Sunday, December 6, 2009

Red buckets and bell-ringers

It's that time of year again, the bell-ringers are out and looking for our loose change. Every year after Thanksgiving the Salvation Army sets up volunteers outside of businesses to collect funds for their many programs. While the Salvation Army undoubtedly does a great deal of good in combating poverty, helping at-risk youth, rehabilitating convicts, and many other areas, the organization holds core beliefs which work counter to the cause of human dignity. When it comes to donating money and supporting charitable organizations, it falls to us to be sure that the money we give goes to support ideals we can fully support. For some, the good done will outweigh any difference of conscience, but for others, such as myself, these differences are great enough to justify searching out a different organization. In other words, we need to be informed and make decisions for ourselves.
While there are many positions that the Salvation Army takes with which I disagree, the deal breaker for me is their homophobic stance. SA would deny the sexual expression of consenting adults, claiming that marriage is the only acceptable context for sex. This not only denies the right of homosexuals to fulfillment, but to heterosexuals who do not marry, as well. We would do well to be mindful of those who seek to limit our rights in this area, and to help safeguard the rights of others.
There is much more I could mention, but look over the Salvation Army's statements of belief and decide for yourself if this is an organization that you would choose to support.

12/17 addition:
Effort Sysipus recently posted a list of charities without religious affiliation, for those who wish to make a contribution.