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Hong Kong billionaire Cecil Chao is offering $130 million – double his earlier offer in 2012 of $65 million — to any man who can turn his lesbian daughter, Gigi, straight.  In response to Chao’s extravagant dowry, over 20,000 would-be suitors have crawled out of the woodwork, hoping to be the man who finally succeeds in un-gaying Gigi Chao and winning the grand prize.

Despite the fact that two years ago Gigi married the love of her life and partner of nine years, Sean Eav, Cecil Chao still insists that his daughter is single.  He said that he did not want to interfere with his daughter’s private life, but that he wanted her to have “a good marriage and children.”

Gigi Chao, an executive director at her father’s property development company, part-time pilot, and founder of anti-poverty charity Faith in Love Foundation, has maintained throughout her father’s persistent quest that she knows he is only doing it out of love and concern.  “I understand that he loves me, it’s just he’s from another time and it’s difficult for him to understand the plight of the LGBT.”

Billionaire playboy Cecil Chao, who claims to have slept with over 10,000 women himself, says, “I would not force her to marry a man. But obviously I would, from my point of view, prefer her to be married and to have grandchildren.”

Ms. Chao has demonstrated a high level of understanding in response to her father’s very public and peculiar theatrics.  In an open letter to him, she said, ““I am comfortable and satisfied with my life and completely at ease with her. My regret is that you have no idea how happy I am with my life, and there are aspects of my life that you don’t share. I suppose we don’t need each other’s approval for our romantic relationships, and I am sure your relationships are really fantastic too … However, I do love my partner Sean, who does a good job of looking after me, ensuring I am fed, bathed and warm enough every day, and generally cheering me up to be a happy, jolly girl. She is a large part of my life, and I am a better person because of her. Now, I’m not asking you to be best of friends; however, it would mean the world to me if you could just not be so terrified of her, and treat her like a normal, dignified human being.”  She also added, ““I would be happy to befriend any man willing to donate huge amounts of money to my charity Faith in Love, provided they don’t mind that I already have a wife. Third and lastly, thank you Daddy, I love you too.”

So here we are once again presented with another example of someone attempting to squeeze love into a one-size-fits-all box.  Here we are once again standing witness to the obscenely wealthy’s weaponization of money, using it to control and exert power over others, including those who are willing to take the bait.  And here we are once again collectively observing another loving relationship being told that it is broken, bad, insufficient, unworthy, and wrong.

How must it feel to not only have your partnership publicly dismissed, but to further suggest that its legitimacy or authenticity could be proven invalid by someone who was paid top dollar to do so?

How do we create a world where the idea that love could be manipulated, controlled, or bought simply does not exist?

Sure, in the way we have constructed our society, there are a lot of things money can buy and does buy.  But is someone else’s sexuality really one of them?   Can even the upper crust of the world’s most elite and financially influential have that capability and the power to do so?

(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation and lives in Orlando, Florida.  To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

This past weekend marks the beginning of a controversial program sanctioned by the government in Western Australia which permits the culling and killing of Great White Sharks.  This “culling and killing” program, which uses hooked lines attached to floating drums to cull sharks in its waters, is the Australian government’s response to a seven fatal shark attacks over the past three years off the coast of their country.

In Orlando, Florida, a woman walking her two small dogs along the eastern boundary of the Wekiva River Buffer Conservation area was mauled by a black bear who had unknowingly wandered outside the perimeter of her heavily treed home with her young cub at her side.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s response to what they are calling an “unprovoked attack” was to trap and then kill two black bears a week later, both of whom “fit the description” of the bear involved in the attack.

In Africa, an estimated 20,000+ elephants a year are illegally killed by poachers who look to profit financially by cutting off their tusks to sell the precious ivory in the black market.  The widespread slaughter of these majestic creatures is triggered by greedy hunters looking to capitalize and fueled by the demands of people who are willing to pay top dollar for the disturbingly coveted body parts.  With an estimated 90 percent of its elephants lost to poaching in the last half-century, African elephants may one day be facing extinction.

