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The Starvation Army: 12 Reasons to Reject the Salvation Army

Anarchist Memes

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By ‘The Skeleton Army’ (Melbourne anarchists). Slightly edited by James Hutchings.

 1. Upholding inequality.

Salvation Army founder William Booth spent years evangelising before he realised that he would never achieve his goal of banishing the ‘three As’ of “Alcohol, Atheism and Anarchy” from England’s underclass if he did not first keep them from starving. The Salvation Army’s social work efforts can be directly linked to Booth’s failure to convert the poor through more conventional means.(1)

A former pawnbroker, Booth was aware that poverty largely stemmed from the structure of society that he was in. However the social system that created conditions of poverty and inequality was not to be improved or replaced via social revolution. Instead Booth hoped to promote a “kinder, gentler” form of industrial capitalism, one with the “Christian values” of hard work, abstinence and charity. Booth characterised the revolutionary Christianity of the Diggers and Levellers as “utopian” and believed that Salvation Army members could earn a large profit from businesses and still keep a good conscience. In his view (and contrary to many others) the Bible was detached from social and economic change. For him the work of a good Christian was to piously tend to the poor rather than work with them in the hope of transforming a society based on poverty for some people and profit for others.

Regardless of their attitude towards social structures the primary aim of the Salvation Army was not to provide charity, but to win souls from the devil. Booth stated that what was important was not “whether a man died in the poorhouse but if his soul was saved”.(2) Dispensing the absolute basics of food and temporary housing to the needy was motivated by the need to recruit rather than by anything in the Bible. Any of the poor who were unfortunate enough to go against the Army’s morals were quick to discover themselves out on the street, hungry or not.(3)

So from the very beginning the Salvation Army was in favour of a world made up of bosses and bossed. Its own organisational setup reflected this love of authority, with a military structure complete with uniforms and an army band. Control of the Army passed from Booth to his oldest son and stayed there, until high-ranking officers pulled a coup.(4) The organisation’s basic dictatorship stayed untouched, with little power at the grassroots and almost total control at the top.(5)

The moral code that was enforced was extreme, even by the standards of society when it started. There was no drinking, swearing, smoking, premarital sex or gambling allowed. The only permissible pleasure was praying and playing in the Army band. This was justified by saying that the Bible had described drinking etc as sinful. This is highly debatable, as the Army itself has been forced to admit.(6) The basis for these teachings is more likely to be found in Booth’s hangups than in the Bible.

This moral code had a dark side, in that it allowed the Salvation Army to blame the victims of poverty for their own situation. They could argue that the symptoms of poverty – alcohol abuse, prostitution etc – were really its cause. This let their rich backers off the hook. It also meant that any of the poor who broke their moral code were denied access to food and clothing, a practice which reportedly continues today.(7)

As Britain’s social problems increased, it was recommended that the poor be sent off to colonise other countries (regardless of the feelings of the people who already lived there of course). As a solution to poverty this ignored the fact that Britain already had more than enough resources to clothe, feed and house all of its population. It real aim of colonisation was building a bigger British Empire. Booth was one of the first to draw up detailed plans for how agricultural colonies be designed to soak up Britain’s mass of unemployed and its arguable that his plans had some influence on the people who ran the Empire.(8) Big businessmen and politicians like Cecil Rhodes and American president Theodore Roosevelt lent their support.(9)

As the Empire expanded so did the Salvation Army. Along with all the other Christian sects they were quick to claim a slice of each country’s native people as their spiritual property. Along with other Christians they worked to tear native communities apart and fill them with the values of hard work and capitalism.(10) Here in Australia the Salvation Army ran missions to “Christianise” Aboriginals and helped take their children to be given to white Christians.

Wherever it went the Salvation Army maintained its support for ‘things as they are’. As Booth put it, “a philanthropic body cannot afford to alienate the class which supports it”.(11) This is a notion very much alive in the Army today.(12) Most famously the Army clashed with the Industrial Workers of the World in a series of countries. The IWW was an anarchist-influenced union.

During the early part of this century the IWW put most of its effort into trying to win over unskilled and transient workers. These were the poorest workers and also the people that other unions usually wouldn’t support. They were also the main target for the Salvation Army. The two groups competed for the hearts and minds of the workers, but also for public stages and places to speak – public speaking was a much more popular and common tactic for political groups then; seeing a public speaker was almost the equivalent of going to the movies. The IWW campaigned in Australia and the USA for the same rights to speak in public that the Salvation Army had – but they were denied them. There was a lot of conflict over this, and the Army’s Christian morals didn’t stop them physically attacking IWW speakers.(13)

IWW members invented the term ‘Starvation Army’, and also the phrase ‘pie in the sky’ – making fun of their idea that you should put up with poverty now because everything will be fine in Heaven. The IWW wasn’t able to survive the attacks of the governments and corporations who backed the Army. After many years of deportations, murders, arrests, jailings and beatings the IWW lost the massive support it once had (although it actually survived and in recent years has gotten slightly bigger, with the revival of anarchist ideas around the world).

In helping fight the IWW the Salvation Army eliminated all competition. It helped carve out a position for itself as one of the only organisations allowed by the government to ‘help’ the homeless and unemployed.

The Army had to deal with other problems in the colonies. Booth was in such a hurry to create a worldwide Christian army that he often sent out missionaries that were hopelessly unsuited to the task.(14) Organisational blunders hampered the Salvation Army’s work across the Empire.

Coupled with this was the familiar problem of attacks on members. By encouraging Salvationists to force themselves on drinkers and gamblers Booth put his soldiers directly in the firing line. In Australia it wasn’t that uncommon for Salvationists to march into pubs and drown out all conversation by singing hymns. Nor was it that uncommon for them to be run out of the same establishments while being pelted with flour bombs and rotten fruit and vegetables.(15)

Despite these handicaps the Army has been able to consolidate itself as a worldwide religious organisation. In its 120 years it has had no greater success than in Australia where it has become the biggest charity, with the most-read Christian newspaper, the War Cry.(16) Through business enterprises and the patronage of government and business it has gained control of a vast number of services, companies, buildings, training academies, publishing houses and other resources. The Salvation Army remains strongest in the West but has chapters in almost every country in the world.

2. Promoting hatred of gay people.

The Salvation Army often tries to distance itself from right wing Christian fundamentalism but its ideas are very similar. Many of the “pro family” coalitions that it’s part of are dominated by people who want to harass, jail or even murder gay people.(17)

The Salvation Army unambiguously condemns homosexuality, but puts a ‘nice’ face on it. Unlike other fundamentalists they believe that God pities gay people on Earth and will save the hellfire for later.

They have campaigned against homosexuality becoming legalised in various countries.(18) They have also lobbied against translations of the Bible that interpret passages on homosexuality in less condemning terms.(19) They see homosexuality as a perversion and a corruption, but while Salvos may find gays and lesbians distateful they are instructed to address them politely while trying to convert them.(20) They believe that the ‘social disease’ from which gay people suffer is curable via God’s love. However where it is fully entrenched people should refrain from “sinful” activity to avoid going to Hell.(21)

The Salvation Army, through the War Cry and the distribution of homophobic books, repeatedly spreads the myth that gay people are promiscuous, diseased and corrupt.(22) One of their main arguments is saying that homosexuality spreads AIDS and other diseases in and of itself – rather than arguing for safe sex they try and say that homosexual relationships have to disappear altogether.(23) While pretending to be understanding, they have no problems with statements like “the homosexual lifestyle is simply an invitation to an early grave”(24). It’s interesting to wonder what they make of the fact that it’s much easier to get AIDS or other diseases through heterosexual sex than through lesbian sex.

By trying to wipe out homosexuality, and counselling people to repress rather than accept their sexuality, the Salvation Army can be seen as the ‘caring face of homophobia’. While they’re not out bashing gays and lesbians themselves they help create the mentality that furthers gay bashing. By preaching these ideas they also contribute hugely to the ill-treatment and unhappiness of those gay people who remain ‘in the closet’ in the Army.

3. The fact that it is a religious cult.

Given the uniforms, extreme puritan ideas, dictatorship, and worship of a single ‘glorious leader’, the Salvation Army are very similar to groups like the Hare Krishnas or the Scientologists. Unlike them, they are a widely accepted part of society due to their charity work. Their record burning, belief in the coming end of the world, fear of demons, and other ‘unusual’ ideas, aren’t widely known.(25)

On joining the Salvation Army members pledge “unquestioning obedience and sacrifice” to their church. Internal dissension is tightly controlled.(26) William Booth described this as “God’s own system”(27) Young people are expected to marry only within the Army. Officers are only allowed to marry other officers – they have to leave if they marry “civilians” (people outside the church). Members have to get Army permission to go on dates.(28) To sum it up, the Army has an unhealthy degree of control over their followers’ lives.

