If you run into a Salvation Army bell ringer this Christmas season, don’t strike up a conversation about President Trump or gay marriage.
Salvation Army personnel have been told to stop posting their opinions about gay marriage, abortion or anything political on social media because it might reflect poorly on the organization, according to an internal email and guidelines obtained by the Todd Starnes Radio Show.
A number of Salvation Army personnel reached out to me to express their concerns that the organization is embroiled in a battle between Biblical conservatives and progressives. And they fear the progressives are winning the day.
“Political or social opinions (such as hot topic issues like LGBTQ Marriage, Officer Housing, or Abortion) should not be included in profiles, and officers should refrain from posting anything that expresses a political view,” the guidelines for Salvation Army officers state.
The Salvation Army introduced new social media media guidelines to combat an “increased number of complaints regarding comments made on social media by Salvation Army officers and staff.”
“This is a threat to our reputation, our fundraising efforts, and ultimately our ability to serve people in need,” read an email to staffers.
They reminded officers and staff that the Salvation Army is “an unbiased and nonpartisan service organization and church.”
“Salvation Army Officers & Staff should refrain from sharing their views on contentious public issues in any public forum and must not take part in organized action in support of causes or movements,” the guidelines state.
Staff members were discouraged, but not banned, from talking about politics and gay marriage. However, they were told “not allude to The Salvation Army under any circumstances.”
Staffers were also warned to “be wary of ‘liking’ or ‘sharing’ political or potentially controversial celebrities and issues.”
“A ‘retweet’ or ‘share’ can easily be seen as a sign of approval of what you are relaying,” the guidelines state.
A Salvation Army spokesman confirmed the validity of the email and the guidelines. The spokesperson said it was important for staffers to be especially careful what they say around the Christmas season:
“The Salvation Army is highly visible during the Christmas season – a blessing that allows us to spread the gospel and support those in need. The heightened prominence also means that any, and all, Army representatives could be subject to controversies which might distract from our purpose: to serve in His name, without discrimination. The guidelines are a reminder to personnel that we must stay focused on our mission during this politically-charged time. As stewards of donors’ dollars, and soldiers of service, we must use every opportunity possible, including social media, to share the love of Christ.”