Thinking of dropping some coin into the Salvation Army kettle? You might want to reconsider. The Sally Ann, as it’s often referred to, is a branch of the Evangelical Christian Church that aims to help people in need through a broad system of social programs. While that’s all well and good, they’re also strong opponents of same-sex marriage, as well as any expression of sexuality outside of traditional heterosexual marriage.
I’m curious why they feel it’s appropriate to come asking queers for money given their policies, so I ring up the Salvation Army’s Toronto regional office for some clarification. I’m patched through to PR director Ken Percy, who tells me that his organization does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation — before I’ve even asked about it.
I can’t help but feel this is a statement made because he knows he’s talking to a queer paper. “We don’t necessarily agree with everyone’s lifestyle or choices, but we will not discriminate against them,” says Percy.
The Salvation Army’s websites offers much the same, along with a carefully worded position statement on homosexuality that’s essentially a jazzed up version of the standard “love the sinner, hate the sin” doctrine.
The Salvation Army remains opposed to same-sex marriage and, according to the Evangelical Fellowship Of Canada (EFC), posted an EFC form letter to one of its websites for concerned citizens to use in lobbying their MPs to vote against same-sex marriage legislation.
When I ask if they’ve ever donated funds to fight same-sex marriage, Percy refers me to Andrew Burditt, the PR director for the Salvation Army’s national office. According to Burditt, the Army has never used any government funding to fight marriage equality. As for money collected through donations, Burditt tells me that he “wouldn’t be able to speak to what any individual churches have done.
“We follow biblical principles,” he adds. “We are a Christian church and we do not seek to hide that.”