qjersey

    I hate them this time of year, what other group of people have to walk by bell ringers who are nothing more than a reminder that there are people who think of us as less than worthy of full participation in society.

    I bring my old clothes directly to the local homeless shelter. Thanksgiving morning my boyfriend and I dropped off a big bag of old coats, the pastor in charge was falling over himself with appreciation and I said to him “we just aren’t comfortable donating to the salvation army anymore we’d rather give direct.” He looked at me then my boyfriend and said “you are always welcome here.”

  • cjc

    Another reason I shop at Target: even though they’ve been bullied by the right wing and Fox News to give to the Salvation Army behind the scenes, they won’t allow bell ringers, Girl Scouts, Jews for Jesus, NAMBLA, PFOX, PFLAG, DNC, RNC, E-T-C out in front of their stores to accost customers.

  • yarapa

    The SA gets nothing from me. I give to individuals in my community when they need it. I trust very few organizations. I have adopted and raised seven kids, put food in their bellies, clothes on their back and a sense of value in their hearts. None of my kids are haters. They all try to pass on kindness when they can. I believe you shopuld walk the walk not talk the talk…or ring that damn bell.

  • The Ghost of Dewey Carroll

    My great-uncle was a very talented man. I still remember the sitting man with the movable ball and chain around his ankle he carved out of a solid piece of wood. He was also an alcoholic who lived on the streets when he was using, which was most of the time when he was older.

    The Salvation Army would try to help him get back on his feet, which was a great comfort for my great grandparents, who might not hear from him for months. Uncle Dewey died in the County jail by drowning in his own vomit.

    It’s hard for me to pass by a SA kettle without thinking of him and pitching in a few bucks. Even though I don’t agree with their judgmental attitude towards gays, I do agree with their willingness to help people in need.

  • Gregg

    I am so glad to see a real article about the dark force that is the Salvation Army.

    A few years ago, they were more tolerant of homosexuality – back when they had to abide by anti-discrimination laws or lose public funding. But a 1.5 billion (that’s billion with a “b”) dollar bequest from a McDonald’s heiress gave them financial independence. With no need for public funding, they promptly threw out any tolerance for homosexuals, firing gay staff in the process.

    Funny how they only stood by the “truth” of their scriptures when they didn’t need the cash. If they can afford to dismiss gay people, then I can easily dismiss them.

  • eagledancer4444

    I felt awkward the day before I read this thread–I was walking into a grocery store, and the SA bellringer seemed off the scale lesbian. One of the things that hasn’t been mentioned so far is who the bellringers are themselves–not just representatives or supporters of SA, but very poor people who are being paid to ring the bell.

    I would like to think she might have found more appropriate temp employment, but maybe she’s too poor to be able to have internet access and read Queerty.

  • dfrw

    I will not give to SA. Once I discovered their anti-gay policies years ago, I stopped dropping money into the kettle and I won’t again until they drop the discrimination.

  • Ryan

    I was just wondering if anyone had any suggestions for organizations that we could give to as an alternative to the SA. I know there must be some out there, I know someone mentioned UNICEF, and I always make a donation to Habitat for Humanity in my parents name rather than just buy them some crap they don’t really need.

    any other organizations folks can think of?
    (also I have to admit its nice to read a queerty comments section for once and not see some kind of belligerent flame war, keep it up!)

  • spunkbox

    Whenever I see those damn bellringers, I drop a note in the bucket that says ‘Jesus can lick my juicy butthole’.

  • todd

    Everytime I see someone giving to the Salvation Army, I yell out, “Don’t give to them – they discriminate!!”

    If it’s just me, I ask the Bell ringer if she has change for a $100 bill. Then I laugh, and say, “Maybe I will catch you on the way out!”

  • Matt

    Ryan: Greenpeace. The Point Foundation. Lambda Legal. GLAAD. PFLAG. GMHC. Amnesty International. Habitat for Humanity. Nature Conservancy. America’s Second Harvest. UNICEF. Local food depositories, homeless shelters and family services. If you’re interested in church-based social action, the UUC, MCC, Unitarian-Universalists, and American Friends Service Committee can provide long lists of local, national, and international work you can support.

    I’m sure there are lots of others people can add to the list of Not-The-Salvation-Army.

  • PmZephyr

    They are receiving U. S. Government funds under the policy of state funded churchy activities known as the Bush compasionate blahblah somethingorother that gives taxpayer money to churches and other flimflammers. They will deny this but they came up on a list obtained through FOIA as recipients of millions of dollar from the Bush regime. I tell this to the bellringy dingalings at the entrances to stores. They have no need to ring bells for money in the bucket anymore. They are government funded bigots so why would we give them even a dime in the bucket?

  • Steve

    “Can we ignore their queer politics and look at the greater good?”

    There is no greater good than advocating for equality. If we all had the same rights, we wouldn’t need the Salvation Army.

Comments are closed.