Kristen Golembiewski, Opinions Editor
Kristen Golembiewski, Opinions Editor


Last week, the Salvation Army put a giant red kettle up in Campus Martius. And it won’t be long until you can’t enter a business without encountering someone ringing a bell, soliciting donations for the organization whose slogan proclaims that they’re Doing the Most Good.

But when you donate, do you know what your money is going towards?

Because while I’m not denying that the Salvation Army helps millions of people (about four and a half million, as estimated on the organization’s website), I also recognize that the nonprofit has a history of discrimination against the LGBT community.

It started in 1986, when the New Zealand government was considering passing a law that would decriminalize relations between same-sex males. The Salvation Army collected signatures trying to get that legislation killed, yet the act passed.

So, the Salvation Army tried to enforce their views on other governments. In 2001, they tried to get White House approval to ignore local nondiscrimination laws – meaning that they could refuse to hire people based on sexual orientation.

That same year, they lobbied the White House (oh, yes – the Salvation Army is also a lobbying group. So while you think you’re helping homeless people, you’re actually funding their lobbying activities) to “deny funding to any cities or states that included LGBT non-discrimination laws,” according to The Bilerico Project.

And, most recently, they threatened to close all of their soup kitchens in NYC when the city decided that all “vendors and charities doing business with the city would have to adhere to all civil rights laws.”

Granted, not everyone has to support LGBTQ equality (although you really, really should). I would never argue that an organization should go against their values – however misguided they are. But discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation is wrong. Refusing to help people because of their sexual orientation is wrong. Portraying your organization as a charity when it’s secret a lobbying group is wrong.

So as you go about your business this holiday season, think twice before you put money in one of those little red kettles. Seriously research what the organization does with your money. I am not saying there aren’t problems with other nonprofits because Lord knows there are – exorbitant salaries and other unappealing policies can be found in other organizations.

I am saying, however, that you should think before you donate. Be sure to choose a charity that really does the most good.