The Salvation Army, the Christian charity famous for its festive collection boxes and volunteers around the holiday season, has adopted the teachings of critical race theory, urging members to actively confront their faith’s historic racism.
In a guidebook titled “Let’s Talk About Racism,” the organization calls Christians to reflect on and rectify their contributions to the social inequities and prejudicial systems that have harmed minorities. Citing its “International Position Statement on Racism,” the organization writes that it “acknowledges with regret, that Salvationists have sometimes shared in the sins of racism and conformed to economic, organisational and social pressures that perpetuate racism.”
An accompanying document created by the Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission, called the “Study Guide on Racism,” claims that white people are responsible for “unconscious bias,” an idea promulgated by critical-race-theory advocate Ibram X. Kendi. Kendi argues that white people’s legacy of racism is irredeemable, and that the only remedy is reverse discrimination as a matter of retributive justice to level the societal playing field.
The study guide reads: “The subtle nature of racism is such that people who are not consciously racist easily function with the privileges, empowerment and benefits of the dominant ethnicity, thus unintentionally perpetuating injustice.”
Despite their best intentions and commitment against it, the charity claims, “people can unintentionally and unwittingly perpetuate racial division.”
“For instance, devout Christians who naively use racial epithets or a well-intentioned Sunday School curriculum that only uses white photography and imagery,” the Salvation Army writes.
Toward the end of its guide, the organization presents a glossary of social-justice terms for members’ reference, including ” anti-racist,” “colonizer,” “domestic terrorism,” “fascism,” “inclusion,” “institutional racism,” “micro aggressions,” “systemic racism,” and “whiteness.”
Taking from this extensive vocabulary, one lesson in the brochure informs that “structural racism . . . is the overarching system of racial bias across institutions and society. These systems give privileges to White people resulting in disadvantages to (blacks).”
The organization also advocates against the philosophy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the concept of “colorblindness,” which long served to promote equality of opportunity and end discrimination on the basis of race.
“While this might sound helpful, it actually ignores the God-given differences we all possess, as well as the beautiful cultures of our Black and Brown brothers and sisters. Instead of trying to be colorblind, try seeing the beauty in our differences, and welcome them into your homes churches and workplaces. Being colorblind also ignores the discrimination our Black and Brown brothers and sisters face and does not allow us to address racism properly,” the guide explains.
The anti-racist guidebook represents a departure from the charity’s original charter, suggesting that it may have succumbed to progressive pressure. In 2019, the Salvation Army lost the financial support of the Christian company Chick-fil-A.