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Readers Mixed On Salvation Army

December 19, 2012 Religion 5 Comments

The results are in, most readers give to the Salvation Army at least on rare occasions. But the biggest group, just under 40%, never give:

Q: Do you drop money in the Salvation Army red kettle?

  1. Never 58 [39.73%]
  2. Sometimes 39 [26.71%]
  3. Rarely 32 [21.92%]
  4. Always 17 [11.64%]
  5. I’d rather not say 0 [0%]

This may sound like many are cold and heartless but a couple of reader comments on my original post help explain part of the issue:

“used to but not since I’ve heard their stance of gays” — reader PR

“As a religious person, I do have a problem with their tactics. Proselytizing should not be part of the delivery of social services. One should not be ‘made to sing’ for their supper or spoken to about the lack of God in their life. There are plenty of religious charities (Catholic, Jewish, etc) that do not engage in such activities, but unfortunately, the Salvation Army does.” –– reader Fenian

You see, the Salvation Army is a religious organization and this enters into their policies:

“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.”

The above policy was deleted after a Salvation Army media person in Australia agreed that homosexuals deserve death (The Atlantic). They released a one page Q&A that included the following:

“The leadership of The Salvation Army continues to reflect on Christian and Biblical tradition, and especially on the themes of justice and mercy, to further deepen the understandings of our own members and build a more healthy relationship with the GLBT community.”

This gay atheist will have nothing to do with them. There are plenty of other charities, religious & secular, that are more open, no need to donate to the Salvation Army to help the community.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    While I certainly respect your (and anyone else’s) choices on which charities to support, I am conflicted on the Salvation Army. I know nothing about how they deliver their services, but I do see that they try to help people with substance abuse problems (indirectly addressing one of the core issues of homelessness) and they’re one of two national organizations (the other being the Red Cross) that responds in a big way to national disasters, bringing mobile kitchens and other support services to areas in need, apparently with no proselytizing attached. And while I’m no fan of religion being forced down anyone’s throats, I also see where embracing a religious philosophy has helped many people better deal with the challenges in their lives. That said, I am a bit uncomfortable with the tone of this posting, since, if you dig deeply enough into any religious philosophy, especially its past practices, you’re bound to find practices and policies (support for polygamy, slavery, circumcision and arranged marriages, discrimination against gays and women) that you won’t agree with. Much like condemning Planned Parenthood because they provide abortions, and pretty much anyone running for political office, one has to weigh the good anyone or group does against policies you, personally, can’t support. Your last quote indicates that the SA is looking to change; having “nothing to do with them” reminds me of the political gridlock in DC . . . .

  2. Eric says:

    I like that nobody voted for “I’d rather not say”. Apparently everyone who didn’t want to say just avoided the poll entirely 🙂

  3. RyleyinSTL says:

    While the Army clearly holds on tight to it’s bible, and by doing so serves an injustice to all of us, it really does do some good work. Unfortunately in STL it’s hard to find any charity, big or small, that ultimately isn’t pushing (or backed by) some kind of religious organization. I have found that hard to come to terms with as an atheist. How do I support a positive cause which I find important without encouraging it’s attached religious enterprise (which I feel to be harmful/irrelevant)?

    • guest says:

      There are lots of charities not pushing or backed by religious organizations. Start with average neighborhood development corporation. Most of those are 501(c)3 non profits, and they don’t do the religion thing. What about most arts organizations? Or kids organizations? Saying they all push a religious agenda is not fair.


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