The Our View section of the Morrison County Record this week (November 27, 2007) had a happy little piece about donating to charity over the holiday season. It’s a wonderful sentiment. We should remember those less fortunate than ourselves during this time of the year. (Well, we should remember the poor the other 11 months of the year, too, but that’s another story.)

The article suggests several local, regional, and national organizations and causes to which one can donate. The one that specifically caught my eye was the Salvation Army kettle drive. According to the Our View article, “No earthly reason exists not to drop your spare change in a kettle as you walk by.”

Well, now, I guess that all depends on one’s philosophical and religious perspective. I am one who believes in religious plurality and the right of individuals and organizations to live their faith as they see fit. According to the Salvation Army’s website:

“Salvation Army beliefs follow those of the universal Christian church, as derived from the scriptures.”

I have a little problem with the word “universal” here, in that universality implies unanimity of interpretation of Biblical texts across the entire breadth of Christian denominations. Christian churches are hardly unanimous in their beliefs.

One of the hot-button issues in churches is homosexuality. The Salvation Army appears to ally itself with Christian churches that lean to the right when it comes to same-sex relationships. You can find their official stance on the topic here.

I fully support the Salvation Army’s right to believe what they believe concerning homosexuality. However, I also fully support the right of other Christian denominations and organizations that lean to the left on the issue. Within the United Church of Christ, there are many congregations that support the ordination of gay clergy. In fact, the UCC ordained Malcolm Himschoot, a female-to-male transgender. Among the clergy of the UCC, there are many who support the right of same-sex couples to marry and have full legal recognition of their unions. In fact, some UCC congregations, such as Lyndale United Church of Christ in Minneapolis, MN, have gone so far as to proclaim that they will perform no marriages until everyone is allowed to get married. They will perform the religious ceremony, but the clergy will not file any of the legal documents required by the state for legal recognition – even of heterosexual couples. The church feels that the state is infringing upon its religious freedom.

It is with the cause of these left-leaning organizations and denominations that I am sympathetic. It’s not that I don’t support kids getting Christmas gifts, it’s just that I believe that I should give my money to organizations that will help children in a manner that is in keeping with my faith and moral code. Not only do I have an earthly reason to donate my money to organizations other than the Salvation Army, based on my faith, I have a moral obligation to do so.

Swimming in circles to the left,

Suckerlip Blenny