Bil Browning

Why You Shouldn't Give to the Salvation Army This Holiday Season

Filed By Bil Browning | November 22, 2010 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Politics
Tags: anti-gay bigotry, bad charities, give to Salvation Army, holiday season, Salvation Army

This post has been updated for 2011 with more information.

In case you've forgotten, the holiday season is fast upon us. That means the Salvation Army bell ringers will be out in full force dunning shoppers for donations meant to help the needy and destitute. Unfortunately, the Salvation Army won't assist everyone - only those they deem sufficiently worthy.

salvation-army.gifWhile many think of the group as just another charity, in truth the group is a religious sect that is notoriously anti-gay; you shouldn't give to the Salvation Army this holiday season if you support gay rights.

When a former boyfriend and I were homeless, the Salvation Army refused to help us unless we broke up and left the "sinful homosexual lifestyle" behind. We slept on the street and they didn't help when we declined to break up at their insistence. I've seen the discrimination the Salvation Army preaches first hand.

Need more examples? Check out the video after the jump for a laundry list of anti-gay policies and positions the Salvation Army has taken. You'll probably be shocked - and you definitely won't put any more coins in those big red buckets.

Note from Bil: Thanks to everyone for sharing this post so widely by adding it to Facebook and sending it to Twitter. If you're here via one of those services, be sure to become our fan on Facebook or follow Bilerico Project on Twitter to get links to posts as they go live on the site.

This post has been updated for 2011 with more information.

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I haven't given to them for years 'cause they are relentlessly anti-gay.

I don't buy popcorn from Boy Scouts, either, though I have never quite felt angry enough to do what I feel would be the appropriate response:

Little boy: Would you like to buy some popcorn?

Me: No, I can't, I'm gay...get your mom to explain it to you...

or better yet:

No, I don't support homophobic organizations...get your mom to explain it to you...

It's hard for me to be rude to a kid, even a homophobe in training, so I just say, "No, thanks" and keep walking. I have always kinda hoped one of the moms would give me the hard-sell, though...

The boy scouts sometimes set up shop outside WalMart and ask if we want to support this or that and I always say, straight to the little boy, "Nope, I sure won't because I don't support groups that discriminate against people who are gay."

They always just look at me like a deer in headlight, give a pleading glance to the adult with them, and then I used to toddle off for the adult to handle the child's inquiries. But I am thinking I need to approach the opportunity differently next summer.

I might try carrying around a few flyers, preferably including references to less discriminatory organizations (is Goodwill a good alternative to Salvation Army?). That way you don't have to "assault" the kids, just hand them some information that they can choose to read or not, give to their parents or not, etc.

Well, so much for my enjoyable experience in Boy Scouts for the duration of my middle school life. Never took part in much of the larger organization of Scouts so hell if I knew what was going on there. All it was was a good reason to go camping and get out of the house for a week in the summer. And shoot rifles.

Since when is the Boy Scouts a homophobic organization??? My child is in Cub Scouts and will eventually go onto Boy Scouts, and there are a huge range of religions and families that participate. I'm a Liberal Democrat and there is no way in hell I'd let someone "train" my son to be a "homophobe". We have many gay friends, the parents of some of his friends are gay couples, and we love them dearly! Perhaps if you live down south that's what Boy Scouts are all about, but not here in more developed, progressive states. :)

jennifer kerins | November 23, 2010 3:39 PM

Since they do not allow their leaders to be homosexual. The Boy Scouts of America openly discriminate against gays

To quote:
"We believe that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirements in the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed, and that homosexuals do not provide a desirable role model for Scouts. Because of these beliefs, the Boy Scouts of America does not accept homosexuals as members or as leaders, whether in volunteer or professional capacities." Boy Scouts of America, Position Statement on Homosexuality, June 1991

Well, even without the 'not letting them be involved', I think this pretty says how they feel about gayness and gay ppl:

"...homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirements...that a Scout be morally straight and...clean in word and deed...and that homosexuals do not provide a desirable role model for Scouts."

So we are morally bad, and unclean? And bad examples?

What more is there to say, really?

You never wondered what it was meant by "morally straight" in the Scout's oath?

The Boy Scouts have had this history since the early 80's when they were basically bought out by the mormon church. There is a lot of information out there, and you should really look into it before you assume that just because you haven't seen it, its not happening.

They have kicked out boys/teens who have come out, and they have openly discriminated against people who are atheists.

Wait wait wait wait wait.

The Boyscouts is anti-gay?

Holy fuck. I thought the boy scouts were more liberal than the girlscouts! At least a third of the counselors are lesbians in the NW. That's crazy..

It saddens me how scouting is run in America. I live in NZ and was in scouts (no boy and girl scouts here, just scouts.) for a good six years, as an out-and-proud lesbian. Apart from the usual foolishness you get from other teens, which our leaders never, ever tolerated when they saw it happening, I was shown nothing but love and acceptance from the scouts. We've also taken religion out of the issue - the scout promise was changed to "I promise to do my duty to *MY* God(s), the Queen, and my country, etc etc" to accommodate for children of all faiths.

The Boy Scouts of America lost the point of the movement a long, long time ago. It saddens me, because scouting is such a wonderful thing, and can have such a fantastic influence on someone's life, if they go about it properly.

I'm an Australian that took part in Scouts from 2005 to 2009 - gay and 'different' scouts were bullied fairly relentlessly.
Hell, I was mocked for *reading*, and for being more feminine than the other guys.
Scouts Australia is an Anglican Organisation, and we were required to take part in prayers, and other such nonsense.
We lost a Leader when he came out as Gay, also.
A current friend, who I didn't know at the time, was out as a lesbian, and excluded from Guides entirely.

There are problems in scouts and guides, world-wide.

I should mention that when I said gay and different, I meant LGBTQ et all.

You really do need to do your homework. It is BSA policy that no boy or leader can be gay and if it is found out they are they are to be removed from membership. they won a Supreme Court case a number of years ago that allows them to do it. It surprises how many liberals don't know the truth about organizations they support.

I may not agree with all the "rules" of the Boy Scout organization, however my 10 year old son is involved in scouts, he is NOT being raised to be a "homophobe" because I DO NOT and WILL NOT allow him to be that way! We have several gay family members and friends, my son is taught by his Dad and I that it's ok to be gay, love people for who they are regardless of sexual preference, age, religion, color, treat others how YOU want to be treated, I am not going to make him quit scouts because of my beliefs, he is a child and innocent in the whole thing, as he gets older and understands more, he can make up his mind on wheter or not he wants to stay in such an organization, my cousin who is gay, supports my son for being in scouts. I support the gay community and I am a straight woman, we are all human and need to be treated as such!!!

BSA has excluded gay parents from participating and hosting events their children are in, in order to prevent them from being around other children. there are court cases.

wow, this is such a great comment. well done, very open minded and the opposite of much of this close-minded ultra liberal pablum being touted around here. "Perhaps if you live down south that's what Boy Scouts are all about, but not here in more developed, progressive states. :)" is definitely the most smug thing i've ever read in my entire life.

You cannot allow or disallow your kids to be or think one way or another. You have a large influence, but perhaps not the largest.

How can you disagree with the BSA yet allow your child to participate? It's great that you won't raise your kid to be a homophobe, but I personally wouldn't allow my child to be a member of a group whose fundamental beliefs are opposed to mine. It's an issue that's important enough that I'd rather my child not be able to go to meetings, on trips, and learn to tie knots than have anything to do with an organisation like that.

Robert Frampus-Frye | December 2, 2010 2:45 AM

I was kicked out of the boy scouts after I had talked about how I was gay. I do not support the scouts nor any other group, store, company, etc that discriminates against gays or any other group of people...I believe that we are allowing ourselves to repeat history by allowing this discrimination brew.

Is Philadelphia in the South now? The city has waged a battle for years against the Boy Scouts there to kick them out of a city-owned building b/c the Boy Scout creeds/practices/whatever do not meet the non-discrimination laws of the city. They finally came to some kind of agreement recently where the Boy Scouts more-or-less won, I think.

Also, I think that the Boy Scout charter has something to do with Congress somehow...basically the US government is supporting a Christian, traditionalist, conservative, homophobic org. I would go look it up, but honestly there are so many things I dislike about the Scouts I would never donate to them plus or minus one or two of the things.

Go take a look at what the national Scouts website says and what the Scouts stands for and get back with me.

Carol, Scouts is a misleading catch-all. While the Boy Scouts do discriminate, the Girl Scouts, a totally different organization, has a non discrimination policy at the National level that is very clear and inclusive.

"Carol, Scouts is a misleading catch-all. While the Boy Scouts do discriminate, the Girl Scouts, a totally different organization, has a non discrimination policy at the National level that is very clear and inclusive."

Well, I thought it was pretty clear since I had used 'Boy Scouts' all the way through, but since it wasn't, yes by 'Scouts' I meant Boy Scouts. Yes, I *do* know the Girl Scouts are separate, and that they *don't* discriminate, hence my exclusion of them from the discussion...

But thanks and stuff...

Is Philadelphia in the South now? The city has waged a battle for years against the Boy Scouts there to kick them out of a city-owned building b/c the Boy Scout creeds/practices/whatever do not meet the non-discrimination laws of the city. They finally came to some kind of agreement recently where the Boy Scouts more-or-less won, I think.

Also, I think that the Boy Scout charter has something to do with Congress somehow...basically the US government is supporting a Christian, traditionalist, conservative, homophobic org. I would go look it up, but honestly there are so many things I dislike about the Scouts I would never donate to them plus or minus one or two of the things.

Go take a look at what the national Scouts website says and what the Scouts stands for and get back with me.

Not that I'm particularly a friend of the Boy Scouts, but the issue in Philadelphia was a bit more muddled than the city simply trying to terminate their lease on a city-owned building.

It's my understanding that the city owns the land, but the scouts own, and indeed built, the building in question many years ago under an agreement made at that time. I suppose they could have denied the scouts the right to access the building by not allowing them the ability to walk on the land between the sidewalk and front door, but as a practical matter, they would have been in for enormous legal issues if they denied the scouts the use of a building that they owned outright.

I know this thread is old, but for posterity: the problem in Philadelphia was that the building was given TO the city, but for the express use of the BSA branch in Philly (a regional HQ), and the BSA leased the building from the city for a nominal sum, I think $1.

