You too can piss off Jerry Falwell.
November 29, 2001 6:49 PM   Subscribe

You too can piss off Jerry Falwell. It seems Bev of FunnyTheWorld had an idea: "...when Christmas comes around this year and all those [Salvation Army bell-ringing] Santas take to the streets, I will have a card ready to slip into the pot. The card will let them know that I really wanted to contribute money for them to help the needy at Christmas time, but because of their homophobic philosophy, I have taken the money I would have donated and have given it, instead, to a local AIDS organization." Well, Saundra of HeadSpace liked the idea too and shared it with gay-rights organizations. Now Jerry Falwell is pissed off.
posted by fleener (28 comments total)
Weblogs/blogs/journals produce so many good ideas. It's nice to see them spur action once in a while.
posted by fleener at 6:51 PM on November 29, 2001

Ah, so fundamentalists can intimidate homosexuals, but homosexuals can't return fire? Falwell exists in a perpetual state of intolerance, double standards and circular logic. Let him be pissed off. It won't change that we are a society of choice. One can choose to be ignorant of others, like Falwell, or open-minded and tolerant.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:57 PM on November 29, 2001

I have been a supporter of the Salvation Army for as long as I can remember. But they will not get another brown penny out me or mine.

As both Bev and Saundra observed, the SA does good work but so do any number of other charities. Time to give them consideration at giving time.
posted by MAYORBOB at 7:17 PM on November 29, 2001

I've tried something like this: told the sally-man who trawled the local pubs with a collection bucket that it was a shame the salvation army was homophobic. His response:
"unprintable deleted Dyke".

Nasty time in NZ history- 1985, the salvation army organise the "Coalition of Concerned Citizens" and present a petition to parliament against the Homosexual Law Reform Bill, in a ceremony that has become known as "The Nuremberg Rally".
posted by Catch at 7:22 PM on November 29, 2001

Why is Falwell's page all centered? It's really unnerving!
posted by glenwood at 7:31 PM on November 29, 2001

Yeah, it should line up on the far right.

*rin shot*
posted by jennyb at 7:53 PM on November 29, 2001

er, rim.
posted by jennyb at 7:53 PM on November 29, 2001

If anything Falwell's page should be align=far right. I'll send a note to the webmaster.

I really like this idea -- but if you're looking to express your intention to donate money this holiday season only to organizations which do not discriminate, I think you really have to go with the whole plan: you gotta put a note in the kettle, and you really gotta donate to a more open-minded charity. The impact of a single note dropped in kettles in each of our individual communities will definitely make an impact. I look forward to the day when this type of institutional intolerance is a part of the past.
posted by barkingmoose at 7:54 PM on November 29, 2001

er, what jenny said.
posted by barkingmoose at 7:54 PM on November 29, 2001

It's not like the Salvation Army won't use the money you've given to help a homosexual. They just want people who are officially designated "soldiers" or whatever to live by a particular code of ethics.

It is, afterall, an overtly Christian organization. It was founded as a place Christians could get together and do charitable works and spread the gospel. It's an extremely mainstream interpretation of the bible to suggest that it discourages homosexuality, so it's not like they pulled that requirement out of thin air. To expect them to embrace homosexuals in their ranks would be to expect them to give up the reason they claim to exist at all.

They are very much like a church. Would you go to a church service to present the church with the same card in the offering plate? Would you go to a church carwash fundraiser only to inform them that their church's policy aginst ordaining homosexuals has caused you to get a carwash elsewhere? Wouldn't you feel just a little petty?

Bev is welcome to use her charitable donations to also further a political agenda, but what's really the point of taunting them over it? I can't speak for Bev, but I can say those who have devoted their lives to helping this organization have done significantly more that I have to make the world a better place for everyone else. If my politics prevent me from helping them, that's cool, but I don't see a point in hassling them over it.
posted by mragreeable at 8:08 PM on November 29, 2001

Mragreeable, my point is and remains they can worship any way they like. If homosexuality is incompatible with their Christianity, more power to them. However, any organization, secular or non-secular in nature which wishes to discriminate and operate outside federal equality laws, cannot, and should not be funded by the government with tax revenue.

Last year, the Salvation Army accepted 300 million dollars in tax money to further their operations- as soon as they stop taking tax money, I'll just ignore the bell ringers, just as I drive past church bake sales and fish fries with nary a thought to them. I'm not against god, I'm not against freedom of religion or expression, I'm against the government funding any religious group, and especially giving them consideration to both reap the benefits of government funding without having to adhere to the requirements. Until they fund their own operation without tax dollars, I'm obligated to protest.
posted by headspace at 8:29 PM on November 29, 2001

When you say They are very much like a church, I couldn't agree more -- which is exactly why a lot of people don't like this faith-based government initiative stuff. The line is blurred when the Bush administration makes a deal with the Salvation Army to bend the rules regarding discrimination laws so that the religious organization can continue to receive federal funds. By taking federal funds, the Salvation Army should forfeit their right to discriminate.

