Thomas Gallatin / November 30, 2021

Is the Salvation Army Going Woke?

The Christian charity’s new guidebook on racism promotes CRT ideology.

We see them every year around this time, people standing outside storefronts with their bright red kettles, ringing a bell and wishing every passerby a Merry Christmas as they collect donations for the poor. The Salvation Army, an explicitly Christian organization, was founded on the good work of helping those suffering from poverty by providing for both their physical and spiritual needs.

In fact, so ubiquitous has The Salvation Army become with its red kettle campaign that one can know it’s the Christmas season when these happy bell-ringers show up all across the country.

So, it comes as a bit of a shock that the organization’s leadership, which for decades has stood strong on its biblical principles, would suddenly acquiesce to the modern leftist spirit of wokeness and embrace Critical Race Theory. Sadly, that’s what has happened.

The Christian charity recently released a new guidebook titled “Let’s Talk About Racism” in which are advocated the basic tenets of CRT. The guidebook includes its “International Position Statement on Racism,” wherein The Salvation Army “acknowledges with regret, that Salvationists have sometimes shared in the sins of racism and conformed to economic, organizational and social pressures that perpetuate racism.” This is an ironic statement given the organization’s leadership is now bending to the very social pressures for which it now claims to be apologizing.

For example, the guidebook promotes CRT by declaring that “colorblindness” — the racial equality ideal promoted by such racial justice advocates as Martin Luther King Jr. — “ignores the discrimination our Black and Brown brothers and sisters face and does not allow us to address racism properly.”

The guidebook also pushes the idea of white people being responsible for perpetuating racism via their “unconscious bias.” This bankrupt concept comes straight from the racist ideology of Ibram X. Kendi, the CRT-peddling academic who insists that white people are irredeemably racist and who says that reverse discrimination is the only just response.

“The subtle nature of racism is such that people who are not consciously racist easily function with the privileges, empowerment and benefits of the dominant ethnicity, thus unintentionally perpetuating injustice,” the guidebook states. This wide net includes “devout Christians who naively use racial epithets or a well-intentioned Sunday School curriculum that only uses white photography and imagery.”

Like all CRT advocacy, the Salvation Army’s guidebook actually promotes blatant racism. One example is its claim that “structural racism … is the overarching system of racial bias across institutions and society,” all of which “give privileges to White people resulting in disadvantages to [Blacks].”

Why would The Salvation Army, a Christian organization that has a long history of standing against racism going back to even 50 years prior to the civil rights movement, suddenly now be embracing wokeness, an ideology that actually promotes racism? Christian apologist and radio talk-show host Greg Koukl recently suggested, “In my estimation, CRT is a Trojan horse taking in well-intentioned Christian enterprises that — because they care about justice and oppose oppression — naively promote the most serious threat to biblical Christianity I have seen in 50 years.”

Recall that just two years ago, Chick-fil-A, bowing to pressure from leftist woke bullies, pulled its financial support for The Salvation Army. Now it appears that SA’s leadership is succumbing to those same social justice warriors.

The SA USA responded to the controversy by issuing a statement claiming that “some individuals and groups have recently attempted to mislabel our organization to serve their own agendas.” That said, SA has pulled the guide, which is now no longer available for public view. The statement goes on to say that the “International Headquarters realized that certain aspects of the guide may need to be clarified” and that the SA’s “International Social Justice Commission has now withdrawn the guide for appropriate review.”

The SA International Headquarters also issued a statement that was much more measured: “Elements of the recently issued ‘Let’s Talk About Racism’ guide led some to believe we think they should apologize for the color of their skin, or that The Salvation Army may have abandoned its Biblical beliefs for another philosophy or ideology. That was never our intention, so the guide has been removed for appropriate review.”

Finally, for those many local SA volunteers and their great ministry to the poor, we say keep supporting them. They indeed do good work and continue to maintain their colorblind advocacy in helping those in poverty.

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