Stirring the Pot - The Salvation Army Is Bearing False Witness in Failed Spin Effort

AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

The attempt to repair its image in response to a racial lecture leads to the Salvation Army lying in a public statement.

We have long been saying here at RedState that the smartest thing corporations and organizations can do is avoid going woke. The temptation to devolve into social activism and virtue signaling makes little sense in design when the very action is bound to distance a portion of your customer base, and it makes less sense in practice when you view all those that suffered significant losses following the posturing.

The latest to fall prey to the pull of social activism was the Salvation Army. As we covered, this is a story that has actually popped up on the radar of many of late, even though the organization instituted this new-ish woke policy this past April. The SA issued a lengthy treatise on racism, one that holds so many of the standards and language of racial activist groups and Critical Race Theory. In response to the percolating pushback, the organization released a response to quell the controversy.

They would have been better off remaining silent.

In an issued statement, the SA addressed some of the recent controversy seen across social media and elsewhere, and the first thing they did was resort to finger-pointing and accusations. “Some individuals and groups have recently attempted to mislabel our organization to serve their own agendas.” Then there is a significant contradiction later in this statement. The SA acknowledges the problem with their race paper. Behold as they once again lash out at critics and then within one sentence give those same critics all the justification:

We have done our best to provide accurate information, but unfortunately, some have chosen to ignore those efforts. At the same time, International Headquarters realized that certain aspects of the guide may need to be clarified. Consequently, for both reasons, the International Social Justice Commission has now withdrawn the guide for appropriate review.

Some in the public are acting in bad faith, according to the Salvation Army, but then they will be taking down their guide on race, in order to rework it for clarity’s sake. This is speaking out of both sides of their mouth. Then it worsens.

They have claimed that we believe our donors should apologize for their skin color, that The Salvation Army believes America is an inherently racist society, and that we have abandoned our Christian faith for one ideology or another. Those claims are simply false, and they distort the very goal of our work.

No, those claims are not false, as the SA does in fact call for apologies on behalf of racial injustice. The recent outrage is based entirely on the lengthy paper released, entitled “Let’s Talk About Racism”. Deep in the 67-page document is this passage

True repentance is a decision to move away from sin and towards God. As believers, apology and forgiveness are not only a universal human need but are Kingdom values that Scripture points to as key to opening doors to healing in even the most difficult circumstances. And as we engage in conversations about race and racism, we must keep in mind that sincere repentance and apologies are necessary if we want to move towards racial reconciliation. We recognize that it is a profound challenge to sit on the hot seat and listen with an open heart to the hurt and anger of the wounded. Yet, we are all hardwired to desire justice and fairness, so the need to receive a sincere apology is necessary.

Yet here they are saying the claim the SA calls for whites to apologize for their race is false, when this passage says so repeatedly, under the heading of REPENTANCE, inside a document that is focused entirely upon race. And throughout “Let’s Talk About Racism,” we see little else but the constant drone of commentary about the wrongness of whiteness.

In it, there are lengthy lessons in addressing the problem and there are numerous instructions on how to form groups of 10-12 people, led by a facilitator, to address the problem of racism in a very structured manner. One section directs how participants are expected to comply with the complete curriculum.

Ideally the group would meet to go through each step in the resource for 90-120 minutes on a weekly basis. Keep in mind that it is meant to guide participants chronologically through each step of the conversation. Skipping steps will not achieve the goals of the resource. The goal is not to give ‘correct’ answers to the questions but rather to have an authentic conversation.

Throughout, we see the familiar taglines of the BLM and CRT movements, indicating how race is a social construct, and how to address issues like structural and systemic racism. Throughout are statistics that show how blacks suffer many inequities in our society, from high incarceration rates to low homeownership. Then, after demonizing the white power structure, they also decry the attempt to strive for colorblindness, because not being racist is…sure sounding racist as well.

While this might sound helpful, it actually ignores the God-given differences we all possess, as well as the beautiful cultures of our Black and Brown brothers and sisters.

And there is the tell. This entire program is set up to have whites cast into guilt on both sides of the coin. You should not do racist things, but even if you do not do them you are racist by privilege, and if you treat people equally you are not celebrating their differences which is racist, and if you work at being non-racist then that is racist because you are not being anti-racist. And this includes aspects of the church, as well, calling into question items like the unintentional racism in Sunday School materials, for instance. In another segment, under the heading “Black Voices” one POC describes in detail racism he encountered within the Salvation Army. 

It is a brazen defense being made that claims our eyes are not to be believed. The group is denying apologies were required when whole sections of their document are devoted to that very action. They are telling us people are wrong to say the church is trafficking in white guilt when it provided examples of people detailing racist church policies. 

So just how are those outside the SA making the claims being called wrong when the Salvation Army delivered documents making those very claims? This seems to be the tactic from the group regarding this controversy: insist that critics are not telling the truth, and scrub the evidence proving them correct if possible. Violating the Ninth Commandment in order to clear your image is not a good look going into the holiest of seasons.