Byline: William Roberts, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
This year's Red Kettle Campaign, the annual Christmas fundraiser that helps The Salvation Army collect money to meet human needs in local communities across the country, has begun. Each year's campaign brings heightened media attention to The Salvation Army, particularly regarding its beliefs and practices.
In particular, we face such questions as: How does The Salvation Army help people in need? Are we a church? Perhaps most important, is the organization truly committed to serving all those in need?
The Salvation Army is a Christian organization, founded by a small group of people in London in 1865 to serve those who were suffering. They were fueled by their love of God and their belief that God was leading them to do his work on earth. The only qualification to receive help from The Salvation Army was to have a need. That has not changed in more than a century.
We serve nearly 30 million Americans in need each year, from a variety of backgrounds. We do not pick and choose whom we serve based on religion or any other factor, and no one in need should ever be turned away.
The Salvation Army has doctrine and beliefs that help guide members of the church in life and on a daily basis. Many people have questioned why The Salvation Army holds certain positions on issues such as homosexuality. This issue has created misunderstandings and confusion about The Salvation Army. This in turn has led many to think that The Salvation Army judges others and denies them services or employment. None of this is true.
The Salvation Army believes that all people are equal, regardless of sexual preferences or any other factor, including race, gender and ethnicity. We firmly oppose the vilification and mistreatment of any member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, just as we oppose the mistreatment of anyone. Any such incident is in clear opposition to all established Salvation Army policy.
Indeed, this promise is emphatically laid out in our organizational mission statement, which says: The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
The Salvation Army is founded on Christian values and biblical standards, and those in need receive our assistance each year through a broad array of social services, which include food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter for the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. …