Already Living in Jesusland

It’s getting close to that time of year, when folks hand wreaths on their doors, tinsel on their trees, and red kettles accompanies by bell-ringers show up at out consumer cathedrals. The Salvation Army bell ringers are coming to a corner or shopping mall near you.

Call me a Scrooge, but I long ago stopped giving anything to the Salvation Army bell ringers. As a result of the organizations virulently anti-gay stance, when I pass by their street corner representatives, my change stays firmly planted in my pocket. If I want to give to a charitable organization, it will be one that does not discriminate as a matter of policy.

Now I find out there another reason not to give to the Salvation Army. They don’t need it. Thanks to George W. Bush’s faith-based initiative, the Salvation Army is practically a federally funded program using tax-payer dollars — including mine — to discriminate on the basis of religion and sexual orientation.

As part of President Bush’s “faith-based initiative,” US taxpayers gave the Salvation Army’s children services division $47 million this year — 95% of its total budget. Several Salvation Army employees refused to take the Salvation Army’s pledge “proclaiming Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord,” reveal which church they belong to or identify gay co-workers — and were summarily fired.

Let’s parse this event out. The money came from American taxpayers, many of whom are not Christians. Nevertheless the workers were fired for refusing to pledge allegiance to the Christian prophet. They were also fired for failing to disclose their own religious affiliations, if any. And finally, they were fired for refusing to rat out their co-workers.

Sounds like something that would happen in Communist China, doesn’t it? And, if it had happened in China, and it was Christians getting fired, you can bet your sweet bippy the Bush administration and America’s Christian right would be screaming bloody murder about it. (emphasis added)

Read that again. Ninety-five percent of their total budget. Essentially, as a gay man who pays taxes, I’m helping to pay the Salvation Army to discriminate against people like. me. My decision to pass up giving to the Salvation Army is essentially meaning less, since the Bush administration has made sure that I do give to them, whether I want to or not, however indirectly. As far as I’m concerned they might as well be handing over my taxes to the Klan. And if the Klan — which purports to be a religious organization — opens up a soup kitchen maybe the Bush administration will give them a cut of the tax revenue.

I may never finish working off that karma. I just thought I’d pass this on in case anyone hasn’t seen it. so people can make more informed choices about where their charitable donations will be going this year. My advice as far as the Salvation Army goes is not to give them anything, not even so much as a smile as you pass by with your packages. That’s what I’ll be doing.

I remember last year, after the election, when the Jesusland meme was all over the internet. Little did I know we’re already living in Jesusland. And how can we not be living in Jesusland when the Salvation Army is a de facto government program?

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About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
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2 Responses to Already Living in Jesusland

  1. Peregrinato says:

    Devil’s Advocate #1: You pay taxes to fund many causes you do not support (well, namely the entire corrupt Bush machine.) What makes this different?

    Devil’s Advocate #2: The Salvation Army discriminates in its employment, but not in its services (If I recall.) So, what would happen ot the $47 million in services to children that the Salvation Army would not be able to provide? More funding to the Department of Education, which requires schools allow military recruiters onto school campuses (per Title IX of No Child Left Behind)? (refer back to Devil’s Advocate #1).

    So is the problem that there *is* federal funding for faith based initiatives (properly speaking, faith based and community initiatives)? Or that in allowing such clearly discriminatory practices to continue, that we’re funding them, and there doesn’t appear to be any way around them?

    It isn’t enough to argue for a complete separation of church and state to the point of restricting all services. (By the same token, the military wouldn’t be able to have chaplains–which would actually be denying religious services to its personnel, which is a different form of discrimintation.)

    My only real point is, it isn’t an easy answer. I dont’ support the Salvation Army’s discriminatory practices, but I also have to recognize where it does good. So how does one navigate this maze?

  2. fred verilengesteromnery says:


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