Salvation Army pushes back on criticism against guide urging white people to ‘apologize’ for racism

On Thursday, The Salvation Army back-peddled on a recently issued internal guide that urged staff members to “stop denying the existence of individual and systemic/institutional racism” after receiving heavy criticism for the material that pushed ideas congruent with critical race theory.

The organization known for its bell ringers collecting donations in red kettles outside of storefronts during the Christmas season issued a statement to combat what they called “false claims” about the organization’s beliefs and defended their “Let’s Talk About Racism” guide by asserting that they had “done their best to provide accurate information.”

In the same breath, they withdrew the guide for “appropriate review.”

“The Salvation Army has occasionally published study guides on various complex topics, including race, to help foster positive conversations and reflection among Salvationists,” the statement read. “The hope is that by openly discussing these issues, we can encourage a more thoughtful organization that is better positioned to serve those in need. These guides are solely designed for internal use. No one is being told how to think. Period.”

“Those claims are false, and they distort the very goal of our work,” it read. “The truth is that The Salvation Army believes that racism is fundamentally incompatible with Christianity, and we are called to work toward a world where all people are loved, accepted, and valued. Our positional statement on racism makes this clear.”

Color Us United, a nonprofit organization aimed to unite instead of divide America, started a petition to urge The Salvation Army from “going woke.”

“Anti-racism, being one perspective among many (and one that rejects other approaches) consequently invalidates any other view of race,” the petition said. “By proxy, we believe The Salvation Army has nullified any other avenue of exploring the very complex issue of race.”

The contested guide was the product of the Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission and asked white people to “lament, repent and apologize for biases or racist ideologies held and actions committed” and stop being “color blind.”

“Color-blindness is often dangerous because while we may not claim to see color, we don’t address the race-based stereotypes of beauty, fame and intelligence which often support a supremacist ideology,” the guide read.

Many on social media felt the retraction of the internal guide was too little, too late. Here’s a sampling of some of those responses from Twitter:


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