The examples of abuse and massacring of the animals and mammals who occupy this beautiful planet earth with us is distressing and creates an opportunity for meaningful discussion.  We seem to have done a fairly adequate job of understanding how our relationships work with each other on a human level, at least in a broad sense.  So why are we having such a difficult time understanding how to be in a relationship with these magnificent creatures?  How is it that we seem to be missing entirely the intended purpose for our cohabitation and coexistence? I suppose the argument could be made that their presence in our lives is merely for our consumption, our comfort, and our amusement, but I’m sensing that there is something much more important going on here than simply that.

After the release of the “Blackfish” documentary, people began protesting and boycotting Sea World for the capture and captivity of killer whales; yet at the same time we are killing sharks in their own natural environment for doing what they naturally do.  We run the sharp blades of our recreational motor boats over the backs of gentle manatees in their native home, the warm rivers of Florida, severely maiming or killing them, and then turn around and sharply criticize the organization who has rehabilitated and released thousands of these wounded peaceful mammals back into their natural habitats:  Sea World.

What the heck are we doing?

If we continue to expand and build upon the lands where so many of these animals live and eat and breed, if we continue to squeeze them out of their natural environments to accommodate our desire for another strip mall or more high-rise condominiums, where do we expect them to go?  What do we expect them to do?  What will happen if we continue to adorn ourselves with the furs of minks, fox, and chinchillas?   What will happen if we continue to train pit bulls to fight to the death or if we continue to frequent and financially support the local Greyhound dog track, hoping to win big on the next race?  What will happen if we insist on continuing to be entertained by rodeos where harsh handling practices, such as twisting calves’ tails or painful electric shocks and tightly cinched bucking straps, are implemented to make animals run faster or buck harder?

I’m just wondering.  Because it seems to me we are truly missing an important part of our humanity here, some aspect of who we really are that is being overlooked or misunderstood or unawakened.  Might there be a much larger reason, a more divine reason, for why we have been given the extraordinary opportunity to share this thing called Life with these furry, scaly, finned, and feathered friends?  And if so, what might that be?

(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation and lives in Orlando, Florida.  To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

Illinois Republican congressional candidate Susanne Atanus is asking you to believe that God is not only highly displeased with us, but that many of the life-threatening illnesses and precarious weather patterns we have been experiencing around the world are the direct result of an “angry God,” a God who means to inflict suffering upon thousands for the choices of wrongdoers.

What could be making God so unhappy, so disappointed, so furious that He would categorically punish so many people in such widespread and catastrophic ways?

The answer is clear and simple, according to Atanus:  “We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions,” she added, blaming natural disasters like tornadoes and diseases, including autism and dementia, on recent advances in the LGBT movement. “Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.”

It feels almost silly to give Ms. Atanus’s diatribe any thoughtful attention, to shift even for a moment our focus and energy away from the places and people in our world who really need it. But if she believes this, truly believes this — and is publicly asking others to believe it, too — how many other people might there be out there that also feel this way?

Well, apparently even those within her own conservative Republican party aren’t willing to stick their necks out as far as she has and have asked Atanus to drop out of the GOP primary for the 9th Congressional District.

Jack Dorgan, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, called Susanne Atanus’ comments “offensive.”  “She has no place on the ballot as a Republican,” he said.  “Her candidacy is neither supported nor endorsed by the leaders of our party, and she should withdraw from the race immediately.”

Adam Robinson, chairman of the Chicago Republican Party, said, “Atanus is not in any way affiliated with any of our efforts in the Chicago GOP, nor have we ever supported, endorsed, or assisted her in any way at any time.”

But Atanus is not budging.  She adamantly refuses to drop out of the race, perplexed why the Republican party is not standing behind her.

Is it possible that Ms. Atanus is only boldly verbalizing what many other people are thinking, but are just too afraid to say?  Is there that much of a divide between a God who would condemn a person for being gay and a God who would condemn a baby for not being baptized?  Are the conservatives who claim to be offended and righteously speaking out against Atanus also denying opportunities — and even God’s unconditional love — to these very same people by creating and defending laws which discriminate and deprive them of equal rights and freedoms?

