As much of an advocate as I am for second-hand and thrift stores, I just could not take this lying down. I had to share it with you, as it strikes deep within my core values and it set off deep personal unrest.
If you had told me even four years ago that the Salvation Army is discriminatory against homosexuals and queers, I would not have believed you. Despite knowing that they are a church and religious based group, I had (apparently incorrectly) assumed that they were out to help everyone and anyone that needed help.
Yet, there is this:
“In 2004, the Salvation Army threatened to close all its soup kitchens in the New York City area—which would have ended $250 million worth of contracts with the city—if they were forced to offer benefits to same-sex couples. This move would have lost the Salvation Army around $70 million in direct funding from the city and endangered the lives of several thousand people reliant on the Salvation Army.” (source: prosebeforehos.com)
This nauseates me. What makes gay homeless people less deserving of love and assistance than straight homeless people? How can the homeless problem be solved in such a way?
As I may have previously mentioned, I am not Christian. But I respect those who are, and I respect that the Bible and Christianity/Catholicism does have good teachings. In the Bible, it says “Love thy neighbour” and “Judge not lest you be judged yourself” [paraphrased], not “Love thy neighbour, unless (s)he’s gay” and yet there are people who claim to follow the bible and do not follow these key tenets.
How can anyone claim to be a Christian (or Catholic) that follows the Bible (considered the words of God) not treat those around them with love and respect? Jesus is said to have died for our sins, and yet we continue to throw around harmful judgments and unfair disrespects of those around us.
“Is this the kind of charity you want to be donating to? More importantly, is this a charity that should be receiving government funding? Sure, the Salvation Army does some noble things. Using charity money and government funding to further an anti-gay, Evangelical agenda is not one of them.” (source: prosebeforehos.com)
“They like to trick folks by saying “we don’t discriminate in the provision of our services.” True enough, you can shop at a Salvation Army store to your heart’s content. But they DO reserve the right to discriminate in hiring, promoting, and firing gay people, and in the benefits they provide their employees. And they come right out and admit that “practicing homosexuals” are not welcome in the “church.” ” (source: americablog.com)
I am certainly glad that I have not put money into their hands. I have always preferred The Mission (for helping the homeless) and Value Village (for secondhand purchases) and I will continue to keep it this way. The Mission may also be faith-based, but from what I’ve found so far they do not discriminate based on gender-preference or sexuality, and their financial statements are easily requested from their website.
My suggestion, take it as you may, is to refuse to support such a discriminatory and judgmental religion-based charity in favour of those who will help anyone in need, regardless of class, creed, gender, and orientation. Save your change from the collection Santas at Christmas time and give to a different charity (such as The Mission, Save Our Streets, etc). Avoid the Salvation Army thrift shop in favour of Value Village, consignment shops, and flea markets. Use your money to show this organization that its discrimination of our homeless and poverty-stricken is unacceptable.
Who do you support, and why? Do you look into where a charity spends its money, or do you just assume innocence and honesty among bureaucrats? There are honest business-people out there, and there are the lying-cheating-scum we always hear about. If you know of an honest, truthful, open, and supportive charity that you’d like to share, please share it in the comments below, or send me an e-mail.
Peace, love, and donate <3