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Salvation Army Troop Withdrawal


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American Thinker:

A funny thing happened on my way to shop at Target yesterday: there was no Salvation Army guy with the little red kettle collecting money! What gives?

At the front door of our local Target store, just as the shopper enters the store, is a sign that pledges "distraction-free shopping" -- and then the shopper gets all the distraction he would ever want. Seems a bit contradictory, but this has been Target's policy for a few years, and I am only now noticing. For once, I want more distraction, at least at the front door. It's Christmastime, you know.

In fact, Target isn't alone. Some CVS stores, Best Buy, Home Depot, and some Giant Food stores have recently banned or limited the Salvation Army kettles.

The latest controversy has to do with gay and lesbian issues. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community is calling for a boycott of donations to the Salvation Army kettles. What was once a few voices here and there is now a chorus in the LGBT community to boycott. Because the Salvation Army is really a hybrid Christian church/community outreach/disaster relief organization, it won't hire people for its staff unless they are practicing Christians, and that excludes sexually active gays and lesbians. And despite the position on hiring, Salvation Army does not dole out relief on the basis of faith or sexual orientation.

And donating to the kettle does a lot of good. According to the Salvation Army's website, among other activities, the Army operates senior citizen centers, provides meals for the homeless, operates community food banks, runs youth camps, and provides emergency disaster relief.
But what about the day-to-day stuff they do? Is there any political indoctrination in, say, a typical soup kitchen run by the Salvation Army? Maybe a homophobia oath before getting fed? In hopes of answering this and other questions, I went to the local Napa feeding center to see for myself. And no, they weren't offering any of the local highly-rated Napa wines, much as I would not have minded that.

This would be my first trip to a free soup kitchen. What would it be like? My template was Charles Dickens. I pictured a bunch of desperately poor and hungry people, all being given the watery oatmeal like what you see in the poverty TV commercials. Some, like the orphan Oliver, would be asking for more but being told to get lost. I also envisioned some well-dressed guy with an effeminate voice being told to "scram" and take his lifestyle with him.

At first I thought this might be a rough crowd, so I'd better try to fit in if possible. I decided to un-tuck part of my shirt, and I spoke with incorrect grammar, just to be safe.snip
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