More on the Red Bucket Bigots…

17 Dec

Unless you are gay!

Many of you may remember the recent expose I did on the homophobic Salvation Army (Army of Hate).  I am still encouraging everyone to please stop giving money to the Salvation Army, an organization that actually prides itself on discriminating against the LGBT community–I guess Jesus was a Hater.

However, a very dear friend of mine relayed a very touching story that I felt compelled to share.  I have asked her permission to share it–for me it was a feel good story on so many counts.

My friend Cheryl (a parent Making It Get Better)  is a middle aged beautiful woman, both inside and out.  She also speaks her mind, which I love.  Cheryl has a gay son, whom she is exceedingly supportive of, as she is of me.  Cheryl shares my frustration and anger about those ringing their bells and asking for money to fill their red buckets of hate.  And like me, Cheryl approaches these people to try and educate them (Cheryl is probably much kinder than I when she approaches them).

Cheryl was out shopping and was approached by a young black woman who wished her a Merry Christmas as she rang her bell.  Cheryl calmly and politely asked the young black woman, “do you know that the Salvation Army discriminates against gays and lesbians?”  The young woman asked Cheryl, “Are you a lesbian?”  Cheryl responded, “no but my son is gay.”  The young woman’s face grew very intense and very angry, when she exclaimed, “I am a lesbian.  I didn’t  know the Salvation Army was discriminating against me.”

Of course, Cheryl went into protective mother mode and tried to help the young woman with how to proceed.  How sad that there are probably many LGBT folk and LGBT allies volunteering for an such an oppressive organization.  I have learned and continue to learn from Cheryl and my friend Jennifer L that I need to be more patient when confronting people.

Unfortunately, when I have tried to confront several bell ringers for buckets of hate, I explain that I cannot give money to discriminates against gays and lesbians and the response I get is, “I don’t care–Merry Christmas.”  Sadly, yesterday I was in one of those moods where you just feel like you can eat a Buick as I was walking in downtown Portland.  I was accosted by no less than 35 bell ringers.  I quickly stopped and said, “I’m gay and I don’t give money to bigots.”  Probably not the best way to educate people.  I shall revert back to trying Cheryl’s way.

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5 Responses to “More on the Red Bucket Bigots…”

  1. Jay December 17, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    To me, this is an example of how difficult it can be to ascertain motivation. I’m fairly sure that active malice is the exception, while ignorance or misinformation is the rule.

    It also brings to mind the unkind old saw about how nobody ever went broke underestimating the knowledge of the American people. Plus it highlights the tremendous value of having a broadly favorable brand name.

    Consider the late Christopher Hitchens, who correctly identified Mother Theresa as a friend of poverty rather than of the poor. Many were so shocked when he attacked her and her charitable enterprise that they refused to listen to Hitch’s rather damning evidence.

    I think a similar reflexive defensive reaction has helped to insulate the Salvation Army from legitimate criticism–“But my Grandma would drop coins into those red buckets. How dare you imply my Grandma wasn’t nice!”

    As a consequence many people shut down and refuse to listen to evidence that the Salvation Army has a very cruel record in terms of the LGBT community. So the effectiveness of the normal cure for ignorance and misinformation–education–is hobbled.

    I could even tie this into a more generalized disdain for reason and evidence, as seen in those with contempt for Darwin, or those who deny human-caused climate change, but I think this comment is already pretty ridiculously bloated.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt December 17, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

      Jay,
      Fantastic and insightful comment here. I would add that,for me, this spotlights the larger systematic problem of how a white heterosexual religious power structure profits from pitting one vulnerable and marginalized population against another vulnerable and marginalized population, thus bringing my point back to the bigoted Salvation Army an Army of Hate. I would also draw upon the report from the National Institute of Health that was released in June of 2011 that showed the disproportionality of homeless that are part of the LGBT community.

  2. Podunk December 23, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    I don’t know. While the Salvation Army does indeed discriminate against practicing gays, they don’t discriminate in regards to who they help. And truthfully, as a religious organization they are well within their rights to do so. If you don’t wanna work for the fuckers then don’t but don’t take money away from a charitable foundation that does a whole world of good regardless of who comes to their door.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt December 23, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

      I fear you are wrong about how the Salvation Army discriminates. They do in fact deny services to the LGBT community in addition to the many other forms of discrimination against the LGBT community. I also worry about your phrasing “practising gays,” which smacks of some serious homophobia.

      • Podunk December 24, 2011 at 3:01 am #

        Look, I don’t know what your experience is with them but they don’t discriminate here in Montana and god knows we suck on the acceptance thing. They don’t turn anyone away. I know better, been there, had to do that. And practicing gays is the common term in the Christian community as they seem to be more kosher with gay folk who have accepted the path of celibacy as it were.
        Not my phrase, theirs.

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