Salvation Army material constantly refers to William Booth almost as if he was a saint or prophet. The question is often not what’s the right thing to do, or what would Jesus have done – but what Booth would have done. This is very similar to cults with their worship of their ‘gurus’. For example the Army rejects smoking. They admit that the Bible doesn’t refer to smoking at all (29). But because Booth said it’s immoral, it becomes “unchristian behaviour”.

Connected to this guru worship is the undemocratic system that Booth, who called himself a “dictator”(30), put in place. The Salvation Army is run by a General who has almost total power.(31) They admit that they censor disagreement in their own ranks and bind everyone to the ’11 doctrines’.(32)

Their arrogance constantly puts the Army into conflict with local communities and workers in the community sector. Its main drug unit in Victoria was shut down due to a lack of medical facilities.(33) It has used untrained volunteers in its domestic violence counselling service.(34) It has often been criticised for this habit of employing untrained Salvation Army members to deal with potentially fatal situations such as domestic violence or drug addiction. In response they have often complained of a lack of funding – despite the property and resources they have boasted of owning at other times.(35)

A specific example of the dangers of this can be found in New South Wales. The police have taken to referring victims of domestic violence to the Salvation Army’s Careline. This is despite Careline lacking properly trained staff, unlike other services. Careline has been accused of giving people wrong advice about their options – even in some cases advising women to stay with abusive and violent partners “for the sake of the children”.

The Salvation Army seems to believe that their morals are suitable for everyone, and their workers are better than anyone regardless of training. Their publications often say that they do a better job than other agencies, but are generally fairly short of evidence.(37)

In considering whether the Salvation Army is a cult we must go back to its original goals. Its primary mission is what it always has been – what its Yearbook called “spiritual warfare”.(38) Its social work remains “indirect evangelical work”.(39) As one Salvationist put it, “all the time, at any task, I am doing the work of an evangelist. The aim is to communicate Jesus”.(40) Officers are trained in evangelical work first, and then assigned to either the social or evangelical wing.

It is therefore impossible to see how the Salvation Army can be telling the truth, when it says that it doesn’t use its social work as a recruiting method.

The Army claims that it doesn’t use funds raised for charity in evangelical work. In fact all officers get a wage from the Army (regular members aren’t paid). All officers are told to spend some of their time evangelising. In this way religious activities are quietly funded.(41).

Testimony from former drug addicts and others who have gone through the Army’s rehabilitation programs show that religion is especially pushed there. They use ’12 step programs’, which constantly refer to faith in a higher power.(42)

The Army also refuses to take part in government programs which forbid teaching religion.(43)

4. Its support for conservative politics.

 The Salvation Army claims to be apolitical, but a close look at its connections, activities and history shows that they are anything but. From the beginning the Army has seen itself as a way of turning workers away from acting against their bosses. Some early members of the Army criticised the rich for their role in creating poverty, but Booth put a stop to this.(44) When addressing wealthy donors Catherine Booth (William’s wife) promoted the Army as “the only organisation whose members to any appreciable extent buttonhole the dangerous classes on their own ground and turn them away from anarchy, infidelity and socialism”.(45)

Both here and overseas the Salvation Army works with a variety of fundamentalist Christian groups, for example to try and restrict abortion rights and bring in government censorship of music and literature.

During the period when South Africa didn’t allow black people to vote, the Army took money from their government. In Indonesia they have reportedly worked with the Suharto government. They stayed silent about human rights abuses by both these governments.

5. Harassing the Poor.

The Salvation Army act directly as case managers for unemployed people through their own private Job Network agency.(46) Their penetration and control of areas of the welfare system means that a fundamentalist religious group is now in direct control over poor people, funded by the government (in other words, by taxpayers).

6. Aiding War.

The Salvation Army has provided food, entertainment and moral support to Australian troops in almost every war they have been involved in. (47) Their official histories leave out any mention of the unpopular Vietnam War. They have provided food to military exercises which help train the Indonesian military, and other armies who use their training to abuse their own people’s human rights.(48)

 7. Racism.

As noted earlier, the Salvation Army was part of the exploitation of indigenous people throughout the world. Up until the late 1960s they ran a number of Aboriginal missions where their movements, beliefs and lifestyle were tightly controlled. Aboriginals were confined to these missions and their children forced to follow a strict pattern of work and Christian education. The Army actively participated in removing children from their families and giving them to white families. This history is ignored in their official histories – in fact Aboriginal people aren’t mentioned at all.

There are many examples of the Army working with racist authorities overseas as well. They even tried to take over the “Indian Affairs” Department in the USA. They described traditional African religion as “witchcraft” and tried to have any recognition of it removed from South Africa’s constitution.(49) They continue to administer parts of Indonesia, and in some cases have gone as far as ordering villagers to change their traditional dances due to their sexual nature.(50)

8. Corruption.

The Salvation Army has always run its own profit making businesses. Initially all property and businesses were under William Booth’s direct control.

In the 1880?s they were accused of undercutting other firms by paying lower wages, and of competing with poor laundry women for customers (51). Today they help drive down wages with their workshops, which often exploit disabled people, and people forced to work for them by community service orders and ‘work for the dole’.

In Australia the Salvation Army runs a network of shops staffed by volunteers selling donated goods at inflated prices. While they could easily distribute the goods freely to the disadvantaged at no cost, they believe it is important to maintain a money based economy. To avoid oversupplying the market and so cutting down businesses’ profit margins, the Army even goes as far as dumping tons of goods and clothing in suburban tips.(52)

The way they run their food and housing is also questionable. Most of the food that the Salvation Army uses for its soup kitchens is free. This food is usually made up from packaged and processed tins of food that are approaching their use by date. This food is inadequate for basic health, but it is dished out to the homeless with the knowledge that they are in no position to complain. You might expect better from an organisation with millions of dollars in property and assets.

In comparison, Food Not Bombs (an organisation mostly made up of anarchists) provides food that is free, healthy and mostly organic (grown without pesticides or harmful chemicals). They get no government funding and make do with borrowed or donated equipment. Work that one out!

When people have attempted to live in disused Army property they have been met with break-ins, the seizure of property and other attacks. In one case the Army called in the police, and then demolished a building rather than have people live in it who were not under their control. (53) Given that the Army owns a huge amount of property throughout Australia, it is likely that there have been numerous evictions like this.

The Army’s need to turn a profit draws and nurtures the corrupt within their ranks. This corruption most significantly came to light in 1990 when a series of major scams were unearthed in New South Wales and Victorian branches. A police taskforce was originally set up after a fire destroyed the Salvation Army warehouse in Williamstown. Following the blaze an insurance valuation discovered that thousands of items had disappeared before the fire and could not be accounted for. In the cases that followed a number of Salvation Army members were charged with arson and theft having skinned off cash from the sale of donated clothing. Most of the cash had been drawn from morally suspect sales of donated clothing to Third World countries.(54) Eventually, the Army was forced to admit that it had no internal accounting system for the clothes people had donated and that such scams could have been going on for years.(55) With Salvation Army industries constantly expanding and nothing but a moral break to prevent management ripping off money, continued corruption is inevitable.

9 Reliance on corporate and government support.

Public donations to the Salvation Army have been decreasing since the 1950s. The introduction of the Red Shield Appeal in 1967 helped slightly, but in the past few years the Army has once again reported a major drop in donations – something it has blamed on legalised gambling.

In the face of decreasing funds the organisation has once again turned to strengthening its ties with the government. Since the 1880?s the Army has enjoyed government funding in Australia. While the community sector in general has seen major funding cuts from recent governments, the Army has increased their share of the pie by tendering out for services such as case management and care for the homeless. It has also increased its income by empire building at other charities’ expense with its most recent coup seeing itself secure its position as Sydney’s only supplier of food packages to the needy.

