It’s the holiday season, which means most storefronts have bell ringers collecting for the Salvation Army. But this may not be the best “charity” to be donating to.
The Salvation Army is not a charitable, nonprofit Christian organization. Only about 82 percent of donations actually go toward its charity work, but the rest goes toward whatever the Salvation Army does with it, whether it be paying its employees or funding antigay propaganda. The Salvation Army has a long, international history of actively being homophobic and pushing political agendas that target those who are LGBT+.
The organization has also historically refused to employ LGBT+ people and has had major tantrums when it is legally forced to. In 1998, it declined a contract with San Francisco, causing some places, such as retirement homes, to lose their services because of San Francisco’s policy that city contractors must provide equal spousal benefits to both same-sex partners, as well as opposite-sex partners of employees.
Then 2004 saw the organization threatening to close all of its services — kitchens, shelters, coat drives, etc. — in New York City because of a similar ordinance. New York City folded under the pressure, though, because of how much the city needed the Salvation Army’s assistance. This was an obvious power play.
The Salvation Army knows how much power it holds and will use it any way it sees fit to spread its Evangelical message, and it has yet to back down from its stance.
Do not be distressed about wanting to donate. There are other organizations that one can give to this holiday season, and ones that are not for-profit or endorse hateful rhetoric.
The Baby Fold here in town offers a variety of services that are beneficial to children and families. While it is a Christian organization as well, it does not have this same history of controversy and outright hate. Donate money, school supplies or help fulfil Christmas wish lists this year.
Places that could use both material and fiscal donations are food banks. Most only see canned food donations, but donating money can help keep their doors opens. While food donations are always welcome, and sometimes needed, paying the bills is a necessity that won’t go away. Center for Hope, Home Sweet Home and Midwest Foodbank are just a few.
Not all organizations with religious roots should be steered away from, but ones with questionable motives should be. Local churches regularly raise money that go toward different benefactors.
It is doubtful that the vast majority of people who donate to the Salvation Army know all this. But being conscientious of where one donates money and where that money ultimately ends up is important to remember.
While it may be easy to drop in some change at various bell ringer stops, seriously think it through. Focus on donating directly to places that need the money and resources: food banks, nonprofit charities, shelters and food kitchens.