The beginning of the holiday season is inevitably accompanied by charities vying for your money, with booths set up in malls and shopping centers around your town. If you read the news in any form, you will already know about the Salvation Army having 2 million dollars worth of toys stole from their warehouses. What I am going to address, however, is the social media attack on the Salvation Army and their response to it. Through blogs, twitter and facebook I have found a PR disaster that would prevent many people, me included, from continuing support of the Salvation Army.
This social media backlash is not a specific event that occurred, but rather a response to the institutional values held by the Salvation Army. That is their view on homosexuality. The organization has been hailed as one of the most homophobic organizations since the revelation of its founding principles including statements denouncing homosexuality as a sin. Now, to be fair, they have been around for a long while and there were not many organizations that were accepting of homosexuality. But in 2011, things took a turn for the worst when the PR team (if you can call them that), were forced to respond to these allegations.
The Salvation Army issued a statement wherein they said that they were more than happy to help out gay individuals who came into their stores or needed their assistance at a food bank, say. But when it came to hiring people they preferred those who lived a Christian life, i.e. heterosexuals. Here was the perfect moment for the Salvation Army to apologize to any of those offended, state that those principles made up decades ago did not reflect the values of employees or volunteers in the organization, and state that they would amend the principles to reflect their current beliefs. Hey, if I was working on the PR team, I might even donate some money to the Gay Pride Parade or a gay rights organization.
But no, they decide to issue a statement which, if my background in law is correct, admits that their hiring practices are in direct violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Now, this being an older and widely trusted organization, I think that this response to the allegations is enough to make people question them. Not something an organization needs in this competitive economic time. So upon further inspection, it was found that money from the Salvation Army was being channelled into anti-gay groups, as well as anti-abortion groups.
Altogether, upon an investigation into the Salvation Army, it was found that the organization is trying to hide where donor money goes, and they have closed the door on many future donors who believe that an organization or company should not judge someone, or refuse to hire them, based on their sexuality. Bad news is that the organization I always trusted has let me down. Good news is, there are literally thousands of other organizations that have similar services and are more than willing to take my money. Oh, and the next time you see a Salvation Army booth set up, you can drop in a coupon instead of money!