It’s that time of year again. As the holiday season gets fully underway, the Salvation Army bell ringers take over store entryways across the country. Don’t be fooled. While many of the smiling people wishing you cheer as they ask for your change may have the best of intentions, the organization they want you to donate to is not just another charity. The Salvation Army is an evangelical religious sect that denies services to millions of Americans.
The Salvation Army is rabidly anti-gay. Before offering any services to LGBT people in need, the Army subjects them to sermons and lectures. They insist that established couples renounce each other before they can receive care. This nasty group is also very anti-choice, insisting that pregnant women not seek abortions if they want services, regardless of what is best for the woman (Kind of like Jesus if he were one of the Koch Brothers).
Beyond this hostility to individuals, the Salvation Army is also an aggressive lobbying organization: they have tried (unsuccessfully, fortunately) to overturn or get exemptions from equal access and non-discrimination laws in multiple jurisdictions around the world. In a fit of petulance unbecoming a charitable organization, they have even threatened to close soup kitchens in New York City rather than abide by local non-discrimination laws. How very Christian of them. Who would Jesus hate?
This is a season when many people think more actively of giving and want to be charitable. Please honor those instincts, but don’t contribute to organizations that practice hate and bigotry. If you want to find the best place to make your contributions, try the Charity Navigator; if you want to get more actively involved, there are dozens of ways you can give to all of your community. When it comes to those shrill bells, red pots, and artificial smiles? Take some advice from Burt Bacharach and walk on by.