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Stephen L. Carter

The Salvation Army's Actions Speak Louder Than Its Theology

Judge volunteers on their actions, not their religious beliefs. 

It’s the most noisiest time of the year

It’s the most noisiest time of the year

Photographer: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Thanksgiving Day marks the traditional kickoff of the Salvation Army’s “Red Kettle” giving campaign. Volunteers flood the nation’s shopping malls and sidewalks, ringing their bells to ask for donations to help the nation’s poor.

Activists have long called for a boycott of the giving campaign, pointing to the group’s traditional Christian understanding of sexuality. This year, British singer Ellie Goulding briefly threatened to cancel her halftime-show gig at the Dallas Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day game, the event that traditionally kicks off the Red Kettle campaign. (She changed her mind.)  And then there’s the case of Chick-Fil-A, long under pressure from activists, which just last week agreed to stop contributing money to the Salvation Army.