Leaked Salvation Army memo details internal homophobia and discrimination

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There’s really nothing different between the Salvation Army and the mainline Methodist church except that it’s organized in a military-style hierarchy. It’s the same theology.




Sometimes when you hear something like this and you live in Canada, you have to go and check if it applies here as well. For example, Boy Scouts of America (last time I checked) is pretty homophobic, while Scouts Canada is a totally unaffiliated organization that doesn’t appear to discriminate. In this case, however, it would seem that Canada is the same. I checked their website, and in a blog post about how they don’t discriminate, the phrase, “We do not perform same-sex marriages” came up.


I thought there was something in the Bible (that book that “Christians” supposedly follow) that mentioned you should follow man’s laws and not worry about it. Something about render unto Caesar? That should mean they need to follow the law that says you can’t discriminate and not try to break it.


It’s not a view I share at all, but the salvation army’s view here is pretty much the same as most of the bigger churches, inc both the Catholic and Anglican churches, as well as most branches of Islam and lots of bits of Judaism. I’d have thought the pretty clear message here, that they won’t let those beliefs affect their non-religious hiring, nor there services delivery, should be something to be welcomed?

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I actually agree that the memo isn’t exactly a smoking gun - it pretty much says what you would expect. They are open about the fact that they don’t conduct same-sex marriages and that they view sex outside of marriage as sinful. I also agree that is consistent with plenty of other religious organizations. Certainly enough reason for me to pass them by when they are asking for donations, but unfortunately pretty par-for-the-course (maybe a tad short of par these days).

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The context of that quote is quite important. Jesus didn’t say anything about blind obedience to laws, in fact I think a good case could be made that he is snarkily saying the opposite. Money is a creature of the world, so don’t give it a thought; one should be paying attention to what one owes god. The snark is that the people have already given over so much of their lives to the world and now they are complaining about it, so he’s essentially telling them “you made your bed, now lie in it”, but the implication is that they never should have been making the bed in the first place (i.e. not be so concerned with worldly pursuits).

The wikipedia page on the quote I find rather interesting (as even a non-christian has to occasionally deal with issues of conscience and the state), especially this quote:


Another reason to donate to causes like Doctors Without Borders (or me!) and not to people hovering by the exits of stores trying to guilt you into giving them money.

They’re just not a good charity.


As I said on the star wars piracy post:

Well, yes…

Yeah, and there’s the rub. I’m very conflicted. I do believe that the Salvation Army is not a “good” charity. But on the other hand, I have seen close up and first hand the good work they do at the Kroc Center here in San Diego. I donate to them, both in money and more importantly, time. One might argue that I’m rationalizing that their good works outweigh their bad acts; perhaps I am, but it’s a view I have become comfortable with.


If they’re doing something good directly that they’re enabling then there’s nothing wrong with that IMHO. It’s not like every individual there is bad or anything, it’s just that they’re not up there with a lot of other charities when it comes to making sure one’s money is well spent.

I only donate to groups after I’ve had a lot of time to think and have learned that for the benefit of humanity it’s better to give to large worldwide ones that can balance how my money’s spent intelligently rather than small or local ones. Doctors without borders is always near the top of the list and the people working for them are doing so at a fraction of what they’d earn here, so they’re arguably the best bang for the buck (88% or so spent, and they get a lot of value out of their money).

UNICEF, Invisible Children, the Red Cross, OXFAM, and a few others also consistently are ranked really highly consistently, but I’ve never run into a reliable source who had anything but praise for DWB, so they’re my peeps.


I do like it when people read Jesus as having some wit, as opposed to being a boring literalist. Reading the quotation it is pretty easy to see it as a sort of, “Oh, Caesar, did you want money? Sure, here’s your money!” from a person who thought that caring about money was a very foolish thing to do.


I have, from a nurse who volunteered (on her own dime) to travel to medical crisis areas in Africa and had to work with them. But obviously you should not accord great weight to second-hand hearsay shelled in an Internet forum post such as mine - this doesn’t even come close to meeting the bar for “reliable source”, in my opinion.

Rather than trying to dissuade anyone from helping Médecins Sans Frontières or the Salvation Army, I’m just looking for excuses (opportunities?) to plug for the Heifer Project and Habitat for Humanity! Hahaha, found another one!

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I actually was having this conversation with a person I had just met, and saying that I was conflicted about them because while they have some policies that I really disagree with, they also do some good work.

She said that as a as a queer person, she hates their positions and their actions on basic human rights for LGBT; however, as a criminal defence lawyer, they do great things for her clients, and are often the only people waiting to meet them when they get out of jail.

It’s not that easy in other words.


It’s pretty easy to give your money to better ones, instead.

I mean, it’s not like other charities DON’T help people, there just happen to be ones that also don’t have an evil side.

Sure, and I don’t give them money myself for just that reason.

I just don’t think that I can comfortably call them a bad or evil church; or more importantly think of all the people in them as wholely bad people, even though they do hold some opinions, and do some things that I find abhorrent. I don’t necessarily need to keep the whole group of people or organisation in a single bucket in other words.


Please note that if the Salvos are perceived as providing a service, then people wrongly assume they are filling that need for all comers. However, they have a history of excluding trans people from shelters. They turn their backs on some of the most vulnerable people in need of aid. Some of this is quite recent: http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2014/05/04/3433957/salvation-army-transgender-shelter/

There is at least one documented death after their refusing to shelter a trans woman: http://www.bilerico.com/2008/12/why_i_dont_donate_to_the_salvation_army.php

Transphobes are incapable of providing support to homeless trans women, because they will never try to provide appropriate accommodation.


You mean incapable of providing places like the S-Dorm in Las Vegas, which caters specifically to transgender people and has many trans women amongst the clientele?

How transphobic.

Great, segregated housing. Now what about trans women in towns too small to have a population they can separate away from cis people?