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US How the Salvation Army is trying to change its 'anti-LGBTQ' reputation

15:21  15 december  2019
15:21  15 december  2019 Source:   cnn.com

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Does The Salvation Army serve the LGBTQ Community? Yes. Any person who walks through our Does The Salvation Army consider the sexual orientation or gender identity of an applicant in its In providing its programs and services, The Salvation Army is committed to accommodating all those

The Salvation Army states that numerous clients at its soup kitchens and homeless shelters are members of the LGBT community, and that these individuals are served without discrimination. The Salvation Army has given no indication that it intends to change any of these anti -LGBT policies.

Salvation Army bell ringers, the folks you see jingling bells by red kettles at Christmastime, will be carrying a new prop this year: A card explaining the Christian church and charity's approach to LGBTQ people.

a person in a red bowl: PARK RIDGE, IL - DECEMBER 20: A donation is made into Salvation Army bell ringer Juanita Brown's red Holiday donation kettle December 20, 2005 in Park Ridge, Illinois. Since 1865, the Salvation Army has been helping the needy and every year close to 33 million people in the U.S. receive help from the Salvation Army. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)© Tim Boyle/Getty Images PARK RIDGE, IL - DECEMBER 20: A donation is made into Salvation Army bell ringer Juanita Brown's red Holiday donation kettle December 20, 2005 in Park Ridge, Illinois. Since 1865, the Salvation Army has been helping the needy and every year close to 33 million people in the U.S. receive help from the Salvation Army. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Designed to help bell ringers answer questions from passersby, the cards include a link to online testimonials from LGBTQ people helped by the Salvation Army's array of social services, from homeless shelters to rehab clinics and food pantries.

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The Salvation Army of Dane County directly addresses these claims on their website, saying, "Deceptive social media posts, forwarded emails, blogs "When I first started working here a dozen years ago, the Salvation Army was not accepting transgender clients," he said, but through years of

The Salvation Army has opened a homeless shelter for LGBT people in Winnipeg, Canada. “When an organization has had a negative history with the community, it’s the responsibility of that organization to change the perception within the community, and I’m not feeling like the Salvation

"For years, Facebook posts, forwarded emails and rumors have been leading some people to believe the Salvation Army does not serve members of the LGBTQ community," the cards read. "These accusations are simply not true."

To many Americans, the Army's social services may be far more familiar than its politics or theology. Ranked number two in the Chronicle of Philanthropy's list of "America's Favorite Charities," it raised $1.5 billion in donations last year. The Red Kettle campaign began 129 years ago, when a Salvationist put out a pot for the needy on Market Street in San Francisco.

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The Salvation Army has been the target of LGBT rights activists for over a decade. In 2001, the Salvation Army sought to avoid federal laws requiring That same year, the organization actively lobbied to change how the Bush administration would distribute over billion in grants and tax

Related: Salvation Army busted discriminating against transgender people (again). “Political or social opinions (such as hot topic issues like LGBTQ Marriage Of course, Starnes’ report has the religious right up in arms with his report. Not because the group is trying to brush their anti - LGBTQ history

But to some in the LGBTQ community, the Salvation Army has another reputation. For decades, they've accused Salvationsts of denying some services to same-sex couples, advocating against gay rights and adhering to a traditional theology that considers gay sex sinful. At times, LGBTQ activists have dropped fake dollar bills or vouchers protesting the Salvation Army in the red kettles.

a man standing in front of a building: A Salvation Army volunteer bell ringer solicits donations at the Powell Street Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station on December 3, 2019, in San Francisco.© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images A Salvation Army volunteer bell ringer solicits donations at the Powell Street Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station on December 3, 2019, in San Francisco.

"The Salvation Army has been advertising that it will help LGBTQ people in need, which is a good step, but it can't be the only step," said Ross Murray a director of education and training at GLAAD.

"The Salvation Army's anti-LGBTQ history was multi-faceted. And its path to LGBTQ acceptance is also going to have to be multi-faceted."

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In addition to anti -gay fights which the Salvation Army has participated in, they have also fought in In 2001, the organization tried to extract a resolution from the White House that they could ignore local Also in 2001, the evangelical charity actively lobbied to change how the Bush administration

Q: Does The Salvation Army turn people away from its center because that person was gay or lesbian? So, it’s important to look at the statement in its full context. It’s also important to note that our In a nutshell, The Salvation Army was attempting to ensure that it and other religious charities

Past controversies

In the past, Salvation Army leaders have sought exemptions from federal and state anti-discrimination laws designed to protect LGBTQ people. They have also joined other conservative religious groups in opposing same-sex marriage.

Criticism of the army among LGBTQ supporters peaked in 2012 when a church leader told an Australia radio program that gay people should be put to death. (The organization apologized and said the leader had not accurately conveyed its views on homosexuality.)

But Salvation Army leaders say the group no longer lobbies or signs public letters pushing for specific policies, with the exception of tax laws. Some are frustrated their anti-gay reputation still sticks.

"It's the conversation that never seems to go away," Commissioner David Hudson, the Salvation Army's National Commander in the United States, told CNN in an interview.

"My frustration is that someone picks something out of a Twitter feed or reads an old article and doesn't take the time to visit us."

