|Learn about charities before donating|
|Written by Elizabeth Brei, Daily Vidette Columnist|
|Wednesday, 05 December 2012 10:31|
The holiday season has finally arrived. For most people, this is a time to enjoy the company of family and friends, to exchange gifts, and for many people, to worship in the faith of their choosing.
A lot of people also look on this time of year as a particularly important time to recognize their own privileges and to realize that there are people out there who have very little in comparison.
So the holidays are a huge time for giving back, for volunteering and donating.
People seem to think that there are no bad organizations to donate to, or that everyone has the very best of intentions in mind. And that might be true on some level. Charities are generally out to help people, but sometimes, their ideologies get in the way of being the best place to put your money.
When I see people standing on corners or outside of malls or grocery stores, ringing their little bells and wearing Santa hats, beckoning people to put money in the donation box for the Salvation Army, I bristle.
I think of all of the money that people donate to them and how many people they help, but also how many people they don’t.
Here’s the thing about the Salvation Army. While it is known for its soup kitchens and homeless shelters, as well as the thrift stores itrun to help fund those shelters, it also isaffiliated with a church.
Generally speaking, being affiliated with a church isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most religious groups, and a lot of Christian groups, are very devoted to giving back, to helping those who are less fortunate. In fact, it’s a part of the ideologies of most religions.
The Salvation Army does a lot of good as a charitable organization. But it is also a church, and itschurch’s ideology has one standpoint shared by many: that homosexuality is a sin.
The Salvation Army has been pretty open with this standpoint. Until last year, its website featured a stance that gay people should practice celibacy in order to afford sinning. There has been documentation that they donate a portion of funds to anti-gay groups.
And in December 2008, a transgender woman died of cardiac arrest from sleeping on the street because the Salvation Army told her it would not let her in unless she slept with the men, which would have put her in the way of a completely different kind of physical harm, at the hands of potentially transphobic roommates. It left her no choice.
The Salvation Army, in the wake of LGBT calls for boycott, has denied being anti-gay and that the sexual orientations of the homeless don’t matter when it comes to offering shelter.
But its church ideology says otherwise, and we’ve already seen evidence that this has affected at least one person, and no doubt has affected more.
So before you drop your spare change into one of those little red buckets, take a second to think about it.
Do your research. Find a charity that is doing work you agree with completely, and save your money for it instead.
There’s only so much money to go around, especially for college students, and don’t you want to make sure that that it goes to the right place? I know I do.