To those who have donated, like our crew, to the Salvation Army, BEWARE. They have gone political. Instead of being color blind, the Army has embraced CRITICAL RACE THEORY (CRT).
Because they have been caught RED HANDED, their embracing of CRT has been taken down.
A STUDY ON RACISM
THE SALVATION ARMY
INTERNATIONAL POSITIONAL STATEMENT ON RACISM
COPY AND PASTE BELOW
Controversy over Salvation Army anti-racism guide reaches Saranac Lake bell ringers
LET’S TALK ABOUT RACISM
Consistent with its scriptural foundations, The Salvation Army stands against racism in all forms. Our International Positional Statement on Racism makes that clear.
Elements of the recently issued “Let’s Talk About Racism” guide led some to believe we think they should apologize for the color of their skin, or that The Salvation Army may have abandoned its Biblical beliefs for another philosophy or ideology. That was never our intention, so the guide has been removed for appropriate review.
Organizer concerned controversy could impede local collections
Salvation Army bell ringer Cheri Fisher makes some noise as Saranac Laker Peter Johnson makes a donation in front of the Saranac Lake Post Office last month. Bell ringers will be collecting donations for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign at the post office and in front of Kinney’s in Saranac Lake through Dec. 24. (Enterprise photo — Lauren Yates)
SARANAC LAKE — Mischaracterization of a Salvation Army anti-racism guide by politically-motivated media outlets has local bell ringers fielding questions about whether the charity is racist against white people. Some organizers are concerned people may not donate this year because of the claims.
Conservative media outlets are accusing the Salvation Army of being “racist” against its white donors and are claiming the charitable organization is demanding that white donors apologize for their skin color. It’s causing charitable organizers to worry that people who believe these claims will not donate to the organization this year.
The Salvation Army called these claims “sensationalist” and said they come from people purposefully distorting the organization’s positive, anti-racist, Christian message.
“Some individuals and groups have recently attempted to mislabel our organization to serve their own agendas,” Salvation Army Commissioner Kenneth Hodder wrote in a statement on Nov. 25. “Those claims are simply false, and they distort the very goal of our work.”
The claims are centered around an internal study guide pamphlet — titled “Let’s Talk About Racism” — that the Salvation Army published early this year.
The issue in online publications has found its way to Saranac Lake.
“My volunteer bell ringers have had a few people stop to discuss the racism claim against the Salvation Army,” Saranac Lake Salvation Army Bell Ringing Coordinator Maggie Mortensen said. “I’d hate to lose people because of this.”
This hullabaloo over a pamphlet released in April did not start until the Salvation Army’s largest fundraising campaign of the year got underway.
“People are saying ‘We’re not going to give anymore to the Salvation Army because it supports racism,’” Mortensen said. “The bell ringers are like, ‘We don’t know what you’re talking about.’”
She said she wants to put these allegations to rest.
Hodder said the Salvation Army does not believe donors should apologize for their skin color, that America is an inherently racist country or that opposing racism means the organization is moving away from Christianity in favor of another ideology.
Hodder said the Salvation Army’s mission is rooted in the anti-discrimination teachings of Jesus Christ.
“The Salvation Army believes that racism is fundamentally incompatible with Christianity,” he wrote.
How the claim spread
The study guide “Let’s Talk About Racism” was released in April as an internal, voluntary resource meant to spark conversations and reflection among Salvationists.
The pamphlet was released by the Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission, which describes itself as a voice for justice for “the world’s poor and oppressed.”
Controversy surrounding it didn’t pick up speed until November.
The guide was first reported on by the obscure Virginian conservative online outlet Central Nova News, whose parent company is owned by the founders of the Tea Party movement, according to Columbia Journalism Review. The site is run by people notorious for faking quotes and writing with a strong political slant in previous endeavors, CJR reported.
The Central Nova News article framed the study guide’s discussion points for members as “demands” of donors.
The first page of the pamphlet says, “This discussion guide represents The Salvation Army’s desire for internal dialogue. It is not a position or policy statement.”
