Berkeley Student Government Seeks to Ban Salvation Army Bell Ringers

Salvation Army bell ringer volunteers William Schmidt (L), who is on his 20th year volunteering, and his grandson Bubba Wellens (R) ring their bells looking for a donation into a kettle outside a Giant grocery store November 24, 2012, in Clifton, Virgina. Salvation Army volunteers traditionally are seen collecting donations from holiday shopper for the needy between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Schmidt says he does it, ‘ to teach others the joy of giving. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

The student government at the University of California-Berkeley (CAL) is taking a stand against the Salvation Army. The group voted to ban Salvation Army bell ringers from campus this Christmas because of the Christian organization’s so-called anti-gay stance.

Campus Reform reports the student group passed the resolution on Nov. 14. It accuses the Salvation Army of intentionally discriminating against homosexuals and asks the University of California-Berkeley to revoke the group’s permit that allows them to collect donations.

“Salvation Army church services, including charity services, are available only to people ‘who accept and abide by the Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline,’ which excludes homosexuality,” reads the bill, SB 176.

“Allowing the Salvation Army to collect donations on campus is a form of financial assistance that empowers the organization to spend the money it raises here in order to discriminate and advocate discrimination against queer people,” the resolution adds.

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In a statement to Campus Reform, the Salvation Army adamantly denied these charges, saying the allegations are based solely on “internet rumors.”

“The notion that we require those we help to ‘accept and abide by the Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline which excludes homosexuality’ to receive assistance is totally false,” wrote Kathy Lovin, a spokeswoman for the Salvation Army.

She added that “the only requirement for service from The Salvation Army is demonstrated need and our ability to meet it.”

According to the bill, the student government also wants to formally express “disapproval of the presence of Salvation Army donation containers on campus” because “queer students…may take offense to the presence of collection containers operated by a discriminator religious organization in their places of living.”

A university spokesperson told Campus Reform that the school is reviewing the matter but did not say whether the charity organization would actually be denied access to the university.