So how should we react to someone like Ms. Atanus?  Do we just ignore the hate-filled tirades and antics?  Do we look the other way because these outlandish proclamations just simply do not deserve our recognition and attention?  Or do we talk about it, look it squarely in the face, and stand up to people like Susanne Atanus by saying, no, we do not desire to live in the kind of world which supports behaviors which are born out of a belief in an angry God?

What would you do?

(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation and lives in Orlando, Florida.  To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

According to Amy Chua, a Chinese American law professor at Yale and author of the soon-to-be-released book “The Triple Package: Why Groups Rise and Fall in America,” the answer to this question is yes.

According to Chua and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, co-author of “The Triple Package,” there are eight cultural and religious groups that are inherently more likely to succeed because of three specific traits.  Not surprisingly, the daring duo happens to belong to two of the groups who made it onto their exclusive list:

  • Jewish (Rubenfeld’s background)
  • Indian
  • Chinese (Chua’s background)
  • Iranian
  • Lebanese-Americans
  • Nigerians
  • Cuban exiles
  • Mormons

The underlying message in this book that some groups of people are “just superior to others and everyone else is contributing to the downfall of America” has already sparked a firestorm of controversy and has become a hot topic of discussion in the social media world.

Chua and Rubenfeld explain that these eight “cultural groups” — carefully avoiding the words “racial” or “ethnic” — have three traits in common, the so-called “triple package”: a superiority complex, insecurity, and impulse control. The sense of superiority allegedly generates a belief in deserving the best, while the underlying inferiority complex fuels the need to compensate for feelings of worthlessness. Impulse control is seen as not only the ability to delay gratification, but also the strength to persevere in the completion of difficult tasks.

As a follow-up to her previous highly controversial book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” where she boldly declared Chinese mothers to be superior, Chua and Rubenfeld are asking their readers to adopt a thought process which is eerily reminiscent of the type of thinking which fueled some of history’s most horrific events, such as slavery and the Holocaust, and which encourages belief systems that, to this day, continue to empower radical groups like the KKK and Westboro Baptist Church, by suggesting that one entire group of people is better than another simply based on race or religion or some other aspect of diversity.

According to the New York Post, “As for why African-Americans don’t make the list, the authors believe that the Civil Rights Movement took away any hope for a superiority narrative, and so the black community is screwed — even as they cite Mitt Romney’s loss to Barack Obama as evidence of Mormon ascendancy.  ‘In this paradoxical sense, equality isn’t fair to African-Americans,’ they write. ‘Superiority is the one narrative that America has relentlessly denied or ground out of its black population.’”

“That certain groups do much better in America than others — as measured by income, occupational status, test scores and so on — is difficult to talk about,” Chua and Rubenfeld write. “In large part, this is because the topic feels so racially charged.”

Is it a racial issue?  Is it a religious issue?  Does Chua make a fair argument here?  Are some of us predisposed to live a “successful life” and some of us not?  What defines “success” for you?  If you happened to have drawn the short straw and were placed into this world within a cultural group other than the elite eight, such as myself, are we truly at a disadvantage and better luck next time?

Believing in the illusion of superiority could be one of the most damaging choices one can make to the well-being of humanity as a whole, not only because it perpetuates the disparity between the haves and the have-nots and fosters a “them” and “us” mentality, but it suggests that if God did not create you as one of the chosen few – or eight, as Chua opines – or if you do not select to associate yourself with the appropriate religion, that, well, you are doomed.

Your thoughts?  Your opinions?  Your insights?

(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation and lives in Orlando, Florida.  To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

Whose choice is it?

There are moments in life when we are each called upon to make choices that directly and significantly impact not only ourselves, but which drastically alter the path of others. These decisions can often be the most difficult ones we find ourselves placed in front of. What makes this process even more challenging and painful for many people is when their personal heartfelt choices are met with resistance and opposition by the cold, hard reality of the law.

