Here's a useful holiday tip: When you hear that ringing bell and see that Salvation Army kettle, leave that dollar in your pocket and keep on walking.
Despite the best efforts of the Salvation Army to convince donors that the 150-year-old Methodist-based church does not discriminate against LGBT people, recent internal Salvation Army documents obtained by Queerty tell a different story.
Here's what the Salvation Army's website would like you to believe:
Deceptive social media posts, forwarded emails, blogs, and rumors have been leading people to believe that The Salvation Army does not serve members of the LGBT community.
These accusations are patently false. Discrimination is antithetical to The Salvation Army's existence. We serve regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
The Salvation Army does not discriminate in its employment practices, either. Although The Salvation Army is an evangelical Christian church whose officers are ordained ministers, one does not otherwise have to be a practicing Christian to work for us. We embrace employees of many different faiths and orientations.
According to Queerty, here's what an internal Salvation Army memo has to say about same-sex relationships within its membership:
Leadership roles in denominational activities such as teaching or holding local officer roles require certain adherence to consistently held spiritual beliefs. This would apply to any conduct inconsistent with Salvation Army beliefs and would include same-sex sexual relationships."
For anyone in a Salvation Army ministry position, the theological belief regarding sexuality is that God has ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman and sexual activity is restricted to one's spouse. Non-married individuals would therefore be celibate in the expression of their sexuality. This is the long-standing expectation of all individuals in ministry roles in The Salvation Army, including lay people.
Perez Hilton points out that the memo also states that Salvation Army officers are not to officiate or attend a same-sex wedding. If they must attend one, they must do so "out of uniform" and at a "non-Army facility." Failure to comply with these rules could result in termination.
The Huffington Post notes the Salvation Army has a long and checkered history of global anti-LGBT discrimination.
In 2000, Scotland's Salvation Army submitted a letter to Parliament opposing the repeal of a law prohibiting teaching the "acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.
In 1998, Salvation Army in the United States opted to turn down $3.5 million in municipal contracts with San Francisco due to the city's requirement that contractors extend spousal benefits to gay employees.
In 1986, New Zealand's Salvation Army campaigned and collected signatures against repealing the law criminalizing sex between adult men.
Here's their current "acceptance" promotion video...