Last month, British singer Ellie Goulding threatened to cancel a gig at a Red Kettle Campaign event in Texas because she believed the Salvation Army to be anti-LGBTQ. Goulding later changed her mind and performed. Earlier this month Out magazine knocked Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who is gay, for participating in Salvation Army events as mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

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First, a photo-shopped image of two Salvation Army kettle workers below a kettle sign that reads: “Gays Not Allowed.” We stand by the rejection of those comments still. We sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community and to our clients, employees, donors and volunteers for the offence caused by

LGBTQ Nation articles, photos and commentary tagged Salvation Army - The She doesn’t want to support the Salvation Army because of its history of discrimination against LGBTQ people. After years of trying to rehabilitate their image, they’re still giving money to organizations that promote “This is a threat to our reputation , our fundraising efforts, and ultimately our ability to serve people in

Chick-fil-A pulls its support

Attacks from gay rights groups are one thing. But many conservative Christians, and the Salvation Army itself seemed perplexed when the Christian-owned fast food franchise Chick-fil-A announced it would stop donating to the Salvation Army and another Christian organization.

In a statement, Chick-fil-A didn't explain the change but said it would focus on donating to charities involved in education, hunger and homelessness. Critics of Chick-fil-A's move noted the Salvation Army has focused on hunger and homelessness for more than 150 years.

A Chick-fil-A spokeswoman declined to answer questions from CNN.

Conservative Christians, who had lauded Chick-fil-A's founder for vocally supporting traditional Christian values even as it became the country's third-largest fast food franchise, turned on the company.

Some treated its jilting of the Salvation Army as a surrender in the culture wars -- or worse, a betrayal.

"For a lot of us, Chick-fil-A's quiet, cheerful resistance was a model of how to hold on to your Christian values, in spite of progressive spite, and still succeed," wrote Rod Dreher, a Senior Editor for the American Conservative.

Other conservative Christians were more circumspect, noting that Chick-fil-A never explained why it was no longer donating to the Salvation Army.

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How does the Salvation Army spend its money? The Salvation Army is at work in 120 countries around the world and generally enjoys an extremely high reputation . LGBTQ folks have been treated quite badly, historically speaking. They’ve been denied services, or kicked out of programs. They’re also fairly anti -Semitic.

The Salvation Army in the United States of America. The Salvation Army exists to meet human need wherever, whenever, and however we can.

In the battle over same-sex marriage, some pro-LGBTQ activists have said Christians would be more appreciated if they foreswore politics and focused on helping the poor.

But that doesn't seem to be true in the Salvation Army's case, said Ed Stetzer, Dean of the School of Mission, Ministry and Leadership at Wheaton College, an evangelical school in Illinois.

"The Salvation Army is in fact more known for helping the poor than for being a church," he said. "And these are the bad guys? Who are they going to go after next, Mother Teresa?"

Some want a truce. Others are wary

Still, there some indications that relations are thawing between the Salvation Army and some LGBTQ leaders.

Nine years ago, the Bay Area Reporter, the "newspaper of record" for San Francisco's large gay and lesbian community, published an editorial urging readers not to drop a dime into the Salvation Army's red kettles.

This year, the newspaper published a largely positive piece about the Army's work, including quotes from LGBTQ people who said the Christian charity had "saved my life."

"I do not, as a gay man, love its positions on same-sex marriage," San Francisco District Supervisor Rafael Mandelman told the Bay Area Reporter, "but the reality is the Salvation Army is one of the most important providers of substance use treatment and shelter to homeless folks in San Francisco. Many, many queer people have turned their lives around with the help of the Salvation Army."

Like a lot of Christian organizations, the Salvation Army's policies and positions on homosexuality are multi-layered. Salvationists' 3,480 ordained clergy -- known in the church's quasi-military structure as "officers" -- are expected to be married to a member of the opposite sex or remain celibate.

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As the holidays approach, the Salvation Army bell ringers are out in front of stores dunning On its webpage, the group claims that “the services of The Salvation Army are available to all who Also in 2001, the evangelical charity actively lobbied to change how the Bush administration would distribute

Salvation Army speaks out against anti -gay claims "Along with the usual information about holiday giving, red kettles and bell-ringers, the website for the Salvation Army in Central Ohio features a Setting the record straight on the Salvation Army "Has the Salvation Army changed its stripes?

But the rest of the Salvation Army's nearly 60,000 employees, members and volunteers do not have to abide by that prohibition. Hudson said he knows a number of Salvation Army employees who are in same-sex marriages.

"When I hear people say that we need to change this or that, I think: We are who we are," said Hudson. "We will always serve anyone and everyone. If they agree or disagree with us, we still serve them."

Some LGBTQ Christians have urged gay-rights activists to declare a truce with the Salvation Army.

"The gay left hates and wants to persecute orthodox Christians, however much good they do," the conservative gay writer Andrew Sullivan tweeted after Out magazine slammed Buttigieg for working with the Salvation Army. "And they've taken over the movement."

But others insist they remain leery of the Salvation Army. As recently as 2017, some noted, New York's Commission on Human Rights charged a Salvation Army drug rehab center with gender identity discrimination for "refusing to accept transgender patients and for discriminatory housing policies."

"I think LGBTQ people are still wary," said Murray of GLAAD. "And they realize there are other charity organizations that meet the same need (and) which can also use their donations."

In other words, the Salvation Army bell ringers may need more than a card to turn public opinion around.

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