Nov 272012
 

The Salvation Army is under fire from gay activists.

I must have missed the gay activist organization that devotes all of it’s energies to the poor and homeless.

I must also have missed the throngs of gay, bisexual, and transgender people who want to work for a historical, theologically conservative charity.

Tolerance is a one way street now…

I’m an old, straight, white guy with a set of deep theological convictions sitting next to equally deeply ingrained cultural prejudices.

It’s often hard to separate one from the other…

Still, I have wrestled with this issue to try to come to a place of civil tolerance, understanding, and compassion, leaving behind the prejudices while holding to my religious convictions.

It isn’t easy.

When this sort of petty assault against an important part of our societal safety net happens, when it’s demanded that I give up my faith as well as my prejudices…it becomes almost impossible.

Perhaps we’re reaping what we’ve sown…in any case it appears that the “war” we’ve written and spoken of is now reality.

One again, everybody loses.

 

  60 Responses to “Loose Ends”

  1. The Salvation Army has offered to come to our JOY Place ministry this Sunday and play Christmas Carols. We are thrilled they are coming!

    http://www.joyplace.org.uk

  2. I say “screw ’em” – go live in your misery and give to whoever you choose. Just don’t tell me not to give to them.

  3. This reminded me of a Carl Trueman article I read a couple of months back.
    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2012/09/pleased-to-meet-you-hope-you-g.php

    And the money quote:
    You really do kid only yourselves if you think you can be an orthodox Christian and be at the same time cool enough and hip enough to cut it in the wider world. Frankly, in a couple of years it will not matter how much urban ink you sport, how much fair trade coffee you drink, how many craft brews you can name, how much urban gibberish you spout, how many art house movies you can find that redeemer figure in, and how much money you divert from gospel preaching to social justice: maintaining biblical sexual ethics will be the equivalent in our culture of being a white supremacist.

    I think Trueman has it right, and it applies to all biblical sexual ethics, not just homosexuality. Homosexuality is just on at the forefront right now and making the inroads.

    Sad, to see good organizations that help the poor treated this way, think I will make sure to put some money in the pot the next time I go into Wal-Mart. 🙂

  4. The persecuted become the persecutors.
    Over the course of time our beliefs may result in actual physical harm. Perhaps then we will focus on helping those within the faith, rather than focusing our efforts as evangelism. No slam against evangelism, but at some point we need to take care of our own and then those outside the faith.

  5. The best minorities are the ones that never whine or complain or ask for special favors.

    They just go out and play by the rules, work hard, and earn their way, and let their behavior do the talking.

    That is the kind of “minority” we Christians are encouraged to be.

  6. Nonnie, that’s awesome!

    I wonder when the day will come that it will be illegal for the Salvation Army to even have the kettles by store entrances.

  7. ‘The best minorities are the ones that never whine or complain or ask for special favors.’

    Riiiiiiiiiight.

    Tell that to Rosa Parks and other brave African-Americans who sacrificed their very lives for racial equality.

    Dansk, you win the “Reactionary of the Day” award. Congratulations.

  8. Stealing from Derek’s quotation of Trueman:

    “maintaining biblical sexual ethics will be the equivalent in our culture of being a white supremacist.”

    That certainly seems to be the trend of where our culture is heading. Without even getting into the argument as to what may become legal or illegal, at the very least, our culture is trending toward viewing and treating as criminals those who take a stand in believing that homosexual activity is wrong and sinful. Same trend for other sexually deviant behaviors.

    I pray that the trend becomes reversed, but if it does not, we Christians need to be prepared for things like a protest of the Salvation Army becoming more and more commonplace and for the level of persecution to become much greater than it is now.

  9. I think PPVet @5 was being sarcastic.

  10. That Trueman article is great.

  11. I think the “white supremacist” thing is key here. The whole issue is framed in terms of the civil rights movement when it is actually just a sin issue. It is aggravating, but at least this isn’t a court case which could lead imposition of this issue on christian organizations. But, I am no fool and I can see the direction this is heading. It will eventually end up in court, multiple times, till they win a case that will set a precedent and then it won’t be good and christians will have to choose to compromise or face dissolving their organizations and waiting for the churches to be attacked next. I am an optimist though and I know God can bring good from things that look bad and I figure the church will come out stronger because of it.

  12. So let’s say someone plans on buying stuff from Amazon and wants a little credit going to the PP/Michael, our fearless leader….could someone post a link (or instructions) on how we could do that?

    A link would be best….

