Christian charityDecember 9, 2010
In the latest episode of It Came from Pharyngula, PZ Myers clues me in to some overtly offensive practices of the Salvation Army, inspiring me to skip dropping my change in their buckets from here on. There once was a time when I wouldn’t concern myself overmuch with what so-called xian charities did with their money, assuming that (being xians) they would be relatively responsible about it.
Cue cynicism routine…
The Salvation Army says it refuses to distribute Harry Potter and Twilight toys collected for needy children because they’re incompatible with the charity’s Christian beliefs.
I’m no particular fan of either…franchise, but trashing toys because of some perceived spooky magic/monsters references seems a bit much.
So donors may have handed over popular toys for distribution, not knowing that the destination was going to be the landfill. And it’s not because the Salvation Army is concerned about the quality or educational value of the toys…
PZ’s next excerpt mentions how a plastic M-16 rifle is perfectly fine (turn the other cheek anyone?) but Harry Potter toys aren’t distributed, can’t even be handed over to some other organization so they can distribute them.
The policy has alarmed a Calgarian who volunteered to sift through a southeast warehouse full of unused, donated items and was alarmed when he was told by Salvation Army officials that the two kinds of toys are “disposed of” and not given to other charities.
“I asked if these toys went to another charitable organizations but was told no, that by passing these toys on to another agency for distribution would be supporting these toys,” said the man, who wouldn’t give his name due to his occupation.
So while I might pity the folks who stand outside…well, most everywhere, ringing bells for the Salvation Army, I’ll be skipping out on donating myself, so long as my mind and memory holds out.
Commenters on the article have chimed in about the SA’s policies on gays. So I had a look around to enlighten myself further.
The Salvation Army’s position is that because it is a church, Section VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly guarantees its right to discriminate on the basis of its religious beliefs in its hiring. To reinforce its position, it threatened to close all soup kitchens in New York City when the city government proposed legislation that would require all organizations doing business with it to provide equal benefits to unmarried domestic partners.
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 the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.