By supporting conservative religious charities state and federal governments aim to reduce their responsibility, spending and accountability while at the same time stopping economic circumstances from getting too extreme. In this way the Salvation Army contributes to attacks on welfare rights. It is possible that in the long run the Army will return to its traditional role as the only form of welfare available to the lower classes. Indeed it has been known to champion itself as a cheaper alternative to the welfare state.(56)

The Salvation Army has also built on its corporate ties. Companies with dodgy track records on the treatment of workers and the environment, such as BHP and McDonalds, have flocked to support the charity that has traditionally supported them. Chain stores such as K-Mart have begun helping the Salvation Army in return for the enhancement of corporate image that such “good works” bring. The Salvation Army has been using McDonalds to help people out on fundraising door knocks through the offer of free burgers. Such policies can only push the Army to grovel ever more completely to the rich. A clear example of the compromises forced upon them was the recall of 6000 copies of the War Cry in 1993 after one Salvationist criticised McDonalds’ food as unhealthy. Following the burger giant’s continued displeasure a public apology was also issued.(57)

10. Attempts to control other people’s choices

The Salvation Army has always made temperance (not drinking alcohol) a central platform of its religious strategies. Although it no longer disrupts pubs and gathering places with its meetings the Army lobbies the government heavily in trying to restrict personal freedoms and continue the destructive ‘war on drugs’. When faced with the fact that the Bible makes no reference to modern drug use Salvationists resort to the argument that the body is the “temple of the soul” and that its abuse is sinful.(58) This doesn’t lead them to oppose pollution or boycott McDonalds for some reason…

The Army’s attitudes would be merely amusing if not for the fact that they force them upon others. Most insidiously they base their rehabilitation schemes on ‘Twelve Step programs’. These programs see the embrace of a higher power as the eventual cure for the “disease” of alcoholism and the Salvation Army is on record as stating that “only God can cure alcoholism, not human agencies”.(59) As usual the Salvoes concentrate on individual fault (sin) and fail to address the social causes of addiction.

In regards to drug reform the Army pushes a hard line, rejecting the growing calls from counselors, courts and anti-drug campaigners for decriminalisation measures. Salvationist literature harks back to the 1930s by equating marijuana with the use of hard drugs. It also falsely characterises drug-related crime as being related to drug use alone, not to the police corruption and organised crime monopoly that prohibition has created. In 1997 the Salvation Army came out in full support for the continued ban on drugs and called for a tougher line on drug enforcement policies – policies that even the police admit are not working and which penalise drug users rather than the suppliers.(60) The Salvation Army was jubilant in its success in defeating the proposed Canberra heroin trials and more recently noted its disappointment with Victorian police for introducing a caution system for drug offences. This is all despite them acknowledging that alcohol abuse is far more of a problem for society and that alcohol prohibition in the US (which they also supported) actually increased alcohol intake.(61)

The Army’s line on gambling is similarly confused and counterproductive. Whilst they admit that (yet again) the Bible has no record of this practice they still attempt to condemn it on the grounds that it is unchristian, “incurs injury on others” and lacks certainty. This logic is not applied to the currency speculators and stockbrokers who gamble with our economic future every day. The recent loosening of laws relating to casinos and poker machines across Australia has seen the Army and other churches push for new bans on the basis of declining church coffers. The Salvation Army has even gone as far as to condemn computer and arcade games.(62) Whilst the negative effects of gambling cannot be ignored it is clear that the Salvation Army is unable to address the wider social questions that their abuse pose.

11. Ripping off and exploiting workers.

Although the Salvation Army has on occasion provided food and shelter to striking workers during industrial disputes, its treatment of its own employees has by and large reflected a mean and patronising attitude. The Army has particularly abused the large pool of volunteer labour, which it uses to raise money and staff its community services.

The Salvation Army has particularly created a number of problems in its use of low-income tenants to supervise youth deemed “at risk”. In these situations the Army sets up a foster parent style arrangement in which tenants receive housing and some food in return for living with and taking care of a teenager. The tenants receive no cash income, which is not only exploitative in itself, but which also helps the Army to avoid taking legal responsibility for the many problems that occur. In a number of cases tenants have found themselves in dangerous situations which they have not been trained to deal with. When injured they have had no recourse to compensation since technically they are not employees of the Salvation Army.(63)

A recent case saw a young mother’s child killed by the son of a Salvation Army officer who was in her care. She herself was sexually assaulted and nearly killed in the house where she cared for homeless teenagers. Because she was a tenant and not a formal employee the Army refused to pay her compensation or give her aid, as Work Cover did not cover her. After going to the media and embarrassing the Army into helping her she stated “I want to feel conciliatory instead of bitter, but it’s just a pity it took media exposure to produce this sort of a commitment from a supposedly charitable organisation”.(64)

Another example of the Salvation Army’s poor treatment of workers is its use of community service, ‘work for the dole’, trainee and disabled labour in its programs. In the case of disabled workers, the Army employs them from its own ‘sheltered workshops’ to labour for only $8 a day. Workers are forced into receiving low wages for fear of losing their government pensions.(65) Those who would argue that no one else would hire these workers should consider the fact that the Army could easily provide more enjoyable and educational programs for them to take part in.

In the case of people who are sentenced to community service, the Salvation Army is consistently a winner as it uses them both as a promotional device for its “good works” and as a source of cheap labour. Community service workers are not allowed to dine with other workers and in some cases must also pay rent and live at Salvation Army shelters while working off their court sentence.(66) People on rehabilitation schemes and some homeless trainees are also made to work for meager wages while paying to live in Army accommodation. Women are banned from such accommodation, Army officers can enter individuals’ rooms at any time and a curfew of midnight is enforced.

The only way the Army gets away with such practices is through its use of Community Service and Charity laws, which allow “special work areas” immunity from union ‘interference’. Outside of its workshops the Salvation Army is also quick to resist unionisation. The Australian Social Welfare Union has spoken out in the past about attempts by a variety of charity organisations, including the Army, to prevent workers from joining unions to gain protection from unfair dismissal. In New South Wales welfare workers do not even have a minimum wage guideline and charities have lobbied to prevent one being established.(67)

The Salvation Army is particularly notorious among charities. In 1990 over 1500 of its welfare workers struck in protest against their treatment and there have been ongoing problems since. In 1991 the Army also attempted to replace drivers in its Melbourne transport depot with contract labour. Workers with many years’ service were given a 15 minute notice of their sacking and a non-negotiated redundancy package. Quick thinking action ensured the Salvation Army had to back down on at least some of their decisions, but they had shown their attitude yet again.

12. Support social change over religious charity.

Having outlined various problems with the Salvation Army we can now clearly define it as an organisation committed to the curtailment of personal freedoms, the oppression of minorities and the maintenance of the political and economic status quo. In supporting religious charity over social change the Salvation Army has helped ensure a future for itself in picking over the wreckage of a profit based society.

There are alternatives to Salvation Army style charity and morality however. It is important to acknowledge that should you require their resources to survive then you should use them. It is equally important not to have any illusions about what they’re doing for you and why they’re doing it. Those of us in less desperate straits need to put our energy into supporting forms of self-activity like squatting, Food Not Bombs and so on. These practices allow people to provide for themselves instead of being at the mercy of charities.

While we need to provide alternatives to charity we also have to fight for a decent share of the spoils of society. We need to establish at minimum the right for everyone to a living income. In the longer term we need to replace all forms of structural inequality and to create a more equal society overall. With such changes in place both the need for charity and the power it has over us can be dispensed with.

Postscript

In the years since this article was originally written the Salvation Army has greatly expanded its power base. This has largely been enabled by the federal government’s privatisation of the Job Network. By decentralising the sections that oversee and police those reliant on social security the government has both divested itself of responsibility and also provided a massive financial grant to their friends in the conservative charities.

The largest private operator in the Job Network, the Salvation Army has proven itself no more able to find people jobs than the old system was. With eight job seekers for every job this is hardly surprising. What the Army has excelled at though is the harassment of the unemployed. With an openly discriminatory hiring policy the Army only employs Christians in their Job Network franchises.

The government’s investment in conservative charities has paid off in two ways. Not only have they got the charities doing their dirty work, they have also bought their silence. Saint Vincent De Paul, one of the few charities not on the government’s Job Network payroll, complained that Centrelink were forcing many people off the dole and onto their emergency services. Not a peep was heard from the Salvation Army.

The Army’s refusal to criticise the government probably stems from the fact that they are partly responsible for the situation. Many of the people forced to seek emergency help were doing so because their payments had been breached due to Job Network incompetence. Each year sees tens of thousands of people successfully appeal against these breaches. While someone is making plenty of mistakes, the only people paying for them are the unemployed.

Saint Vincent De Paul also opposed being made a wing of the government’s welfare apparatus. This has been happening quietly but steadily due to Centrelink and the Job Network’s habit of referring people to charities instead of giving them government assistance. Again it is unsurprising that the Salvation Army didn’t join in these criticisms, as their long standing goal is to corner all sections of the welfare market for themselves! For the sake of those unemployed people who aren’t non-drinking, gay bashing, right wing Christians we hope that they fail.