The anti-discrimination laws of the city say that the municipal gov't cannot have any contractors, leasees, renters, etc. who discriminate against certain groups (ethnicity, race, orientation... I'm assuming not gender, since it was the Boy Scouts). So the BSA were in violation and it went to court. There were negotiations for years, and the local council had agreed to not discriminate, but the national BSA freaked out and the local council backed out; later, the BSA won a US Supreme Court case that allows it to continue to discriminate. And in order to avoid paying the BSA's legal costs, the city of Philly had to give the BSA the building outright as payment.

Truly, deeply ridiculous, and infuriating to me as a parent - I will never have my son in scouts, although his older sister will be allowed to be in Girl Scouts.

Actually, Jennifer, as a former scout I can assure you the BSA organization is whole-heartedly anti-gay. They consider this to be part of the pledge to be "Morally straight." They have revoked the membership of Scouts who have come out as gay. They have even been taken to the Supreme Court over this.

They bar gay people from serving as leaders, they were taken to court over this, as well: "We believe an avowed homosexual is not a role model for the values espoused in the Scout Oath and Law," the organization said after the court ruling. The courts have found they they can legally practice bigotry because they are considered a private organization. Oh, and they'll also kick out kids who profess to be Agnostic or Atheist.

Susan Francis | November 24, 2010 11:26 AM

Boy scouts of America do not allow either boys or leaders who are gay. If a boy is suspected of being gay he will be kicked out and black listed. If an adult leader is suspected of being Gay the same happens. If you don't openly profess religion you will also be kicked out. The rank of Eagle Scout must be earned by a boy before his 18th birthday and is a life time rank or status. Boy Scouts of America has gone so far as to remove the rank/status of "Eagle Scout" years later when it was found out that as an adult that they were gay. .

Gee, that one gave this particular bisexual, Pagan, Southern woman cold chills. Southern does not automatically equal homophobic or backward. The Boy Scouts are homophobic all over, darlin'.

Please, kindly clarify for me the difference between homophobic behavior and disapproving behavior. Emphasis on kindly, please.

There is no difference. Religious 'disapproval' is bigotry.

well informed | November 28, 2010 7:22 PM

You've got to be kidding. If somebody disagrees with your lifestyle, they're a bigot. Well now we've found the morality police, haven't we?

Firstly, one cannot disagree with what you inferred was a "gay lifestyle" because there isn't one. Secondly, if you are disagreeing with someone being gay, you cannot. It is illogical. You cannot disagree with a scientific fact that there are indeed gay people.

What you are in fact disagreeing with is that other people choose to be free to live their lives as they see fit. Hence flat out bigotry.

It's absolutely true. Superstitious people who 'disapprove' of GLBT sexuality based on their own irrationality are bigots.

In spite of skits like the Church Lady on SNL such creatures are not really very funny at all. The 'morality' of disapproval based on superstition and bigotry leads to discrimination, harassment, violence, murder and forced suicide.

The only lifestyle being discussed here is the genuinely misinformed lifestyle chosen by people who are determined to believe in sky pixies and disapprove of sexualities not their own.

Miriam Alario | November 24, 2010 7:13 PM

The Boy Scouts have been quite verbal about their disdain for Gays. IF they find out a scout is gay they immediately strip him of any badges or awards, and ban him from the troup.
They have also tried to sue Gay leaders for misrepresentation and breaking the oath.
Sorry to be the bearer of the bad news to you, but if your child ever turnes out to be Gay, he will be cast aside by the very group you have been supporting.

Yes, exactly. Not to mention that, even if he turns out hetero, he is learning that it is morally acceptable to support and participate groups that ban people on the basis of sexuality, gender, sex, and religion.

Living in the south doesn't mean you're anti-gay. I don't appreciate the stereotype. I bet you think our only form of transportation is a horse and wagon too.

Jennifer...if you send your son to the boy scouts he will be exposed to homophobia. The Supreme Court has allowed the boy scouts to discrimiate on the basis of sexual orientation...that goes for scout masters and scouts. They are also at liberty to teach the boys anything they wish about the "morals" of homosexuality. The United Way has blocked any funding from going to them because they will not change their stance. This is a NATION WIDE policy which is why the Supreme Court got involved. Its your call, but don't be decieved because you are in a "blue state" that he will not hear the jokes and snears made against gays while the adults laugh along with them!

Judging by your comment Jennifer, you're British? It's the US Boy Scouts they're talking about. I don't think the UK ones are homophobic especially? Unless anyone knows different.

This is silliness. There is no reason to make a child feel uncomfortable, or consider him or her to be a homophobe in training just because they may or may not have a different viewpoint than you. Now lets be clear: not agreeing with homosexuality does not mean homophobe or hate. It does not mean the opposite either. It simply means difference of opinion, which is what we are all entitled to without perrsecution. Granted, some do follow their disagreement with hatred. This is wrong. This is just as wrong as treating children badly because an organization they are involved in is not to their liking. Lets face it folks, you are expressing hatred towards a group that you feel hated by. Is that right? Of course not. There are many people out there that do not agree with the gay lifestyle yet realize that one area of a persons life does not define the individual. When someone says that they "hate gays" they sound ignorant, just like the person who is disrespectful towards children because of what they may or may not turn out to be. Wake up America. You anti-hate groups are many times the most hatful of them all. Pay close attention to yourselves and really take a look at what kind of "good" you are promoting.

Why Kate, of course you are right! Disagreeing with homosexuality doesn't make you a homophobe. I mean, I disagree with black people, but that doesn't make me a racist right? And I totally disagree with women, but that doesn't make me a chauvinist, correct? Why it's only an opinion. I don't hate black people, I just don't believe I should have to ride the same bus with them. That's not prejudice. It's just my own stupid little opinion! (Oh and by the way, over 400 species in the animal kingdom have been shown to engage in homosexual behavior. So there is no such thing as an "opinion" about homosexuality or race or gender. These are FACTS of our world.) I don't know who irritates me more--people who flat-out hate gays, or those who smugly say, "It's just my opinion," because they can't be bothered to educate themselves.

Rodney Hoffman | November 22, 2010 6:49 PM

Thanks for this, Bil!

Me, too -- I never give to the Salvation Army.

I haven't given to the Salvation Army since I had a friend need to stay at shelter. Apparently they proselytize during mealtimes. That was enough for me. This is just more of the same - sad to say I'm not surprised.

I'm loving how many times this has been shared on Facebook!

If you type "give to the Salvation Army" into Google now, we're on the front page of results returned. Let's help keep that going by sharing the post more and getting the info out there.

Bravo, Projectors! Way to go!

Thanks for this post, and for sharing your personal story, Bil.

This is another testimony to the poverty of resources that we have in place to support the plights of GLBT homeless people, especially the young people who get thrown out of their homes. And when I say "we" I mean that if the mainstream homeless groups continue to be homophobic by default, then we, LGBT people, must either educate them (the ones that aren't hopeless, at least) and/or we must put homeless resources into place ourselves.

In a word ... we still have a helluva lot of work to do ...

I completely agree with you. Now, if we can get the majority of the LG-b... uh, T... organization off the "Marriage" wagon for a little while, we might be able to put that money to some GOOD use on a not-so-hopeless endeavor that would benefit more of the community than we currently realize.

1 in 5 homeless youth is LGBT, people. Can we wake up, now?

I'm with you A.J. - Thank you Bil.

I urge anyone who has a story of SA bigotry to share it, here, on facebook, on twitter. I become almost sick knowing how this organization repeatedly treats lgbt people. They will not even talk to you if you are trans - even if you are in dire straits.

susan petrizzo | November 23, 2010 1:17 PM

You might like to look into the Leather Heart Foundation, which is a 501(c) that was formed with the express purpose of giving support to the alternative lifestyle community. They've done some terrific work.

The American Red Cross? But they don't accept blood donations from gay men! Or any man who has had sex with another man, even once!

Ben, the American Red Cross is opposed to the policy you mention, which forbids gay men from donating blood. The ARC, along with the other large blood bank organizations, have actually lobbied against the policy. However, the FDA has repeatedly insisted that this outdated policy continue, and it is the FDA which sets the rules.

By the way, Ben ... the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross are two totally separate organizations. The Salvation Army is a bona fide religious denomination, while the American Red Cross is officially secular -- even though internally there is a noticeable unofficial Christian influence.

I dont know of any place that will accept blood from anyone who has had sexual relations with someone of the same sex... I dont attempt to give blood anymore because I cannot get through the application process due to being homosexual. If you answer the questionnaire honestly they turn you away, they would rather not waste their time testing your blood.. even though it could be very clean blood and needed to save other people's lives.

Another fu*ked up Christian charity. Add them to the list.

There is a good reason that several girlfriends of mine and I have been calling them the "Starvation Army" for decades....

As the sibling of a gay married brother and a supporter of equal rights for ALL persons I will most definitely NOT stop giving to the salvation army. I may not agree with their choice of lifestyle expression and beliefs any more than they agree with yours, but they DO in fact help many people out. It is unfortunate that they choose to chose whom they will help, but it is their right to make that choice. They are a private charity, not a public human service organization. And they DO good more often than not. From purely a humanitarian standpoint, they are worthy of my change tossed into a can simply because if they were not around, many more people would be in far worse condition. God Bless you and may you learn tolerance and a "live and let live" attitude yourself to the extent that you want it expressed toward you. Good day.

Yes, LJ ... and while you are writing your donation check to the Salvation Army, don't forget to send one to the KKK also --- after all, what would the South be without all those tear-jerking memorial statues of Confederate Soldiers who gave their lives to defend slavery?

And finally, LJ, may the Holy Spirit heal the part of your brain that renders you blind to social injustice.

I'll pray for you ...

[* exits with a stage whisper: "... you pompous hypocritical a-hole!" *]

I can't help but wonder if all of people who express outrage over Salvation Armies' Social Injustice and discrimination are equally outraged by the Social Injustice and discrimination practiced by groups like United Negro College fund or the NAACP, who discriminate against the proverbial 'White Male'.

Norm: those scholarships are neither socially injust nor discrimination.

Well ... duh! ... I think that when someone donates to the UNCF or the NAACP, they understand that the person it will help is likely to be black.

AJ, not a fair comparison and you know it.

However, LJ, you really to check out the finances of the Salvation Army and how their money is spent. The Salvation Army financials show very high "operating costs." This means less of your money goes directly to helping people in need. I had decided some years ago (and I have a brother-in-law who spent many years as a person responsible for financial development for the Salvation Army), they were not worth my contributions just because of how their money is spent.

