The Salvation Army's Response to False Claims on the Topic of Racism
This statement is in response to a politically motivated group that is trying to force The Salvation Army to conform to the groups ideology of choice. For additional context on this issue, including The Salvation Army’s full response, please click here.
Elements of the recently issued “Let’s Talk About Racism” guide led some to believe we think they should apologize for the color of their skin, or that The Salvation Army may have abandoned its Biblical beliefs for another philosophy or ideology. That was never our intention, so the guide has been withdrawn.
The holidays are a welcome reminder of the things we are grateful for—and for the power of service on behalf of those who are less fortunate. The Salvation Army mission statement clearly outlines the nature of our service: to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in His name without discrimination. The beliefs that motivate our service are based solely on the Bible, and that will never change.
But although we remain committed to serving everyone in need—regardless of their beliefs, backgrounds, or lifestyle—some individuals and groups have recently attempted to mislabel our organization to serve their own agendas. They have claimed that we believe our donors should apologize for their skin color, that The Salvation Army believes America is an inherently racist society, and that we have abandoned our Christian faith for one ideology or another.
Those claims are simply false, and they distort the very goal of our work.
The truth is that The Salvation Army believes that racism is fundamentally incompatible with Christianity, and that we are called by God to work toward a world where all people are loved, accepted, and valued. Our positional statement on racism makes this clear. These beliefs and goals are critically important because we know that racism exists, and we are determined to do everything the Bible asks of us to overcome it.
The Salvation Army occasionally publishes internal study guides on various complex topics to help foster positive conversations and grace-filled reflection among Salvationists. By openly discussing these issues, we always hope to encourage the development of a more thoughtful organization that is better positioned to support those in need. But no one is being told how to think. Period.
In this case, the guide “Let’s Talk About Racism,” was issued as a voluntary resource, but it has since become a focus of controversy. We have done our best to provide accurate information, but unfortunately, some have chosen to ignore those efforts. At the same time, International Headquarters realized that certain aspects of the guide may need to be clarified.
Consequently, for both reasons, the International Social Justice Commission has withdrawn the guide.
We at The Salvation Army remain undeterred in our mission because we are confident in the power of the gospel, and because millions of vulnerable Americans need our help. And we remain deeply grateful for the support of a generous public—people from all walks of life and from all parts of the country—who help us meet human need wherever it exists. Our supporters know that ours is a message of love, even for those who disagree or attack us. That is the model set by Christ, and we strive to follow it every day.
May God bless you, and Merry Christmas.
Please see the National Commander’s interview on CBN News, affirming The Salvation Army’s focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ, rather than social theories or ideologies.