Thursday, December 12, 2013

Do not give your money to these people

They are everywhere this time of year - at the entrances of supermarkets, in the hallways of malls, by the exits of beer and liquor stores.

They use a number of gimmicks to attract your attention, are usually polite, and all want the same thing - your money. 

I am talking about the Salvation Army, and I want to encourage you not to let the bell-ringers convince you to make a contribution to their organization.

Last year I learned that the Salvation Army is a despicably homophobic organization. The Canadian chapter "believes marriage is the covenanting together of one man and one woman for life in a union to the exclusion of all others." It has similarly unenlightened views about gays and lesbians (but does not condone violence). Different chapters (countries) have different policies, some of which state that being gay is a sin before God and must be corrected.

Despite its generally successful efforts to portray themselves as an inclusive organization serving anyone in need, in practice it is ecumenical - serving folks of all religious backgrounds, as long as they are Christian (or willing to consider becoming so). I have heard that some branches offer food, coffee, and extra breaks to employees who attend daily prayer groups.

 "The Salvation Army exists to share the love of Jesus Christ." The Canadian chapter's mission statement reveals that the primary purpose of your money and gifts is to proselytize the Good Word. I was shocked to discover this about the Salvation Army, given its ubiquity; perhaps others will be surprised as well.  

I will not contribute anything to the Salvation Army, regardless of their other good works. They operate under false pretences, using the goodwill of others as a club to evangelize, and consider the words written on a piece of parchment millennia ago by desert nomads to be more important than the well-being of their fellow contemporary human beings. I encourage everyone instead make a donation to organizations that are genuinely charitable. Given the multiple disaster areas around the world, from the wreckage left by extreme weather events to the horrific human consequences of war, I recommend Médecins Sans Frontière (Doctors Without Borders).


  1. The Salvation Army is one of those organizations that is using the Christian faith for good of society. Regarding the issue of marriage, that is the way it has ALWAYS been throughout history up until recent times, so as the old saying goes "if it is not broke don't fix it." Look beyond doctrine and faith and support these people on the basis of the good of what they do, since they are living out the mission and faith of Christ in practical and tangible ways year in and year out (shelters, soup kitchens, evangelistic outreaches, etc,)

    1. Your assumption is wrong, Conrad. There are numerous examples throughout history where marriage has been defined very differently than between one man and one woman. I don't object to heterosexual marriage - I am quite happy in my own - but it is wrong to say that this is the only version that has, does, or should exist.

      Excluding loving couples from the legal benefits and protections of marriage indicates a severely broken system. I am glad that Canada fixed this injustice over a decade ago. The United States now recognizes equal marriage. Ireland will do so soon, joining over a dozen other countries.

      "Evangelistic outreaches" may be "living out the mission and faith of Christ", but it is not a charitable activity by any reasonable definition of the term. I acknowledge that the Salvation Army does some good work, but my money will go to organizations that help more people more effectively, and are not tainted by the immoral beliefs and behaviours I outline in my post.

  2. There are a number of charities that may be doing "good work" but are far from Humanist in their beliefs and practices which is why I always give to secular charities.