More recently the Army has said nothing about the fact that people who go through ‘work for the dole’ are no more likely to find work than people who don’t. Tony Abbott, the Minister for Employment, flatly admitted that the point of the schemes was not to find people work, but to teach them discipline. Discipline for what though? To sit quietly and not complain about the lack of real work available or teach them to cop any old job, no matter how casual or dangerous? Why would the Salvation Army complain about conscripting the unemployed, when they are making a profit out of them?

The government’s funding has also seen the Army’s backward ideas on religion and morality step further out of the shadows. Whilst in the past the organisation has tended to promote itself mainly as a charity, its status as a religion is coming to the fore. As noted before their new found wealth has seen them blatantly break anti-discrimination laws with a “Christians only” policy in hiring Job Network staff.

They have also become more open in their evangelical activities. Most notably they have invested their Job Network profits in a total makeover of their paper the War Cry. Gone are the stories advocating psychological reprogramming of gays and lesbians and the burning of heavy metal. Gone are the blurry photos of grannies playing tubas. In their place is a glossy full colour magazine with a Christian rock star or actor on every cover.

The stories now contain non-controversial topics and are more slickly written. Positive tales of the transforming power of Christ are in, negative attitudes towards other peoples’ behaviour are out. Overall they have transformed the War Cry from an internal bulletin to an outward looking recruitment tool. One that can be increasingly pushed on to those they come into contact with through their charity shops and other ventures.

Lastly it is worth nothing that the group’s newfound confidence has also allowed them to increase their influence over the population at large. They have stepped up their lobbying efforts in relation to gambling, sexuality and drug use and with social conservatives ruling both the ALP and Coalition they have scored a number of victories in issues like stopping safe injecting rooms. At the same time the politicians have increased the level of censorship and passed a number of laws restricting civil rights. For the Salvation Army all this has been a bonus, for the rest of us a disaster.

So now more than ever remember to take the twelve steps and just say NO to the Salvation Army!

Post-postscript

In 1996 the Employment Plus employment agency, run by the Salvation Army, was forced to pay back $9 million of government money that they’d received by falsely classifying job seekers as disadvantaged. Agencies receive money from the government for each person they place in a job, and they receive more if the job-seeker is disadvantaged. As well as paying back the money, the Salvation Army also closed 8 of its offices.

Despite this apparently massive fraud, the Salvation Army’s Brad Halse announced that “all of our employees at the eight sites will be and are be

ing offered redeployment to our other Employment Plus sites. If they’re unable to for personal reasons then, you know, full redundancy and other support services will be offered to them.”, and that “there hasn’t been anybody who has faced any charges, any criminal charges at this time”. (68)

 

REFERENCES

1 Murdoch, ‘Origins of the Salvation Army’, University of Tennessee, 1994, p169.

2 Watson, ‘The Salvationist in a Secular Society’, Salvationist Publications, `974, p29.

3 Gage, “When Charity Becomes Big Business”, ‘Burning Times’ magazine, winter 1993.

4 ‘Darkest England Now’, Salvationist Publications, 1974, p98.

5 Murdoch p168.

6 Watson p118.

7 Gage.

8 Gage.

9 Murdoch p146.

10 Murdoch p 146.

11 Gage.

12 ‘Darkest England Now’.

13 Cain, ‘War Against the Wobblies’, 1994.

14 Murdoch p111.

15 Bolton, ‘Booth’s Drum’, Hodder and Stoughton, 1980, p13.

16 ‘War Cry’, 9/9/95.

17 ‘War Cry’, 21/10/95.

18 Watson p190.

19 ‘War Cry’, 28/10/95.

20 ‘Darkest England Now’.

21 Watson p190.

22 ‘War Cry’, 18/11/95.

23 ‘War Cry’, 18/11/95.

24 ‘War Cry’, 18/11/95.

25 Information from ex Salvation Army members.

26 Tarling, ‘Thank God for the Salvoes’, Harper and Row, p121.

27 Murdoch p131.

28 Tarling p121.

29 Watson p118.

30 ‘Darkest England Now’ p108

31 ‘Darkest England Now’ p101.

32 ‘Darkest England Now’ p101.

33 ‘The Age’, 4/12/95.

34 ‘Sydney Morning Herald’, 4/6/90.

35 ‘Salvation Army Yearbook 1998?.

36 ‘Sydney Morning Herald’, 14/6/90.

37 ‘Sydney Morning Herald’, 27/4/94.

38 ‘Salvation Army Yearbook’.

39 ‘Darkest England Now’ p63

40 ‘Darkest England Now’ p70

41 Tarling p120.

42 ‘War Cry’, 6/5/95.

43 ‘Darkest England Now’ p119

44 Murdoch p151

45 Murdoch p151.

46 ‘Employment 2000?, Salvation Army, 1995.

47 Turling p75.

48 ‘War Cry’ 1995.

49 ‘War Cry’, 1995.

50 Bolton p200.

51 Murdoch p155.

52 ‘Squat It’ magazine issue 15.

53 Gage.

54 ‘Sydney Morning Herald’, 20/12/95.

55 Gage.

56 ‘Darkest England Now’ p116.

57 ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ 16/7/93.

58 Watson p118.

59 Watson p43.

60 ‘The Age’ 11/95.

61 Watson p95.

62 Watson p145.

63 Interview with ex Salvation Army members.

64 ‘Herald Sun’, 22/5/95.

65 Gage.

66 ‘Squat It’ magazine issue 15.

67 ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ 6/11/90.

68 see for example The World Today, ABC radio program, 30 March 2006.

56 Comments

  • calvin Peterson on Nov 15, 2016

    I have volunteered for the Salvation Army for the last 3 years. I would NEVER give my time to anyone who was against gays, Christians , Aboriginals or anyone else for that matter. You really should do your research before you spew out information. Most of the people who work for the Salvation Army – are decent Christian people who are persecuted for the good things they do in our communities and their belief in God. But that’s okay – they are strong and will continue to help the needy. Keep up the good work Salvation Army.

  • Jenn on Nov 06, 2016

    While I definitely think the Salvation Army is a cult (having been around it and watching my boyfriend’s wacky family who are officers in it), I think a lot of what you’re saying here is untrue. How is providing jobs and assistance “harassing the poor”?

  • Jesus Christ Loves You on Oct 08, 2016

    I was gonna use my own words to make you look silly but instead I’ll use Jesus’ words and thank you for the criticism towards Christians. The article is a complete lie against the Salvation Army, but I forgive and love you anyway. God bless you!

  • John ali on Sep 04, 2016

    Totally agree I live near the pirie st Salvation Army and there drug rehab – the staff are bizarre , I had issues with gambling for a while etc I can’t fault your article – they were serving off chicken last night then had no bread as they had recieved no donations so many areas where they are terrible governments pay them to run the drunk tank in whit more square it’s a farce they got rid of the mens homeless shelter which you had to pay to stay at as it wasn’t making enough money they are weirdos

  • MikeyBoy on Jun 05, 2016

    More social justice bullshit. Obviously the person who wrote has been privileged enough to of never had any hardship in his or her life. Probably riding on the coat tails of affirmative action, minority scholarships, abusing food stamps, free housing, and disability under the guise that he or she has a mental disorder. Enjoy

  • rain on Apr 12, 2016

    80 per cent of every dollar handed to the salvos is chewed up in administration. They aint the only ones. (where your proof?) They do give out rotten or distastful food in 1 tin a day ammounts. (did you even think about giving rather than saying something to a church) They do try to pray with you when you have not ask. (you should be thankful they care) They are hard on volunteers. They talk about clients behind their backs. I know all this first hand. Its also pathetic that the system refer’s people to this religious shit, if its not one its the other. Where’s the no religious aid?. I grew up in the church. I know what they are. Every church member is also expected to handover 10-20 percent of their wage to gods shithouse ( because its stated in the bible)

  • Angie on Feb 27, 2016

    80 per cent of every dollar handed to the salvos is chewed up in administration. They aint the only ones. They do give out rotten or distastful food in 1 tin a day ammounts. They do try to pray with you when you have not ask. They are hard on volunteers. They talk about clients behind their backs. I know all this first hand. Its also pathetic that the system refer’s people to this religious shit, if its not one its the other. Where’s the no religious aid?. I grew up in the church. I know what they are. Every church member is also expected to handover 10-20 percent of their wage to gods shithouse

  • anonymous on Jan 29, 2016

    I’m a current employee at salvation army, but won’t be for very much longer. Today my boss came up to me and told me they’re cutting all of our hours. All bc salvation army doesn’t want to have to supply any of their workers health insurance. He claims its too expensive. I did my research, they’re a billion dollar company. The higher ups get paid over $300,000 a year. But providing insurance for ppl who might really need it is an issue for them. So much for a christian organization. My first day of work i had a good majority of employees warn me to b careful. The branch I’m at has no morals. My boss drinks every night at ocharleys and drugged his now dead wife to bring women to his house. This very same boss has also went on alcohol runs for a female coworker while on the clock, and may even be having an inappropriate relationship with this woman. They descriminate against the elderly. Many of my hard working co workers have been in tears at work because of the way they’re spoken to. They have tried several times to speak to major and the woman below her and they won’t do anything about it whatsoever. They keep bumping up the price on clothing and other items to the point where customers are complaining. I’ve seen up to $20 on an item of used clothing. $300 for a bed frame, $100 for a purse. This year my co workers got their yearly raise… a whopping 8 cents. If it wasn’t for us they wouldn’t be making a dime. Salvation army is a joke.

