The war on Christmas is under way, and we are all already tired of hearing arguments about holiday trees instead of Christmas trees and the legality of manger scenes in public places. The website Atheist Pig has joined in the battle; they published their official war on Christmas list today, December 6, 2012.
Near the top of the list of “goals of this year’s campaign against the sanctity of Christmas” is the Salvation Army, which is getting a lot of criticism because their organization is based on Biblical beliefs. Across social media, those opposed specifically to the statements in the Bible regarding homosexuality are campaigning to destroy the Salvation Army’s programs for the poor.
The Salvation Army has also taken a hit from other soldiers on the left in the war on Christmas. From where else would shells be lobbed than from the University of California-Berkeley, seldom an ally of traditional ideals. The student government at Berkeley has passed a resolution banning the Salvation Army bell ringers from soliciting donations on campus because of the organization’s theological beliefs. Campus Reform.org has the story, and they were told by a CAL spokesperson that officials of the school are reviewing the matter. It is not known whether the smiling bell ringers will be banned from campus.
Like the Catholic Church, another large provider of help to the needy, the Salvation Army is a church, not a charity organization. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, Salvation Army Major George Hood explained the church’s position on homosexuality:
“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.”
The Salvation Army policy forbids discrimination due to gender identification or sexual orientation in any of its programs or nonclergy employment and asks that any incidents be reported immediately. Another interesting statistic quoted in this Chicago Tribune article is that the Salvation Army provided over 2 million meals and 1200 nights shelter last year in Chicago alone! CharityWatch gives Salvation Army an “A rating” because 80% of their funds goes into programs and services. This figure alone is probably almost unheard of in charitable organizations.
Fighting over whether we decorate holiday trees or Christmas trees may be a meaningful debate, but few people will be hungry because of it. Those who oppose a church’s right to believe the Bible could manage to destroy the charitable work of the Salvation Army, a Church that ministers to all without regard to sexual orientation. There will be a huge gap in the help provided to the needy not just at Christmas (or The Holidays, as they prefer to call it) but all year long.