The Claim: Salvation Army Loses Funding for Meals on Wheels
What is the concern?
The issue here is a $60,000 dollar grant from the government for the Salvation Army’s Meals on Wheels Program in Portland, Maine. This happened in the year 2002.
Why did they lose the grant?
This is due to a 2001 ordinance that requires recipients of federal funding to provide health and employment benefits to their workers' domestic partners.
When you accept govt. funds you must accept the conditions that come with it. The Salvation Army is unwilling to do this because they believe the Bible forbids sexual relations between persons of the same gender.
It appears that the Salvation Army was going to institute this kind of a policy but did an about face when pressured by religious groups such as Focus on the Family’s Dr James Dobson, the American Family Association, and the Family Research Council. It should be noted that across the country (as of the time of this news story) 4,300 companies offered this kind of benefit. (See here)
This is often touted as a 'gay agenda' issue but it is actually a separation of church and state issue. See this Baptist commentary on this issue. In short .. churches and church organizations should not rely on govt. money for their projects. If/when they do that will need to be mindful of the conditions that come with it.
So what is my take on this? Is this a violation of religious freedom?
Not in my opinion. Government money always comes with government hoops to jump through. If you don’t want to jump through the hoops then you don’t get / take the money. I would note that we have no problem with these types of government hoops if it is something we want, such as banning abortion funding to other counties (see link)
We need to understand as citizens of this country that the government exists for the benefit of ALL its citizens, not just the Christian ones. In a pluralistic nation such as ours we should not expect government to only support the principles of Christianity or one particular brand of it.