  • Chris Palmer on Jan 28, 2016

    I was housed for a month by the Salvation Army, their staff had some serious issues, they are well and truely a mind altering cult, and sad to say, they really messed up within a month the mind of a church going christian, that being myself.

    I’m not sure when I’ll be able to go back to church, but their interpretation of the bible is so seriously flawed, and their behaviour to others has made me question whether or not the christian ‘faith’ is meant for me.

    Very confused as to what their intention was while I was housed by them. Abuse? Punishment? Some strange type of christian love?

    These people are more dangerous than the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons put together.

    I promise, once I get myself back to a normal state of mind, and back to my church going activities, I will work as best I can to work to shut down this vile obnoxious cult.

  • dave beck on Dec 08, 2015

    YOU BAG ON THE SALVATION ARMY ,WHY, SIMPLE YOU DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD, ANYONE CAN SEE THROUGH YOU.

  • V. Henry on Dec 01, 2015

    DO NOT GIVE TO THE SALVATION ARMY. From denying hungry and homeless people food, at their food banks, should they not call ahead to book an appointment first, to throwing away in the garbage and also in front of customers, free samples of products, given to the Salvation Army, by a cosmetic company, (and also marked not for individual sale), just because it could no longer sell the products. The Salvation Army is built on greed. It has the most uncharitable and unchristian attitude towards the poor. Jesus Christ would never accept that organization as his church. Give to World Vision instead. These are just some of the most recent actions of the Salvation Army(Branch), located in Toronto Canada. IT IS MOST APPALLING.

  • V. Henry on Dec 01, 2015

    DO NOT GIVE TO THE SALVATION ARMY. From denying hungry and homeless people food, at their food banks, should they not call ahead to book an appointment first, to throwing away in the garbage and also in front of customers, free samples of products, given to the Salvation Army, by a cosmetic company, (and also marked not for individual sale), just because it could no longer sell the products. The Salvation Army is built on greed. It has the most uncharitable and unchristian attitude towards the poor. Jesus Christ would never accept that organization as his church. Give to World Vision instead.

  • D on Dec 01, 2015

    WOW! Putting down an organization that tries to help whenever and where ever they can.

  • Adrian on Nov 29, 2015

    The Salvation Army are nothing other than a cult. They don’t partake in the Lord’s Supper, and neither do they baptise. Both are Biblical mandates from Jesus Himself. John 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.Therefore there is no salvation in the Salvation Army.

  • BeenThere on Nov 21, 2015

    I think if you want to throw money at a charity, you should first determine if you wish to help a church primarily, since TSA (Sal ARmy) is first and foremost a church. As with most churches, it helps itself and its members mostly. The “charity” and “most good” claims are primarily done with donated items received and government grants for direct services, which cannot be used in the church. Every nickel you drop in a kettle, every check you give them, etc, is 99% used in the church for church activities, unless you designate it otherwise as a restricted donation. The billions they receive annually are used to pay officers and families’ salaries and benefits, as well as living costs, buy property, etc.
    It’s fine if you want your measly $1000 donation to go to them, it helps pay the minister/officer’s cable bill or gasoline to go on vacation. If you have your own church, give it to them, they might actually help someone besides themselves. I worked for them 21 years, I know what I’m talking about.

  • E2 on Oct 14, 2015

    This is from the website, today…not some ramblings from the 1880’s

    http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/nodiscrimination

  • Sally Q on Dec 23, 2014

    Seeking information regarding discrimination with respect to on going litigation regarding The Salvation Army. Please email stories to sallyqlawinfo@gmail.com

    • Rebecca Holding on Nov 12, 2015

      Hi Sally of this is not too late, I have a story for you with facts of discrimination by the Salvation Army.
      Contact me rholding12@gmail.com

  • Jason Greenlee on Nov 30, 2014

    Please help, I’m trying to print this article so I can hand it to the chubby lady who rings that FUCKING bell outside my local grocery store but can’t get it to print properly. Your assistance is appreciated.
    Jason Greenlee

  • Jack Brown on Nov 28, 2014

    Aww this article is so out there it’s a bit funny. The big issue here is you have taken many things that were true in 1880 and written as if they are true now.
    Permission to go on dates for example? Possibly true in like 1905 when EVERYONE was super conservative. Nonsense now.
    Similar is all the military stuff. For one this was not imposed as a way to be structured and controlling but came in as a novel metaphor at a time when people so loved the idea of the military they wore old uniforms on the street just because it was cool. It seems odd now but at the time people loved it, in 1880 it was not at all counter cultural and cult like. Quite the opposite.
    Worship a leader? Many Salvationists wouldn’t know the leaders name, it’s a Christian church so worshiping a man would contradict their own beliefs. They like Booth he is a hero but not one to worship. That’s nonsense.
    Dictatorship? People join and leave all the time, those who work for them generally do as they are told like someone might do in what’s called a “job”.
    Those who attend SA can smoke and drink but if they become full on members they don’t, the SA has a history of working with drug addicts and alcoholics as I’m sure u know drug addicts can’t go back to “just a little drugs”. Addiction is all or nothing, so it’s just not cool to have the workers drinking. That’s not some freaky cult thing, just common sense.

    This article speaks of Booth forcing his followers to force themselves on drinkers. I think a little investigation into Victorian era east end London would help. This was Oliver Twist stuff, families destroyed, alcoholics everywhere, children starving cause their dad drank his wages. This isn’t the SA disturbing some nice chaps having an evening beer.

    The specific complaint about the Salvo Careline is suspicious. It is unreferenced and suggests someone who has a grudge against a very very small part of the organisation. The suggestion that battered women are told to stay with their husbands is laughable when one considers the SA runs several shelters and accommodation programs for women escaping abusive relationships in the same city as the careline. Just a silly suggestion.
    As for the rest there are a few bad examples. Wow. An organisation that’s been going for 150 years all over the world will always have some mistakes. Big deal. It has hundreds of thousands of members and workers today, multiply that by 150 years and this is the worst u could find? A bunch of one off issues? Unconvincing.

    You have combed through old magazines and dodgy Internet sites for your references if anyone is convinced by them the shame is all on them.

    • Neil Kennedy on Nov 29, 2014

      Do you have a vested interest in the SA, sir/madame ? I’m willing to wager that you do

      Assuming all of what you said is fact ( and it has to be taken with a grain of salt ) that does not excuse the society from:

      A) store outlets brazen policies, including intentionally mixing up men’s and women’s clothing so to increase sales among customers ( many of whom are elderly and have eyesight problems ) , no issue save for the fact cash returns are forbidden

      B)Stocking obviously broken devices like dvd players back on the shelves, and hiding plugs from other electronic equipment so as to discourage customers finding this out .

      C) Bait and switch tactics, i.e, suddenly mixing the half price days around to encourage customers to inadvertently buy full price merchandise, again with disallowed returns.

      The Salvation Army is a charity, no taxes to pay, consequently, an obligation to uphold to the community. This precludes sleazy, cutthroat , Walmart style bait ad switch or other selling tactics.

      D) The worst of all, benefitting off tragedy.
      When disaster occurs, SA policy makers waste no time in encouraging public cash/donation infusions, allegedly to help firefighters or policeman.

      The Lac Magantic, Quebec,Canada, disaster in 2013 is just one example.

      Not all or even much of that money went to disaster relief

      Where did the rest of it go to, sir/madame?

      Most people reading this blog know.

      • Jack Brown on Dec 05, 2014

        Hi, yes I have an interest in the Salvations Army but most my facts are easily verifiable. Just turn up at a Salvation Army service for 5 minutes and most of the nonsense in this article will be exposed. Maybe ask one of them out and see if they ask for permission? (that was one of my favorite bits of fantasy). As for your store conspiracy theories. Why would mixing up men’s and women’s clothes increase sales? How does that make sense? If the person is blind and confused they would just take anything from the men’s pile anyway. What’s to gain in sneakily tricking a blind man in to buying a bra? There is no way mixing clothes would increase sales. Moving products around? Selling dvd players that don’t work? Seriously that sounds like a lot of work to sell a $3 t shirt and an old DVD player. Not really worth the effort. Really wild stuff.

        • Neil Kennedy on Dec 05, 2014

          Sir/madam, I am not shilling for the SA as you do ( as your “conspiracy theory” red herring gives that away ) your company owes this customer something like $57 bucks,for defective/ mixed up merchandise the sad people who work for SA public relations would have this information all in their files, they ignored my request for a rebate so I am free to report this charity’s nefarious little activities online along with multitudes of others.
          “As for your store conspiracy theories. Why would mixing up men’s and women’s clothes increase sales? How does that make sense? If the person is blind and confused they would just take anything from the men’s pile anyway. What’s to gain in sneakily tricking a blind man in to buying a bra? There is no way mixing clothes would increase sales. Moving products around? Selling dvd players that don’t work? Seriously that sounds like a lot of work to sell a $3 t shirt and an old DVD player. Not really worth the effort. Really wild stuff.”

          Sir/madame, when your corporate welfare organization ( and lets call a spade a spade, they pay NO taxes ) turns a profit owing to the selling of donated, defective or mis-labeled junk, then it IS worth their while, isn’t it ?

          The fact the stores forbid cash returns encourages these practices, once the customer pays the money they lose it for good. Wouldn’t Walmart just love to be able to refuse cash returns too, If Walmart was on the public dole like the SA,

          How is it not profitable to sell a broken DVD player for $12 ?

          Your silence on the Sa’s repellent little “get cash quick” schemes, such as practiced in Lac Magantic, Quebec, in 2013, speaks volumes in itself.

          • Jack Brown on Dec 06, 2014

            My silence on that issue was based on the fact that if you have a theory about mixing clothes to confuse the blind then pretty much all you say is a bit odd. Salvation Army gets donation world over because they have a reputation, the people see them at the disaster getting to work. While you are most likely at home writing angry letters because you spent $57 on clothes for a Madame and not a Sir.

          • Neil Kennedy on Dec 08, 2014

            “My silence on that issue was based on the fact that if you have a theory about mixing clothes to confuse the blind then pretty much all you say is a bit odd. Salvation Army gets donation world over because they have a reputation, the people see them at the disaster getting to work. While you are most likely at home writing angry letters because you spent $57 on clothes for a Madame and not a Sir”

            That is pretty arrogant, sir, I take it the SA officers you shill for online ( unsuccessfully attempting to whitewash their sullied reputation ) have salaries that allow for more elaborate store shopping experiences. ……so much for sincerely helping the poor.

            Google “bait-and switch” sir, that will explain your confusion one hopes. This is where customers are lured into the SA stores with offers of half price sales, only to be intentionally misled with broken junk or clothes heaped all into one section……signs saying “half price shirts”, only to be revealed later its only certain labels or types of shirts that are on sale.

            Our professed Salvation Army number #1 fan tells us policies like the aforementioned are not intended to secure extra profits through deliberately confusing customers.

            Right.

            The goal here is THE SALE and nothing else, with the added bonus of disallowing cash returns……if that’s not cheating customers then nothing is.

            A registered charity/corporate benefit scrounger like the Sally should keep its grubby little hands away from disaster relief, it has no more place there than McDonald’s does setting up a hamburger stand on site
            At least McDonald’s would not be receiving freebies for nothing.

            What percentage of donations actually goes to firefighters, police, etc, sir ?

            Surely you can tell us that here, instead of your usual evasive responses.

  • beelzebub on Nov 16, 2014

    St. Vincent is the an awesome band

  • hoggins on Oct 07, 2014

    my collegues are looking for people who have been through the salvation army rehabilitation centers.who have experienced, degrading and humiliating and fraudulent practices against them by salvation army thugs!! it looks like it falls under the UN human trafficking laws if u know anyone fell free to email.

  • anonymous on Aug 11, 2014

    This article is sooooo true. I worked for the salvation army at one of their camps. They have various camps throughout the states that are like retreat centers. They basically use these camps to bring in the salvation armys church members and their families or officers for getaways. Most of the camps now are used as for-profit. This particular camp is a multi million dollar facility. It has everything that you could want: pools, hiking, tennis court, golf, ponds, chapels, dorms, ziplines etc… and they run it off the backs of underpaid workers. The people that keep the camp running are basically 2 housekeepers and 3-4 maintenence people. And would you like to know what they pay these people? Minimum wage. Even worse is the fact that everyone they initially hire is not hired on as part or full time (even though they work full time hours) but as “as needed” or “seasonal” employees to avoid the giving of benefits. (I think the SA is being forced to change that as of recent, i’m not sure the reason but i know for sure it wasn’t out of their “big hearts”). This camp brings in probably a million or more in profit and instead of distributing it to the workers in the form of salary or bonuses or even a day off for God sakes, they send it all back up to the top. The camp has to be it’s own entity and is responsible for paying its own expenses and then has to send the profit up top! This organization is such a crock, it makes me sick. I never knew the history when i started to work for them but it all makes sense after reading this article, they take advantage of the poor and their situation to fuel their money making machine. Every high ranking Salvation army officer i have seen (which are many) are at least 120 pounds overweight, that tells you something. They sit up top collecting their checks doing no “work of the ministry.” During my time there they went through people in our department like crazy because on top of paying us nothing they treated us like slaves. They felt because they were doing “good” that we should be happy to do all the dirty work they didn’t want too and get paid nothing to for it. They are disrespectful and ignorant. This org. was not formed out of pure motive and it does not continue with pure motive, I will never again drop change in a SA bucket at Christmas thats for sure. Thank you for writing this article

    • Joseph C. Penny on Oct 12, 2014

      Hi my friend how are you doing. I read your comment and was a little confused. See I too worked at camp and was a camper as well. Addressing the Workers. As being part of the summer staff depending on which camp you work at they have different pay rate for your job and position just like any regular job. Now I am not sure what position you held but I worked in the dining room as staff for 2 yrs and as the supervisor for 3 yrs. The base salary for the staff was $350 and for the supervisor was $450 which is not bad for what it is. Now our counsels made $500 and they got the end of season bonus which was $300 again understandable for they are full time job. The support staff would step in to give them a break every day along with our 2 to 3 days off and the dining room staff was the lowest wage. Now for the residential staff who takes care of the camps I’m not sure how well you pay attention but they are provided full living quarters furnished and everything, they don’t have to pay one single bill to live there, they can come and go as they please, and they are on the payroll so they receive the benefits that the army provides including retirement and all they have to do is maintain the camp . idk about you but that is not bad. Now the camps do rent them out to other organizations I mean why not it’s there for everyone to enjoy in a nice positive peaceful environment. The only thing they have to provide is their linens everything else is provided (this too gives temp employment opportunities). Now for the over weight officers in the 20 yrs I’ve been in the SA yes some are but not all. I want to say as a Salvationist that if your camp working experience was not good due to the DYS and the leaders then I want to apologies for they felled you and I wish you you would have had the great experience that I did ( i would happily traded you). I’m not trying to sway you or anything that is not my purpose, but I just wanted to inform you because someone mislead you. But we take care of everyone christian, non christian, a sally, or non sally and that if you felt that you were being mistreated you should have reported it you have that right. So to my anonymous friend weather you choose or choose not to support the salvation army that it’s your choice and God, The Salvation Army, and myself still love you in the name of Jesus and may your faith and relationship continue to grow as you grow closer to Him. God bless you my friend.

      Joseph C. Penny
      The Salvation Army Killeen, TX
      Singing Company Leader

  • S. Kershaw on Jun 24, 2014

    Why is there no mention of the Royal Commission in Australia’s ongoing investigation of child abuse, rape and beatings of children, orphans and homeless left in their care, by Salvation Army officers
    and personnel.

