As Christmas gets closer, more and more stores are beginning to station bell ringers outside their doors for the charity the Salvation Army, to collect money to support needy families. It's an old American tradition that's seemingly a wonderful display of holiday empathy, however its less benign than it seems. In the article "Why You Shouldn't Donate to the Salvation Army Bell Ringers" by Bill Browning, Browning argues that people should stop supporting the Salvation Army due to its discrimination against the LGBTQ community. While Browning admits they offer a wide range of services to homeless or hungry people, they do not offer their charity to anyone who is LGBTQ. He says that they, "deny LGBT people services unless they renounce their sexuality, end same-sex relationships or, in some cases, attend services "open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army's doctrine and discipline." Additionally, Browning notes that they have gone so far as to lobby worldwide for policies that would discriminate against the LGBTQ community, such as lobbying for a policy in the US in 2001 that would have cut federal tax deductions and grants from charities that had non-discriminatory policies against LGTBQ people. Browning also offers a compelling personal narrative of a time when he was homeless on the streets with his boyfriend, and they attempted to find shelter at a local Salvation Army. However, Browning says that him and his boyfriend were denied help unless they were willing to break up with each other. He concludes that with so many other charities such as Goodwill and The Red Cross that offer similar services, people should choose to donate and support these charities rather than support a homophobic and discriminatory one.
I strongly agree with Browning, that people should stop donating money to the Salvation Army. I think that their discriminatory practices against the LGBTQ community are horrible -people should have the right to love whomever they want, without facing immense backlash or discrimination. It's unethical in my opinion to continue to defend or fund the Salvation Army. Browning's personal narrative was very persuasive to me, because it gave an explicit account that humanized how hurtful and harmful the Salvation Army's discrimination has been. Especially with so many other non-discriminatory organizations out there that provide similar services, I don't think there is any valid excuse to continue to support the Salvation Army.
1. Do you still support the Salvation Army -why or why not?
2. Do you think that the government should get involved in discriminatory practices of charities like the Salvation Army, or do you think the Salvation Army and other charities have the constitutional right to be discriminatory in who they offer their aid to?