Fact Check: The Salvation Army Did NOT Mandate Critical Race Theory Training

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: The Salvation Army Did NOT Mandate Critical Race Theory Training Fact Check: The Salvation Army Did NOT Mandate Critical Race Theory Training Not CRT

Did The Salvation Army, an international Christian service organization, mandate critical race theory (CRT) training? No, that's not true: Although the organization has published resources detailing its stance on racism -- including a "Let's Talk About Racism" guide that has been pulled from its website -- it has not mandated any training that utilizes critical race theory by name.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on November 3, 2021. The post includes a link to a petition. The caption reads:

Sadly, The Salvation Army is following liberal America. The Army mandates CRT training and claims Diversity and LGBTQ efforts are their top priorities. Please support our effort to end wokism at TSA. Sign the petition now!

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Dec 17 20:17 2021 UTC)

As explained in a statement from The Salvation Army, the claim is one of many that may have stemmed from the organization's voluntary resource guide "Let's Talk About Racism," which some believed targeted white people. Due to the confusion and issues with clarity, the guide was removed for review by the organization's International Social Justice Commission.

Although it is now an interdisciplinary theoretical framework, CRT originated as a legal theory arguing that race is a social construct and that racism is inherent to the legal system. The theory has become a national and local scapegoat for opposition against race education in the U.S.

An archived version of the "Let's Talk About Racism" guide shows that it did not mention CRT by name. And while the guide did mention one of the theory's original scholars, Kimberlé Crenshaw, it was only to address her development of the phrase "intersectionality," which has been recognized as a cornerstone of modern race education.

Kenneth Hodder, national commander of The Salvation Army in the U.S., addressed The Salvation Army's position regarding CRT in a video posted to the organization's YouTube page on December 3, 2021. At the 0:58 mark, he said:

Of course, conversations about race have evolved over the years. So it's no surprise that I'm sometimes asked what the Army has to say about critical race theory. My answer is always the same. For us, racial justice has never been about one social theory or another. We've never taken our lead from academic papers, or party platforms, political pundits or even popular polls. We endorse no philosophy or ideology other than that found in the Bible.

At the 1:51 mark, Hodder said:

Have we made mistakes over the years? Of course we have. Do we want to keep learning? You bet. Are we willing to discuss new ways to increase diversity? Absolutely. Discussion is what reasonable people do.

But nothing, nothing will ever change the fundamental commitments that have characterized The Salvation Army for more than 156 years. Our message is still based on the Bible, our ministry is still motivated by the love of God and our mission is still to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in his name without discrimination.

The Salvation Army is not on the left, and it's not on the right. We're where we've always been: following Jesus Christ.

As for the rest of the Facebook post's claim, The Salvation Army has published resources about its commitment to support those who identify as LGBTQ. But "Diversity and LGBTQ efforts" are not the organization's "top priorities": according to its website, those are two of the organization's many focus areas.

Other Lead Stories fact checks about critical race theory are here and here.

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  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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