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The Red Kettle Conundrum: To Give - Or Not To Give To The Salvation Army ...Or Anyone Else For That Matter!

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Sean Hannity's charity, Freedom Alliance - a charity set up to supposedly distribute scholarships to children of fallen soldiers, was charged with scamming donors, giving only 6-7% of donations to "scholarships" and pocketing the rest for luxurious vacations, private jets, etc.


While not all charities are tainted with scandal and improprieties, donating to charities these days is still a risky business unless you do some research. The Salvation Army's finances, for example are not listed in watchdog groups such as Charity Navigator because religious groups are exempt from filing certain forms with the IRS. Websites for groups like Guidestar, the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, and Charity Watch (American Institute of Philanthropy) are great starting points for donating for the holidays. And for people who really want to donate to a church organization, provides transparency ratings regarding finances and amounts given to beneficial/humanitarian programs (e.g. Trinity Broadcasting Network has had an "F" rating even before the Paul Crouch gay sex scandal).

Of course, (as in the case of the Salvation Army), people might disagree with only a portion of a charity's practices but agree that a great deal of its work is worthy of a donation. In that case, contact with the charity's local offices might be in order, since many regional offices have a bit of autonomy in regards to beneficiaries and donations. In fact, when in doubt, you might want to use this maxim:

Charity starts at home: in your city or town... in your own community.

That last sentiment brings up the specter of the OWS Movement: local support for OWS protesters in the form of food, medical supplies and shelter might not be tax deductible, but it might help the fight for social justice. Would the Salvation Army do as much for the protesters? 

Hmmm... just a thought.

*the AFA called the Salvation Army's decision to provide benefits to same-sex couples "A monstrous appeasement to sin." Who wouldn't cave in to such pressure?

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Rev. Dan Vojir is has been writing/blogging on religion and politics for the better part of ten years. A former radio talk show host (Strictly Books €" Talk America Radio Network) and book publisher, Dan has connected with some of the most (more...)

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