Friday, October 06, 2006

Boycott the Salvation Army

If you havent read Michelle Goldberg's book yet, buy it! It is full of amazing and scary stories like the one below. I will never toss another penny into the Salvation Army bucket. Considering how often these cry baby "Christian" nutbags say they are a persecuted people, they sure are doing well lately with George Bush....who has handed them the farm and still not satisfied them. Tragic. Scary. Unchristian. Unconscionable. Turns many of us Christians off --take your religion back from the fanatics like Rick Scarborough and Vision America. Enough is Enough

Some of the resulting collateral damage has been tragic. Just talk to Anne Lown. She worked for 24 years for the Salvation Army in New York City before resigning due to the hostility she felt toward her non-Christian beliefs. The office she ran had hundreds of employees with an annual budget of $50-million, almost all of which came from public sources. Lown oversaw foster care placements, day care services, residential services for the developmentally disabled and many other programs.

In Lown’s experience, the Salvation Army had always in the past been meticulous about keeping its evangelical side from mingling with its provision of social services, but all that changed in 2003. She attributes the change directly to Bush’s policies. A lawsuit filed by Lown and another 17 current and former employees of the Salvation Army alleges that religion suddenly pervaded the agency’s personnel decisions.

Lown says she was handed a form that all employees were expected to complete, asking for a list of churches she attended over the last 10 years and the name of her present minister. Lown says she was told that indicating “not applicable” was not an option. A lawyer for the Salvation Army says the form was modified after complaints were received.

But Lown said that atmosphere was fear-inducing for the professional staff.

She pointed to a mission statement that all employees were required to support as a condition of employment. It stated that the organization’s mission “is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Margaret Geissman, who is also part of the lawsuit, claims that she was asked by a supervisor to point out gay and non-Christian employees, with the overt suggestion that there would eventually be a purge of sorts. The Salvation Army denies this.

Despite the Salvation Army’s disclaimers, Goldberg cites an internal Salvation Army document describing a deal struck in 2001 with the White House. In exchange for the administration passing regulations protecting faith-based groups from state and local antidiscrimination regulations relative to gays, the Salvation Army agreed to promote the administration’s faith-based agenda.

Forget the proverbial wall. Here it is, church and state working hand-in-glove, with tax money and the government-sanctioned intolerance as the prize.

Meanwhile, money is flowing into religious coffers without anyone watching. A June report from the Government Accountability Office found that few government agencies that award grants to faith-based organizations bother to monitor whether the recipient is improperly mixing religion into their programs or discriminating against clients on the basis of religion. A few organizations contacted by the GAO even admitted to praying with clients while providing government-funded services. As to kicking out non-Christians on the staff, the Bush Justice Department says that it is perfectly okay.

Just another example of how, under this president, I hardly recognize my country anymore.

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