Opinion: Salvation Army contradicts giving morals

By Ellenore Holbrook — “Ting, Ting, Ting, Ting.” It is that time of year. No, not the time for giving, the time where all we hear is the ting of the Salvation Army collector’s bell outside of all grocery stores. No matter where we go it is there and although it may be a good metaphor for the sound of giving, to me and many others, it is simply annoying.

Based on that last paragraph, I may sound heartless, but let me finish. I do not hate the idea of giving to those in need, but I do hate the idea that some of these “givers” are being selfish in their methods, and The Salvation Army is a prime example of this selfishness.

Since its founding in 1865, The Salvation Army has always been based on the religious principles of Christianity, which is not a problem, especially when they are helping those in need, but their history contradicts their actions. Since 1986, The Salvation Army has been known to bash on gay people, oppose their rights, and even refused to help those that are homeless but openly gay. There have also been public reports stating that money from donations has been given to anti-gay associations, such as “pray away the gay” organizations.

To me, this is disgusting. How can an organization that prides itself in giving to those less fortunate refuse to help someone because of who they love? It is an insult to the gay community and to those of the Christian faith who are trying to help everyone the same. I mean really, the main idea of Christianity is to treat everyone fairly and love everyone regardless of their “sins,” and Salvation Army is definitely not doing that.

Although in recent years, Salvation Army has been attempting to deny these accusations, every now and then one of their spokesmen has an accident. For example, according to a time line of these accidents on theweek.com, Maj. Andrew Craibe, the Australian Salvation Army spokesman, goes on the radio program Salt and Pepper, where gay hosts Serena Ryan and Pete Dillon ask him about his organization’s assertion in its official Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine that practicing homosexuals “deserve to die.” “So we should die,” Ryan tells Craibe, who replies: “You know, we have an alignment to the Scriptures, but that’s our belief.”

Their beliefs should not interfere with who they are helping. We are all people and should be treated as such, no matter who we love. I would like to believe that Salvation Army really does help the LGBT Community, but I will not trust them with the history they have.

So next time you hear the “tink, tink, tink,” outside of the grocery store, remember where your money may be going; who it may not be helping; and who it may be hurting instead. Then save that change from the trip to the store, along with all the others, and donate to other organizations that are not biased against who they help, such as Goodwill or The Red Cross. During the giving season, it is important to give and help all, not just the ones who are straight.

[Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]