LJ, instead of giving to an actively homophobic private religious charity, why not give to another local charity without an agenda of hatred? There are plenty of secular, non-bigoted charities and shelters in every region to give your money to. And that way, you can see the results of your donation within your own community.

If you watched the video, it said at the end that you can support a good cause without supporting bigotry. Support your local homeless or women's shelter instead of the Salvation Army, and you'll still be doing just as much (if not more) good.

"Choice of lifestyle..." Are you kidding me!!

I notice in SF they're always at Safeway markets and I'd like to actually start a campaign of sorts to make Safeway corporate aware that having the Salvation Hetero Army right by their entrances is actually losing them customers.

What do you think?

I think that is a great idea!! If Safeway and other establishments really value equal rights, then they should not allow a "charity" that does not to be on their property annoying their customers.

Oh.... That is a shame... The Salvos and the Red Cross have been the only two charities I give to in the last 10 years because they are the only 2 I know of that don't use professional collection agencies here in Australia.... The only two organisations that use volunteers and the only two that guarantee at least 90% goes direct to the people that need it the most...

And I can't give to the Red Cross anymore because they now refuse to take my blood because I am "teh gay" and might give "teh gay" to people that need blood transfusions....

Its going to feel strange walking right past the old lady in the Salvos uniform outside the train station without dropping a few coins in her can....

There are lots of organizations that support all people, regardless of race, greed, religion, and sexuality. The one I support (and am treasurer for the local chapter) is the Imperial Court System. Granted they are all local chapters, but they all work to help others. My local chapter has a scholarship fund, burial fund, and general charity fund. We are 501(c)3 and annually aim for 60-75% of all income be distributed to help others.
More about the organization can be found at:

Are you sure they are the only two charities who don't use professional collection agencies to get the money?
I've seen plenty of stands run by the Lion & Rotary clubs/charities set up in spots similar to where the Salvo set up their bell-ringing collection spots (eg: outside mall/shopping centre main entrances, near escelators and travellators).

The one thing you must remember above all else is the roots of the Salvation ARMY - they were formed as an ARMY to 'save' people from the 'evils' of drink and a (to borrow a phrase) "Decadent lifestyle". Primarily this was achieved by draging folks out of pubs and bars then burning the place down in the early days (as much as the CHURCH doesn't want yout to, it's often in your best interest to read up on them and their history).

And I can't give to the Red Cross anymore because they now refuse to take my blood because I am "teh gay" and might give "teh gay" to people that need blood transfusions....

Is that Red Cross policy or Australian government policy? Upthread it's been said that in the USA, at least, the Red Cross has actively lobbied against that policy. If it's not Red Cross policy, you should feel no guilt for giving to them.


I agree with your sentiments. However, I also have to ask a question that I've been asking for almost 30 years now. Where in hell are the gay charities? Why aren't we funding our own 503(c)(3)? Where are the gay sponsored charities delivering food, clothing, presents to the both the gay and non-gay needy? From a totally PR point of view, it'd be great and it's also make it easier for someone to change their view or become kinder to you when they see that it's "fearful" gay person smiling and delivering the help that's needed. Also, it'd give us as a community that chance to be more in-your-face to those churches and groups like the Salvation Army (BTW can anyone see that name and NOT know it's now and always has been a religious proselytizing organization?)

We're so caught up sometimes in the political fight, that I think we're sometimes losing the emotional one. Logic only works so long and so well with people. We're emotional creatures. Our enemies know that well and use fear and other emotions against us. Some here suggest trying to demonize the Salvation Army with retailers. Since the Bell Ringers have become almost part of the holiday season over the past 75 or more years, for most that would backfire and it'd almost be like saying Santa Claus is a pedophile trying to entice kids.

Instead, provide an alternative. It's too late this year, but what about future ones? Ones where the gay/lesbian/trans/bi communities cast aside our own political infighting and come together as a group to help our non-gay neighbors?

Excellent point. It is beginning soon.

I understand where you are coming from. Typically the gay community goes about their charity work a little more quietly. We don't need the strokes of showing off doing the right thing by other human beings. If you are interested there should be an MCC, Metropolitan Community Church in your nearest large metro area, or find their HQ- they were founded by Pastor Troy Perry and serve the gay community. Also any location of PFLAG, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, would most likely be able to find a good use for any donation received, particularly in light of all the recent suicides of young people. There is also the Human Rights Campaign or Equality organizations in most states.
Just some ideas. Everyone have a blessed holiday however and whatever way you choose to celebrate/donate etc.

.... However, I also have to ask a question that I've been asking for almost 30 years now. Where in hell are the gay charities? Why aren't we funding our own 503(c)(3)? ....

look up the Rainbow World Fund.

There may also be other organizations with which I'm unfamiliar.

Gay support groups are here. I personally am a political activist, I am also a member of Bears of San Francisco, which once a month has a fund raiser for charities. Yesterday we raised funds and had a toy drive for "Momma's Kitchen" (no connection with the Bears, but many "bears" participated), the San Francisco Pride, which has the largest Pride celebration in the world, raises money for various charities. People laugh at the antics of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, but their main purpose, again, is to raise money for charity.

And we don't judge or discriminate when we give food, clothing, toys, medicine and medical research to support all human rights.

Look at the gay organizations in your community. This cannot be unique to San Francisco.

I'd never expect such a literalist religious organization as the Salvation Army to support gays, any more than I would expect the Pope to condone contraception. However, I've never heard of the SA denying food or shelter to anyone for any reason. For decades their raising funds from the public holiday donations have supported direct services to the homeless, jobless and those without help or hope. They do this because of a serious commitment to their faith. Funds raised are spent with the most careful fiduciary responsibility. As a Corps. member recently told me, "If a donor says they want their donation to buy 400 pillows, we use the money to buy 400 pillows - no deviations." As my father noted from observing many depression-era charities, what the Salvation Army says they will do with the money gets done. As of today, that fiscal integrity continues (and annoys the hell out of other charities that pay a high proportion of their funds for promotion, overhead and administration).

If people do not want to join or support the Army's Christian soldiers, they can leave them alone. The ringing bells remind most of us that the world still has many poor souls and that the Salvation Army effectively works to feed and shelter them.

We might do better to increase our prayers for understanding in the Salvation Army's theology. Jesus apparently hung out with 12 guys, appreciated his rich and straight-arrow friends, yet fed everyone, celebrated with wine, and established a faith that is long lasting. Just yesterday the Pope said condoms were o.k. - as prophylactics to help stem the spread of HIV. He still doesn't condone contraception, but this is a huge concession to medical reality. We live in hope!

Well, there's a catch-22 to this ideology. Yes, as a whole the Salvation Army are bigoted scum bags. However, individual "posts" can be pretty good to people.

Back in 2004, I was in some pretty dire straights. I'd just broken up with an abusive ex who had landed me in jail for the previous 8 days. The shelter in O'Fallon, MO, chased him off and kept me safe. They opened their doors to a transgender intersexual. Even after learning of my situation, the "officer" (pastor) did not do any anti-gay sermons at all. He didn't even preach to me about how he thought about what the Bible said about trans people. Going further, the executive staff members educated themselves about transgender people AND intersex conditions, then proceeded to hold a sensitivity training among the lower-level staff people... without outside intervention from any LGBT organization in the area (though, I told them about several who could help with the process). They elected to do it all on their own.

They helped me get away from an abuser. They helped me get my ID again (after the abuser destroyed my other one). They housed me and fed me while helping me to get to a place where I could move on. Without them, I have no idea where I'd be today.

Like I said, as a whole, they're scum. Individually, they can do a lot of good for people.

I'm sorry for those who've had bad experiences, but I can tell you first-hand how the Salvation Army HAS helped me. I and a few other gays I know have stayed in SA shelters in years past. And they knew I was gay. I told them when I first checked in and lived openly as a gay man in the shelters with no problems. (The few homophobic remarks I heard were dealt with appropriately.) They told me that they cannot and do not discriminate when it comes to helping the needy. And based on my experience, I'd have to agree.

Thank you for sharing! I'm glad to hear that we could help! How are things going now?

-BM Rachel
[email protected]

I'm sure this won't make me popular with most readers but I disagree with taking this kind of stance against the Salvation Army!

Yes it's unfortunate that Boy Scouts and Savlation Army, among many others, are homophobic religious organizations. But our anger over their practices DOES NOT change the fact that they're still private organizations run by religious organizations who have certain rights under the law; even if we don't like those rights!

What agners me the most about this typical and devisive gay tactic is that it only hurts the homeless and needy who Salvation Army does deem worthy of being helped. The slim minority of people who will engage in this 'boycott' are serving only to BURN BRIDGES *NOT* BUILD THEM! In the end, this kind of campaign is NOT helpful and it's NOT fair to those in need.

I will not be a puppet of my fellow gay activists and I'm tired of being told where to spend my money and where not to--as if EVERY member of the gay community can afford to be so picky about where they spend their dollars! My response to this is, "yes it sucks, and we should do what we can to change it, but this isn't a good idea; grow up and find a more mature way to make your political statement"

Matt, I find it amusing that you refuse to "be a puppet of my fellow gay activists," yet you're fully willing to be a puppet of the Salvation Army and similar anti-gay organizations that would have you believe that they are your only option for doing good in a community. I think your main focus is to react against what you perceive as the mainstream of LGBT activism rather than to react to actual crises in the LGBT community. Otherwise you would be touting LGBT youth homeless shelters like Sylvia's Place in New York City rather than defending the Salvation Army.

I see from your Twitter that you are located in Washington, DC. Instead of giving your money to the Salvation Army, why don't you donate to SOME (So Others Might Eat)? They're an "interfaith" organization that provides meals, emergency shelters, health services (including an STD clinic), addictions recovery, job training, mental health services, and elderly care. Unlike the Salvation Army, I can find nothing about anti-LGBT discrimination from SOME.
And it only took me literally three minutes of Googling to determine all of this.

Yes, the Salvation Army is a private organization which has the right to determine their own policies and grant or refuse services to whomever they want. No one here is advocating that those rights be taken away or not exercised. Rather, we are advocating that LGBT people and their straight allies should not be complicit in the bigotry produced by the exercise of this right. Yes, boycotts do involve economic privilege and the presumption that everyone can afford to choose where they spend their money. However, gay people, no matter how low on the economic ladder, have the power to select which charities they donate to if they have the money to donate to the Salvation Army.

