University of California, Berkeley May Ban Salvation Army Over Anti-Gay Policies
Officials from the University of California, Berkeley are considering banning the Salvation Army from soliciting donations on campus after the college's student government accused the Christian organization of having anti-gay policies, SF Weekly reports.
The student body passed a resolution on Nov. 14 that requests that the Salvation Army's bell ringers be banned from the university's campus because of the organization's negative views on homosexuality. The measure states that the charity only helps people who "accept and abide by the Salvation Army's doctrine and discipline,' which excludes homosexuality."
The resolution also asks for officials to revoke the Salvation Army's permits, which would prohibit the charity from collection donations on the school's campus in any way -- this means the organization would not be allowed to leave donation containers on campus.
Matthew Enger, an out student at Berkley, has helped create the measure and has criticized the Boy Scouts of America, which also has polices that bar gay men from joining the organization.
According to the Campus Reform blog, Berkley officials are reviewing the resolution and will soon decide whether the charity can send volunteers to the school for the holiday season.
"Allowing the Salvation Army to collect donations on campus is a form of financial assistance that empowers the organization to spend the money it raises here in order to discriminate and advocate discrimination against queer people," the resolution reads.
Officials from the Salvation Army, however, sent a statement to the blog, denied allegations that the charity has anti-gay policies and stated that the accusations are "internet rumors."
"The notion that we require those we help to 'accept and abide by the Salvation Army's doctrine and discipline which excludes homosexuality' to receive assistance is totally false," Kathy Lovin, a spokeswoman for the Salvation Army, wrote. "The only requirement for service from The Salvation Army is demonstrated need and our ability to meet it."
The Salvation Army has made headlines in the past for its treatment towards the LGBT community. Last year, Bil Browning claims that the organization refused to provide him and his then boyfriend shelter because they are gay.
"The Salvation Army refused to help us," Browning told the New York Times, "unless we broke up and then left the 'sinful homosexual lifestyle' behind. We slept on the street, and they didn't help when we declined to break up at their insistence." Browning said that his boyfriend was wearing an AIDS pin and the worker must have recognized it, which sparked him to say that the couple needed to "be saved."
More recently, civil activist and the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Bill Donohue, made a statement and said that the Salvation Army is "under increasing attack from homosexual activists this Christmas season" for "holding Christian beliefs on marriage and the family." He added that the organization "does not discriminate against anyone" and that a gay website, WaterMarkeOnline.com is also ask its readers to note donate to the group, according to the Catholic League.
"Not only does the Salvation Army not discriminate in hiring, and in whom they serve, it does not lobby for any cause," Donohue said in a statement. "Indeed, its only agenda is serving the dispossessed. Yet to those driven by a lust for power in the homosexual community, it makes sense to sacrifice the poor for the purpose of advancing their agenda."
The Week has chronicled the organization's anti-gay behaviors, including its threat to leave New York City if Mayor Michael Bloomberg enforced an ordinance that required "all groups with city contracts to offer benefits to the same-sex partners of employees. Bloomberg, who opposed the ordinance, doesn't enforce it."
Additionally, Maj. Andrew Craibe, the Australian spokesman for the Salvation Army made international headlines earlier this year after he went on a radio show and told the hosts that gay men and woman "deserve to die." Soon after the incident, however, the organization's officials issued a statement and apologized for Crabie's remarks.