  • neil kennedy on Mar 08, 2014

    Thanks for the info, years after the original “12 reasons” were written its clear how this corrupt organization has continued to enrich itself off of poverty and public generousity.

    I wonder whether people who donate to the ‘salvos” are aware that their kindness may end up in some landfill if that extra appliance threatens to drive down prices, interfering with the army’s number one goal of profit making.

    these people truly are parasites, cheating customers and volunteers alike, and its sad to note the level of public ignorance concerning their true agenda.

    the salvos are also quick to cash in on local tragedy; when a fuel laden train derailed in summer 2013, in lac magentic, canada, vaporizing 47 people and destroying much of the town, the army set up a special ‘food drive’ and undoubted cash collection to ‘help out the firemen fighting the blaze”…as with other of the charity’s “disaster relief” drives, the bulk of that money and food probably didnot go to the disaster workers, rather, to enrich the SA officers
    totally crass exploitation of tragedy

    as for people who donate to the SA, there’s my aunt’s favorite expression “a fool and his money are easily parted”

  • Masala on Mar 07, 2014

    Cleverly done article.
    But there is a flip side too. I am an Indian, living in southern part of India. Reading this, I cant help myself from leaving a comment. There may be a darker side for SA as you have mentioned. But still, I suppose its your perception, and a few like you who have commented here. I am a fourth generation salvationist here in India. The reason why I could write here ;may be even in a poor english, is just because of love and kindness shared by great missionaries of the the God driven Salvation Army in the olden days to our forefathers. In our social situation my forefathers were the oppressed classes generally called Dalits these days. There was a social evil in India called Caste system where the whole society was divided into different classes. Says it was all happened many centuries back since the invasion of Aryans to India like the British entered Australian continent. Dalits were Dravidians, the real owners of the land like the aboriginal natives of the Australia. Since their entry, eventually they turned to slaves and ended up with severe discrimination called untouchability by centenaries before. By this time the Aryans developed a new system of society with a clear definition and practices of religion, occupation, power, knowledge and so forth. The oppressed classes were unknown or out of their systems. It was like that for centuries. In this scenario Salvation army entered. SA gave us a new life by educating and teaching us how to withstand leaving us an identity as a human being. For you it can be taken as something like political hidden agendas between the British Kingdom and Booth. But not for people like us, the real beneficiaries. Its just because of the love of Christ though the great salvation army made us to be like a human being. God says No men are perfect; so that; all the man made systems are imperfect. There are imperfections in the so called army. But people like me cannot keep my mouth shut in reading garbage expressions like this.

    The so called civilized people like you require a polished, compromised religious set up. That is the reason why you guys need a new style of sex called by its pet name LGBT and many anti social things like drugs and drinks, saying that you should respect the personal freedom. But people like us living in the developing countries( the uncivilized for you) are watching the reflections/ side effetcs of such a “civilized” culture. Hey…!!!! you guys loosing the basic things called Family and Love. Guys………!!!!!! your kids are living in tears man, they do not have somebody called “father”, just have somebody termed as “single mother” and her “boy friends”.. So shame on you..

  • admin on Feb 05, 2014

    “The Salvation Army ran an orphanage in the suburb of Woolton in the U.K. city of Liverpool, from 1936 to 2005. It has been listed by http://www.abuselaw.co.uk as having complaints of child sexual abuse.

    One victim’s statement alleges that he was in this Children’s Home “from 1987 – 1992. I witnessed abuse, and was victim to it also. It was physical, sexual, mental and psychological abuse. My sister was abused, and she took the abuser to court, yet he got away with it, it was brushed under the carpet. She was moved to another Home, and the abuser stayed, allowing him to carry on abusing more victims, including myself. That is my story.”

    http://wrongkindofgreen.org/2014/02/05/strawberry-fields-the-censored-version-salvation-army/

  • admin on Feb 05, 2014

    Feb 3, 2014: Lewis Blayse had been campaigning to bring the Salvation Army to account for decades after he was abused at a home run by the organisation, but on Friday he gave his final interview to 7.30. He died of a heart attack that night.

    Mr Blayse was abused as a boy in the Alkira home at Indooroopilly in Queensland between 1958 and 1960, and helped to raise awareness of the issue. The home is currently the focus of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. His daughter, Aletha Blayse, helped him run his blog, which he used to connect victims and provide analysis on the commission. On Monday Ms Blayse told 7.30 her father was the happiest she had ever seen him after his interview on Friday and a week of extensive coverage of the allegations against the Salvation Army.

    “He was on top of the world, I’ve never seen him look so happy,” she said. “He said now that the media was paying attention that the word would be getting out.”

    RIP Lewis Blayse. Your courage is an inspiration.

    Final Interview: http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-03/abuse-victim-lewis-blayse-final-interview/5235734

  • Eric on Feb 02, 2014

    My you do have a lot of uninformed bile dont you.
    At least 80 % of what you wrote is factally wrong
    You are entitled to you opinnions. But at least get you facts right otherwwise you just end up looking stupid.

  • Salvationist on Jan 27, 2014

    *Claps* Oh wow research done ! I am a BLACK Salvationist and everything that you touched on isnt true , but HEYYY we cant all get along can we? Rather than criticize what the Army has going on have you tried or attempted to even see what it is about ?

  • Graham Lilley on Jan 26, 2014

    All of this information is totally outdated! You can never judge a company or organisation on how they acted many years ago as everything changes with time. I have picked up may different things while working with the SA over the last 2 summers. From what I have seen, the SA provides a lot of opportunities to get involved in different activities to meet a variety of people with no expense spared. Yes some officers can be criticized over their ‘out there’ approaches but they can’t be the ones that opinions can be based on. A real long look with some amazing officers can show people how much the SA does for a lot of different people!

  • Ben on Dec 09, 2013

    Do you know where I can get a copy of the 1995 War Cry? You list it in the citations a number of times, but I can’t figure out how to get an actual copy. Where did you find it?

  • Jeanette on Dec 01, 2013

    I heard that the ceo’s of salvation armys bonuses were
    One million dollars a year. Is this true? Do they take
    most of the money for themselves or do they really
    help people?

  • Suspious on Nov 17, 2013

    Hundreds living on the street in Sydney and Salvation Army collects millions for the homeless but it is not spent on them.
    Want money for bushfires and floods and every other disaster they can think of but never get homes built for those that lost them. Seems they are so powerful the Government is too frightened to say boo. If it was a private organisation we would have all the investigations made about. Where did the Tsuamani money go I would love to know not to the people.

  • Chris Tilley on Nov 14, 2013

    While some statements in this article are true, there are many statements here which are exaggerated or misleading or even just incorrect.
    The main thing people need to understand about the Salvation Army is that it is a mainstream, moderately conservative CHURCH.
    The main difference between the Salvation Army and the Methodists or the Baptists or the Whoeverists is the especially strong emphasis on social programs intended to help those in need.The terminology they use may be quite different, but those things differ between various churches.
    This and other articles I saw today have prompted me to write a blog about this: http://my-blog-o-rants.blogspot.com/2013/11/anti-salvation-army-posts.html

  • Jamie on Nov 04, 2013

    I would just like to say that the Salvation Army does a lot of good all over the world and as far as your “war and propaganda” thing goes. You are gravely mistaken. In the wars they helped the soldiers that fought for your freedom of expression and made sure that they had enough to eat and even set up hospitals to help wounded soldiers and injured refugees. They do not support war, but when it does break out, which is entirely the fault of the governing bodies of the warring countries and I might add, they help make thing better by risking their own lives to save the lives of those fighting for freedom and basic human rights. And as for the Christian thing, they’re mainly talking about loving one another and charity, being kind to one another and helping those in need so by giving them bad press you are actually making it harder for them to do so. Further, most of the people who work for the Salvation Army are volunteers. So I don’t know where you’re getting your “facts” from but I can assure you that they are wrong.

  • Suspious on Nov 03, 2013

    Where does all the money go they collect for the bush fire victims. Never seems to go towards buying houses and no one is game enough to question them. Already a story on the net exposing the Salvation Army in |America and the high life they live. Red Cross also are similar

  • stopdestroyingthearmy on Oct 25, 2013

    youre being one sided

  • stopdestroyingthearmy on Oct 25, 2013

    to quote…
    Young people are expected to marry only within the Army. Officers are only allowed to marry other officers – they have to leave if they marry “civilians” (people outside the church). Members have to get Army permission to go on dates.(28) To sum it up, the Army has an unhealthy degree of control over their followers’ lives.
    unquote…

    comment: yes we are expected to marry CHRISTIANS and it would be best if we will marry fellow salvationist but with the reason to be in tact just like a chiense would marry a chinese. And yes we ask permissions but, permissions from PARENTS. I married a catholic yet i am still welcome and stayed as a salvationist…

    • Kellkell on Dec 08, 2014

      Did you read the date that this was posted? They were talking about years ago the point was to prove that a rule like that existed. Is that the only thing thats not true? If it is thats still not right the way they treat people your supose to be “helping”

  • Proud Sally on Sep 15, 2013

    You know nothing of the Salvation Army. What a hateful, uneducated posting.

