How Dare Pete Buttigieg Work With The Salvation Army To Help The Poor, Sniffed The Narrow-Minded Critics
[guest post by Dana]
Pearl clutching because a gay mayor joined with a Christian organization to help raise money for those in need. Dear God, what fresh hell is this:
Pete Buttigieg is drawing criticism after pictures of him volunteering for the Salvation Army, which has historically opposed gay rights, recently resurfaced on social media.
In the photos, Buttigieg is seen standing outside Peggs restaurant in South Bend, Indiana, where he is the mayor, for the Red Kettle Ring Off, an annual charity initiative during which public officials compete to raise money for the Salvation Army. While the photos were from 2017, Buttigieg, who has surged to the top of many polls of Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa, has been participating in the event since at least 2015, according to local news reports. He also held an event at the Salvation Army in South Bend last year.
Enter the angry and aggrieved, upset that a gay man would brazenly break rank and volunteer his time with a Christian organization to help raise money for those in need. Some “concerns”:
I know the photos are two years old, but still, I can't help but wonder if Mayor Pete just looks at what LGBTQ activists have been working on for years and then chooses to spite it (e.g. Salvation Army, Chick-fil-A, queer media in general, etc.). https://t.co/zSYzlRLrOX
— Zack Ford (@ZackFord) December 4, 2019
“Apparently race issues aren’t the only thing @PeteButtigieg is slow to grasp,” one tweet read, referring to past comments Buttigieg made about the lack of educational role models in low-income, minority neighborhoods. “What is his excuse for not realizing the Salvation Army is homophobic?”
“We in the #LGBTQ & others are nuanced,” wrote one user. “The act of service to others doesn’t mean the absolution of another’s hate to others.”
The irony, of course, is that Mayor Pete was doing what every other mayor in America would do, if asked. In other words, he was serving his community, he was reaching out to others, he was acting on behalf of those in need in a non-discriminatory manner.
Apparently, in certain communities, working alongside those with whom you may not agree should cancel out and supersede any noble call to help others in need. Screw you, poor people! Funny how the those who have benefited in some way from Buttigieg’s work with the Salvation Army haven’t been complaining… Maybe, just maybe when you are homeless, hungry, alone, and simply have no fight left after being worn down by the grinding struggle of life, from whom and where that hot meal, warm coat, and comfort comes doesn’t really matter all that much. It’s just so damn easy to criticize from the cushy, lofty thrones of the smugly privileged. How shameful it is that these critics believe themselves and their cause to be what is most important here. And how blind to not see that a gay man volunteering to work with the Salvation Army is, ironically, an illustration of loving one’s neighbor, and thus a witness in itself. Clearly the mayor and the organization understand that this isn’t about them. Their’s is a greater calling embracing an outward focus on others. That should be celebrated.
In a recent interview with Out, Director of Communications David Jolley clarified the Army’s mission with regard to the LGBT community:
[T]he Salvation Army has “evolved [in its] approach” to serving the LGBTQ+ community. “As we build and remodel emergency shelters and transitional housing across the country, we consider ways to help LGBTQ+ individuals feel safe and cared for,” he said. Jolley cited a Las Vegas dorm that exists exclusively for transgender individuals, a San Francisco detox facility for patients with HIV/AIDS, and the organization’s work with transgender sex trafficking victims in Baltimore.
In addition, the organization makes it clear that all are served. You can read more about their LGBTQ outreach here, as well as watch a number of testimonials from gays who have been helped by the Salvation Army:
Serving suffering humanity without discrimination: Oh, that all communities would do likewise.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)