Choose your charity wisely—the not-so-secret SA anti-gay agenda

My Fellow Inebriates,

‘Tis the season for charity, and at no other time is the need more visible. Whether through altruism or guilt, desire for salvation or pursuit of tax write-offs, people reach into their pockets in the festive season and find something for the less fortunate.

But should you give your money to that bell-ringing elf with the twitchy eye?

Guilt is a big driver for donors, and a jangly noise outside a store draws attention not only to the sketchy character wielding it, but to the harried shopper either walking quickly past or sheepishly digging in his/her pockets for small change. There’s something about being caught out publicly in an act of non-charity that causes us to pause and hunt for some coins to absolve ourselves of parsimony.

But who the hell is that elf?

If it’s a Salvation Army bell-ringer, it’s cool, right? The Sally Anne goes way back; its pedigree is solid enough to warrant forking over some bus money. But wait a sec. Visit the SA web page and you’ll see your charitable absolution comes with a price tag.

Agendas are sometimes surprising

Fund Sally, and you fund a gay-intolerant agenda. Sure, they’re generous enough not to condone “vilification” of gays and lesbians, but they’re sticking by their biblical standards of “chastity outside of heterosexual marriage.” So if you happen to think it’s okay to be gay, maybe you want to find a different donation bin.

What if the elf is from the food bank? There’s no question food banks do good and necessary work. But the good deeds come with a party line. To quote my local (non-government-affiliated) food bank, “We give thanks and praise to the Lord Jesus Christ for His love which finds a visible and tangible expression in this building and those who work here. We give thanks and praise to the Holy Spirit for empowering God’s people with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ and the message of salvation through faith in Christ’s death and resurrection.” Booyah!

"Is that merlot? I said cab, Jesus..."

The Bible condemns a lot of practices in which I regularly engage, such as sloth, drunkenness, and bestiality, plus I have some gay friends (OMG!), some non-Christian friends and some (are you ready?) atheist friends. I even have network-marketing friends, and they are surely going to hell along with the rest of us. (I hear all the drinks down there are made with Jagermeister and tequila.)

Salvation from sin

The charity-religion connection is too often a bit of a power trip. There’s no everyday situation in which I (or most people) would feel entitled to lecture about morality, but a person who needs something, who needs charity—well! Sit down for the lecture.

What if you just want to give some money to somebody who needs it, but you don’t want to fund a church-driven agenda?

My favorite

It means doing your homework. It means shutting out that ringing bell (if you want to) and giving your money to something you believe in.

Long story short: I’m going to choose a charity that doesn’t dispense its bounty along with lashings of religiosity. Because people who need money or food just need it, they don’t feel good having to accept charity, and trotting out a code of biblical morality alongside the groceries further erodes their dignity.


7 thoughts on “Choose your charity wisely—the not-so-secret SA anti-gay agenda

  1. Bear you are right, Haven’t given money to the SA for years, since their admitting they are prejudice (ie bigots) against gays several years ago.
    Besides, at the rate I’m going they won’t be able to help me… and Mongo Straight.
    also no donations to Unicef or ANY large corporate so-called charities. Have always kept the money in my local area, or to protect animals…oh wait! In my local area.
    Great post.

  2. I’m with you on this – helping others has nothing to do with religion and I prefer to support charities that don’t come with an over-bearing line on Christianity. (Although I wouldn’t exclude for that reason alone). As for the SA…..I find them intolerable!

    • They’re pretty harsh! And I so often put money in those donation globes without knowing about the ways they’ve opposed same-sex couples’ rights to constitute a family, banned trans women from homeless shelters, opposed repeal of anti-homosexuality laws in other countries. It’s hard because I want to do the right thing, but often that requires a lot of research–just like everything, I guess. It’s challenging to make informed choices. Thanks for reading the post 🙂

      • Just read my comment back – you’re right, it does sound pretty harsh! Somehow, I have always, quite implicitly, felt that way about the Salvation Army but now you have me wondering why! I think maybe it’s a cultural thing – people have a different opinion of the SA in the UK than they do in the USA (too many initials?). In any case, you’re right – making the best, informed choice can be a challenge (especially when you have pre-conceived ideas like I clearly do!). You’ve made me think – isn’t that just the best type of blogpost?! Thanks!

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