  • regret on Aug 25, 2013

    Salvation Army world wide operate on a so called charity funding yearly through out all the world. Whether it is Open day, Food fair, Yearly appeal, Anniversary Dinner and whatever. When there are fund raising, all money collected will be bank into a fund call “General Fund”. This fund can be use for anything or channel to any fund. You can name it whatever term you like. From here they will divide it to 3 parts usually. 1/3 (Social Fund) for Home(Charity – Boys/ Girls under priviledge) other centers, another 1/3 is for their so called Church community service (called Community Service Fund), and another 1/3 for Church funding (called Corps Fund). Or they can do whether they like without being trace or audited.

    So by taking the above formula, your good heart earn money towards helping the needy or poor is not actually materialize. Only 1/3 goes to the related centers or home of the needy they operate. 1/3 goes to the so called community service. Why you need so many community service where you already have a home, and related centers? . And another 1/3 will go to their Church operation. The formula could be different various places. But the above is standard most time.

    For me as person, I believe public donated fund for charity should not be misused and channel for other purpose rather than the original fund raising objectives itself. In the case the social fund only.

    It is my great regret that the operation has been going for a long time without me knowing it until came know about from a good source which is verified.

    I think public deserved to know about it so that the donated money are actually goes 100% to the beneficial. Salvation Army always mention that 80-90% or 100% goes to the beneficial. So this is untrue.

    Even though I was once a beneficial from the Salvation Army, I do not think this is a right thing to do.

    As a Christian organization, they should do the right thing with the donated money solely for social fund channeling mostly 80-85% to the poor after deducting expenses and etc. I understand no organization can run away from operating cost. However if you really do a charity work, you will give whole heartedly and not mischannel funding for other purpose.

    The church have to fund it’s own. It is not right to channel from a public donated money for social fund to help the poor for the operation of the church.

    A lot of members (soldiers) of the Salvation Army church might know about this. I do not blame them as they are also blinded.

    I hope with this information the public are aware what is going on and make the right decision.

    Another thing is that please also note that their thrift store profits made from good sold from public donated are also channel to the “General Fund”… from they will channel to whatever fund they like. They will apply the same method I mentioned before or any other ways.

    God please forgive me as a sinner if I mention the wrong thing. I feel it is just not right to mischannel fund from its original purpose to help the poor or needy where it was suppose to be.

  • regret on Aug 23, 2013

    Another thing is that please also note that their thrift store profits made from good sold from public donated are also channel to the “General Fund”… from they will channel to whatever fund they like. They will apply the same method I mentioned before or any other ways in my another posted comment.

    God please forgive me as a sinner if I mention the wrong thing. I feel it is just not right to mischannel fund from its original purpose to help the poor or needy where it was suppose to be.

  • regret on Aug 23, 2013

    Salvation Army world wide operate on a so called charity funding yearly through out all the world. Whether it is Open day, Food fair, Yearly appeal, Anniversary Dinner and whatever. When there are fund raising, all money collected will be bank into a fund call “General Fund”. This fund can be use for anything or channel to any fund. You can name it whatever term you like. From here they will divide it to 3 parts usually. 1/3 (Social Fund) for Home(Charity – Boys/ Girls under priviledge) other centers, another 1/3 is for their so called Church community service (called Community Service Fund), and another 1/3 for Church funding (called Corps Fund). Or they can do whether they like without being trace or audited.

    So by taking the above formula, your good heart earn money towards helping the needy or poor is not actually materialize. Only 1/3 goes to the related centers or home of the needy they operate. 1/3 goes to the so called community service. Why you need so many community service where you already have a home, and related centers? . And another 1/3 will go to their Church operation. The formula could be different various places. But the above is standard most time.

    For me as person, I believe public donated fund for charity should not be misused and channel for other purpose rather than the original fund raising objectives itself. In the case the social fund only.

    It is my great regret that the operation has been going for a long time without me knowing it until came know about from a good source which is verified.

    I think public deserved to know about it so that the donated money are actually goes 100% to the beneficial. Salvation Army always mention that 80-90% or 100% goes to the beneficial. So this is untrue.

    Even though I was once a beneficial from the Salvation Army, I do not think this is a right thing to do.

    As a Christian organization, they should do the right thing with the donated money solely for social fund channeling mostly 80-85% to the poor after deducting expenses and etc. I understand no organization can run away from operating cost. However if you really do a charity work, you will give whole heartedly and not mischannel funding for other purpose.

    The church have to fund it’s own. It is not right to channel from a public donated money for social fund to help the poor for the operation of the church.

    A lot of members (soldiers) of the Salvation Army church might know about this. I do not blame them as they are also blinded.

    I hope with this information the public are aware what is going on and make the right decision.

  • Jeremy G on Jul 30, 2013

    Thanks for posting this. It’s good to see mention of St. Vincent dePaul in here. I volunteer with the St. Vincent dePaul group at my local parish, and while we have extremely limited resources, the work we do provides a stark contrast to the Salvation Army. In the zip code we work in, our group and the Salvation Army are the only charities that provide any assistance, and it seems like the SA’s help always comes with some sort of strings attached, which includes charging people to stay at their shelters or requiring them to work at their thrift stores in return for assistance. And as the article mentions, anyone the SA doesn’t want to help falls to us, and we’ve already got far more requests for assistance than we can provide. While SVDP doesn’t directly work toward social change, we work with groups dedicated to changing policy and helping the less fortunate empower themselves. As a Christian and an anarchist, I’m happy that groups like SVDP exist. I’d like to see more interworking between groups that work outside the state welfare system, including Food Not Bombs and other non-authoritarian (or anti-authoritarian) groups. That’s the only way we’ll ever improve conditions for the people we’re trying to assist.

    Peace & Solidarity

  • udi on Jul 29, 2013

    One of the SA’s most profitable lines of business in Australia is performing so called, consultancy, employment and welfare work, as subcontractors to the Australian government. I remember in the 70s when the salvation army shelters used to illegally pressure residents to sign over their dole cheques, while at the same time, claiming government subsidies for providing the shelter using inflated resident numbers. The younger more naive kids were also made to do much of the cleaning and other domestic work in those places even though they had already handed over their cheques. They were cruelly punished if they didn’t do as they were told.

    Since Howard’s term in office though, there is an even more lucrative scam. The salvos are one of the organisations that is paid to manage the unemployed. There was a time when I was unemployed and was sent to participate in a work for the dole scheme. It was run by the salvos and although i always showed up, few others did. I asked the supervisor why the majority didn’t have their payments cut off and he told me that he reported them but that head office never passed on that info to the Department. They were paid per participant and didn’t want to lose revenue. He trusted me and I ended up helping him to do a lot of the paper work. whenever anybody’s term on the scheme ended, we would fill out a survey on their behalf saying how helpful the scheme was in finding them work although almost just went back onto the dole straight away. When I got a job, the SA kept hassling me for details of the job that I didn’t want to divulge to them. They even threatened me with contacting my employer and telling them that I had been on welfare. A lawyer friend rang them and found out what it was all about. Apparently, the government was paying them $2000 for every job they found for a long term unemployed person. They had done nothing to help me and didn’t even know what kind of work I was applying for but had already claimed the money. I was sent a $250 bonus from them after the lawyer organised for me to give them the details. At one point, the SA and other employment agencies were getting money for creating fantom jobs for the unemployed in which they were listed as employees but didn’t receive any wages. this earned them $600 dollars for each recent recruit and $2000 for each long term recipient. that loophole was closed but they they have continued to seek other such revenue streams.

    Sorry for the rant, but the mere mention of the scheming bastards, makes my blood boil and my writing fail.

  • Viola Wilkins on Jul 28, 2013

    Updated version or “appendix” should mention that whole “teh gayz should be put to death” statement in their own manifesto thing
    http://www.queerty.com/salvation-army-director-says-gays-should-be-put-to-death-20120625/

    Salvation Barmy role as a Job Agency, a Service provider in Health and Immigration Detention system and other rackets could also be illlustrated ?