Salvation Army

One positive aspect of the December holiday season is an increased awareness and practice of altruism and general good will. I admit I get the warm fuzzies when Christmas nears and feel tender towards those in need when the temperatures drop. It’s a shame that my selfishness overwhelms me most of the year. I’m guilty of not giving nearly enough of my time, money, and possessions as I could.

One of the most popular and visible American charities during the winter season is The Salvation Army. I remember each year as a child getting one of my favorite toys out of my closet or off of my bed, washing it, and taking it with my siblings and their toys to the local Salvation Army donation center. My father would lead us inside, and we left those cherished bears, dolls, and action figures in a box for children who didn’t have what we were fortunate enough to own. It taught me that I should give from my valuables–not my trash–and that I should never forget those in need.

Should we support the Salvation Army?

The wonderful ZJ of, youtube, and twitter just posted a through-provoking video on why supporters of GLBT equal rights should not donate to the Salvation Army. Check out the video!

Here’s some of that video in writing:

…In [The Salvation Army’s] statement on marriage, they describe it as being “ordained by God”, and defined as “one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others”. And according to their statement on homosexuality, “Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex”, and therefore, gay Christians are “called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life”. Just to be clear on this, they further state that “There is no scriptural support for same-sex unions as equal to, or as an alternative to, heterosexual marriage”.

The Salvation Army also gained the special favor of the Bush administration,

…which had made a “firm commitment” to issue a regulation overriding state and local laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. This would grant an exemption to these laws for religious groups, including those receiving government funding, explicitly allowing them to discriminate against gay people in hiring decisions and benefits for their domestic partners. After this deal came to light, the White House reversed course and refused to grant them an exemption.

In case you’re wondering what to do with your donations, ZJ also provides a helpful list of worthy charities for your consideration. You can find the full list here. I’ve also added a few of my own favorites below.

You can also find a prolific list of causes and non-religious groups to support on FreethoughtPedia!

Don’t let the views of one organization keep you from serving, giving, and showing love to those less fortunate. There is no excuse for that! Happy holidays, and may your hearts be full of joy, affection, and contentment.

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7 thoughts on “Tis the Season for Giving… to the Right People”

Eliza Shilling · December 14, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Your local food bank is probably a good alternative to the salvation army, too. it's also a handy place to volunteer!

    godlessgirl · December 16, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Keeping it local is very important! Nothing wrong with a combination of worldwide and local service and support 🙂

Claire V · December 14, 2009 at 10:38 pm

In reply to Toriach: adopt a family! then you'll pretty much be doing what SA does this time of year – brightening someone's winter.

And just to add to your list, in January the Foundation Beyond Belief is launching. Every quarter it highlights 10 charities (for 10 different categories) that fufill humanist principles, and DON'T prostelytize or get their morals from the bible. You sign up and get to choose what % of your monthly donation goes to which category(ies).


Misty · December 14, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Mildly related: My mother and sister used to frequent the local Salvation Army because, hey, cheap clothes! The last time they went, they noticed that the store no longer had dressing rooms.

Hmm, I wonder why that might be. They only advertised ALL OVER THE STORE that "God is our security system, so please don't steal!" In other words, go ahead, steal away, because no one will know the difference – our security system doesn't exist!

Toriach · December 14, 2009 at 7:57 pm

I saw the video blog you mention, and I have on fundamental problem with it, which also ties into why getting people not to give money to the Salvation Army is such a challenge.

Now for the record I loathe and despise the SA myself. But if one is going to offer alternatives, especially at this time of year, I think it behooves one to find at least one or two groups that actually do what the Salvation Army does. Not that those other charities are not doing wonderful work, but when people are poor and hungry at holiday time, I can assure you that the furthest thing from their minds is the ideology of their benefactor.

This suggests to me that if there are not some good, effective, secular charities, that do what the SA does, then it is high time someone created one.

Until that happens though, you can expect the Salvation Army to be the conscience assuaging charity of choice for yet another holiday season, horrific politics and all.

Keep The Faith My Brothers And Sisters!

ChristopherTK · December 16, 2009 at 2:32 am

In the past I stop by the Tinley Park Salvation Army to drop off items at the "drive-thru." After tens of visits, I finally decided to check out the inside. I was shocked by the level of need the people in the store required. This location is in a middle class neighborhood, surrounded by a Home Depot, many other shopping choices and numerous fast-food, casual, and fine dining restaurants. The need of those that I was donating my goods to was now obvious.


I have since decided to donate to other groups in my area. I donate regardless of the recipient's background or situation. So, as an Atheist, I'm just as happy to donate to a needy Christian family as I would be Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, etc. or faithless family. I cannot accept the teachings and "rules" of the S.S., regardless of the shoppers awareness or willingness to participate in their own indoctrination while they shop. There are too many other good outlets for charity available that don't impose religious beliefs on the recipients.

Eliza & Claire both give good suggestions.

Rev. Pyramid Head · December 16, 2009 at 5:09 am

Not sure if this is any better, but I tend to donate a lot of my not needed items to Goodwill. The one in my area has very nice workers (who I've never seen preach) and customers that really need the items.

Comments are closed.

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