Such is the case with Erick and Marlise Muñoz, a young couple residing in Crowley, Texas, with their first-born 15-month-old son.  Erick Muñoz found his wife, Marlise, collapsed in their home in November due to what doctors now believe to have been a blood clot in her lung.  She has had no brain function since that time and has been declared dead based on neurological criteria, meaning her brain can no longer keep her body alive and functioning, and has been physically sustained by life-support machines since November 26, 2013.

And while Marlise did not place her desires in writing, she made her wishes clearly known to her entire family that she did not want to be kept alive by artificial means should unfortunate circumstances arise.  But her family’s requests to honor her end-of-life desires and remove her from artificial life support have been denied by John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, because of the fact that Marlise Muñoz is 14 weeks’ pregnant.

At issue is a 1989 Texas law that blocks doctors from denying “life-sustaining treatment” to pregnant, terminally ill patients.  And as a result of this law, even though the physical condition of the in utero baby is undetermined at this time, Marlise Muñoz’s body is being artificially sustained in order to harvest the body of her unborn child.  Doctors are not able to ascertain at this early stage if or how long the baby was without oxygen or whether the automated external defibrillator device and heavy drugs used on the mother in an attempt to revive her have had an adverse effect on Baby Muñoz.

Erick Muñoz and her parents are petitioning the court to disconnect and discontinue all support systems, as they adamantly assert this was and is Marlise’s desire.  “It’s not a matter of pro-choice and pro-life,” her mother told The New York Times. “It’s about a matter of our daughter’s wishes not being honored by the state of Texas.”

The hospital’s medical staff continue to implement and maintain life-preserving measures to Marlise Muñoz, as it is the law they must follow.  And the life of the now 20-week-old baby nestled in the womb of Mrs. Muñoz hinges upon the choices placed before everyone involved.

Now that the decision has been placed in the hands of the legal system, what will happen?  What should happen?  Is this, contrary to what Marlise Muñoz’s mother said, simply a matter of pro-choice or pro-life?  Whose choice is it?  Whose life is this about?  Does this choice belong in the court system?  Does this choice belong to Marlise Muñoz?  Does this choice belong to her family?  Does her 20-week-old baby have a choice?

As in every occurrence, every happening, and every event that takes place in our world, I am wondering if there is a spiritual perspective that someone could offer which might provide us a deeper understanding or which could give us some wisdom or insight as we try to make sense of this complicated and heartbreaking situation.

Your thoughts?

(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation and lives in Orlando, Florida.  To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

What do undershirts, boxer shorts, and athletic socks have to do with chickpeas, lemon, and garlic?  Still thinking?  Scratching your head?  Yeah, me too.  And so is small business owner, Yohannes Petros, founder and owner of Hanes Hummus, an emerging Canadian company which makes and distributes hummus to local food stores, and who is being threatened with a lawsuit by underwear manufacturer Hanesbrand, Inc., for trademark violation.

Petros’ growing business was born out of a delicious hummus recipe, a passion to pursue his dream, and the support of his local community.  Naming the business “Hanes Hummus” seemed only logical and fitting to the man whose life-long nickname has been “Hanes.”

A cease and desist letter sent to Yohannes Petros from Hanesbrand’s attorney, Richard S. Donnell warned Petros, “The mark HANES HUMMUS is essentially identical and confusingly similar to the HANES mark.  Your client’s mark incorporates the distinctive  HANES mark in its entirety and the mere addition of the generic wording HUMMUS does not distinguish the marks.”

But Yohannes is not backing down to the boxer short baron’s request to immediately destroy all materials containing the words “Hanes Hummus” and is preparing to stand up to the oppressive and bully tactics of this multi-billion dollar corporation.

How many more mom-and-pop businesses and companies are going to be squeezed out by huge corporations with deep pockets and well-paid attorneys at their disposal?   Most fledgling local businesses such as Petros’, with a staff of four, do not have the wherewithal or resources to face off to a company this powerful and many are confronted with the harsh reality of closing their doors in these situations.

So how do we combat corporate greed?  How do we create a more even playing field when the rules, as they are currently structured, are designed to make sure one side always wins?

By talking about it, by spreading the word, and by supporting our local businesses.  We can use our voices to educate and inform.  We can use our dollars to make conscious choices and declarations of who we are.  We can say no to the covetous corporations who undercut and overpower the creativity and spirit of the neighborhood dreamers and doers.

How much is enough?  How much is too much?  Is there truly enough to go around?

Maybe I am just simply missing something here.  Perhaps Yohannes Petros’ small hummus business will cripple the highly successful undershirt maker with his tasty healthy treat.  I guess it is possible that the name “Hanes Hummus” might confuse and derail the average consumer who visits their local department store looking for a comfortable bra into mistakenly purchasing some delicious hummus instead.


Does Hanesbrand, Inc., a company whose own press release anticipated net sales at $4.6 billion for 2013, have cause to be worried by the “Hanes Hummus” or the “Hanes Plumbing” or the “Hanes Pet Grooming” entrepreneurs of the world?  Will they suddenly be forced to pay Michael Jordan only a small fraction of his multi-million dollar contract to promote their briefs?  Will Hanesbrand CEO Richard Noll, who recently sold 30,000 shares of Hanesbrand stock for $2,064,000.00, be unable to survive on his remaining 621,163 shares in the company, valued at approximately $42,736,014?

When will we, as a society, stop supporting gigantic corporations with our money, big businesses who function from a place of greed and who engage in these arm-twisting techniques, just so we can save a buck or two?

(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation and lives in Orlando, Florida.  To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

The ushering in of a new year is symbolic, a time for reflection, contemplation, and transformation as many people look back upon the events which took place during the preceding year. Some of these events made headline news around the world.  And many of these headline news stories sparked heated debates.

Some of the more controversial happenings placed even the most agreeable minds at odds with each other:  George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the trial for shooting Trayvon Martin, the release of the activist film against SeaWorld “Blackfish,” the rolling out of Obama Care, the federal government shutting down, Pope Francis’s nontraditional stances, the legalization of gay marriage in many countries and states, and, yes, even the show Duck Dynasty had some time in the spotlight, just to name a few.

Our planet earth is a magnificently diverse home for all of us.  And while it is undeniable that there are plenty of places we could improve on the way we interact with each other and treat each other and support each other, is there also an equal amount of room for us to understand and accept each other on a higher level?  Are these hot-topic news stories only controversial because we box ourselves into one way of seeing things and then expect others to see that way, too?   Do our differences of opinion create change or stifle it?

I’m just wondering, as we take our first steps into 2014 and think about what we want to accomplish, where we want to go, and who we want to be, if some thought might be given to recognizing that the stories yet untold and the events yet to be experienced will all be heard and experienced through the eyes of differing perspectives and filtered through the data of each individual’s unique past.  How might that level of awareness impact the way we communicate with each other?  The way we create with each other?  The way we love one another?

Is life meant to be more of a plain vanilla experience?  Are we really trying to get to a place where we all think and act alike?  Or are the occurrences in our lives, personally and globally, providing us much larger opportunities here?  Can we live peacefully and collaboratively within the shifting realm of our differences?

There are approximately 7,203,608,340 people in the world.  And as I write these words, that number continues to expand rapidly.  Perhaps the next time life presents us an opportunity to be “right” about something or we feel compelled to assert our knowingness upon someone with a differing point of view, we might consider the possibility that there is not only one side to any given story, nor are there only two sides; there are potentially 7,203,608,340 sides to every story.  And might it be possible that, ironically, somewhere deep within that complicated kaleidoscope of multifaceted thoughts and feelings and experiences lies the one thing that humanity is longing for:  peace?

(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

As if it isn’t difficult enough for us to navigate through the intricate web of differences of opinions and to sort through clashing perspectives about those things in life which are readily observable, apparently we also feel an overwhelming desire to declare our rightness even in relation to the people, places and things we have simply made up and created as figments of our imagination – the most recent and glaring example being a nationwide debate over the color of Santa Claus’s skin.

Apparently this mysterious and beloved Christmastime character can only be “made up” in one way according to Fox News correspondent Megyn Kelly, whose recent comments during “The Kelly File” have ignited a racial firestorm across the internet.  Responding to an essay hosted on by blogger Aisha Harris entitled “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore. It’s time to give St. Nick his long overdue makeover,” Megyn Kelly stated the following:

“So, in Slate, they have a piece, .com, ‘Santa Claus Shouldn’t be a White Man Anymore.’ And when I saw this headline, I kind of laugh and so I said, this is so ridiculous yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa. You know? And by the way, for all the kids watching at home, Santa just is white but this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. But you know, Santa is what he is and just so, you know, we are just debating this because someone wrote about it kids. OK. I want to get that straight.”

Kelly went on further to say, “Jesus was a white man, too. It’s like we have, he’s a historical figure that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa, I just want kids to know that. How do you revise it in the middle of the legacy in the story and change Santa from white to black?”

Megyn Kelly has since attempted to backstroke her way out of her matter-of-fact statements by suggesting they were “tongue-in-check” and that “Humor is what we try to bring to this show, but that’s lost on the humorless.”

The author of the original article, Aisha Harris, is not falling for Kelly’s efforts to dismiss the whole thing as taken out of context and accuses Megyn Kelly of “playing the victim.”   “It kind of reinforced my point, actually,” Harris said in an interview on CNN of Kelly’s original comment that Santa just “is” white (Jesus, too). “The fact that Kelly and some of the other guests on the show were insisting that Santa is white just spoke to the reason why I wrote the piece: a lot of people out there automatically assume that Santa must be white, and it’s laughable that he should be anything else.”

Will we ever see the day when a deeper appreciation for the gifts of our diversity will override the fear-driven oppression and judgment that surprisingly still runs rampant in our world?  Can anyone think of a truly significant reason to negate someone’s preference for a black Santa?  If we are expending this much energy debating and slinging mud at each other over the pigmentation of a fictional holiday character, how can we ever expect to collaborate with each other on some of the social and economic issues that are really impacting us in our world right now?

What is it going to take for us to live in peace and harmony on this planet earth?  A white Santa?  A black Santa?  An intervention by God Herself?  More wars?  Less talking and more listening?  More acceptance and less judgment?

What is it going to take, friends from around the world?

(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

‘Tis the season to observe and hear the familiar sights and sounds of the Salvation Army red kettles, accompanied by the bell-toting, red-apron-wearing volunteers who faithfully stand in front of the big stores and busy street corners in hopes of being the recipient of your spare change.  In response to some establishments banning the sounds of the bells and requiring the infamous holiday bell-ringers to wave at passersby  in silence, my first thought was how much I had grown accustomed to and actually enjoyed the sound of those bells as a symbol of the beginning of the Christmas season, almost as much as my first delicious cup of eggnog each year.

But there is a larger and darker underlying story here in relation to the Salvation Army bell-ringers, one that might make you think twice about tossing a coin or two into those famous red kettles.

The Salvation Army has been facing a growing backlash over the past several years because people are discovering that their organization is an evangelical Christian church which actively advocates against the civil rights of gays and lesbians around the world, in addition to discriminating against gays in employment.

The website  has created a historical timeline which demonstrates the religious-backed organization’s  anti-gay history:

“In recent years, the Salvation Army has come under fire for its lengthy history of anti-LGBT political maneuvering and other incidents. The church has publicly articulated its belief that homosexuality is unacceptable, stating:

‘Scripture opposes homosexual practices by direct comment and also by clearly implied disapproval. The Bible treats such practices as self-evidently abnormal. … Attempts to establish or promote such relationships as viable alternatives to heterosexually-based family life do not conform to God’s will for society.’

While such statements were recently removed from the Salvation Army’s website, the church has yet to repudiate any of its explicitly anti-gay beliefs. And though these positions may seem to be limited to the group’s internal doctrines, they’ve become a persistent element of the church’s overtly political activities – activities which have negatively impacted the Salvation Army’s ability to provide charitable services, and have aimed to limit the rights and benefits of LGBT citizens in multiple nations.

1986 –  The Salvation Army of New Zealand collected signatures against the Homosexual Law Reform Act, which repealed the law criminalizing sex between adult men. The Salvation Army later apologized for campaigning against the Act.

