Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sally Bash

I've blogged before about those times when my tribe gets hauled over the coals in the media.

Although I don't go searching for this kind of stuff, I've stumbled across this tirade, titled "We need salvation from this greedy army" which is pretty hard to swallow.

The Salvation Army is described as "right-wingers in uniforms" and "homophobic religious fundamentalist".

Now, I'm not sure what response - if any - a piece like this should demand. I'm short on facts about the specific cases discussed. The article has been written with the broadest of brush strokes, with....and I'm guessing here....only a limited knowledge and experience of The Savation Army as a global movement. As is so often the case, it's also written from a very North American perspective.

However, as I said in my original post...

we’re not beyond criticism – we do wrong things. Lots of them….and often! Let’s be humble – take the criticism on board when it’s justified – and be gracious in our response when it is not. Sometimes it’s good to be metaphorically hit square between the eyes, just to keep you alert and awake.

For the record; I am neither right-wing in my political views, or homophobic.


Howard said...

A few points here.

1. I think it is very interesting how the SA in the USA are being branded homophobic, yet the Anglican Community is the USA is accused of liberalism. For the record, I think both extremes are wrong but it is interesting none the less.

2. When your message to the press is just about 'Doing the Most Good' and other sloppy catchphrases, I cant say I am surprised when it comes back and bites with vengeance.

3. I always knew accepting the SA in the USA accepting the 1.5 billion donation was going to go sour. We all might know it came with more strings than a banjo orchestra but try convincing anyone else.

We should really listen to Jesus a bit more often!

paul said...

it's always easier to score points when you paint in broad terms - maybe of course there is some perception issues that are worth noting but then again i'd think that any orthodox christian grouping in america could be painted in similar ways...

John said...

Hi Howard

You make some really fair points, and I agree that "Doing the Most Good" is open to all kinds of interpretations. The Kroc thing is difficult too. I also uncovered this last night too:

Paul - Any further thoughts on the perception issues. I'd be intrigued about your opinion.

The thread on the original post has become quite interesting, and there are some quite lucid comments that add some real balance to the whole thing.



jon birch said...

man... i'm stunned.
the sally army in britain just don't have a bad reputation at all. they are seen as people who help others.
the one negative thing perhaps is that they are perceived as slightly nutty, tambourine bashers... but as criticisms go, that's not so bad.

accepting money from the bush administration seems like a bad idea in global terms. it is only right wingers on the rest of the planet seem to have any respect for him. the sally army in britain has never seemed like right wing organisation to me. maybe a bit conservative, but that's what happens as organisations age.

it sounds completely different in the states.

what do you do when people do dumbass things in your name, or in the name of god? it's tough.

John said...

For the most part, The Sally Army in the US also has an excellent reputation, Jon.

The whole "accepting money from the Bush administration" is something I'm not really clued up on, but it get's embroiled into the whole Church vs State debate over there. I can't begin to figure out how it all works. I guess it's complicated.

TSA seems to be living with the tension of it's unique make-up, which makes it a hugely professional global social agency, as well as a Christian denomination. Sometimes too, the movement unwittingly becomes a political football.

Sometimes it's better to dip out of that dialog altogether, fix on Jesus, and love all, serve all.

Peace & blessings