What could be a more mature way to make a political statement than to choose to spend your charitable money at more worthy organizations and educate others about why they should do the same?

Hey all,

As an openly gay Salvationist, I know the Army's positional statement back to front. When I took my Oaths, I knew that I could not be sexualy active outside the confines on marriage. While yes, the Army does not recognise same-sex marriage, in my mind, that is a failure to recognise the thanging face of marriage, rather than homophobia.

Officially, The Salvation Army International helps those who need it, without discrimination. When the Army threatend in 2004 to close all NY soup kitchens, they were ordered by International HQ to withdraw this threat.

From the International Mission Statement:

"The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by love for God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in his name without discrimination."

I recognise that the Army isn't perfect. But the church and the charity of the Army are too seperate parts of the organisation. We believe that it is out God-given duty to help the less fortunate. Mr Browning, I am sorry that someone from the Army refused to assist you and your partner. That should not have happened. I am ashamed on behalf of that person, and I hope that God may forgive them. In future, you, or anyone else who is refused assistance based on sexual orientation, I encourage you to report that person/s, or Corps. Go to IHQ in London if you have to, but the small backwater Corps. that are still operating on outdated policies need to know that discrimination is wrong.

I am an openly gay Sunday School Teacher of the Salvation Army, and I am telling you here and now, that God loves EVERYONE. I am so sorry to all who have not been shown that love by my fellow Salvationists.

Suzie Day
Bentley Corps, Western Australia

Thanks for telling the other side of the story Suzie Day.

Thanks for posting that excerpt from the mission statement. Unfortunately:

"Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in his name without discrimination."

is, in some sense (or at least to some people) self contradictory. You can preach the gospel of Jesus Christ OR you can meet human needs without discrimination.

There are times when those 2 goals are at odds with one another and one of them will have to take precedence.

For that and possibly other reasons, if I find 2 charities that are virtually identical except for one being religious and one not, I'll support the non-religious one almost every time.

That said, religious charities definitely DO have their place. Many people think the opposite of me, only more so. Some people will ONLY support religious charities and the less fortunate can definitely benefit from their support.

This is one of the reasons any attempts to change or "boycott" charities must be done very carefully and tactfully. In my opinion, the chief methods should be promoting alternatives and privately trying to get them to "change their ways". Try to "shame" a charity into changing without providing an alternative acceptable to almost everyone runs the risk of just reducing the total amount given to charity.

"While yes, the Army does not recognise same-sex marriage, in my mind, that is a failure to recognise the thanging face of marriage, rather than homophobia."

Well, if you can wrap your mind into believing this, then I am sure you can justify anything else they do pretty easily.

And it's funny how the 'bad acts' always occur in some place other than where the apologists live, no matter the organization or the criticisms, that it would never happen in the enlightened place where the apologists live.

Hi Suzie

My experience of the Salvos in Australia has always been good.... Perhaps they just do things differently in the states?

BTW it was good to meet you the other night at the TDoR


I agree with everyone who is boycotting the salvation army. I am a gay man and I think its ridiculous.I am a christian, and no where in the bible that i have does it sAy that i am going to hell for sleeping with a man. Its all a mind set you are not going to hell for being gay!

I had no idea.

Thanks Bil.

Just a thought: young gay or questioning folks in Indianapolis, have a friend in the Indy Youth Group (IYG). I know for a fact they've helped place homeless gay younger folks. I'm not sure if they use the SA as a resource, or if so, what the reception has been.

But I'll certainly try to find out.


Yes, IYG is a great organization and we are lucky to have them here in Indianapolis.

On the global front, there is the [_Rainbow World Fund_] headquartered in the Castro area of SF.

When I was with the lesbian avengers we use to drop in a slip of paper (aka a flyer) into Salvation Army Kettles - similar to the size of a dollar that stated why they didn't get a dollar. It would list the homophobic stances etc... maybe we need to bring that back.

Thomas from DC | November 23, 2010 1:51 PM

Yesterday, I got an invitation to the National Cap Chapter of PRSA for our holiday party and was SHOCKED to see that PRSA leaders have invited the Salvation Army to be the formal charity of the party...I have already let event organizers know that they're making an anti-gay political statement by inviting such a divisive group to be part of the event, especially because so many people in public relations are LGBT.

People don't get that the Salvation Army has a very public political agenda, not only fighting gays but also opposing all sorts of progressive issues. But we DON'T NEED to support them. They don't have a monopoly on helping the poor. There are many, many groups that help the poor, hungry, homeless AND avoid such politics...Groups like the Salvation Army need to change or disappear...Until they do, I will be giving to Toys for Tots AND the DC Foodbank!

If you happen to be a PRSA-NCC member, please let our leaders know that they're making a mistake!

Bill, you are mistaken.

The Gospel of The Lord does not conflict with meeting human needs without discrimination. Those goals are not at odds with each other in any way. As a Catholic, I know for a fact that all the BS that comes in "Christian" religions was added long AFTER The Gospel was recorded, and is not even a part of it anyway. Christ said NOTHING regarding homosexuality. He befriended a hooker, and said "let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone." Jesus loves all people, and he has a lot of forgiving to do when it comes to those that discriminate with their charities.

"As a Catholic, I know for a fact that all the BS that comes in "Christian" religions was added long AFTER The Gospel was recorded, and is not even a part of it anyway."

Then, why are you a Catholic? Catholics believe we are "disordered." Are you disordered?

"The Gospel of The Lord does not conflict with meeting human needs without discrimination. Those goals are not at odds with each other in any way."

And where did Bil say that they were? He is just talking about Christian orgs, not Jesus.

Yes, Jennifer, you are correct ... and if I may expand on what Carol has pointed out, neither Jesus nor His Gospel promotes discrimination in matters of charity. He said, "Love thy neighbor as thyself" and He did not say, "Love your neighbor only if his is a 'good' Christian" nor did He even say "Love your Christian neighbor first, and care for non-Christians only after all the Christians are fat and happy."

But the Church on earth has corrupted the Gospel, inserting many notions that justify discrimination. Some evangelical groups even profess that one should extend charity only to other fundamentalist Christians, or require them to convert before receiving aid. This is very close to what the Salvation Army is doing, according to this post.

Judging by what's been said here, I don't think boycotting the Salvation Army (SA) would make our cause look good at all, no matter what some in the SA have done. Especially if other SA shelters have not been homophobic.

Obviously promoting a list to donate to LGBT organizations and shelters would be a better approach, but I liked the idea of even going out and raising money like the SA during the holiday season as well. But I don't think targeting the SA is a good idea and it doesn't sound like it being homophobic is consistently true. Why wage a negative campaign like that when we could take a more positive approach?

It's a matter of principle and elementary self defense. LGBT folks should never donate to bigots, political, 'charitable' or religious. The sv are religious bigots who have rotten politics. They're the enemy.

I think we should treat them the same way they treat us.

I think the roman cult, the sv and their evangelical, judaist and islamist partners in crime should be taxed until they drop.

Priests, rabbis, imams, sv officers, preachers and like minded parasites who engage in crimes, especially rape, should be jailed for life.

I think the assets of the cults they represent should be secularized without compensation. There is some slight movement on DADT and the drop in discharges reflects that.

Bill, can you please clarify something for me? Are you referring only to bigoted religious organizations/leaders here, or are you referring to all religions/religious leaders with this comment?

If they're criminals, especially rapists, they should be jailed, bigoted or not. Many catholic priests and bishops took refuge in the Vatican or ran out of the country before they were arrested because of collusion between the roman cult, police, prosecutors and the DoJ.

Religious cults provide the same general product - fantasy - as Disney and Industrial Light and Magic. The differences are that cultists continue to believe in fantasy and superstition well into adulthood and theirs comes with heavy doses of racism, rightwing politics and homohating. Bigoted or not, we shouldn't be forced to pay their taxes. They should be taxed like other fantasy manufacturers. That includes MCC and UUA.

To prevent large scale rape by priests, rabbis, imams, sv officers, preachers and similar parasites the schools, hospitals and 'charities' of the cults they represent should be secularized without compensation. Again, it hardly matters whither the cult is known for its bigotry or not.

I admittedly have not read all of the comments above. I have two thoughts. One is that charity is charity, and we give where we feel our time or money is best used. I was only partly aware of the Salvation Army's bigotry, and have absolutely no compunction directing funds to other agencies that are not as "selective" in those they'll help.

Second, as a "former kid" who was pretty plainly "out as a Scout," I felt no discrimination against me from the organization. I got my Eagle as an out Scout back in 1964. The taunts and so on from some of the other scouts were another thing. So "homophobes in training" is not, IMHO, a fair characterization, and I would NEVER burden a kid with that or any other gay-specific rejection. I don't think it's our business or our right or our mission to self-righteously confuse kids and piss off their parents. "See, that's what faggots are like, Billy...."

Taking ANYTHING like that out on kids is just plain unacceptable, and in my mind is precisely the kind of bullying MOST OF US despise.

Dave, I'm afraid your experience with the Scouts is out of date. The National Council has launched a massive crackdown on gay-tolerant Scout troops in the past few years, to the point of threatening to revoke the charters of troops which allow openly gay members, and in one case even threatening to revoke the charter of an entire local council.

I had no clue! I have given and given to them for years! Every door they are at during the holiday gets my money!

I do not understand how someones sexuality can determine their need? That is nuts!

I wonder if they have issues with mix-relationships too?

I first realized that the "Sally Ann" was homophobic when I learned that years ago the local chapter turned down a donation of collected toys. The toys were donated by (a now defunct) Gay social club. Other organizations (Goodwill) gladly accepted that and other donations over the years.
Now if you refuse toys for needy kids just because the benefactors are Gay, you have a serious problem.

I heard that during Hurricane Katrina, workers for the Rainbow World Fund went to the Superdome and handed out bottles of drinking water -- and amazingly, some people refused the water because it was being distributed by a GLBT organization.

Hey all, it's me again. The gay Salvationist.

I recognie that not everyone has had good experiences. And If you feel that you cannot donate to the Army because of personal convictions, then don't. i will be the First to tell you don't go against what your heart is telling you. Give that money to another charity. It really doesn't matter which, so long as the money does get back to those who need it most.

