Wednesday, February 17, 2010

NYCLU vs The Salvation Army

I stumbled across a few interesting, but slightly fuzzy news pieces via Twitter this evening regarding an announcement from the New York Civil Liberties Union regarding The Salvation Army:

The NYCLU’s statement includes this staggering couple of sentences, which I would guess would fill most Salvationists with incredulity.

“Though The Salvation Army is a church, a firewall for years existed between its religious arm and its social service arm. This allowed The Salvation Army to perform its responsibilities as a government-funded social services agency in the New York metropolitan area diligently and without injecting religion into its provision of social services


I’m still trying to take the whole issue on board, because sitting here in the UK the story is so imbibed with a US world view and political perspective that I might be missing a trick, but the notion that we as The Salvation Army would be doing the things without Jesus being at the centre....or center...seems to be misunderstanding what we are about.

Would love to hear what you think

There are a few similar ramblings rolling around the same subject:

HT to Rob Noland at Revolution Hawaii for the image


Scott See said...

Hopefully the Greater New York Division will comment on this so that we can hear an official response on this matter. Amazing that here I am living in NY and I found out about this through your FB post. I agree that we need not back down nor separate who we are or what we are founded on. We are the Salvation Army and we are known to help because we are following Jesus' example. It is not as though we are forcing people to believe what we believe instead we let them know that we are helping them because God commands us to do so.

Johnny said...

If they do, here's hoping it's suitably gracious and informative.

Good to hear from you, Scott!


Joe Noland said...

Johnny, love your pic on this post. I know you responded to me re this subject over at The Rubicon. I can't speak for GNY or USE, but was the TC there and understand the circumstances surrounding this decision. It's in the clarifying statement at the end:
This may be of interest to your readers. Bless you.

Joe Noland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Johnny said...

Thanks, as ever, Joe for your great input. It's much valued!

In His dust


Rob said...

Thanks to you Jonny for bringing these articles and thoughts to the eyes of UK Salvationists.
It is incredible because for years I have thought the US more tollerant of our 'religeous' activity / our Christian motivation when compared to the woolly UK authorities. But what I read in the NY Times article could equally soon eminate from UK based media 'any day soon'.
The efforts of the 'god-less' Atheist massaging the message to the 'PC' brigade (Plotically Correct)and encouraging the 'fear' that all us Christians want to do is dominate the minds and lives of all who come within our influence. The mind-blowingly inept and, frankly, often disinterested Council managers and influencers; and similar Government Ministers and departments, will (already are) simply giving in to these new efforts by the devil (!) to remove all faith-based activity - wherever in manifests itself.
I wish the wider SA in the UK could get involved with these discussion because for years we've 'taken the Queens shilling' without a thought that one day the tail will wag the dog; we will be no longer in control of our own Mission-based activity; it will no longer be a 'mission'.
I do believe that social services should be provided regardless of Christian input. The SA used to be good at walking away when an activity no longer served the Mission - or when the objective had been achieved. (eg Employment Bureau / Match Factory). So is it now time to avoid being sucked into evn more activities that really only serve the sitting Government of the day (Let's encourage Faith-based initiatives to provide for our people 'on the cheap'). I like the reading of Joe Noland's Blog; he started no new activities that meant he had to take the presidents coin a phrase.
We need to get back to raising our own cash (without strings) to do the things that mean we can at all times be free to speak the name of Jesus - for we do all we do in His Name to win men + women, girls + boys. We have a number of our local Salvationists involved in SA Social Services - and all are agast at what is becoming of the SA Hostels (Lifehouses). We are becoming hotel -keepers. Fine - as long as we can still do our work of speaking the fathers Name. What happens when one of our regional HR people - employed by the SA is a declared Atheist? Yes - she is part of our mission objective to - that's to be applauded - but having an 'unchristian motivator' at the centre of things? Is that wise? Back to the subject: we need UK leaders prepared now to down-grade our activities where we are funded by the increasingly god-less society - and start to put in place new planning to wage the war in our own gentle Christ-motivated way. We can be wiley as snakes, take the money and subversively do the witnessing and the rescuing but whilst we still have some freedom of religious belief, is that the honest way to witness?People still need the Lord. We cannot allow ourselves to be shackled by such (cash)bonds. Further - we can probably still be bold and make it clear what our objectives are (I'm sure we do this to some extent). If we say out loud and clear 'we're doing this activity / project / whatever because we feel compelled by the Love of Christ to do it in Jesus name' then perhaps we'll be respected and there will be no shocks to 'the system' when we speak His name as we do His work, and share His Love as we win them for Christ.
A final thought: Let's Praise Him when we are under duress - for this is how it will be at the end of time. 'Rejoice and be exceeding glad'

If I have been less than Grace-full in my responses I apologize.
In Love.

Rob (Little)