Sure, most of the volunteers involved in the Salvation Army are great people. The bell-ringers aren't actively discriminating -- they don't give it a second thought. Which is exactly why dropping notes like this in their buckets is important: it will make sure someone does give it a second thought. A little thought can go a long way.
posted by barkingmoose at 8:41 PM on November 29, 2001

headspace - the issue's just not that simple. They've clearly violated no "federal equity laws" because they're non-profit and are exempt from those laws. The issue of whether or not the government funding organizations who don't follow federal hiring guidelines are allowed to receive federal funding is still a debated issue.

It's clear which side of that debate you're on, so why not tell your legislator instead? Various governments, or various levels support the S.A., and also support all sorts of other organizations I personally disaprove of.

I just don't see how someone could blame the S.A. for accepting money that governments offer - they have good work to do, and if some legislature somewhere agrees and wants to fund them, you think they should turn it down?
posted by mragreeable at 8:49 PM on November 29, 2001

Sorry about the incoherence of that 2nd sentence. And I meant "Various governments, on various levels..."
posted by mragreeable at 8:54 PM on November 29, 2001

How mainstream do people think Falwell really is? I realize on Metafilter he's an anathema, reviled by our religious conservatives as well as our atheist liberals. But the lord knows that MeFi is not exactly a representative sample of America and Europe. The story of the hostile Salvation Army worker made me wonder how popular he is, really.
posted by chaz at 8:57 PM on November 29, 2001

Chaz, I was just about to ask: do people really pay attention to Jerry Falwell? I mean, I remember the Moral Majority crap and whatnot from the 70s, but do people really think this tired old bigot is speaking for them?
posted by solistrato at 9:09 PM on November 29, 2001

hey, everybody listen up, I just got an idea!

you know fuckedcompany, right? well, how about instead of fuckedcompany... fuckedpreacher! for things like pretty-much-everything-ashcroft-does, pretty-much-everything-falwell-does, the bit about the mayor in Florida. eh? eh?

feel free to put it together, lord knows I ain't got time to.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:12 PM on November 29, 2001

So you support equal rights for all people. That's great -- but this is a case of picking your battles wisely. Expecting that your notes of protest are going to persuade a church -- and the SA isn't just "very much like a church" they are a church -- to hire people whose way of life is in direct contradiction to the foundational document of that church, and berating them when they don't, is rather silly. It's no more realistic than expecting a synagogue to hire a Catholic to be their rabbi, or protesting the local steakhouse's decision not to hire a vehement animal-rights protestor/vegan who wishes to wear a pin on her uniform which reads "Meat is Murder."

Don't give them your money, but dropping notes in the kettles which scold the SA for their religious beliefs is just as ignorant as fundamentalists leafletting gays, scolding them in the reverse. And if you don't want your tax dollars going to the SA or other religious-based organisations, call your congresscritters and your senators who make those appropriations and tell them so. Telling a hugely charitable group "Hey, don't take that money that's being offered to you for free that will help you to help hundreds of thousands of people!" is another losing battle that's not worth the wasted time.
posted by Dreama at 9:34 PM on November 29, 2001

"...just as ignorant as fundamentalists leafletting gays..."

Yeah, Dreama, telling people they should treat everyone equally is just as ignorant as somebody believing that certain people are evil because a magical being objects to how they use their genitals. That makes a whole lot of sense.
posted by Doug at 9:56 PM on November 29, 2001

Personally, I find it hard to trust any charitable organization aligned with a religion, because it's not the people that many of the members are concerned with. I can't speak for all of them, or probably any of them, but as I observe, it simply seems like it's the 'imitation of christ' syndrome that seems to drive most of these people to give to those who they deem to need, which is determined by their relgious views of who are those in need. Often times, also, these people are simply concerned with improving how righteous and pious they apear to other people around them.

I've dealt with many people like that. They are not all like that, but there's enough of them to make me nervous about organizations like the Salvation Army.
posted by trioperative at 10:17 PM on November 29, 2001

I have to say that this depresses me deeply. From age 8 through 16 my guitar teacher was a truly wonderful man who's life was based around his membership of the Sally Anns.

I can honestly say that the clear thinking and tolerance he and his wife showed were more of an influence on me than anything I have encountered since.

