More on Salvation Army

The New York Times has a nice piece up on the impact of educating the community about the discriminatory practices of the Salvation Army against the LGBTQ community.

George Hood, a Salvation Army spokesman, said all revenue from Salvation Army thrift stores is used locally. But he said a small percentage of money dropped into the red kettles finds its way to Washington — where it helps to pay the salaries of politically active staff members like Mr. Hood. Every local unit pays 10 percent of its revenue to a state or regional division — there are 40 divisions in the United States — and every division pays 10 percent of its revenue to one of four national territories, each of which foots a quarter of the national budget.

In other words, of a dollar dropped into a red kettle in New York City, a quarter of a penny ends up at national headquarters, where conversations with the government — not lobbying, Mr. Hood says — may take place.

My objection to the organizations continues to be that they want to receive public money to provide social services, but force recipients into their worldview. That’s not cool. If you want to promote your religious beliefs in your service delivery, that’s fine. But don’t expect me to subsidize your work. Turn to the people who support your religious beliefs for support.

It is possible. When I worked with two missionaries from the Latter Day Saints, we had a frank discussion that their presence in our community center was welcome and they were free to converse with clients as much as they liked — but they could not do any prosletyzing. They agreed. I simply suggested that if people inquired, they offer to meet off site at a later date and talk about other things while in the store. It worked fine. I monitored it closely and we had no problems. They were more respectful of this interfaith approach than some of the mainstream church volunteer.

I often wonder what became of Elder Hayes and Elder Christiansen?

There are plenty of alternative organizations for you to support. And there are ways to get involved in how social services are delivered to the local LGBTQ community.


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