And to Carlos, who believes that religious organisations should be taxed until they are bankrupt, and religious leaders should be jailed, I find your comments to be deeply offensive and hurtfull. I can say with absolute conviction that I woul not have finished highschool alive if I did not have my faith. Christ not only Saved my soul, He quite literally saved my life.

If you do not believe in any form of religion, then that is fine. That is your choice. I will not try to stop you. But please, I beg of you, empty your heart of the hate. Break the cycle, and rise above the hatred that others have pressed upon you.

Carlos, as much as your comments hurt me, I forgive you.

Suzie Day

I don't know much about the Salvation Army except that the bells are annoying; however, I went to their website to find out what their official position is:
"There is no scriptural support for demeaning or mistreating anyone for his or her sexual orientation. The Salvation Army opposes such abuse. The services of the Salvation Army are available to all who qualify without regard to sexual orientation."
After that there is some comment about "abiding by Salvation Army "doctrine and discipline" whatever that is - which may be a covert way of being anti-gay which is totally hypocritical.
My point is that the Salvation Army should be forced to abide by their own policies and NOT ABUSE anyone or refuse services to anyone - so you really should report whichever local Salvation Army refused you service and make them do the right thing. Perhaps they have already been forced to change their policy because of public outrage? I hope so!

I can completely understand why the LGBTQ community in general would be so against the Salvation Army. However, we should keep in mind that homeless people regardless of sexual orientation need people to give them shelter, to feed them, and to help keep them warm when it is cold outside. I do realize that the SA is anti-gay and yea I do think that organizations, especially in the 21st century, should be well beyond discrimination based on sexual orientation.

When you think about it though, homeless people are still brothers, sisters, mothers/fathers, cousins, or some kind of relative of an LGBT person. Whether or not they get helped depends on charities who actually give the money that they receive to people who are in need. Yes, the SA may decide who they want to give their help to just as LGBT organizations can choose to give their money to help only LGBT persons. It is a choice, everyone has to make one.

Is it possible to help everyone? The way that these posts have been going I would have to say no. Everyone seems to be for one side or the other and to each his own. Just remember that a person that is homeless deserves to get fed and have shelter just like everyone else. Regardless of what charity you give to, someone is getting fed and staying warm for the night which in reality is all that should matter.

The Salvation Army is anti-gay...WOW, like a lot of people in America! Who would've thunk it!?! Regardless of preference..everyone should be helped, and I'm sure not all Salvation Armies are like the one that turned away gays.

Great information in this video but why is this girl lip synching to a mans voice? It's distracting and I don't understand.

why is this girl lip synching to a mans voice?

I've watched a few of her videos on YouTube. She has the same voice in all of them.

Her YouTube profile says this:


Call me 'he'. Or 'she'. Either is fine.


That is her voice. She is, I believe, a self-termed transvestite - i.e., born male. As stated in the comment previous to mine, I'm also fairly sure she doesn't care one way or another about gender marker. I think I read a post of hers where she proclaimed herself either genderqueer or genderfuck in addition to being a transvestite, but I don't remember for certain.

I don't give to the SA, and I won't ever bother. This posting leaves me wondering however, why no one consistently asks to boycott Walmart. Walmart is anti gay in their policies and also allowed for the H8ters supporting prop 8 to harass people coming out of their stores for signatures to get it on the ballet.
My wife and I were harassed by a young man outside a local Walmart who informed us that "gay marriage was happening everywhere" and we needed to join the fight to stop it.
He was rude and inconsiderate, my wife informed him that she was one of those "married" gay people and he was wrong to engage in stopping it.

Perhaps Walmart is too big to take on?

KathyinEngland | November 24, 2010 6:03 PM

Please- does anyone know if its the same with the S.A in England ?

Thanks for the tip, I knew SA was a Christian based organization but not belonging to an organized religion or church myself, I keep having the lapse of believing "Christian" means Christian! Anyway there are plenty of local programs I will give to instead, I'd frankly given to SA all these years cuz it was so easy to drop a $20 in...

As for BSA, anyone who missed the hullaballoo about their very public stand against homosexuality around a dozen years ago, can certainly google it as there was a huge outcry and a number of lawsuits about it around that time. This site is pretty comprehensive including the difference between boy scouts and girl scouts policies:

I was glad my son didn't show much interest in scouting when he was in grade school and it cropped up, because that was around the time they also took a big stance on "no atheists or agnostics" - and I don't think 7 yr old boys are ready to address those big ideas. Wikipedia has a very extensive page dedicated to all of the controversial issues BSA has embroiled itself in, leading to loss of United Way and corporate funding, and how Steven Spielberg dropped out of their council due to their discriminatory practices:

What a load of Bullshit, I have seen first hand the work they do for kids etc in my community. I'm not into religion or anything like that and nothing they do to promote religion is any worse than those people who stop you in the street trying to talk to you about the bible etc. I have never heard or seen any anti-gay attitudes displayed by any of them! All organisations have their flaws but in general they do much good in the community,... so Bil,... find something else to waste your time with buddy!

Yes, the Boy Scouts DO actively discriminate against gays in membership and leadership. I do not want to be redundant; read the comment posts above for quotations from the policy, and personal anecdotes. Do your homework.

As a gay man I would normally be appalled by what (you) are claiming about the Salvation Army. With that in mind I think the big picture should be said. You are not speaking fact!!! At 1:46 you claim "If you support the salvation army, then you are supporting bigotry"? The majority of your video is (only your opinion), based from facts that you have desperatly scrounged up that have nothing to do with (the cause itself)...

Helping people that have less than you is a great cause!!! And by using a minority eyeglass, you will do nothing other than give less to people that need it most.

Focus on being better than the people that give so little!!! Regardless!!!

I am all about Pride in everyway but a video like this can hurt more than it can help... Focus on helping others and not stoping help regardless of the beliefs of the uneducated...

If you want to do something then volunteer and show them a better way instead of stopping people from helping others.

Heather Mason | November 24, 2010 6:43 PM

If you spew hate, you cannot expect acceptance. Hate is hate.

Miriam Alario | November 24, 2010 7:25 PM

I also object to the SA REQUIRING those to be fed to pray before receiving food. While I understand the idea of thanking God for the blessing, true Christianity does not force itself on the poor. Christ healed, fed and comforted people without asking for their participation or committment to prayer. BTW, he never asked for a Co-Pay either.

I only give to charities that have only one filter...the desire to help those in need. That is my choice. People are free to make their own decisions but I can not in good conscience give to groups that discriminate.

Phillip Walker | November 24, 2010 10:20 PM

I can understand why some of the GL community would not personally want to support the Salvation Army, but why campaign to pull them down when they are helping so many others? When I was unemployed and homeless, these guys were the only ones to show genuine help, and they never made us pray before meals or proseletised openly. They take their faith seriously and I respect them for that. My experience was that they helped gay men with no discrimination. You may need their help one day. PW

While I disagree completely with their stance on homosexuality I won't just discount the work that they do. While their views may be far behind the times I don't think that the fellow getting some hot chocolate or a blanket or a place to sleep on a cold night rightly cares much. In the long run the lack of donations doesn't further gay rights or make much of a statement. All it really does is take help away from some people who truly need it.

Ultimately it'd be great if they changed their attitude but despite it they still do good work.

But if the person needing a place to sleep or a meal is gay, then it won't help him. There are plenty of charities that don't discriminate and people who feel strongly enough about this should contribute to those instead.

There's another point about donating to the Salvation Army that I haven't seen mentioned yet. This comment only applies to the Salvation Army in the United States - I can't speak about other countries.

The Salvation Army receives a large amount of funding from the U.S. Government (thanks to George Bush's "Faith-based Initiatives"). They are required to spend that money on actual services to the needy.

So, do you think that money that is dropped into those red buckets actually goes to provide food or shelter to a needy person? No. Most of that money goes to pay their lobbyists and other administrative infrastructure, since funds raised from that source are completely unrestricted.

Same experience with the SA in Europe.
They differ between the theological and the practical functions of their work.

My mate is employed with the SA, and has had no hasle whatsoever, quite the contrary.

There are 2 paths to take:
Confrontation; nail 'em to the wall, and make sure their attitudes don't move an inch.
Join them; the act of BEING is a revolution in itself. It's hard to crucify a nice guy you know.

Also, me being gay is not something I can do anything about. IF it's a problem, it's deffinitly not MY problem, so I just pass the problem back to the owner.

When I was with my first partner, his family were raised in the Salvation Army. There were kidsand at least 2 were gay. One evening the youngest came home upset and told me that the pastor (I have avoided the SA for neigh on 25 years so I don't remember the rank) told her she had to disown both her brothers and me or chance going to hell. I was infuriated that ANY organization should divide a family on purpose and had a few choice words and suggestions but finally asked if she thought we were damned for who we loved and she didn't. I told her to follow her heartand tell the pastor for me, "Judge not, least thee be judged!"

Until haters like these mend their ways I don't havew the time or energy for them to be in my life or partake of MY table. I'll give elsewhere thank you!

If you are on FB you might want to check out my "Photos" area where you can find "homocash" these are bills that I found some years ago and they are quite fitting for the little red buckets. Enjoy

Margaret Ann Bertay | November 25, 2010 10:30 AM

My first thought is that the way some choose to stand by their beliefs and not support the scouts, is horrific. Why in the world would you take your anger out on a child who is involved with an organization that you choose not to support? The scouts may not believe in homosexuality, but that does not mean that every scout or scout family feels the same way! How dare you attempt to force a mother to confront an issues as grand as homosexuality with their child if they are not ready to do so. How dare you attempt to teach a child a lesson that they may not be developmentally ready to understand! My son, who is a scout, understands that some families have a mommy and a daddy, some have 2 mommy's and some have two daddy's and some gave only one parent. He also understands that some men and some women love another man or woman the same way his mommy and daddy love each other and that all of this is ok. This as far as he is ready to go...DEVELOPMENTALLY! Since he cannot undrstand the complexities of a heterosexual relationship, he will not understand the complexities of a homosexual one either! He knows his aunt is married to his other aunt and thru have children, that is what he needs to know now! Don't you dare throw your lessons in my sons face, it is my job to parent him, not yours!
Secondly, you may not agree with the scouts in regard to their policy in gays, but how about their policies on creating responsibile, virtuous, curtious, compassionate, educated, honorable, respectable and strong boys who love God, their country, others and themselves? These traits have been missing from children for so long, and look what out children have become! Maybe if more organizations would teach these lessons we would be in better shape as a nation.
Right or wrong, support or don't, just please, please consider extending the same compassion to children as you are fighting to have extended to you.