They owned a large house in the south of Manchester, UK, which they used to put up a large number of friends relatives and various strays - the first place I came across anyone from an Islamic country who read to me from the Q'ran. He then got hit by various quotes from the New Testament. He fired back. The argument continued.

All concerned ended up agreeing that God was probably a good guy, but you shouldn't turn your back on him (a direct quote, as far as I remember)

My much delayed guitar lesson commenced.

I feel that my memories of the kind of tough understanding of the SA have been betrayed.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 10:32 PM on November 29, 2001

From what I read in Falwell's comments, seemed like they won't let anyone unmarried get benefits. What about widows? Divorcees? Or just single people who might possibly be gay?

I bet their benefits don't cover contraceptives either.
posted by phoenix enflamed at 11:03 PM on November 29, 2001

some queer 3 dollar bills created especially for the salvation army kettles.
posted by palegirl at 11:39 PM on November 29, 2001

One aspect of the Shopping Season I most dislike is the omnipresent Salvation Army Red Kettle. The SA is free to believe and preach what it chooses, but it has privileged status to collect money on the street. For weeks, volunteers and paid workers are given official permission to camp outside stores and public buildings, soliciting funds from passersby. I've never donated to the SA (I'm a dyke pagan and give only to organizations which don't discriminate against me). I resent being pressured this way.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:03 AM on November 30, 2001

I think the issue here is quite that simple. The Salvation Army wants it to work both ways- they want the tax money, but they don't want the strings that go with the tax money. The entire reason this cropped up was in July was that the Salvation Army was being asked to provide equal consideration; instead of that, they offered up 100,000 some-odd dollars to support Bush's faith-based charities initiative in exchange for sidestepping laws they were on the verge of having to comply with anyway. You're mistaken if you think we haven't written to our congressmen, and protested the government's involvement, but I don't think it stops there. The Salvation Army was trying to get a little political quid pro quo, I think we're entitled to protest a political situation.

And an aside... frankly, I don't see why a church wants government in it anyway; The Salvation Army shouldn't have to follow equity laws. The Catholic Church's counselling organizations shouldn't have to provide abortion information; and neither one of them have to do it as long as they don't accept tax money. Am I mistaken in recalling that our very Christian forefathers came to this country to completely remove the government from their faith?
posted by headspace at 6:33 AM on November 30, 2001

This is still purely a legislation issue. As the laws are written now, government funding is not a "poisoned pill" that causes non-profits to give up their privileged status in terms of hiring. If you want that to be the case, frankly it would be a big change.

There are many small towns who simply have no infrastructure in place to help their own poor and rely on (and fund) whatever volunteer organizations they can find locally - whether it's a church, the SA or otherwise. A change along those lines would be devastating to the poorer regions of the country.

Anyways, especially in the case of schools and charitable organizations, the Supreme Court has permitted government funding of religious organizations on quite a few cases. I don't have links, but in particular I'm thinking of Roemer vs. Maryland and the Adolescent Life Act case. Predriera vs. Kentucky Baptist Homes will probably be the definitive case, but it's still underway. The first decisions was in favor of discriminatory firing, the rest of the case is about public funding.

Bush's "faith-based" initiative hasn't even become law yet, so protesting to the SA over it is silly. It's not really relevant, anyways. This is a constiturional issue, so unless the faith based initiative is a constitutional amendment it won't change the Salvation Army's hiring or firing policies.
posted by mragreeable at 9:28 AM on November 30, 2001

mragreeable hit the nail on the head again. This is still a matter that's going to be decided in legislative bodies or the courts -- likely both. Legislative bodies first, so they should certainly be the targets of opinion on the issue.

Activists can characterise the SA's July actions as an attempt to seek a quid pro quo. But it could just as legitimately be described as the SA agreeing to offer support for funding for itself and similar organisations while also attempting to preserve the integrity of their beliefs and their sovereignty to hire and retain only those individuals who are compatible with their philosophies and goals.

It's laughably unrealistic to think that the SA is going to ignore Biblical teaching in the face of protests by gay-rights groups. It's just as unrealistic to think that notes of protest in kettles aren't going to be thrown away just as the cigarette butts, candy wrappers and every other non-cash item will be, and always has been.

From what I read in Falwell's comments, seemed like they won't let anyone unmarried get benefits.

The wording was bad. Unmarried employees may choose to receive benefits under their plans, but their cohabiting partners -- regardless of gender or orientation -- cannot.
posted by Dreama at 11:39 AM on November 30, 2001

Huh, I have a clear view of the situation. The Salvation Army is doing things I consider unethical, evil. So I won't give them my money anymore.
posted by fleener at 8:23 AM on December 2, 2001

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