“No one is being told how to think. Period,” Hodder wrote.
The article also claims the guide “asserts Christianity is institutionally racist.”
The guide acknowledges the existence of racism in the church, but says that this sin is contrary to the church’s goal.
When the article was shared with a Salvation Army Facebook group, top comments included racist myths and hostility toward people of color.
“People of European decent (sic) need to start waking up,” one man wrote.
Another woman wrote that she volunteered with the Salvation Army but quit when she saw a poster talking about helping refugees. She accused the Salvation Army of pushing for “the extinction of the white race.”
When other conservative media outlets picked up the story — Fox News, The Daily Wire and Breitbart — the implications of what this study guide was meant to do became more sensational with each article, eventually landing on Marxist dystopia.
The International Social Justice Commission has since removed the guide and says it is under “appropriate review.”
“International Headquarters realized that certain aspects of the guide may need to be clarified,” Hodder wrote.
What’s in the study guide?
The study guide tells readers to stop denying the existence of systemic racism that keeps white Americans in power while disenfranchising Black Americans; to confront the white privilege of not being oppressed and to not be “colorblind.” The guide says people are made different in appearance, and being colorblind ignores the discrimination people of color have faced.
Readers are asked to reflect inward on possible sins they may be harboring. The text asks Salvationists to “lament, repent and apologize for biases or racist ideologies held and actions committed.”
Racism, even in small amounts, is, after all, a sin, the Salvation Army says.
This ideology was dubbed “woke” by The Daily Wire, but Hodder says fighting racism and discrimination has always been part of the Salvation Army’s Christian mission.
Salvation Army supports locals with funds
Mortensen said last year was a banner year for Saranac Lake bell ringers. Because the coronavirus pandemic had people feeling charitable, they brought in lots of private donations and raised around $30,000.
Mortensen said they’re on track to raise around half that much this year — but said that’s still a high number for the North Country.
“Almost all that money stays here in town,” she said.
The Salvation Army distributes the money locally through voucher-writers who field requests from people in need and get returns from regional offices.
Mortensen said they’re writing around seven vouchers a month now. These vouchers can be used on things like rent, utilities, heating oil, medical expenses or new furniture, but they’re limited.
She said a voucher can be for up to $300. After that, she said organizers will work with the Saranac Lake Ecumenical Council, High Peaks Church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church or one of the other church groups around town to make up the rest.
Also, this is a one-time-per-year offer. Mortensen said they can’t have “frequent flyers” because it would deplete their storehouses and leave less aid for others.
The goal is to help people through a tough time, she said.
“We want to help people get out of trouble, not enable them to stay in trouble,” Mortensen said.
The red kettle funds also help stock the St. Luke’s food boxes every week.
Mortensen said people should call Salvation Army organizers to make a voucher request, or just call the Ecumenical Council — a lot of the council’s members are bell ringers, too.
The organization does a lot to help underserved people, including members of the LGBTQ community. Still, it has a long history of alleged discrimination.
In 2013, transgender activist and writer Zinnia Jones compiled a timeline of the Salvation Army’s history of discrimination against LGBTQ people, both passively and actively. A few highlights:
- In 1998, the Salvation Army refused to comply with San Francisco’s laws regarding domestic-partner benefits, costing it $3.5 million in city contracts and leading to the closure of certain programs for homeless people and the elderly.
- In 2001, the organization tried to strike a deal with the Bush administration, which would have allowed religious charities that receive federal funding to circumvent local ordinances against anti-LGBTQ discrimination. (The organization also threatened to stop all of its New York City operations in 2004.)
- In 2012, a Salvation Army branch in Vermont was accused of firing a case worker after learning she was bisexual.
- Also in 2012, Salvation Army spokesperson George Hood said the organization views same-sex relationships as sinful. “A relationship between same-sex individuals is a personal choice that people have the right to make,” Hood said at the time. “But from a church viewpoint, we see that going against the will of God.”