To the editor,
Two items in the online issue of Philanthropy Journal were both related and somewhat confusing at the same time.
In a post-election environment, one in which the successful candidate for president, “W,” called for an amendment to the United States Constitution banning same-sex marriage, and subsequently on network television embraced civil unions, there would appear to be a consistent paradox.
The Target Corporation is caught in the same conundrum. Its creation of a consistent policy regarding the Salvation Army’s annoying bell-ringers and medieval red kettles has caused the wrath of two disparate and traditionally conflicting groups, advocates for full civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, and the Christian (?) Right (?).
On one hand, as the Philanthropy Journal reported from the Agape Press, it’s the “homosexual activists” who are behind Target’s creating of a consistent, new policy.
On the other hand, Target is demonized by Christian conservatives, as reported by the Associated Press in the Boston Globe, for exactly the same action.
Discrimination in any form, against any individual or groups of individuals, is not only illegal according to our current Constitution, but is also bad for business.
Target, in its nondiscrimination statement, is committed to “create an environment that recognizes the value of diversity and enhances the opportunity for success of all team members, regardless of their differences.”
The Salvation Army, on the other hand, has benefited from discrimination latitudes generated from backroom deals with Karl Rove, allowing it to discriminate in its workplace and, as well, was one of the only relief organizations in New York City to actually turn away surviving same-sex partners who had lost their loved ones on September 11 and were searching for assistance and support.
There is nothing Christian about holding back compassion from people in need, and as an organization that discriminates in deciding who it will help and who it will leave out in the cold, the Salvation Army does not deserve donations during the holiday season, or ever, for that matter.
I, as a Christian and a lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender civil rights activist, am often in embarrassed disbelief of what fellow believers do in the name of God.
Thank you for your time. I enjoy reading the Philanthropy Journal when I receive it each week.
Scott E. Conlan, executive director, SPARC: Statewide Pennsylvania Rights Coalition, Harrisburg