GLAAD's board chair, Jennifer Finney Boylan, has written an op-ed for the New York Times, discussing volunteering to ring bells for the Salvation Army just after her transition. She describes her apprehension, the joy she got from the experience, and her dispair upon learning of the Salvation Army's anti-LGBT activism.
The organization advocated celibacy for homosexuals and resisted offering benefits to employees’ same-sex partners. Then, shockingly, a major in an Australian branch of the Salvation Army appeared to suggest in an interview that putting gay people to death was “part of our belief system.”
In the wake of that scandal, other officials have backpedaled. A November statement noted that the Army “does not consider homosexual orientation a sin.”
Which is nice, of course. But the unpleasant history of the organization’s views on L.G.B.T. issues is still a moral quandary for people wishing to do good in the world. Does that history outweigh the millions of dollars the volunteers raise each year for the needy, for food and shelter, foster care and H.I.V. programs? When a hand reaches out to help us in our hour of desperation, should we stop to question the beliefs of the person to whom that hand belongs?