Don’t donate to the Salvation Army this Christmas

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It’s that time of year where every time you go out, you see the Salvation Army’s famous bell ringers.

Unfortunately, though, the Salvation Army isn’t a very good charity, and I’m here to tell you why and give some alternative charities to donate to this holiday season.

For starters, it’s not so much of a charity as it is a fundamentalist religious group. Yes, they do provide food and shelter, but they do so much harm that it’s best to donate money or time to a more ethical soup kitchen or homeless shelter.

They also have some very extreme conservative beliefs that they push on others.

They are anti-choice even in cases of rape and incest, they would like to bring back prohibition and they have been known for both pushing a religious agenda and discriminating against LGBT people in their shelters.

After doing some digging, I was surprised to see that their website had a “Serving the LGBT Community” section. This section says that they do not discriminate based on sexuality, but almost every other article I have read contradicts this.

Further reading indicated that they support so-called “conversion therapy.” The Salvation Army claims that this is what’s best for people, and that it’s an act of caring to make them right in the eyes of God, but all it does is cause more harm.

Additionally, they do not support same-sex marriage and have called for all gay people to be celibate. I’m not really sure how they can favor these things yet say they aren’t homophobic. LGBT people are not allowed to be officers in the organization unless they promise to remain celibate.

An Australian Salvation Army chief even called for gay people to be put to death in 2012. In 2014, they refused to help a homeless trans woman who ed her hometown due to death threats because she hadn’t had her sex change surgery yet.

This year, their volunteers were even warned not to talk about or post about their political views online, for fear that less people will donate if their bigoted views are known.

Instead of supporting a charity that has done such cruel things to people in need, I would suggest some other ones to donate to this year instead.

Toys for Tots is a great alternative to support around Christmas time. They have drop boxes in public places like malls and fast food restaurants to donate toys as Christmas gifts for children living in poverty. (There’s even a drop box at the McDonald’s on Tittabawassee for those who are wondering.)

Another organization I would suggest is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I am a type one diabetic, so this one affects me personally. They fund research for better treatment for type one diabetes.

One great local organization is the Underground Railroad. They are an emergency shelter in Saginaw for domestic violence and sexual assault victims. You can donate old clothing or furniture to their thrift store that helps fund the shelter, or you can donate money online through PayPal. Their website also has a shelter wish list for things they need for the shelter.

SVSU also has a food pantry on campus in Gilbertson Hall 225A. All students are able to get food or hygiene supplies if needed. To donate food, call (989) 964- 2883, and to volunteer, you can ll out a form on their section of the SVSU website.

It’s great to donate to those in need, especially around the holiday season, but it’s even better to donate to a cause that truly does good for all people.

1 COMMENT

  1. It’s unfortunate that neither the author of this opinion or the editorial staff of the student paper took the time to reach out to our offices for comment prior to its release.

    Most of the information fueling the concerns raised in this opinion are based on outright false or incomplete information that seems to surface, be further embellished and recirculated this time of year; more often than not, reported as fact within opinion-based editorials.

    The facts are that The Salvation Army serves 30 million people across the country each year from all backgrounds, including gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals. An individual’s religion, lifestyle or sexual identity simply has no bearing on our willingness or ability to provide service. Any instance of discrimination is in direct opposition to our core beliefs and runs contrary to our policies and practice. Such actions are not tolerated from our officers, employees or volunteers. Any personal opinions, statements or actions from any isolated individual, such as those argued from hearsay in this opinion, should never be seen as organizational policy to acceptable standards. The Salvation Army has a clear and firm commitment to non-discrimination and to the equality of all people. The Salvation Army has been concerned from its inception with the spiritual and social needs of all people, recognizing that all are equal in intrinsic value.

    I would further note that when CharityWatch reviewed The Salvation Army’s financial documents, the watchdog group gave The Salvation Army an A- rating, stating that The Salvation Army is one of the most trusted human service organizations in part because $.85 of every dollar is spent on direct services and programs to help those in need. Our mission statement concludes with the statement: “…and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.” In our policies, in our practices, in our programs and in our eligibility for service within The Salvation Army, there is not a request for any details concerning sexual orientation.

    Local donations remain in the community in which they are raised to provide services and programs to individuals in our community. I can’t speak to something that happened or was said in Australia 4-6 years ago, but I can speak to the 4 years in this community where my wife and I serve. The reality is a boycott of our Red Kettles as suggested in this opinion hurts everyone in Saginaw County, including members of the LGBTQ community, who from time to time may need access to many of our program and services.

    The Salvation Army of Saginaw County has enjoyed the support and volunteerism of many students attending SVSU through the years. We ask for your continued consideration and support this holiday season.

    Thom Moffitt, Captain
    The Salvation Army – Saginaw County
    http://www.saginawsalvationarmy.org

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