  13. Which is awful, because most of us would rather not separate homosexuality from every other sin, but I think you are right. The hand will be forced. I hope not. I pray for another way, but it seems to be the way it will go.

  14. “The best minorities are the ones that never whine or complain or ask for special favors.”
    gotta say – i don’t know if that was “sarcastic,” but i am close enough to the action on this piece of history – the civil rights movement – to say that they most decidedly did not whine, complain or ask for special favors … but some who came later may have – those are traits that pop up throughout the human race

  15. I understand the conflict here…but isn’t it great that we live in a country where you can make personal choices?

    Anyone? Bueller?

  16. This will likely turn out to be great for the Salvation Army, much like it was for Chick-fil-a. A handful of folks will not put there pennies in the kettle and feel righteous, while thousands will give more to show support.

    At least that is what I hope…

  17. oops “there” should be “their”, I hate it when I do that!

  18. “salvation ARMY”
    This is an org that has all the wrong imagery for me to ever support them, being an anti-war person As far as them changing their core beliefs, that ain’t gonna happen.

  19. “This holiday season I am supporting organizations that do not discriminate in any way against people based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other reason.”

    Cool! Let’s discriminate against the Salvation Army for discrimination! Woohoo!

  20. IMO, there are legit beefs out there, but to discriminate against a fundamentalist religious org that helps folks and doesn’t seem to have any smoke surrounding them…seems to cheapen things when there is an org that has real problems and really crosses the line.

    Reality is there are some religious orgs that discriminate for philosophical/sin issue reasons…and that should be protected as long as it doesn’t abuse and as long as it doesn’t discriminate for race. I understand a church not hiring a female pastor if they think it’s wrong biblically, I understand the salvation army not wanting to hire professing homosexuals since they disagree with the lifestyle, similarly they probably don’t want to hire known fornicators, hetero porn stars, etc.

    A muslim org would not be forced to hire a homosexual…or given much of a hard time at all…why?

  21. It is destructive to teach a people group that whining and complaining is rewarded.

    Some groups insist on proving their worth by hard work and following the rules.

    People groups can be spoiled just as children can.

    Yes, obviously, some people groups encounter inertial resistance in the culture that may need to be addressed by extraordinary means. However that can be taken too far and create more problems than it solves.

    I suspect some congregations are “spoiled” as well.

    How do we present people with choices, trust God to reward right behavior, and ourselves try to avoid enabling wrong behavior? That is always the question.

  22. “A muslim org would not be forced to hire a homosexual…or given much of a hard time at all…why?”

    simple, rightful fear of retaliation

    we who are Jesus’ believers are the “turn the other cheek” people, have been throughout history, which means He set us up to forever find “wise as serpent, innocent as dove” tactics to serving in His Kingdom.

    a smart tactic would be to simply keep one’s mouth shut, take no provocative interviews and simply do good, something our TeaPartyRepublican friends are learning from the last election when they screwed up and made the election more about “legitimate rape” instead of core possibly electable issues. Never before has it been so easy to mobilize public opinion, therefore, we gotta be wise

    Honesty, I will only support organizations which lead with acts of goodness and keep their religion and s*xuality to themselves, mostly because they are wise enough to know that anything less and they are rightfully painting a big target on their backs

  23. There are many examples of people groups that were belittled, despised, marginalized, and discriminated against, but found full acceptance within the culture over time by making right choices.
    None required in general any special treatment.
    In the US, this includes:
    Irish
    Chinese
    German
    Cuban

    And others.

    I am not against special treatment on all occasions. The need to defang Southern racism was such a case, for example.

    But ultimately no program or plan or law will overcome the time-proven fact that over time, the tendency is for groups to reap the result of the moral correctness of their choices as individuals and as a group (that is actually what the Bible says).

    Compare the Israelis to the Palestinians, for example.

    Incentivizing wrong decisions is as bad government behavior as it is personal behavior.

  24. PP Vet – Please consider that “Know your role. Stay in your place” is very hurtful to many people. People that I am sure you do not mean to harm.

  25. This is a commentary piece written by a gay man about the Salvation Army boycott last year. I thought it was pretty good and thoughtful. http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/tag/salvation-army

  26. How about: Know the rules, make good choices, and the sky’s the limit.

    And once in a while when you need someone to run interference, hopefully society or some person or organization will be there for you.

    I have needed that in my personal journey, that’s for sure, and in my case it was mainly the local church, other individual believers, and to a lesser extent, extended family.

    Government policy, too!

    All of which were expressions of the grace of God.

