A Worthy Cause

by | December 18, 2014

In a Canadian Atheist post, Indi says,

Stop giving money to The Salvation Army. Seriously, stop it. They are not a charity, they are a church. They are an evangelical Christian church. This is not opinion, this is fact.

Would you like to take the Christ out of Christmas, but don’t know where to contribute money for a worthy cause that doesn’t come with Jesus attached? If so, you can support the Kelowna Secular Sobriety Group!


January will mark two years of helping local people tackle their addictions. The first non-religious addictions peer support group in Kelowna follows the SMART Recovery program which encourages self-empowerment by providing a safe, respectful and anonymous setting for anyone who wants to work towards becoming and staying alcohol and drug-free.


The Kelowna Secular Sobriety Group has helped many local people who have been struggling with addiction.

One regular participant in KSSG meetings, Tim, found the group so helpful in getting and staying sober, that he has recently trained as a SMART Recovery facilitator himself and is starting a couple of new groups in the New Year.


Check out Tim’s website and support the Kelowna Secular Sobriety Group!

4 thoughts on “A Worthy Cause

  1. TeeDee

    I hear what you’re saying and agree for the most part; but The Salvation Army is the only charity to put back close to 100% in helping to keep people off the streets and feed them. We know someone who had to live there for a while, and he is not a religious person at all. Perhaps he led them to believe he was, because he was desperate for a place to stay, but nonetheless, they helped him get back on his feet. This is one religious charity that does a lot of good with every penny they take in, even if I disagree with their beliefs and preaching.

    1. Indi

      The Salvation Army is the only charity to put back close to 100% in helping to keep people off the streets and feed them.

      A lot of people repeat this claim, but it’s simply not true – in fact, it’s wrong on every level.

      First of all, no one can *actually* be sure of how much of its donations the Salvation Army *really* puts toward doing real good, because they’re a church, not a charity: in most jurisdictions, they are not required to disclose their finances like charities are, and they don’t. Sure, they give us their sweet word that they’re putting all the money toward helping the needy… but how much is their word really worth? The truth is, we *know* for a fact that they certainly don’t put 100% of it toward doing good, because we have records proving they have spent at least some of it quietly doing evil, such as funding anti-gay lobbying.

      More importantly, they are most certainly *NOT* the only charity that keeps people off the streets and feeds them. There are dozens of secular charities that do the same job, many of them with stellar reputations and public records that *prove* they’re not syphoning off some of the donations to fund homophobic or other bigoted nonsense. The Kelowna Secular Sobriety Group is almost certainly one of the many charities that does some of the same work as the Salvation Army, without the secrecy, or the bigotry.

      While I’m glad the person you know had a good experience with them, there is a long list of people who haven’t – usually because they were gay or of the wrong religion. They can – and have – kicked people out into the freezing cold simple for being gay, and because they are a church (and not a charity), there’s not a damn thing anyone can do to stop them. (If they were a charity, they would lose their tax-free status for discriminating, but churches are free to be bigots.)

      We don’t need the Salvation Army, or Alcoholics Anonymous; there are better, secular alternatives, without the bigotry, secrecy, or religious nonsense.

  2. Tim Underwood

    It is very sad that the Army can’t be reformed as a secular charity. I like their aesthetics but Have to accept the truth. Taking care of people abandoned to the streets is too much of a responsibility for a charity in my opinion. This is a national embarrassment.

    1. Indi

      It is very sad that the Army can’t be reformed as a secular charity.

      It bothers me that there are still a lot of people who think that way. That idea is based on the persistent misconception – wholeheartedly encouraged by the Salvation Army themselves – that the Salvation Army is a charity; that they can “clean up their act” by just changing a few organizational policies. Hoping that the Army could “reform into a secular charity” makes about as much sense as hoping that the Catholic Church could reform into a secular social club.

      I’m not really sure what about their aesthetic is worth preserving, really. Certainly we’d have to ditch the “salvation” part, but I’m not too keen on the “army” part either. Kettles and bell-ringing for donations? I don’t see why those things couldn’t be done by a secular charity. The brass band? I would think that would be better done by local school bands, but that could also be done by a secular charity quite easily.

      Really, the only thing that has people so attached to the Army is just familiarity. But I don’t see why we couldn’t build an entirely new style – one that not only includes multiple holiday traditions but that also makes a point of its tolerant and non-discriminatory nature. And that also takes into account the changing world: I don’t think bumming for change is going to work when everyone starts shopping online or paying via smartphones. Or, on the other hand, there’s no reason the organizations who provide shelter and food need to be the same ones that solicit donations.

      I do agree that these services should not depend on charity. A government that expects charity to pick up the slack in the social services is lazy and cheap, almost to the point of being criminal. If we can’t run our government without charity, I would say the first thing that should be cut, then, are ministers’ salaries – not services to the needy. Let the ministers’ salaries be paid for by charity instead.


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