Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Donate to the Salvation Army

Aiden Lutjen, staff writer

I imagine you’re one of many with fond memories of running up to the bellringers in front of malls and grocery stores as a kid, coins or dollar bills from your guardians in your little fist, happily dropping the money into the red bucket with a smile on your face in the chilled December air, before rushing back over to the adult looking after you. I know I was, and this remains true with many of my friends and family members. Perhaps you’re also one of the thousands of people who volunteer to help the hungry, homeless and struggling through an organization just about every American would recognize: The Salvation Army (TSA). Their reputation in the United States makes them a shining example of kindness and selflessness, encouraging donations and helping out locally.

Well… that’s the idealized version of this story… 

Perhaps you’re aware of the many… problems TSA has faced in the last handful of years, perhaps you’re not. Either way, I’m here to lay out some things for you to consider before you drop those few dollars into the little red bucket.

One item on TSA’s official website, “LGBTQ Support,” reads as follows: We’re motivated by the love of God to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. We embrace people regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Our hiring practices are open to all, and we provide the same benefits to opposite-sex and same-sex couples.”

This is a stark contrast to the foundation’s long history of homophobia and transphobia.

Despite aggressively denying all anti-LGBTQ accusations with recent statistics, critics continue to bash their rebuttals and point to their history, fundings and actions. According to Vox, TSA’s 19th century roots are in preaching Christianity to marginalized populations, and this trait hasn’t really changed. In 2013, transgender author and activist Zinnia Jones published her compiled timeline of their dirty track record with the LGBTQ community. Let’s begin right from her report, shall we?

In 1986, TSA New Zealand gathered signatures against the Homosexual Law Reform Act, which would decriminalize sex between adult men. In 1998, in the US, TSA turned down San Francisco’s $3.5 million contract because the city required that city contractors must provide spousal benefits to both same-gender and opposite-gender partners of employees. In 2000, TSA in Scotland wrote to Parliament, opposing the repeal of a law prohibiting acceptance of homosexuality in the schools, stating “We can easily envisage a situation where, due to active promotion of homosexuality in schools, children will grow up feeling alienated if they fail to conform.” In 2000, in the US, TSA tried to strike a deal with the Bush administration that would make federally funded religious charities immune to ordinances that outlawed anti-gay discrimination, specifying that they had no interest in extending medical benefits to same-gender partners of their employees. Thankfully, this “deal” crashed and burned once publicized by the Washington Post. In 2012, TSA in Vermont allegedly fired case worker Danielle Morantez immediately after finding out she was bisexual. Later, a spokesperson said, “A relationship between same-sex individuals is a personal choice that people have the right to make. But from a church viewpoint, we see that going against the will of God.” Until 2013, TSA’s official website included links to conversion therapy programs such as Pure Life Ministries, under the pretense of helping people with “sexual addictions.”

That’s from one report. Need I go on?

Case in point, TSA, to this day, continues to deny the accusations of anti-LGBTQ values, despite said values littering their history and sitting nicely in their handbook. Since these accusations gained traction in 2019, both former employees and people in need have come forward to share their stories, everything from being outright fired to being kicked out into the cold, all because that same individual was LGBTQ.

Still want to slip those few dollars into the red bucket?