Support is not won with a strong arm and closed mind, but with a soft guiding hand and strong, open mind!

Funny how the Girl Scouts manage to do the same thing for girls that the Boy Scouts do for boys, yet they manage to do it with 100% less homophobia.

Please consider extending the same compassion to queer boys, young men, and leaders that you would like to see extended to the straight ones. I think that is all anyone is really asking for.

Very well said. Thank you.

I'm embarrassed to say I've completely stopped donating that has any Christian affiliations. I figure if they can paint us all with the same brush I can happily return the favor.

The Boy Scouts does discriminate against religions that they deam are not Christian. They recently would not allow a mom and dad who have children in BS to become leaders because they are MOrmon. I have Mormon friends and they are Christian. They use the Bible just like everyone else. Infact, they probably know it better than most ppl.So I am glad I have girls and we can do GS!

People need to realize that the Salvation Army is a fundamentalist Christian sect who have a moral majority agenda as bad as anything on the lunatic Right. Actually they just love Big Government in all its forms, from regulating the bedroom to the boardroom.

So, if unless you want anti-gay laws, want censorship, want to ban abortion, then don't support the Salvation Army -- ever.

And, if you happen to like small government, depoliticized, free markets, and oppose the welfare state then the Salvation Army is also your enemy. In reality neither Left nor Right ought to support these authoritarians, albeit for different reasons.

I don't know if this has been posted or not but you guys do know that the bell ringers do not volunteer, they get paid. I know I did it one year. They tell you to tell everybody that you are just volunteering when your really not.

That is a common misconception.. those aprons they give you are for people to identify you as "With The Salvation Army" mainly because you(most likely) are not a soldier and thus have no uniform. Yes, it would be easier to make shirts.. But The Salvation Army you worked for did not have the luxury of making that a part of their budget. There are aprons that do not say "I am a volunteer".. your site manager should not have given you a volunteer apron..

Natalie, some bellringers are volunteers. I know, because I participated once (many years ago) as part of a civic organization.

I really think The Salvation Army is getting undeserved bad press here. I am a very obvious transsexual woman. I live in a redneck backwater where everyone knows me and knows exactly who and what I am. Though I consider myself agnostic, have never been active in any church, 70 years ago my grandparents were the national Commanding Officers of The Salvation Army in America. Both are gone, but they left me with the one thought that they lived their lives by: Love One Another.

The discussion here advocating boycotting of the Christmas kettles has been most disturbing. The Salvation Army described in so many posts is not The Salvation Army I have known and loved. I arranged a meeting with our local Commanding Officer to discuss my concerns. I wanted to know the official policy. She provided me the current policy statements.

For those of you who do not know, The Salvation Army is indeed an evangelical Christian church with the mission of saving souls. Taking the position that it was easier to save a soul that was not worried about eating, the Army adopted as its mission what is now one of the largest private charitable organizations in the world. But the church and charity are two separate functions. While the church operates the charity, involvement with the church is not requisite. The church has funding sources separate from the kettles. The kettles support only the charity.

As a church, as many churches do, the organizations policy is that “Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex”, therefore "Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life. There is no scriptural support for same-sex unions as equal to or as an alternative to heterosexual marriage. Likewise there is no scriptural support for demeaning or mistreating anyone for reason of his or her sexual orientation. The Salvation Army opposes any such abuse. In keeping with these convictions, the services of the Salvation Army are available to all who qualify, without regard to sexual orientation. The Fellowship of Salvation Army worship is open to all sincere seekers of faith in Christ, and membership in The Salvation Army church body is open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army's doctrine and discipline."

Now please note that as a church, The Salvation Army does not condemn homosexuality, it recognizes and accepts as a reality, but it's literal reading of the Scripture forbids homosexual sex.

With regards to human equality, The Salvation Army's position is: "As an international branch of the Christian church, The Salvation Army has been concerned from its inception with the spiritual and social needs of all people, recognizing that all bear the divine image and are equal in intrinsic value. "God created human beings in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female" (Genesis 1:27) "From one person God made all nations who live on earth"(Acts 17:26).

"The Salvation Army affirms its full support on all levels, to the biblical and Christian imperatives of human and civil rights. We oppose unlawful, unjust, or immoral discrimination and seek to promote sensitivity, understanding, and communication. Christ-like attitudes compel and empower the building of strong cross-cultural relationships. Shared values and common goals shape and positively influence the broad culture of Salvation Army ministries. Diversity strengthens those ministries. Christ brings unity within diversity.”(From my perspective, I wish that all churches were as supportive!)

"All Salvation Army social welfare services are provided on a nondiscriminatory basis: such services shall be equally available to all persons on the basis of need and capacity to benefit from the service."

"All Salvation Army positions of full-time service, lay leadership, employment, and volunteer service are open to qualified persons, with exceptions dictated only by the religious purposes and moral positions of The Salvation Army." Please note that one of those conditions is that practicing homosexuals may not be officers. Officers in The Salvation Army are ordained ministers. So practicing homosexuals cannot be ordained in the church that is The Salvation Army. Celibate homosexuals can. The restriction is not homosexuality, but homosexual acts.

Having said all of this, the local commander advised that if one feels that they are being denied appropriate social services they should file a a complaint with the regional command, the national command, and/or if necessary, international command in London, England. All are easily accessible through the Internet.

As is the case with so many, unfortunately a few bigots in the organization are getting a good organization painted with a bad brush. The Army's policy is to help all in need. As a religion, yes, they do advocate celibacy in a homosexual relationship, but they also have a very strong human rights equality statement condemning violence, marginalization and disenfranchisement and promoting love. As a church, homosexuals are not to be Officers, aka ordained as ministers, but all are welcome and invited to join in worship. As a social service agency their help is available and freely provided to anyone in need who can benefit from their assistance. If anyone in need encounters less they should file a complaint with the regional command.

In my personal experience in disaster management, I have repeatedly seen The Salvation Army freely give in times of disaster, to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and counsel the grief-stricken without so much as advertising their presence, let alone asking for a donation. Many soup kitchens and other services are wrongfully credited to the Red Cross when actually provided by the Salvation Army - think about that when you hear the Red Cross or United Way soliciting your donations. I have been in the cafeteria's when an officer has asked for a moment of silence as he led a prayer of grace, but I have never heard proselytizing or preaching there. If that's what you want, they'll be happy to have you to their prayer service.

If you are concerned about where your red kettle donation goes, it goes directly to social services - the food, the blankets, the clothes and the housing, with the lowest overhead expense of any major charitable organization, and with no questions asked. I now work for an agency that uses HUD funds to provide emergency shelter. When we get one that we cannot help either because we are full, or they are somehow ineligible, or beyond our scope, the first call is to the Salvation Army. Day or night, 24/7, I have never heard them say no. They always find a way to rent them a room in the hotel, or put them on a bus, fill their gas tank or feed them, or all of those things if that is the need. Come watch the Christmas gift program that provides the only Christmas gifts some children will ever get, in addition to the food to feed the family, and even a Christmas tree, never with a question as to anything other than need and probability to benefit. That is where your kettle donation goes, please don't jeopardize the good they do by confusing religious conviction with bigotry. The Army may not agree with your lifestyle, but accepts and appreciates you as a person of value, and agrees to disagree. They don't condone us, but they certainly do not condemn us! Personally, I don’t know any agency, public or private that has done so much for so many.

They are out there every day, 24/7 doing what they do, in a spirit of Christian love. Except for the bell ringers this time of year have you ever heard a plea for donations? Have you ever heard one of the bell ringers say more than "hello" and open a door for you whether you gave or not? Have you heard them say more than thank you or Merry Christmas when you did make a donation? No. That is the way they do business, with love and genuine smile, and never a big sign proclaiming their greatness.

For the one who said bell ringers get paid, understand that many of the "volunteers" are in dire need of income. The Salvation Army does "pay" it's bell ringers and other "workers" so that they might have the benefit of the satisfaction of work rather than being dependent on welfare or charity, and the benefit of insurance for both the individual and the property owner where they are posted - most businesses require the insurance before they will allow placement of a kettle. Insurance companies only insure employees. Most "volunteers" never pick up their "pay", or they just put the money in the kettle. That is their choice.

I am sorry if you find the ringing bell a dunning. Traditionally bells are symbolic of the harmony existing in the society. Their pitch and rhythm indicate joy, warning, or sorrow so that the community might rejoice with the joyful, and mourn with the sorrowful. Bells act as a medium between heaven and earth, bells and especially their clappers, represent communication and suspension between humans and God. The sound of bells announces the birth of Christ on earth. And so they are used to remind us of Christ Commandment to “Love on another”.

Please support your Salvation Army charity. Your donation goes directly to the neediest in your community. It doesn't go for fancy buildings, advertising, or officers salaries, and it does not support the church. Give what you can, there are many in need this year. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:39-4)

Oh yes, like so many large organization, The Salvation Army is somewhat lumbering and slow to respond to changing social norms. My Grandmother religiously wore the old fashioned bonnet, full coverage blouse and floor length skirts until the “new” uniform was introduced in the late 1960s. As with so many organizations, their policy toward alternative lifestyles is under review. I would not expect them to lead the movement to full acceptance, but I would expect their modernization much faster than other “Christian” organizations.

HEllo, My name is Rachel and I am one one the youth workers in my corps. As I was making an announcement ppt. I found your page. Lovely crest by the way. Anywho, I came to your page and saw the headline and thought to myself, "This is not the Salvation Army that I know". I just wanted to let you know that The Salvation Army began as a non-discriminative organization, I mean the church started as a ministry to the drinks of England.. . I'm sorry for the past experiences you may have had with The Salvation Army, but that does not mean you should not give to us. The Salvation Army may have beliefs that you may not like but we had a very big impact in the world, for example Catherine Booth, our founders wife played a big role in womens suffrage rights... now I know you didn't go and study the Salvation Army's past or anything like that.. but its good to understand and know the organization you are.. "Bashing" before you do the "Bashing". Thank you for your time, have a blessed day!

-BM Rachel
[email protected]

Mock up some fake currency and write an appropriate message on them stating you will not support them until they change their policies. Then stick THAT in their little red buckets!

It is not a 'few bigots', there official policy is that queer people are evil (and, yes, that is exactly what they mean when the say something is a 'sin' or disapproved of by their 'god').

