Salvation for Whom?

Salvation Army's slogan is

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Salvation Army’s slogan is “Doing The Most Good”, but for whom exactly are they doing good?

Sophia Williams, Staff Writer

As winter approaches, the need for coats, mittens, hats, and scarves is rapidly growing. For many, the Salvation Army seems like a selfless company, determined to keep homeless people warm, well fed, and off the streets, but, before donating, take a look at this “helpful” charity’s history.

           “Many people – including those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ+) community – support us with time and financial resources because of a common cause and commitment: To serve people in need,” claims The Salvation Army’s website.

Their past actions, however, tell a different story. Bil Browning, writer and gay rights activist, claims that The Salvation Army refused to help him and his boyfriend in a time of need.

“If we were willing to attend church services, he [The Salvation Army employee]  could help. We would have to break up, only one of us could stay in the shelter, and if there was room for the other, he would have to be on the opposite side of the room, and we wouldn’t even look at each other,” said Browning on his blog, The Bilerico Project.

Providing help, but discriminating by deciding who can receive that help, is horrible, but this is just the beginning. The Salvation Army has a long and vicious past of discrimination.

The Salvation Army has supported several anti-gay laws and even referred LGBTQ+ individuals to conversion therapy groups. Such groups are places where LGBTQ+ people are sent, usually without their consent, to be “fixed” and become “normal”. In this case, The Salvation Army referred their LGBTQ+ members to Harvest USA and Pure Life Ministries, two anti-gay, anti-sex groups. Sam Brinton, writer and homosexual, shares his experience during conversion therapy in his article “5 Things I Learned At A ‘Pray Away The Gay’ Camp”,

‘My hands were tied down and ice was placed on them while I was shown pictures of men. Later sessions would include copper heating coils, needles in my fingers, and electric shocks,’” writes Brinton. Does the Salvation Army actually support these barbaric practices?

The Salvation Army took down links to the conversion therapy groups in late 2013. The organization claims it is no longer against same sex couples, but a leaked document proves the statement to be false. The document asserts that if a Salvation Army employee attends a same-sex wedding in uniform,  they can be terminated and only heterosexual individuals can hold leadership positions.  

The Salvation Army is no better now than when it first admitted being against the LGBTQ+ community back in 1986. The Salvation Army prides itself on being a savior to all, but if that doesn’t truly include all people, it’s not much of a savior, now is it?