Ring-a-ding-ding: Anti-LGBT Salvation Army & Why We Should Be Proactive

nicole lashomb

Nicole Lashomb, TRT Editor-in-Chief
Photo: TRT Archives

By: Nicole Lashomb, Editor-in-Chief–

’Tis the season. You may not be able to go out shopping without hearing the joyous ringing of that glorious bell that sounds for charitable good at this time of year. Too bad that charitable good does not include LGBT people, unless you are basically willing to denounce who you are. In the past, I’ve often donated to Salvation Army, the organization that proudly used its distinguishable red kettle to take my dollars, my gay dollars. However, in more recent years, I refuse to donate to the cause that works actively to ensure my less fortunate LGBT friends cannot  utilize their services, regardless how much they are in need.

According to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org, the organization claims that its services “are available to all who qualify, without regard to sexual orientation.” However, after further exploration, under a subsection called homosexuality on the website, the group explains that services are restricted to those “who accept and abide by the Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline.” In order for an LGBT person to qualify, they must denounce either themselves or their families. Ostensibly, their doctrine does not allow for same-sex partners and their children, causing these needy families to go hungry or without a place to sleep except for the streets.

“The organization also has a record of actively lobbying governments worldwide for anti-gay policies – including an attempt to make consensual gay sex illegal,” Bil Browning of the Bilerico Project wrote last year. At that time, Salvation Army representatives around the world even called for the death of all LGBT people since it was not a part of their “belief systems.” In 2004, they threatened to close their New York City soup kitchens if the city were to offer domestic partnership benefits. Hmm. Imagine the implications here.

The Salvation Army has taken a strong stance on encouraging LGBT discrimination here in the United States too. “They have lobbied to prevent  federal money from going to cities or states with LGBT anti-discrimination laws and, even worse, it goes out of its way to discriminate against vulnerable LGBT people during moments of crisis,” said Dan Savage via an editorial published at http://bit.ly/vRtdwJ. Additionally, the organization works to actively discriminate against LGBT people in employment, hiring and firing and promotion of benefits.

This year, America Blog is asking LGBT shoppers and allies to give downloadable “vouchers” to Salvation Army bell ringers in lieu of cash in an effort to let the organization know that “bigotry is not a Christmas value,” according to John Aravosis. The downloadable “voucher” can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/crh6tfj.

The bottom line is simple. Donate to inclusive organizations that support and embrace all walks of life. Alternatives include Goodwill, Toys for Tots, or other local non-profit organizations that actually represent what this Holiday Season and any other day of the year should be about … giving to those less fortunate. Concerning the faux “Christian” principles often cited by religious groups to discriminate against others, it just doesn’t sound evangelical. It resonates as pure bigotry and that’s why you won’t hear my quarters spiraling down that red kettle this year.

* Nicole Lashomb is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Owner of The Rainbow Times. She holds an MBA from Marylhurst University and a Bachelors from SUNY Potsdam. You can reach her at: editor@therainbowtimesmass.com.

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7 Comments on "Ring-a-ding-ding: Anti-LGBT Salvation Army & Why We Should Be Proactive"

  1. One of the suggested alternatives, Good Will, I’ve heard is not a good alternative because so very little of their money actually benefits anyone other than highly paid executives. They choose to be equally unfair to everyone regardless of sexual orientation.

    • Trishia Kronkite | December 11, 2012 at 5:57 pm |

      Unfortunately, many, if not most large nonprofits have highly paid executives but the Salvation Army goes far beyond that. They spew hate under the guise of helping. But hey, if you don’t like GoodWill, there are tons more out there. I think Good will was listed to acknowledge one of the charities that doesn’t discriminate against us. Personally, I like to give to Toys for Tots.

  2. ConleyPatricia | December 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm |

    Come on . . . Too much hyperbole here, even for me.

    Yes, The Salvation Army has some growing to do, theologically, about their understanding of GLBT individuals and God – but I guarantee you they would serve the temporal/physical needs of a gay/lesbian/etc person as quick as anyone.

    Hiring, too is another issue where they deserve a measure of criticism . . . But, helping the poor? They just do not discriminate as you suggest.

    Give your dollars where you choose, but there is no need to totally disparage an organization that does a lot of good.

    • I think it’s perfectly fine what the writer says. Other prominent writers agree would agree with this story, since they (themselves) have written about it too. Check out The Bilerico Project, for instance (http://tinyurl.com/dysk6df). The Bilerico Project story states that “On its webpage, the group claims that “the services of The Salvation Army are available to all who qualify, without regard to sexual orientation.” The Bilerico writer also states that: “They blatantly ignore the position statement and deny LGBT people services unless they renounce their sexuality, end same-sex relationships, or, in some cases, attend services “open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline.” In other words, if you’re gay or lesbian, you don’t qualify.” So, how is this hyperbole? There’s actually not enough of it for me. And, how can YOU guarantee that they would serve the “temporal/physical needs of a gay/lesbian/etc person as quick as anyone.” Have you gone there yourself and said you are a lesbian and they have provided you services? Because, according to their site, you must not state you are a member of the GLBT community to be able to receive services. Come on, lady. You know nothing about this and you’re giving monies to an organization that promotes hatred. So, they DO discriminate. Maybe you are too entitled to see it. As for me, none of my dollars will go to the Salvation Army. Well, they never have since I’ve known about their “inclusive” (NOT) mission.

    • Sorry ConelyPatricia, but the author is right. Nothing is exaggerated here. I don’t think the writer was suggesting that Salvation Army doesn’t do any good at all, but it is a question of practicing active discrimination, even calling for the death of LGBT folk from within the organization. How much good can you do when those are your beliefs? I would suggest that you research this topic better. A good place to start: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2012/06/salvation-army-official-gays-deserve-death/53885/

  3. L. M. Fletcher | December 16, 2012 at 1:42 am |


    Before rushing to judgement about what you believe The Salvation Army in the USA is doing or not doing, you might want to read the letter from The Salvation Army’s National Commander to the Washington Times. This is The Salvation Army I know where people aren’t turned away because of the issues noted here.


    It would only be fair to look at both sides. I can’t imagine people being upset by what the National Commander has published. Perhaps, your readers might be pleased by what he said to the Washington Times.

    Blessings to you,

    L.M. Fletcher

    • LM,
      I read the letter from the Salvation Army’s National Commander to the WT from your link. Anyone heading an organization will say whatever it is to preserve a good reputation. It is obvious in his story but people ARE often turned away from SA, gay people. It cannot be argued that the Salvation Army does no good at all, but it can be argued that they are headed by bigoted people and DO discriminate against the glbt community. In the story by the editor, it isnt just her opinion but also a position backed up by several stories and research out there. Maybe you should read more about it. Even what the SA national commander said in his letter is riddled with the potential for them to discriminate against others. It’ss more of the same.

      blessings back, Jayson Hunt, Boston, MA

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