Salvation Army Surrenders to Secularism

Barb Wire

The anti-God forces of secularism have sadly claimed another scalp. In a very sad turn of events, the Salvation Army, known for its historic compassionate ministries and humanitarian efforts, has surrendered its distinctive identity and abandoned its foundational purpose for existence. Their acceptance of federal funds inevitably opened the door for groups like the ACLU and Americans United to bring the Christian ministry to its financial knees through frivolous, expensive lawsuits.

In 2004 a group of 19 plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the Salvation Army, which is a registered evangelical church and charity organization. The group alleges that the Salvation Army used public taxpayer money to evangelize, discriminate, and terminate employees based on their religious beliefs. Without a doubt, every member of this group knew exactly what the ministry stood for when they began working for the organization, but when it comes to the secularists, level heads rarely, if ever, prevail. But to be fair, the Salvation Army also should have known what they were getting into once they began accepting public money.

Anne Lown, a plaintiff in the case and a former employee of the charity, complained about the organization’s practices to her management and was subsequently terminated. Lown, who is also Jewish, then sought out the religion-loathing services of the New York branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). In a The New York Times article, she stated, “We were publicly funded, we were providing services on contract with New York City and State, and they were really imposing a religious test.” Imagine that, a religious group conducting itself in a religious manner — How dare they!

In 2010 an initial settlement was reached, and the Salvation Army was forbidden from evangelizing while working under a government funded contract. In the settlement, the workplace discrimination charges were dismissed, but the NYCLU appealed and continued their hostile assault against the Christian organization. When it comes to the God-hating thugs, nothing but complete capitulation to the State will ever suffice. Religion always represents a threat to full governmental control.

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Unfortunately, this past week the Salvation Army finally caved and a new settlement was reached, which no longer allows the organization to require that their employees uphold the organization’s religious standards while receiving taxpayer dollars. Two terminated employees will also be paid $450,000. They have pathetically sacrificed their core beliefs on the altar of financial expediency.

George W. Bush’s “faith-based initiative” made it very easy for organizations like the Salvation Army to receive millions in federal funding, but it also opened the door for egregious intrusions by the radical Leftists into the inner workings of Christian ministries. Once the government gets its financial tentacles of dependency into a religious organization, its just a matter of time before the secularists eradicate all biblical, moral underpinnings.

In New York alone, the Salvation Army has received about $188 million to operate its homeless shelters, soup kitchens and after-school programs. Tragically, the charity’s recent settlement is the modern equivalent of Judas Iscariot selling out the Lord Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 27:3) or Esau selling his birthright for a mess of pottage (Gen. 25:29-34).

Federal funds always come with unacceptable strings attached. The Salvation Army case should stand as a caution against becoming dependent on taxpayer money. Religious freedom is the inevitable casualty of government entanglement in church affairs.

In the end, the Salvation Army, a historic stalwart of Christian charity, has surrendered to the demands of the anti-religionists. Now, after this recent betrayal of Christ, they are becoming nothing more than a “glorified” government welfare program, if that. They have chosen to prioritize the serving of “food that spoils” over the “food that endures to eternal life” (John 6:27).

What the Salvation Army should have done was to scale back their operations and work within their financial means; Then, the state of New York could have taken over those services that the Salvation Army could no longer afford to run — that’s basically what the government has done anyway. At least, this solution would have allowed some of their ministries to maintain their Christian distinctiveness, but as it now stands, the entire NY organization has effectively been secularized.

Standing for principle would have surely cost the Salvation Army millions, but I’m afraid this settlement has cost them much, much more. More than they apparently realize.

“What does it profit a man (or an organization) to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul” (Mark 8:36)?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Jeff Allen is both a senior editor and columnist for BarbWire. He also serves as senior pastor in a mainline Christian church in Indiana. He is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. Jeff is involved in several community ministries.

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