This kind of thing not only irritates, it agitates.
Our local paper printed a seemingly innocuous appeal (by a former mayor) asking the public to give to Salvation Army Bellringers at Shopping Malls (in JULY). All for a “good cause” of course: for the “neediest children in our county” to go to summer camp and enjoy swimming, rock climbing, etc, etc. For a “life-changing experience.” Some kids even get to go to “Music Camp.” Then, the kids get to come back and enjoy a Back to School Shopping Day at Target. Sounds very nice, doesn’t it? No problem there.
Except. . .
Here’s the comment I left:
Seriously, I have no problem with good work that assists “the neediest children.” Who could criticize that? However, I do have issues with “deceptive advertising” when it comes to religious groups. I would suggest that anyone considering a donation to the bell-ringers visit the Camp Del Oro website: http://www1.usw.salvationarmy.org/USW/www_usw_campdeloro.nsf
There we find the true purpose of helping the “needy.”
“Salvation Army camps serve the total personal and spiritual needs of the campers through a creative, healthful experience in an outdoor setting, while teaching them about the love of Christ. The spiritual aspect is expressed as an integral part of all activities, becoming a part of the total environment and atmosphere. The spiritual emphasis and the positive environment are at the heart of Camp Del Oro.”
And their “mission”?
“Our hope is that each person who enters camp’s gate would:
Encounter the life and love of Jesus;
Experience His love and forgiveness;
Embrace Him through a personal decision;
Using God’s creation, Biblical truth, relationships, creativity, and FUN!”
If you support that purpose and mission, by all means, give. If not, smile at the bellringers and leave them to their evangelistic endeavors.
I’ve been in social service my entire adult life. I think it’s wonderful to take youth into Nature and summer camps can truly be “life changing experiences.” I’ve been a camp counselor more than once. However, whether it’s the Salvation Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines. . .this is about one main thing: Salvation.
(though the website is extremely clear about this purpose. . .the good mayor never mentions that once. . .I find that deceptive. What do you think?)