Berkeley students seek Christmas ban on Salvation Army bell ringers
The student government at the University of California-Berkeley (CAL) passed a resolution last month that would ban Salvation Army bell ringers and their iconic red kettles from campus this Christmas because of the Christian organization’s alleged bias against homosexuality.
The resolution, cleared on November 14, accuses the charity of openly discriminating against gay individuals.
“Salvation Army church services, including charity services, are available only to people ‘who accept and abide by the Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline,’ which excludes homosexuality,” reads the bill, SB 176.
In the resolution, the student body also demands school administrators revoke the Salvation Army’s permit, which currently allows them to collect donations on the Berkeley campus.
“Allowing the Salvation Army to collect donations on campus is a form of financial assistance that empowers the organization to spend the money it raises here in order to discriminate and advocate discrimination against queer people,” it adds.
In a statement to Campus Reform, the Salvation Army adamantly denied these charges, saying the allegations are based solely on "internet rumors."
"The notion that we require those we help to 'accept and abide by the Salvation Army's doctrine and discipline which excludes homosexuality' to receive assistance is totally false," wrote Kathy Lovin, a spokeswoman for the Salvation Army.
She added that "the only requirement for service from The Salvation Army is demonstrated need and our ability to meet it."
According to the bill, the student government also wants to formally express “disapproval of the presence of Salvation Army donation containers on campus” because “queer students…may take offense to the presence of collection containers operated by a discriminator religious organization in their places of living.”
A CAL spokesperson told Campus Reform that school officials are reviewing the matter, but declined to state whether the charity would be banned from campus.
The bill was authored by an openly gay student, Matthew Enger. He could not be reached for comment by Campus Reform.
On his public twitter account, however, he has hurled similar attacks at other organizations for supporting traditional marriage, writing that the Boy Scouts “can go f**k themselves” for refusing to admit homosexuals into their organization.
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was updated at 2:00 PM EST to include a statement sent from the Salvation Army.