Salvation Army Removes Document It Says Was Misinterpreted as CRT

By Matt McGregor
Matt McGregor
Matt McGregor
Matt McGregor covers news from North and South Carolina for The Epoch Times. Send him your story ideas:
December 1, 2021 Updated: December 1, 2021

The Salvation Army has removed a document it says was misinterpreted to fit allegations that the organization had subscribed to critical race theory (CRT).

CRT is a quasi-Marxist philosophy that defines society as a class struggle between the oppressors and the oppressed, specifically labeling white people as the oppressors and all other races as the oppressed.

While there was no clear audience for the document titled “Let’s Talk About Racism,” the document addressed issues of racism and how to discuss them with others, encouraging the reader to “spend time repenting on behalf of the Church and asking God to open hearts and minds to the issue of racism.”

The document was approved by the organization’s general in April 2021 and published by the Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission. It was removed last week because The Salvation Army said it had “become a focus of controversy.”

The Salvation Army issued a press release on Thursday in which the organization said that its guide was intended to be used as a voluntary resource that wasn’t meant to tell people “how to think.” It added that the message in the guide had been misinterpreted to support other agendas.

“But although we remain committed to serving everyone in need—regardless of their beliefs, backgrounds, or lifestyle—some individuals and groups have recently attempted to mislabel our organization to serve their own agendas,” The Salvation Army said in the press release. “They have claimed that we believe our donors should apologize for their skin color, that The Salvation Army believes America is an inherently racist society, and that we have abandoned our Christian faith for one ideology or another.”

The Salvation Army said its intentions to provide “accurate information” had been ignored, its international headquarters “realized that certain aspects of the guide may need to be clarified.”

Elements of CRT

On page three of “What is Whiteness” in “Let’s Talk About Racism,” the document states that the reader must “Stop denying that White privilege exists and learn how it supports racial inequity.”

“You may not feel privileged, but it is likely that you have been excused from numerous negative experiences, as well as benefitted positively simply because of your Whiteness,” the document said. “Denial of White privilege keeps the current systems affected by racism in place, and we must begin to change that.”

Under the subheading “Racism is not an individual act, it is systematic and institutional,” the document states that the American foundation was “built on racism, and it is strongly felt in every aspect of American life.”

Under “Stop trying to be ‘colorblind,’” the document states that attempting to not see the color of one’s skin “ignores the discrimination our Black and Brown brothers and sisters face and does not allow us to address racism properly.”

‘Sincere Apology’

“And as we engage in conversations about race and racism, we must keep in mind that sincere repentance and apologies are necessary if we want to move towards racial reconciliation. We recognize that it is a profound challenge to sit on the hot seat and listen with an open heart to the hurt and anger of the wounded. Yet, we are all hardwired to desire justice and fairness, so the need to receive a sincere apology is necessary,” the document stated.

In a separate Oct. 29 statement titled “An Enduring Commitment,” The Salvation Army said it hasn’t adopted “one social theory or another.”

“We’ve never taken our lead from academic papers, party platforms, political pundits, or popular polls,” The Salvation Army said.

In another document (pdf) titled “Study Guide on Racism,” The Salvation Army said, “The problem of racism is pervasive and complex. It is described as prejudice plus power. Racial division may be hidden, yet embedded in institutional life. Racism can be present even though people avoid using direct racist terminology; racism can be invisible to the dominant ethnicity, yet plainly evident to the disempowered ethnicity.”

Though there have been reports of donors withdrawing support, The Salvation Army didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

In December, The Salvation Army launches its Red Kettle Campaign to raise money for people in need, as they have been doing through the years with volunteers taking collections in red kettles in front of various establishments.

Matt McGregor
Matt McGregor covers news from North and South Carolina for The Epoch Times. Send him your story ideas: