In just over two weeks, the UK pop star Ellie Goulding is scheduled to play the halftime show of a nationally televised Thanksgiving Day Dallas Cowboys/Buffalo Bills game. That show is also the planned debut of the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Campaign. But since Goulding has learned a few troubling things about the Salvation Army’s history, she has threatened to pull out of the show unless the church and charitable organization makes “a solid, committed pledge or donation to the LGBTQ community.”
This whole thing started yesterday, when Goulding posted an Instagram photo of herself at a New York City Salvation Army. She added a caption about the organization’s efforts to aid homeless and needy people.
View this post on Instagram
Ok so maybe hairnet not my strongest look but thank you @salvationarmyus for having us in New York. As you know, I have spent a lot of time in shelters in London, and this was my first time in NYC… The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need. I sat and spoke to several people who had come in from the bitter cold for some food (they serve to over 150 per day here) , warmth and perhaps a chat with one of the volunteers. 🙏🏼
But fans in Goulding’s Instagram comments pointed out the organization’s history of lobbying against LGBTQ causes and in favor of anti-LGBTQ discrimination. In response, as Yahoo News points out, Goulding released this statement:
Upon researching this, I have reached out to The Salvation Army and said that I would have no choice but to pull out unless they very quickly make a solid, committed pledge or donation to the LGBTQ community. I am a committed philanthropist as you probably know, and my heart has always been in helping the homeless, but supporting an anti-LGBTQ charity is clearly not something I would ever intentionally do. Thank you for drawing my attention to this x
In a statement to The Dallas Morning News, Salvation Army National Commander David Hudson had this to say:
With an organization of our size and history, myths can perpetuate. An individual’s sexual or gender identity, religion, or lifestyle has no bearing on our willingness to provide service. We stand firmly behind our mission to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
Goulding and the Salvation Army have not yet said whether the halftime show will happen as planned.