Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
Quote of the Day: Goodness and Mercy
The Salvation Army Mission Statement
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
Because the Salvation Army actually holds to this mission statement, they are able to do the most real good with every dollar you give them. Because the Salvation Army actually holds to this mission statement, they are hated. Because the Salvation Army holds to this mission statement, other organizations’ reactions to the Salvation Army reveal much about those other organizations. People of any or no religious faith can count on their donations actually being put to use to relieve hunger, addiction, and disaster because the officers of the Salvation Army take orders from something higher than self or the spirit of the age.
The Salvation Army was founded in England in 1865, as part of the response to the negative effects of urbanization on families and culture. They came out of, and were informed by, the Methodist Church. To this day, their doctrine is well within “the universal Christian Church.” That set of beliefs include an emphasis on the Great Commission, going into all the world to make disciples in Christ’s name.
It is a judgment against our society today that we have allowed our culture to become hostile, to set in opposition the second and third sentences of the Salvation Army’s mission statement. Having a message based on the Bible means having a message grounded in a 2000-3000-year-old set of documents, not subject to addition or subtraction in response to temporal power trends. Because of this, “the love of God,” whether that means love directed towards God or God’s love, cannot be fully bent to flatter human desires and self-perceptions. Instead of the old “bible thumpers are hypocrites” we now have the weaponized “bible thumpers are harmful haters.” Reciting the great good done for actual LGBTQ people, does not get the Salvation Army secular leftist credit; but why?
No matter how many press statements affirming individuals’ dignity and worth, no matter how deeply the US branches bury Salvation Army doctrine in their web presence, the real haters know that the fundamental offending beliefs are still there: that marriage is meant by God to be between one man and one woman, and that sex outside of this relationship is not within God’s will. The Salvation Army’s United Kingdom Territory’s Positional Statements web page affirms this. Even the Salvation Army’s New Zealand territorial website plainly affirms the orthodox Christian doctrine of marriage. While the Salvation Army International’s Positional Statements do not include marriage or sexuality, the territorial statements are approved by, and reflect the doctrine of, the Salvation Army writ large.
Yet, it may be stubborn adherence to old-time religion that lets a 150+-year-old organization stay focussed and not divert more and more of its resources to administrative nest building or a “progressive” state-focussed agenda. Belief in the mission keeps Salvation Army soldiers and officers working for relatively modest wages, accepting such restrictions on personal autonomy as abstention from all alcohol and tobacco. That same self-discipline, and organizational internal discipline, provides a level of assurance to people who donate or who turn to the Salvation Army for help.
Whatever the recent railing against the Salvation Army, there is still a basic recognition of the Salvation Army’s value as a force for good in society. The NFL, however, “woke,” is still affiliated with the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle campaign. When First Lady Melania Trump accompanied President Trump to the NATO conference in Britain, she joined the wife of the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom in a visit to the Salvation Army in London. Even the AP video was positive. The White House branded her visit under her Be Best campaign:
Surely people who truly seek to “meet human needs in His name without discrimination” can rightly be said to contribute to helping our society “Be Best,” living out goodness and mercy towards people when they are at their lowest.Published in Group Writing
They put their money where it should go.
I did not know that the Salvation Army was a project of the Methodist Church. I have a lot of respect for the Methodist Church. I shall count this as yet one more reason to respect them. :-)
I enjoyed this post very much. Thank you. :-)
We’re all sometimes hypocrites to others, because the “perfect” shouldn’t be the enemy of the good. When it comes to “hate,” it’s in the minds of others.
The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. There are many open days on the January Signup Sheet. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!
Thank you. To clarify, the Salvation Army came out of, but is not an arm or extension of, the Methodist Church. I think their theology is still aligned with some portion of Methodism.
The Salvation Army is the closest thing that any practical organization can come to pure goodness. BTW, notice how natural Melania Trump is when she is in these situations. I think this is no act but who she really is.
So true. When I see polemics against “the haters,” I notice, more often than not, that the “hate” is something that is bubbling up within the accusers, rather than a legitimate characteristic of the group, however large or small, that’s being excoriated for displaying it.
Usually, I think, there’s a fair amount of projection involved. The antics and body of work of what Kevin Williamson calls the American Association of Outrage Professionals (Ashley Judd and her ilk spring to mind) seems to bear this out.
It’s also become one of those tiresome and ugly tropes (like “racist,” the way it is often used today) that people use to try to end conversations they find uncomfortable and which they hope will cause their opponents to slink away in shame without trying to defend themselves.