  27. ‘How do we present people with choices, trust God to reward right behavior, and ourselves try to avoid enabling wrong behavior? That is always the question.’

    Sure is.

    Like: why did it take bulldogs and murders to convince southern whites that blacks shouldn’t be treated like second-class citizens? Couldn’t God have just swooped down on these racists? That would’ve been so much easier for all.

    That’s a great point to ponder.

  28. That is a fair point, and as someone 🙂 stated above, the need to defang Southern racism was a special case that required extraordinary action.

    However, in terms of disincentivizing policies:

    I wonder if when my life was at its lowest ebb, someone had come to me and said, Scooter, fill out this paperwork and we will get you a grand a month in SSI (I would have qualified). Would that have sapped my motivation for crawling out of my hole?

    Dunno.

    But the good book says, hunger is a great motivator.

    That is not intended to be a cue for all 8 million, no doubt mostly deserving, who are currently getting SSI to chime in and call me a heartless Nazi. 🙂

  29. PP Vet – I’d say ” Do what is right. Even when it hurts.”

  30. Well said JH.

  31. I always find the irony whenever Michael broaches the issue of homosexuality in a thread titled “Loose Ends” LOL 😆

  32. Wow, I wasn’t planning on giving to the Salvation Army this year. However, I now plan to do so. How’s that for freedom of expression?

  33. I thought this was a good article written about the Salvation Army boycott by a gay man. http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/tag/salvation-army

  34. I tried posting a comment twice and both times it didn’t go through, but I didn’t get a message saying it was in moderation either, so I don’t know… :/

  35. I think people use the word “discrimination” as a scare tactic.
    I discriminate all the time – I am a man of discriminating tastes. I choose one restaurant over another for reasons that should not concern anyone.

    But on a more serious note, I will give money to a “christian” organization before I would give money to a blasphemous organization – and I don’t care what anyone says. If they do say something, I just call them narrow minded bigots who have only hateful thoughts about my decision and I move on.

    This thing with the Salvation Army is not new – last year and perhaps the year before Target banned the SA bellringers from their property… which is their bigotted choice, so I take my business elsewhere.

  36. in my lifetime so many biases have been stomped out:. one of the duties of a hotel detective was to attempt to keep ‘hanky panky’ out of the guests’ rooms, gays who didn’t flaunt their proclivities were whispered about and ignored (mostly) – the piano teacher who was not to be trusted alone with junior – in my youth, shooting your spouse caught in an amorous compromise was justifiable homicide – at least in the south – divorce was acceptable, but very difficult to get in most states – muttering d*mn would send junior to the principal’s office – not fit language for a child or ‘polite company’ … but people did all those things, so what’s changed? tolerance, acceptance and even celebration of them … a good change? hypocrisy is the worst sin of all! — isn’t it? … hmmm … it seems to me that the worst sin is to be ashamed to say that the God i worship names our sins and so must we … perhaps, if we grieved over sin more, rather than hating it (hate is hard to pull of without self-righteousness)? yes, our Lord loved and still loves sinners and He grieves – at least that’s what i think

    i must conclude that the voucher above grieves me deeply – no anger, just sadness – yet, here’s hoping that it does put a few extra dollars in those kettles

  37. j2tp,

    Thanks for posting that link. I learned a lot. The writer cut through the hype that seems to be engulfing both sides of this.

  38. Funny thing is Target or any other store can’t ban any organization from soliciting even if it is private property, because the property is for public use.

    There is a group that solicits outside of my local Target for homeless Veterans. When they first set up shop Target used to put up signs at the entrance saying something to the effect that they were trying to provide a distraction free shopping experience and not to donate.

  39. jlo, it was done in a subtle way. For years Target only authorized the Salvation Army bell ringers and no other organization. Everyone else would get the signs and the discouragement. Then Target gave the SA the bums rush.

    The SA could show up and collect, but they don’t go where they are not welcomed – so it is the equivalent to a ban.

  40. Gay fascism is entrenched and empowered in our culture.

  41. What if they gave a culture war and nobody came?

  42. “There are many examples of people groups that were belittled, despised, marginalized, and discriminated against, but found full acceptance within the culture over time by making right choices.
    None required in general any special treatment.
    In the US, this includes:
    Irish
    Chinese
    German
    Cuban”

    Uh you ever live in Miami? I did in 1992 and many of the Cubans there whine with the best of em. My Stepfather is Cuban and his family cries and moans all day about Castro but apparently they were fine with Fuglencio Bautista who was worse.

  43. Dread said, “Gay fascism is entrenched and empowered in our culture.”

    Is this what you had in mind? 😆

    http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/profe_12/47354913/229618/229618_original.jpg

  44. Kincaid did his homework and the article is worth reading. The detail that some might miss is that the Salvation has gays on permanent staff in the social service side, though not necessarily in the church side. The Salvation Army can end up a whipping post for folks ranging from the recent blog point, to Christopher Hitchens (he did a less-than-his-best hatchet piece on them about a decade ago), and some time ago some of the Dobson posse fretted that the Northwest Division was going to give medical benefits to the gay partners of some employees (which was, to put it nicely, a good deal of spin).

    It’s weird to see how in a decade the Salvation Army can get largely unwarranted junk from both kinds of teams. I wouldn’t be a member at a Salvation Army church (and since they don’t baptize or serve communion some of our friends here would say they AREN’T a church) they identify as a church. In my Mars Hill days I used to hear people rip on them for ordaining women so, seriously, it’s as though everyone can find something wrong with them.

  45. J2 posted a link from a gay source giving a very reasoned rationale for moderation toward the Salvation Army … smooth as silk and taking the high ground … thing is, if one is a Christian, who still believes that Scripture says, “don’t do that,” if one believes in a God who says this behavior is on His list of wrong things to do with one’s body and life, then one can’t be too embracing of Box Turtle’s words even as we should be shamed by his understanding of reasoned, gracious presentation … Lord, help us to stand clear minded and understanding, just as gracious and full of Your mercies on Your higher ground

  46. I’m not sold on the “gracious at all times at all costs” Position as being a superior form of communication/rhetoric in advocating for issues.

    From a Pragmatic Perspective (results): Martin Luther, was he “gracious”? Paul the Apostle? Even Jesus with the Pharisees, Religious Leaders, Money Changers etc?

    Look at politics: When 0bama was behind in the Debates and election, did he get “more gracious” or did he turn very distinctly un-gracious and take the gloves off? He went un-gracious and he closed the gap and won, while Romney took his foot off the gas pedal.

  47. Alex, i did not in my #45 and am not advocating – “gracious at all times at all costs” that position only works when you have all the power … that said, one can be wise as serpents and harmless as doves most of the time, aka “gracious” 🙂

  48. Can you believe that it’s been 10 yrs since Rick Warren turned Christians into suckers with His Purpose Driven crap.
    Now he is rereleasing the book – watch out.

  49. Agreed Em 🙂

    As much as I’ve butted heads and don’t like how things have gone with MLD (and have accepted my part of the blame)…I do tend to agree with much of the Lutheran perspective. I learned tonight that a long-time very close friend just joined the Lutheran church in Cali and is very happy there. He said he got tired of the constant guilt-trip of fundamentalist evangelicalism and he got tired of the central focus on the senior pastor and the celebrity-like status dynamic there.

    He and his family are flourishing as Lutherans.

    BG told me growing up that my best friend at the time who was Lutheran went to a “dead church” and that he didn’t think my friend was saved…even though I noticed how good the dynamic and how loving the dynamic was in my friend’s home contrasted with the hell in our home.

    Happy for my other good friend and his family, b/c they are so happy.

  50. “I’m not sold on the “gracious at all times at all costs” Position as being a superior form of communication/rhetoric in advocating for issues.”

    Sad how that works, I always feel sick when I am rude and resort to rhetoric. Just goes to show what a piece of human filth I am. What a strange religion we have here. It really is when one steps back from the noise and just looks.

  51. brian, our “religion” is great … our humanity? not so much, but there’s hope 🙂

    a good night for the night crew to put in an appearance … or so it seems to me

    God keep all close and comforted

  52. my friend’s wife is a Mormon Christian (gasp) and loves the hymns and liturgical structure and tradition of the Lutheran church they now attend.

    brian, it is sad, but seems to be a reality, even in the bible

  53. My offer to this our religion is true, I affirm this but it is not great and we must with eternal fortitude deny our humanity as God hates it with a great passion . PS Christians of any ilk should never ever ever ever ever ^100K need hope. If there is one faith truth I have learned is that, dont need hope. I got that in spades. The reality Alex is those with the most powerful weapons, best apologetics and far above all the most money always win. Always and I mean always as in always as in, in every single context always. I get that and that is the way it should be considering the American religion. I do not see what that has to do with the faith of Jesus but He is completely irrelevant and I mean with a passion . I never quite got that either but that is another post.

    I can say I have repented several times needing Jesus even praying down curses on me just to hope for an answer. It is a profound experience to pray down your own damnation, to get no answer. I cant even get that right. Imagine failing at getting your self damned to hell, when it is already damned to hell. It takes a real screw up to accomplish that. Some may find that rather strange, at times that is day to day for me. Hating that I need a savior because that makes me week, but denying that I need a savior makes me damned.

    From the very cheap seats, and I mean very cheap seats, and no offense it is not good news, it really is not but “we” who sit in the cheap seats keep hoping it is. How apostate is that?

  54. week =weak

  55. brian, i just can let your #53 stand unanswered – while i do not find it wrong for you to post as you did (i think God doesn’t much like the smell of platitudes), the promise is out there beyond time … but, in this world? as you’re pointing out, slim to no hope – not fulfilled in time.
    does God hate the stench of humanity? don’t you? you work daily trying to mend and pick up the pieces of the victims, do you not? you have a right to hate the stench, too. BUT, it is the stench, not the humanity that God hates – you, we all, are players in a rather important working out of something that affects far more than planet earth – IMHO – if i didn’t believe that God was justifying His Name in all of this; if i didn’t believe that He (and we) have an adversary who God (don’t ask me why 🙂 ) is allowing to play out his hand, i wouldn’t see any use for seeking god, let alone worship one who’d capriciously allow such misery, let alone inflict it on us, His creation.

    Why the devil? i don’t know the answer. Without him, i couldn’t love God, i don’t think; i see his handiwork – it’s his work i, not God’s that i hate … (i reject the childish comeback, “well, didn’t God make the devil? BTW)

    i hate the devil as i hate his smell that permeates the earth now – i love God because He showed us Himself, His sweet fragrance in Christ Jesus and all my hope is pinned on His return

    just sayin – not because brian needs my words – just sayin, cuz i can this morning

  56. Those people are fools. They have no idea of the history, reach or impact of the salvation army in the world.
    They think they are being activists by putting a voucher in a pot at christmas.
    They know nothing!

  57. Pr 17:15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.
    Mal 2:17 You have wearied the LORD with your words; Yet you say, “In what way have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil Is good in the sight of the LORD, And He delights in them,” Or, “Where is the God of justice?”
    Isa 5 20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

  58. John Duncan! you and your wife were in my prayers this morning as i thought about your trials … your scripture applications to this topic are good ponders for me this evening – amen and God keep

  59. thanks EM – today i was feeling really trapped and for some reason a portion of a verse kept going though my head. It took me a while to find it. It was Psalm 31:8 And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place.

    a wide place.. that just sounds wonderful – wide open – for so long our lives have restricted to one room where we just wait, not even knowing what we are waiting for. these past months have left me with no energy or desire to carry on. I tried everything I could, but there are simply no options. so we just sit here in this room another day.

    As I thought on Psa 31 it hit me that David wrote the blues a lot. Songs to be sang before God and His people. So I guess I’m just singing the blues.

    I feel like life has closed in to the point that there is no room to breath let alone take any action or move in any direction at all.

    I read C. H. Spurgeon on this verse.

    ——–“…Ver. 8. And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy. To be shut up in one’s hand is to be delivered over absolutely to his power; now, the believer is not in the hand of death or the devil, much less is he in the power of man. The enemy may get a temporary advantage over us, but we are like men in prison with the door open; God will not let us be shut up, he always provides a way of escape. Thou hast set my feet in a large room. Blessed be God for liberty: civil liberty is valuable, religious liberty is precious, spiritual liberty is priceless. In all troubles we may praise God if these are left. Many saints have had their greatest enlargements of soul when their affairs have been in the greatest straits. Their souls have been in a large room when their bodies have been lying in Bonner’s coal hole, or in some other narrow dungeon. Grace has been equal to every emergency; and more than this, it has made the emergency an opportunity for displaying itself.

    EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

    Ver. 8. He openeth and no man shutteth. Let us bless the Lord for an open door which neither men nor devils can close. We are not in man’s hands yet, because we are in the hands of God; else had our feet been in the stocks and not in the large room of liberty. Our enemies, if they were as able as they are willing, would long ago have treated us as fowlers do the little birds when they enclose them in their hand. C. H. S.”——
    —————-
    I still feel trapped, but i know my feelings lie..I know by faith that I am free, but experience is on conflict with my faith today. I have always said that I don’t have any trouble with my faith, it’s reality that I have trouble with:-)

  60. John, sorry for your comment getting caught in the spam filter 🙁

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