The Salvation Army gives in

Ok this is big. The Salvation Army caved on a religious discrimination case it had been fighting for years. I first read about it in Michelle Goldberg’s great book Kingdom Coming. Dan Arel reports at the Huffington Post:

In 2004 a group of 19 plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the Salvation Army. The group claimed that the organization, which is a registered evangelical church and charity organization in the United States, was using public taxpayer money to proselytize their evangelical religious beliefs, discriminate, and terminate employees based on religious beliefs.

Anne Lown, a former employee of the organization, felt that this alleged practice was wrong and complained to her management and was subsequently terminated. Lown, who is Jewish, along with the other plaintiffs, contacted the New York branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), alleging that their religious beliefs were often brought into question and that they were threatened with termination or simply fired.

Note the date – four years into the reign of George 2 and his “faith-based” backdoor theocracy (which Obama has unpardonably continued).

In 2010 a settlement was reached that barred the organization from proselytizing when working under a public contract, but the settlement denied any workplace discrimination and dismissed other “lesser” charges. The NYCLU appealed and continued to fight to address all the charges of violations of the U.S. Constitution.

This week the Salvation Army caved, and a new settlement has been reached, a settlement that upholds the separation of church and state and will no longer allow the organization to hold those they serve or those they employee to any religious standards while receiving taxpayer dollars. The organization will also pay $450,000 to two of the plaintiffs who were wrongfully terminated.

George W. Bush’s administration and their “faith-based initiative,” a program that has been continued under the Obama administration, made it very easy for organizations like the Salvation Army to receive taxpayer money for their services. Both administrations have consistently dodged questions about workplace-discrimination procedures at such organizations.

Well hoofuckingray about the new settlement and boooooooo Obama for dodging the questions.

For decades it’s been charged that the Salvation Army has hidden behind its religious charitable status to get away with such actions, but this new settlement finally says that regardless of their religious status, they can no longer use public funding for proselytizing and discrimination.

This is a major victory for groups like the ALCU, NYCLU, Americans United, and other secular groups fighting for the continued separation of church and state. In a statement on this week’s ruling, Americans United showed their continued support for religious freedom and secular values, saying:

Americans United has consistently opposed this type of taxpayer-funded religious discrimination. We’ve pointed out that sectarian groups are free to discriminate when they use privately raised funds for programs that are wholly church sponsored. But government money changed the equation.

We’ve also opposed proselytism in tax-supported programs. People in need should never be required to sit through a sermon in order to get fed.

Damn right.



  1. Sastra says

    I was pleased to finally see this, too. I stopped throwing change in the red kettles when this suit first came out.

    I see no reason to start again, as winsome as those bell ringers often are. The Salvation Army didn’t give in because they thought “oh gosh, yes, we see what we’ve been doing wrong so very sorry.” It took a court. And I bet they whine about their “religious freedom.”

  2. Dan Robinson says

    I used to think they were just a nice charity org. But found out some years ago that they are another crackpot evangelical church. They are hilarious with their military ranks, uniforms etc. I wouldn’t give them a nickel any more than I would the Catholic church.

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