Friday, January 03, 2003

The Salvation Army and the Gift

The Salvation Army is back in the news, and this time it is not for the red kettles. A fiercely conservative and evangelical group, the Army recently passed on a $100,000 donation because the donor was giving from his $14 million lottery jackpot. The Army rejected the contribution on the basis that many of the homeless they serve are that way because of gambling, and did not want to accept "dirty money."

Ignoring the differences between bookies and a state governemnt, I admire the spirit of the Army in wanting to be pure. But in this fallen world of the 21st Century, isn't most of life a gamble? Can they accept the profits of someone who successfully starts a new business? Isn't that gambling? Or can they accept the profits of someone who invested in new stock market company years ago? Isn't that gambling? I am all in favor of purity and holiness, but I question whether they are being defined properly in this instance.

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