Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Major Store Chain Bans Salvation Army Bell Ringers

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A major store chain has announced it's banning Salvation Army bell ringers this year.

The reason?

It has something to do with the stores' new "social consciousness." Be informed.

Today the Supreme Court of the United States is scheduled to hear the case of the Christian baker who couldn't bake a cake and celebrate same-sex "marriage" because of his biblical Judeo-Christian beliefs.

If he loses, we all lose. Be prayerful.

Be Informed.

The Belk store chain has told the Salvation Army that this year they are banned from having kettles with bell ringers outside their store entrances.

I'm not aware of any Belk stores in the Northwest, but the chain has about 300 stores nationally.

The store chain was founded in 1888 by William Belk and his physician brother, Dr. John Belk, near Charlotte, NC.

This year the bell ringers are not welcome.


An employee of the Salvation Army told Fox's Todd Starnes that a spokesperson at Belk told him it had something to do with a change in Belk's "social consciousness."

He said, "We believe that a lot of Belk's customers align with the Salvation Army's views. We believe in saying 'Merry Christmas' because we believe Jesus is absolutely the reason for the season."

A Belk spokesman told Starnes that they have decided to go a different direction with a new "social impact program" they are calling, "Home for the Holidays."

Apparently, Christmas would be included in "the holidays."

Why the departure after the hundred year relationship with the Salvation Army?

The store spokesperson says, "There is great power in all our Belk associates and customers rallying around one cause---and we really want to focus all our efforts on this impactful campaign."

The impactful campaign is to raise $600,000 to build a house.

They have partnered with Habitat For Humanity International to build the house.

Nice house.

There's nothing wrong with Habitat---Jimmy Carter has spent his post-presidential life helping them, but I think it successfully moves the stores away from being too "Christianesque" during the "holidays" which apparently is their newly discovered socially conscious goal.

Couldn't the store chain have allowed both organizations?

Belk has the right to kick the Army bell ringers off their property, but it's still not right.

And it may not be very smart.

Starnes says, "I just can't imagine what the folks in charge are thinking---especially for a company that advertises itself as 'Southern'. Maybe they're under new management---'Potter, Scrooge and Grinch, Esq."

Actually, there has been a change in ownership of the company.

In 2015, the Charlotte Observer reported that Sycamore Partners, a New York private equity firm, had bought the store chain for about $3 billion, ending 127 years of family ownership and control.

The New York owners kept family member Tim Belk on as CEO so he could tell the newspaper, "The Belk that (customers) know and love is not going to change. We're going to continue to build on the foundation we've put in place."

He probably believed that.

The new owners probably also believe that "there is great power in all our Belk associates and customers rallying around one cause..."

The problem they will likely face is that "the customers" may rally around another cause---the old cause, and go find where the bell ringers are this year so they can make their annual donation---and buy some things from the store that is allowing them to be there.

I sincerely hope so.

Happy holidays to the Sycamore Partners.

And Merry Christmas to all the Christians who have the ability to find the bell ringers.

Be Prayerful.

Today the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case involving Jack Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

In this case, the Supreme Court of the United States will decide if a state can force a Christian cake baker to bake a custom cake for a same-sex "wedding" in violation of his deeply held religious beliefs.

Monica Burke, with the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, says, "If the Christian baker loses, we all do."

Zachary Jones, Larry Brett and Tiffany Bates, also with the Heritage Foundation, have also written an excellent column on this case and its far-reaching implications.

This case is really about the hostility and intolerance Colorado has expressed toward the cake maker because of his biblical Christian beliefs.

Cake makers, filmmakers, custom website designers, creators of printing and marketing material and photographers---all who face crippling fines, loss of business, government re-education and even jail time for declining to participate in a same-sex "wedding" have sent briefs to the Court on this matter.

They write, "It is difficult to imagine a more onerous and effectual compulsion to speak."

Forced speech.

Colorado's actions, much like those of Washington State toward Richland florist Barronnel Stutzman, and the Stormans family who own the pharmacy in Olympia, do not only threaten religious individuals and institutions but all those citizens who receive benefits from those individuals and institutions.

Religious freedom has set our nation apart from the beginning, pray that will continue to be so going forward.

Be Informed. Be Prayerful. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning.