Bil Browning

Salvation Army Mail Continues to Pour In [From the Inbox]

Filed By Bil Browning | January 10, 2012 10:15 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: anti-gay policies, evangelical Christian, information campaign, Salvation Army

The e-mails continue to pour from the media coverage of my information campaign about the Thumbnail image for Daily Digest E-mailSalvation Army's anti-gay history. Instead of trying to respond to each missive directly, I've given up and decided to post the last batch to come in here and quickly respond underneath each one.

Subject: [no subject line given]
From: judley
Message: Some time ago I heard that the SA does not hire gays. There was no mentiion of that in today's article in the NYT.

Is that info correct? Probably the kettle-minders and thrift-shop people are volunteers. However, there could be paid employees in their offices, etc. Pls. let me know if my info is correct.


The organization's website says they do not discriminate in their hiring practices. I've heard mixed stories about the implementation of the policy. It seems like the reality is that it depends on the leadership of the local chapter.

The rest are after the break.

Subject: [no subject line given]
From: Doug James
Message: So because you refused to separate yourself from your "partner" you were refused to enter a homeless shelter? Did you know that if you were with a girl trying to do the same you would have been refused also?

The Legion has rules for intense you must take off your hat in order to enter their building, the only ones who ever complained were those who wore turbans, do you think the Legion changed their rules for them? Of course not.

The Salvation Army follows God and what he says, the word of God says homosexuality (among all sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman) is sin. Now if you weren't so ignorant and separated yourselves for the night you would have had a place to stay (that's saying you were actually homeless) there is always two sides to every story and I don't believe you are telling the whole story and in fact I think your story is hardly even true.

That doesn't really matter though because you and I know the only people who suffer are those who really need to help, the SA doesn't suffer.

Its amazing how selfish people like you really are and just so you know it is inevitable that one day you will die whether it be when you are old or young it will happen and when it does you WILL kneel before God! Do you think all your boycotting will help you then? You have one choice in life, that choice is to get off the road you are on. Stay on the road you are on and you are hell bound, think about it, if you think a night or even two nights on the street or a lifetime on it is bad try an eternity in hell, you would rather that then Heaven? And don't try and tell me you don't believe in either, they are as much there as the fact you will die one day.

Good luck with that!!!!


Wow. Spend much time trolling LGBT blogs? I can see from your e-mail that you are definitely a loving follower of Jeebus. I'm quite confident that you could advise the leadership of an evangelical organization who discriminates against LGBT people.

Maybe you should apply for a position with the organization. You can lead the charge to insist that the charity follow all Biblical rules by separating menstruating women from everyone else and stoning to death anyone wearing polyester.

When we both kneel before God, do you honestly think that he/she will condemn me for insisting that charity be given freely to all without discrimination or will you get the fiery treatment for taunting those fighting for social justice?

For the record, unmarried heterosexual couples are allowed to stay together in shelters that offer private rooms according to their spokesperson, Major George Hood.

Oh, and you should probably stop using all those BitTorrent sites. One of the 10 Commandments is "Thou Shalt Not Steal," after all...

Subject: [no subject line given]
From: Eva
Message: I can't help but have mixed feelings about your campaign since I live in a SA residence for seniors. I don't approve of any discrimination against gays, but I also can't afford to live in any of the for-profit senior residences in NYC.

You might be amused to hear that one of the entertainers we had here recently appeared in the NY Times marriage collumn when he married a man.


Do what you need to do to survive. The point isn't to harm people who need assistance, it's just to show people where some of the money they donate goes - to lobbying campaigns meant to exempt the Salvation Army from non-discrimination laws.

Subject: THANK YOU, Red Kettle Menace!
From: Daniel Long
Message: Dear Bil,

Ever since my college days in Amsterdam, I have been disgusted with the hypocrisy that is the Salvation Army. They hated our gay guts but just loved our money and would wade through a very antagonized crowd in gay bars night after night.

Please continue to expose these lowlifes for what they really are.

Many thanks and all the best wishes for a wonderful holiday season to you and yours.


I hesitate to call everyone associated with the Salvation Army haters or "lowlifes." There are plenty of wonderful people involved with the charity - including many from our own community. A blanket generalization about a group of people we don't like makes us just the same as them, right? Be angry at the group's anti-gay leadership, but not the folks trying to support their families or volunteering their (pro-LGBT) time.

Subject: [no subject line given]
From: Scott Fehlan
Message: Dear BIll, have you been involved in any national campaigns to convince companies to sever ties with the S. Army? I helped persuade the Hancock Center in Chicago to stop putting up large signs promoting the S. Army. My next subject is Macy's, which allows the Army to solicit on Macy's premise and in front of their stores. The Macy's HQ person I called in Cincinnati had never heard of the Army's anti-gay policies, and no one has ever contacted her to object. Any thoughts on how to work on this campaign in 2011?


No, I haven't. For the most part, I just post about the organization's anti-gay history every year. I heard the same story about the Macy's spokesperson saying she'd never been contacted about the issue at least two dozen times this year alone. It's baloney.

Subject: Salvation Army bullshit
From: Sharon
Message: Mr Browning-first- do you know you're pure hell to contact? I read your story on the NYT. Then tried to contact the author with no luck. Then tried to post to bilerico, no luck. I hate Facebook. I'm on Diaspora and you should be too.

Anyway- I'll rewrite what I tried to post:

I graduated college in 2004. No I'm not young. I'm 58. I was an older student. I was following a lifelong dream to study art. But thats off topic. I graduated and found myself destitute. No job, no money, no family (natch.) I was in deep counseling because I'm M2F transgender. It was suggested to me by some naive friends that I should try to get a woman's business suit from SA. Yeah. I went to them and asked and I got told no-if I wanted a man's suit they'd find one but no woman's suit. I told them hell no because I'd been in therapy and already started my transition and I wasn't turning back. Anyway- I'm in Canton, Ohio and thats where this happened so I'm not really far from you. Just please know I fully support you and I understand the pain the Salvation Army has caused and continues to cause BUT-we are winning this. THEY are losing. Slow but sure, Bil. May your wounds and mine heal. You post on Huffpo and I post on Daily Kos. Not everyday but I post diaries describing what its like here in Canton for the public to see and learn what they look like from my perspective.

Happy New Year to you. Hugs and best wishes.


Thanks for sharing your experiences. I'm sorry to hear about the discrimination you suffered. When I meet with the Salvation Army folks this week, I'll be sure to tell them about your situation.

Keep up the fight!

Subject: SA
From: Barak
Message: Don't feel bad for being the Red Kettle Menace, they really don't need that pocket change. They know how to get to the real money.


Wow. Thanks for the link. Greenpeace and Salvation Army fighting in court over a $264,000,000 estate? The organization sued Greenpeace to try and claim their share of the bequest? Holy crap. That's a way to win friends and influence people, eh? Did you know that one of the biggest Salvation Army donors was Joan Kroc, the widow of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc? She left them $1.5 billion dollars when she died in 2004.

Subject: Congrats, Red Kettle Menace!
From: Teddy Partridge
Message: Dear Bil,

Wow, Bil, what a wonderful surprise. Congrats on making the big time on the NYT.
It's a remarkable accomplishment. Thanks for all you do.

Best wishes for the holidays.


Thanks so much for the kind note. It's an honor to get kudos from you. Your writing and activism is an inspiration to me.

Thanks to everyone for writing in about the issue. I've tried to answer all the e-mails and I think this was the last batch. Grand total, I've replied to hundreds of messages now - some supportive and others, well, not.

At least people are talking and taking notice now. I feel like I've done my job.

Okay, I promise... After this there won't be any more Salvation Army posts until after I meet with the organization's leaders later this week. *grins*

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