Sally Ann loses the plot

I have, for a long time, had a sneaking regard for the Salvation Army. Yes, they’re religious, but they do tend to get off their backsides and really help those in need. They habitually go into pubs and clubs to collect donations, even though they have an antipathy to alcohol consumption, so one would expect them to be equally grateful for the proceeds of a song, no matter that it was written and sung by an atheist. One of Tim Minchin‘s songs has already appeared on this blog, but this time there will be no need to warn anyone that it isn’t safe for work. Minchin doesn’t grovel to religion, but this song is fairly innocuous, and the ingratitude shown by the Salvation Army when they said ‘we do not in any way support the statements made in this song.’ is staggering. Why could they not say they were grateful for the donation whoever gives it? Anyway, Tim has reacted to their disdain by switching the donation elsewhere and you can click here to buy his version in aid of a secular charity.

In the meantime, I can only hope that the stupidity is confined to Australia’s Sally Ann. It would be a shame if their good work elsewhere was contaminated by such intolerance.

Here’s the song in question – as usual, if you like it please click through and tell him so.

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6 responses to “Sally Ann loses the plot

  1. I don’t know whether the fact that religion is not regarded as very important by most people in the UK is a good thing or not – I might be complacent because of it. Your comments have given me a lot of food for thought, and Ill be keeping my ear to the ground. I come into contact with Christians every day in my volunteer work, and though they know I’m an atheist they don’t give me a hard time. In fact we manage to find quite a lot of common ground when it comes to organised religion, so if there is any dirt to be found on the local Sally Ann I should hear it.
    Don’t worry about the HTML – it confuses the hell out of me too!

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  2. Oh, and because I don’t always say things as well as professional writers….

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/12/scratch_the_salvation_army_off.php

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  3. DaveD, I can’t ask for more than that! I used to work for them. My justification for supporting a religion? That their actions were speaking louder than their words.

    Let’s talk a bit more about their actions.

    I worked in the Emergency Men’s Shelter. We took in people who were drunk, or stoned on whatever they may have found. I was supposed to take their name, and assign them a mat to sleep on.

    There were 2 big rooms, holding 14 or so mats each, which would be for people who were (1 room) intoxicated, or (room 2) had not engaged in ‘productive choice’ (school, job or what have you).

    Anyway, if someone left the building for any reason after a certain time (I think it was 9:00pm), they were NOT allowed back in. I could, however, take someone else in and assign them a mat.

    The Salvation Army Men’s Emergency Shelter here gets some money for every warm body they can cram in every night.

    Another 2 rooms were crowded with bunkbeds. Only the chosen could have them (unless we could get more clients in that way)

    Just down the hall was a giant empty church. Heated all year and empty 6 days out of 7. The ‘Majors’ often lamented the cost of keeping the building heated, which was paid for by the government in various ways.

    One way was the body count at the shelter. Another way was that, upstairs, they took in halfway house clients. If a prisoner had ANY mention of alcohol or drugs in their court case, the only way they could get early release was to take the SA ‘program’. This included AA, and church attendance. While the church attendance was voluntary, the staff pretty universally attended, and would treat favourably anyone who likewise attended.

    The government gave them money to feed these inmates. Instead of using it, the SA used foods donated from local businesses (which was SUPPOSED to be for ‘needy’) and, well, I don’t know what they did with the money because the old fellow who looks after their books didn’t volunteer anything. He DID, however, place his daughter in charge of the addictions program. She had no experience or relevant training, but I am sure she did as good a job as anyone would expect.

    I was alone, with 30+ homeless, often intoxicated men, all night. The few times I had to call the police for something, they were amazed that there were no security cameras.

    I offered to donate mine, and set it up to photograph anyone who came in the door. (it had motion-detect software). Instead, they (only verbally – damn it!) asked me if I could set it up in the front area to record the donations bin because someone was probably stealing used pants and the like.

    When I finally left their employ, it was because they would NOT address any of the staff (and client) safety issues I brought before them. I called the labour standards folks, who assured me that, being the size they were, they were required to have a safety committee comprised of management and staff. I said that it wasn’t the case. The labour standards fellow said that he would look into it. When I called him back a few days later, he said that he had taken a tour of the facility with the (old, white-bearded) Major and had not seen any issues. I asked him about the camera and he said that it had been addressed (and declined) at several staff meetings.

    I asked him if he had seen the minutes from those meetings. He said no.
    I asked him if he had met with the health and safety committee. He said nothing.

    I stopped asking. I had another job and better things to do.

    Recently, they lost the contract for ‘serving’ corrections clients. I think that is because they are SO incompetent, even the government can see it.

    I really do hope you look into it, DaveD. I have been a fan of your art for years. I would hate to think that these ass-clowns had pulled the wool over your eyes.

    One last tidbit –
    (from the article)

    http://www.edmontonsun.com/news/canada/2010/12/08/16478111.html

    You see, they have lots of people deciding to trash good toys (or books) because of their beliefs at the moment. I don’t know if it’s true all the time, but here I have seen where that stuff goes – straight to the landfill with the other rejected items.

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    • DARN IT!!! I tried using HTML tags and messed up but good…the quote I wanted to post from the article was “The Sally Ann refuses to distribute the Twilight and Harry Potter toys because of their wizardry, vampire and werewolf content, said Capt. Pam Goodyear.

      “The Salvation Army is based on Christian principles, so these things are not in line with those,” said Goodyear.

      But she said the charity delivers those toys to other agencies that then distribute them.

      “They’re distributed in another manner where parents can choose,” she said, though she couldn’t name any of those other agencies.”

      What looks like a quote is actually my comment…Sorry DaveD, but I will try to avoid that stuff later…(I must confess I don’t know how to fix it)

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  4. Oh, I will look deeper, but for the time being I’ll be charitable and give them some benefit of the doubt!
    Some of the people I know who are connected to the Salvation Army are decent sorts, so maybe that’s coloured my opinion in their favour, but they tend to be volunteers rather than members, and the more I hear of the organisation’s prejudices the less I like it.

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  5. DaveD, you need to learn a bit about the Sally Ann if you think they do ‘Good Work’. Look up instances of them calling for prosecution of folks ‘stealing’ from their donation bins. Look at the fact that they heat large, empty churches with money people give. Do you know that this year, they have made clear that they will not distribute toys from ‘Twilight’ or ‘Harry Potter’? Find out why and my guess is that you will look for a secular charity rather than this train wreck of a church.

    After collecting and misusing donations, they always take credit for all the people they have helped. Any idea how much they skimmed off for themselves and their offensive beliefs?

    Please look deeper…I have come to expect so much more from a rational person…

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