The student government at the University of California-Berkeley voted last month to ban Salvation Army bell ringers and their red kettles on campus this Christmas, fighting back against the nonprofit’s alleged anti-gay stance.
The Salvation Army kicked off its 122nd Red Kettle Campaign last month during halftime of the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game.
In a resolution passed Nov. 14, the student government accused the nonprofit of discrimination against homosexuals and called for campus administration to revoke the Salvation Army’s permit to operate on university grounds. The resolution, SB 175, reads, “Salvation Army church services, including charity services, are available only to people ‘who accept and abide by the Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline’, which excludes homosexuality.”
The bill’s author, Matthew Enger, argued that “students may not be aware that their donations to the Salvation Army may be used in part to hire lobbyists to oppose sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination laws, or that the Salvation Army has a history of opposing equal civil rights.”
They encourage the university to find a nondiscriminatory organization students can donate to.
In a press release highlighting this year's Red Kettle Campaign, the Salvation Army described itself as "an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, [which] has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more 130 years in the United States." It says it helps nearly 30 million Americans each year.
The Salvation Army could not be reached for a comment.
The nonprofit’s spokeswoman, Kathy Lovin, did reply to CampusReform.org, stating that "rumors" are fueling the allegations.
“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," Lovin wrote to the website. She also stated that “the only requirement for service from The Salvation Army is demonstrated need and our ability to meet it.”
Campus spokeswoman Janet Gilmore said school “officials are aware of the student government leaders’ recommendations and are reviewing the matter.”
She didn't answer this reporter's questions about whether the school will actually consider revoking the nonprofit's permit.