Berkeley student government wants to ban Salvation Army

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Robby Soave Reporter
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A student at the University of California-Berkeley continued his crusade to ban the Salvation Army from campus, promising to submit a letter to the chancellor this week that urges immediate action.

The student, Andrew Pack, is a member of Berkeley’s student government, the Associated Students of the University of California. Last semester, he sponsored a bill calling for the university administration to remove all Salvation Army donation bins from campus. The bill was approved unanimously, but the university has not yet indicated whether it will heed the wishes of the student senators.

The Salvation Army is a Christian charitable organization that provides food, clothing and shelter to the poor. But according to the ASUC, it is also an anti-gay organization that lobbies for conservative social values and discriminates against gay and transgendered individuals who seek its services.

Pack did not respond to requests for comment, but a press release posted on his personal website claimed erroneously that the Salvation Army refused to provide shelter to a homeless transgendered woman named Jennifer Gale in Austin, Texas, several years ago, leading to her death. According to The Austin Chronicle, the story is untrue.

Matthew Enger, a spokesperson for CalSERVE — an ASUC political party that supports the bill — nonetheless maintained that the Salvation Army’s discrimination against the LGBT community was well documented. He cited a Salvation Army leader’s threatening remarks toward gay people, the organization’s lobbying efforts, and Gale’s death as “evidence of discrimination against LGBT people and [that it] financially support efforts to discriminate against LGBT people,” in an email to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

But a Salvation Army spokesperson maintained that the organization does not discriminate against anyone.

“The only requirement for service from the Salvation Army is demonstrated need and our ability to meet it,” said Kathy Lovin, a spokesperson for the organization, in a statement.

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