"a spirit of Christian love" Ah, so it is the usual sort of 'Christian love' where everyone who disagrees with their religion or any part of their bizarre holy book is excluded in hopes of starving them into submission. Religious based bigotry is bigotry, plain and simple. The level of cognitive dissonance in this thread is astonishing.

Thanks for the information. I was looking for a charity to give to. Looks like salvation army and boy scouts.

Regina Ericson | November 28, 2010 7:03 PM

I do not give to the Salvation Army because of their homophobic stance. However, I do shop at their store because it is cheap and I can extend my dollars. We don't have a Goodwill or any other thrift store in our area. I only shop on Wed. as things are half priced, so they can't possibly be making much. Help me with my guilt??????


I read the article and wanted to let you know that some of the information in it is false. I am an openly gay woman who used to work at a Salvation Army homeless shelter in another country for 3 years, and I helped translate many of their official policies into the local language. As worldwide policy, the SA does NOT discriminate based on sexual orientation among those they serve. It is possible that an individual officer might have done this, but it is not their policy.

I'm not saying the SA is a gay-positive organization. It is an evangelical church, and as such, it does not support same-sex marriage, and openly gay people can't serve as ministers/ officers. It is also true that the SA does not support domestic partner benefits for its employees. If people want to call attention to these policies, by all means, they should do so, but they need to do their research and separate fact from rumors and unconfirmed anecdotes.

Also, as some others have pointed out, the SA works differently in the United States than in other countries of the world. To give a worldwide organization a bad name based on what happens in one country is thoughtless and irresponsible.

This is a post I wrote last month about my experience as a beneficiary of one of the Salvation Army's ARC programs, and the incredible lack of respect and the stripping of basic human dignities i endured there over 4 months, before being thrown back on the street. Please read this, all of the information inside is pure fact and eye opening.

Bill and other's,

Before you start a hate campaign yourself, you should, at least, read the SA's Postion on Homosexuality here:

It says that while the SA does not condone same-sex intimacy, they also do NOT discriminate their charity. Of course, individual actions may differ from an organizations policies.

While I do not interpret the Bible in quite the same way as SA (that is, because the Bible does not specifically allow SS intimacy, then the only choice is celibacy), thier case is, at least, rational.

If you don't think the SA is worthy, then you have the right to donate your money where you choose. As other's have said, it's a private organization and you should always know where your money goes.

The BSA is another matter.

Goodwill does not discriminate. Whereas The Salvation Army is a traditional charity, Goodwill doesn't follow the same model. It is all about putting people to work. Goodwill was founded by a Methodist minister but has long since operated as a secular organization. Each Goodwill is its own entity, as they are all independent operating in their respective territories. Obviously since they are largely known for helping those with disabilities and other barriers, discrimination is a big no no.

Just because they don't support the gay community, doesn't mean that some children don't deserve coats, or should be cold this winter.

Charities are part of the problem, not the solution because they're mired in scandal and corruption. The Red Cross has been involved in major scandals for decades.

Religious charities are far and away the worst offenders. Aside from the fact that they're infested with bigots they provide cover for the pitiless exploitation of workers and sexual assaults on women and children.

The solution consists of constitutional guarantees for good union wages and benefits for all workers, retirees and students coupled with guaranteed good housing and socialized medicine.

In the meantime we should insist that the government secularize religious charities and cut their cult connections to help prevent rape. Priests, imams, rabbis, ministers, mullahs, pastors, monks, nuns and preachers should be barred from being within 10 miles of children. And that would have the added advantage of putting an end to most of the superstitious irrationality taught in Sunday schools, bible studies and catechism classes.

The only institution in America less effective than government is the non-profit industry. There is no accountability. Mix in some "religion," and it just gets worse.

I haven't seen a SA bell-ringer in a while, but I will decline a donation with my usual "I don't trust Christians, sorry."

The children may get coats or warm clothing....AS LONG AS THEY AREN'T GAY! Once again, why not give money to an organization that does not have a long track record of discrimination.

I work for the American Red Cross, and I can assure you that they are a neutral organization following FDA policies on blood donations.

Let me just say that I would not have a problem with this thread if it was a petition to have the ones who discriminated against bil and his partner removed or reprimanded or whatever. because you were wronged you think its right that some other individual who needs assistance will not receive it. what kind of attitude is that to have? how arrogant are you to think that the injustices you suffer are unique to just you. everybody has been on the bad end of discrimination or persecution. am I the only one who thinks it hypocritical to complain about them judging you only to judge them for having an opinion, and to blame an organization for the acts of some of the people who work for it. Let me guess you have never been embarrassed by or completely disagreed with someone in the glbt community. are the only injustices ever done to you are by the religious right? How many times have you been done wrong by people of different faith, race, sexual orientation, or creed. yes it is terrible how much effort is put into demonizing glbt people, yes glbt people need the same rights as everyone else, yes suicide is a horrible horrible thing, I am curious though as to how many of you were so concerned about child suicide rates prior to the glbt cases that were in the news. I am not glbt and I do not support salvation army. I am not going to tell you how many glbt friends or family members I have or rallies I have attended, and especially friends I have lost to suicide because none of that means anything to you and . whatever is said it is undeniable to say that S.A does not help people. If you do not choose to support them then do not. however it is deplorable to try to get people to not support a charity that has done much good. when will we learn that we are all just people, human beings and I personally think that all of the anti glbt organizations have won because of all the mistrust on each side of it. Maybe someday people will stop pointing out all the trivial differences we have and maybe focus on some of the simple things we share as a whole that actually matter. I encourage you all to re-read through this whole thread and try to look objectively at how we all communicate with each other. "if you don't agree with what i have to say you are a bigot" "if you donate to the salvation army you are fighting against the glbt community" grow up people learn to forgive and have the same understanding that you ask of other people.

Steve Harrington | December 4, 2010 8:50 AM

'Round and 'round and 'round we go with the arguments. We can banter semantics, relate personal and second-hand anecdotes, argue the Bible, and analyze offical documents. Both sides of the story have compelling emotional statements, but for me it comes down to these very simple points:

* The core belief of the SA is that LGBT people (or their 'behavior,' whatever that means) is inherently wrong; whether or not they elect to serve this community is immaterial

* The SA has a high percentage of funds dedicated to administrative costs (which includes lobbying)

* EVERY community has an alternative organization which provides the same services to the needy, homeless, and destitute which does not reflect the above 2 conditions (including Christian organzations which DON'T consider gays 'disordered').

So, if I'm committed to donating to help others less fortunate, why would I willingly choose the former over the latter?

(BTW, I am a gay Episcopalian who hasn't given to the SA since its initial Supreme Court case against gays way back when. I also try to inform businesses which allow ringers outside of the SAs official stance. In some cases, they have been disallowed. I also have informed some ringers of the stance and why I choose to donate to other organizations. Knowledge is power. You'd be surprised to know how many people are ignorant of the history of the SA.)

Jay Tripple | December 4, 2010 2:01 PM

This comment has been deleted for violation of the Terms of Service.

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Danielle Starkey | December 6, 2010 11:40 AM

If gays have such a issue with BSA or Salvation army start your own organizations. It's ok to have gay rights, and united negro college fund but let a whites only group form and every one gets pissed off. Being gay is a life style,your that way because you want to. Your going against nature & society.

I always wonder why people with views like yours are posting on a website generally devoted to GLBT issues. Why Danielle are you spending your time on this site?

Crystal OGane | December 9, 2010 3:15 PM

I just wanted to let you know that i drove over 45 miles to the
Salvation Army in Portland only to be turned away and confused. Many
workers including the manager bad mouthed the United Way and said they
were NOT able to help us and couldn't provide any further
assistance....hmmm, so I drove to the Sanford location to find once
again I'm too late for help there and frustration is now setting in
seeing I've waisted time and gas money looking for help. As far a
Bruce Roberts Fund, I was actually almost getting yelled at for not
signing up earlier in the year. The kids scool couldn't help, and
neither could/haven't our case manager. If I had the money would I
embarrass myself and drag a two-year old arround begging for help?
Well, to say the least I'm putting way too much effort into finding
some warm clothing/ toys for my children. It's freezing cold, why is
there advertising help and donations and it's so very hard to recieve
it?I'm sorry to vent this to you but I am just shocked and
dissappointed, I felt that someone should hear me out.

This sums up my opinion on this post perfectly, but I would like to add to it.
1) I dont know the author of this post, if he's telling the entire truth, my bet is the couple got offended because the SA probably didnt like the idea of them sleeping together in their facility, under their rightful beliefs. Before I blindly follow a internet post, I would go see for myself.
2) I attend church at our SA here in my town, and voluteer at the facility, I have never heard any hate of any kind from these people. I have heard homosexuality listed during sermons on sin, but they preach that sin is sin, everyone has sin, no one is without sin, and Jesus is the answer.

Great move ya'll, typical gays, thinking only of's the reason I'm not loud and "PROUD"

sorry, evidently I posted wrong, I was referring to the post by LJ on nov. 23 at 12:03, it's perfectly written and sums up my feelings on this thread also. see my above post for the rest of my thoughts :)

The Cub Scouts, Boy scouts, etc. are all notoriously known for being homophobic. They don't want gays amongst them. If you don't believe me, look it up. You will find a lot of information on this. Once they find out, they automatically assume them all to be "pedophiles" and boot them out asap. Only parents of boys in the scouts can teach their children not to be homophobic. Sadly that's how a lot of older groups are who were built on religious or certain beliefs. And I don't think there is a very big difference between homophobic and disapproving. Just let people live their lives and get over yourselves.

I really really don't understand these people who think that if you don't give to the Sally Army you're not going to give at all. There are better charities out there: charities which don't help with strings attached; charities which don't spend much of their money on political lobbying for socially regressive campaigns (as they Sally Army has done in New Zealand, and I think in many other countries).

I give to Barnardo's and MSF. They're good people, doing good things, working to make the world a better place without reference to sky fairies other such nonsense.

The Sally Army, meanwhile, is in many ways working to make the world a less fair, less equitable, place, by means of their socially regressive political campaigns. Yes, they do some good, but others do much more without being hypocritical bigots.



Just because they do some good things, it doesn't cancel out the hateful things they do (There are quite a few priests who have helped a lot of people while molesting little boys on the side). Plus some of those 'good' things do is being done with government money and they are contracted (paid) to provide those services.

Re: the Red Cross and blood donations. If I go into a hospital and need a transfusion, should I be forced to accept blood from someone whose lifestyle may compromise the integrity of the blood? Or do I refuse it, knowing that by doing so, I might die?

I was in that very situation a quarter of a century ago. Believe me, I was worried for a long, long time about the blood I was given. Would I come down with AIDS? What about my newborn baby?

And the thing that really got to me was that the doctors and nurses "assured" me that blood plasma is "safe". Well - it's not. It can carry AIDS too.

Sorry, kids, I don't hate you for your choices. But I want you to know, there is another side to this.


Where do I start. Firstly, I would recommend that prior to spending years being worried about getting that "gay" disease or AID's it would be prudent to spend a few minutes doing some research or speaking to a medical clinician. The nations blood supply is safe... The rate of blood in the supply even being capable of POSSIBLY transmitting HIV (the virus that causes the syndrome) is less than 1 in 1.9 million units. That means that you have to get a transfusion about 1.9 million times to even possibly be exposed to the virus. For comparison, the risk of dying on a train is 1 in 306,000.

There are many other more risky lifestyle "choices" (apparently being gay was my choice) that could effect the blood supply. For instance the bad diet that you may have can increase the number of genetic mutations in your cells; thus, could put me at risk. Lets not even talk about smoking, IV drug use, obesity, alcohol use......... Ohhh...And I don't know if you have heard but HIV is not only a GAY disease.

Overall, what I'm worried about...Are YOUR lifestyle choices potentially affecting the blood that I may need to be given. Please spend some time doing some research before spouting your uneducated opinions.

You tell your story in 3 sentences with no supporting detail. Can we have more of the who/what/when/where etc.? Did you contact the other side to get their POV? This is sloppy storytelling and irresponsible.

The Salvation Army aren't just bad because they are anti-gay rights... I started out as a new employee of theirs, and they persecuted me for having Diabetes. On my very first day of work, I found out the Salvation Army wouldn't give employees more than a 15 min break for an 8 hour shift, in the state of Iowa. This isn't illegal since the state of Iowa makes no provisions asking employers that they need to give employees breaks if they are over the age of 16... However, this is considered to be a "reasonable accommodation" under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and when I made my request and stated my concern, I was promptly cussed out and told by the manager how he was tired of us "sick" people never wanting to work and always wanting to take off time for our selfish things like constant doctor appointments... They made my life a living hell until I finally walked out 5 days later.

I'm very late posting this but just want to agree with Bill and others here. I naively used to give money to the Salvation Army many years ago...but I stopped. I also stopped giving to the Boy Scouts, stopped buying Girl Scouts cookies, and many more such religious-based things. As I'm made clear here many times, in my opinion these organized religious (or religion-based) groups do much more harm to our society than they do good. I do not want a penny of my money to support their evil. And I will continue to push for removing the tax exemption, given the fact that they are political activist groups and that means that some of my money is going to support their work.

My very good friend is gay, and grew up as the son of two high-ranking career SA officers. The amount of repression and family dysfunction he talks about growing up as a kid is pretty overwhelming, and definitely shaped the man he is today. He feels that that dysfunction was pretty rampant among SA families. I'd be the last to say that the SA doesn't do good works. But the cost is much too high.

Re: the Boy Scout discussion.

I am an Eagle Scout and have served as a Cub Scout Den leader.

I am also the pastor of a Reconciling (LGBTQ friendly) United Methodist Church.

The situation with the BSA is the same as it is with the UMC.

While the official policy statements of both groups prohibit gays from serving as scout leaders, it is up to each Council, District, and Troop/Pack to determine whether or not they heed to them or not.
(Same with the Conferences, Districts, and local congregations of the UMC).

I've only done scouting and United Methodism in Minnesota and in Colorado. Both regions are quite gay friendly over all.
Granted, that is sometimes reduced to a quiet "don't ask don't tell" sort of tolerance as opposed to outright acceptance.

I have chosen to remain active with both organizations as I can't change them if I leave them. I can change them if I work as pro-gay activist within them - which I do. And progress is happening.

Really, giving tax breaks to "charitable" organizations is all wrong- the worst way possible to help needy people.

Instead of giving up some of our tax dollars to groups whose views are clearly objectionable at least to some of us, we should spend those dollars on equal-opportunity, non-discriminatory provision of inexpensive housing and emergency hostels; we should provide work for those willing and able to do it and not necessarily via the free market; we should provide medical care and education to all. Why not? In the US there is enough money to do this, and doing it would make us richer and happier.

I don't do much donating, but when I do, I do not take a deduction, because makes it not charity but sort of an investment.

I'm Australian, and I was raised in a fundamental Christian group which was strongly anti-gay. It was the Salvation Army who taught me tolerance when I was a teenager. We were working with the Salvos, and one day a cross dresser who worked with them walked in. It was the first time I'd ever seen a man in woman's clothes and make up, and I must have been staring, because the head of that division of the Salvation Army pulled me aside to speak with me. He explained that the Salvation Army sees all people as God's children and does not discriminate. I was amazed. I liked what I was hearing, because I was raised by people who were horribly prejudiced and I never felt right about that. I never forgot my lesson, and I always give to the Salvos, because they taught me tolerance. (I am no longer religious, btw). So anyway, this article is a surprise to me, but maybe it's different in the USA, I don't know.

Eugene Fisk | April 15, 2011 9:39 AM

It's hard to take a stand with such conflicting dynamics, IMO the SA and other organizations do a lot of good, yet they carry this ancient taboo along.

As for the scouts the bias is silly *except* for camping trips. As a straight man I'd expect to be able to be a Girl Scout leader if I wanted, but not to take them on camping trips. The reverse goes for a gay man and Boy Scouts. But that's a very narrow window of concern.

I am just serious... I thought the world of the SA when I got hired there... and then after they made my life a living hell for nothing more than having Diabetes, a condition I did nothing to get, I had to think twice. Not only that, but at the time of hiring, they made me sign some kind of paper that stated I wouldn't make out with members of the same sex on any of their premises. :/

I don't see why Christians have a problem with gay people. If God is 'colour blind', isn't he 'sexuality blind'? How convenient of them to believe this homophobic nonsense. "We are all God's creatures, one equal to another', what happened to that?

The Salvation Army does not discriminate against gay people, However they do go by God's words. In the bible God clearly states how he wants christians to live their life how he wants them to and become desciples of him. The Salvation army doesnt judge or discriminate against anybody. The Salvation Army isnt a religion its runs churches, youth programmes, and charities. The money they raise is used well. They Follow Gods calling and aint ashamed of it!!!!

Thank you for posting this. The info is invaluable.

i was about to send The Salvation Army a Thanksgiving donation, but wanted to check out the organization's stance on pro-choice before dropping cashish. As i started to type the query, "The Salvation Army and anti-" -gay rights appeared. And i thought, "Hey, that search works just as well."

Anti-gay or anti-pro choice = anti-support from moi.

So sorry that herr comandant was harsh with you and your former beau, but your experience is "doing the most good." (Yeah, i stole The Salvation Army tagline from the solicitation envelope.)

i am now going to call their office to demand they remove me from their mailing list. Homophobic tree-killers.

I haven't supported these anti-everything Salvation Army bastards and I won't be supporting them any time soon!

I am in personal contact with a gay male couple who are out and attending a Salvation Army church. They say the local congregation has been very supportive and welcoming of them even though they realise the organization is officially against them.

Can I suggest that organisations such as this need more gay people to attend, than a boycott?

Dude, that's kinda like saying more black people need to join the KKK. While individual members may in some cases be fairly nice people, the Salvation Army is an explicitly paramilitary organization in which all members are sworn enemies of equal rights -- they are dedicated to taking over the world in the name of God, by peaceful means if possible and otherwise if necessary. That is quite literally what the Salvation Army stands for.

mike mcmanus | November 19, 2011 1:29 PM

i find this utterly repugnant. never again, salvation army. i am tone deaf to your ringing from this point on.

that is absurd. maybe one sector of the salvation army did the gay community wrong, but that doesn't necessarily reflect on the salvation army as a whole!

i work for the salvation army in minnesota, and our profits from the metro area stores go to the rehabilitation center in minneapolis to help men go through rehab for drug and alcohol addiction.

i've NEVER heard of them discriminating, also, i've had co-workers who were openly gay and no one was being discriminating or hateful to them from corporate or any of our co-workers.

maybe as a corporation they don't choose to donate money to LGBT causes from where-ever this discrimination in the organization has come from, but do you donate to ALL organizations?

if you choose not to donate to cancer funds, all the famine funds, hurricane funds...etc...etc....does that mean you hate them or are discriminating?

i'm not condoning bad treatment to anyone from whatever walk of life that you're from, i'm sorry to hear someone could be heartless like that, but just because some certain people within the organization have acted in bad taste or acted hurtful doesn't mean thats how the WHOLE ENTIRE organization is on the whole.

So because they dont accept me as being gay i should stop donating and possibly making 1000's go with out as well. Im sorry but if i stop giving to every anti gay bussiness or organization then there will possibly be more people with out jobs and homes. I am sorry but as a gay man i dont think it is fair if we boycot it is not going to solve anything at all

Or, you could give your donations to other charities that don't discriminate.

This would be a valid argument if the Salvation Army was the only charity in the world which helps homeless people. It is not -- by donating to other charities instead of the Salvation Army, you can still help those who need help while refusing to support the Salvation Army's bigotry.

I definitely do not believe in discrimination but I am not surprised. After all, the Salvation Army is a Christian denomination and, like most Christian denominations, are anti-gay.

That being said, since they do partake in public outreach programs through various campaigns and do help a lot of people who are struggling with poverty and addictions, I feel it is wrong to deny people this form of help due to any form of difference - be that a difference in religion, culture, dis/ability, or sexual orientation. I did not realize they actively refuse to help potential clients who do not believe the same things they do. Does this also hold for those who are non-Christian?

Danielle Starkey--You make a good arguement for free, mandatory, college-level education in the U.S., since you clearly were not able to have it. There have been over 400 species in nature that have been observed to engage in same-sex behavior. As for society, I have lived in 10 U.S. cities and traveled to many more and I can assure you that we are EVERYWHERE. Well, maybe not in the white-supremacist compound that you live in. But everywhere else. And by the way, if I chose to be gay, then when did you choose to be straight? (Assuming you are.)