Before 2015, the Salvation Army was constantly under fire from members of the LGBT community. Admittedly, the Salvation Army of decades ago certainly weren’t even close to accepting, much less supportive of LGBT individuals. They had a long history of refusing LGBT citizens service, refusing to allow gay and lesbian people into their shelters, and even, in some cases, refusing them food at food banks.
By 2015, the Salvation Army was actively trying to turn over a new leaf. Whether they were losing too much support, or were simply tired of the negative public perception that they were discriminatory, isn’t really clear, even to this day. Either way, it was the catalyst for efforts to improve relations with LGBT community.
But is that what really happened? Even today, LGBT people are still slamming the Salvation Army for discrimination. Many don’t believe the Salvation Army has changed. Is this a case of a neverending social perception via memes and Internet shares, or have they really changed?
Let’s take a look.
• The most clear and present example that they have changed can be found here, on the Salvation Army’s website. An entire page is dedicated to how they interface with the LGBT community and serve its members.
• The page points out the fact that people “will be served according to their need and our capacity to help – regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.” It also mentions the support they receive from LGBT people, both in volunteer hours and financial donations.
• One of the longest-standing issues with the Salvation Army is the fact they have traditionally refused to hire LGBT people. This is no longer the case; in fact, they label themselves as an equal opportunity employer.
• Pictures and testimonials from LGBT people give kudos to the organization for supporting them in times of need. While it isn’t clear whether the individuals are LGBT themselves, the assumption can be made given that’s what the page is focusing on.
• Their mission statement also makes it clear that they have gone to great lengths to turn over a new leaf. “Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in his name without discrimination,” it reads. “No one will be turned away because they are a member of the LGBT community or because of racial discrimination. That is inconsistent with who we are.”
• Yet, in spite of these changes, it feels like there are still constant attacks from the Left – especially from the LGBT community. A recently photoshopped image shows two Salvation Army workers soliciting donations over a kettle that says, “Gays Not Allowed.” A second recorded interview from 2012, in which an Australian SA officer said, “gays should be put to death” also continues to be circulated. Both are old and/or simply untrue.
• In fact, the Salvation Army isn’t just agreeing to do more to serve the LGBT community members these days; they’re going out of their way to support them in new ways. This includes focusing on LGBT-specific issues and fixes that help without judgement.
• Asked to describe their current focus, a representative pointed to one of the most serious issues. “…40 percent of homeless youth who are on the street are members of the LGBT community,” he said. “It’s terrible.” They are actively working in many cities to help alleviate this problem – including bringing LGBT youth into their shelters.