1998 – The Salvation Army of the United States chose to turn down $3.5 million in contracts with the city of San Francisco, resulting in the closure of programs for the homeless and senior citizens. The church backed out of these contracts due to San Francisco’s requirement that city contractors must provide spousal benefits to both same-sex partners and opposite-sex partners of employees. Lieutenant Colonel Richard Love stated:

‘We simply cannot agree to be in compliance of the ordinance.’

In 2004, the Salvation Army in New York City also threatened to close down all of its services for the city’s homeless due to a similar non-discrimination ordinance.

2000 – The Salvation Army of Scotland submitted a letter to Parliament opposing the repeal of Section 28, a law prohibiting ‘the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.’ Colonel John Flett, the church’s Scotland Secretary, wrote:

‘We can easily envisage a situation where, due to active promotion of homosexuality in schools, children will grow up feeling alienated if they fail to conform.’

The Salvation Army of Scotland has never retracted or apologized for its suggestion that homosexuality would be promoted in schools or that children would be encouraged to become gay.

2001 – The Salvation Army of the United States attempted to make a deal with the Bush administration ensuring that religious charities receiving federal funding would be exempt from any local ordinances banning anti-gay discrimination. Church spokesman David A. Fuscus explained that the group did not want to extend medical benefits to same-sex partners of its employees. The deal fell through after it was publicized by the Washington Post.

2012 – The Salvation Army of Burlington, Vermont fired case worker Danielle Morantez immediately after discovering she was bisexual. The church’s employee handbook reads, in part, ‘The Salvation Army does reserve the right to make employment decisions on the basis of an employee’s conduct or behavior that is incompatible with the principles of The Salvation Army.’

Later that year, Salvation Army spokesperson Major George Hood reaffirmed the church’s anti-gay beliefs, saying:

‘A relationship between same-sex individuals is a personal choice that people have the right to make. But from a church viewpoint, we see that going against the will of God.’

2013 – The Salvation Army continues to remove links from its website to religious ministries providing so-called ‘ex-gay’ conversion therapy, such as Harvest USA and Pure Life Ministries. These links were previously provided as resources under the Salvation Army’s section on dealing with ‘sexual addictions’.”

I wonder how many people actually know any of this?  I wonder how many people, even if they did know any of this, would care?

Do you?

Does the fact that the underlying belief system for this organization is one that breathes discrimination into our world change whether or not you toss money into that red bucket? It is undeniable that the Salvation Army aides thousands of people every day with food and shelter and other types of charitable assistance.   I remember as a child, when a devastating tornado tore through our small neighborhood, The Salvation Army was quick to serve food so graciously to all those affected.  All things considered, perhaps that high level of compassion and humanitarian assistance becomes the most important piece of the equation here.  Or does it?

In a world where many feel powerless when it comes to implementing the types of social changes we desire to see, isn’t one of the most effective ways to create change realized in the way in which we choose to spend our money?  I am fairly confident that a large percentage of people have no idea who or what they are supporting with their dollars…nor do they think ever about it.

Conversations with God says “Every act is an act of self-definition.”

Who are you defining yourself as when you give your money to an organization which espouses intolerance?  Who are you defining yourself as when you have no idea where your money is going and what it is supporting, but continue to do it anyway?  Who are you defining yourself as when you make conscious choices to share your money with organizations which are in alignment with who you really are?

According to

“The Salvation Army claims to offer its services ‘without discrimination.’ therefore invites the Salvation Army to live up to its claims of non-discrimination by affirming the following:

  • That the organization will no longer withdraw its charitable services from municipalities in order to avoid complying with non-discrimination laws.
  • That the organization’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees, as well as their partners, will no longer face discrimination or unequal treatment in hiring, promotion, or the provisioning of employment benefits.
  • That the organization will cease any and all political activities against fully equal rights and benefits for LGBT citizens of any nation.

These actions represent meaningful, concrete steps that the Salvation Army can take to show the world that it is genuinely and unreservedly committed to the cause of non-discrimination and equality for the LGBT community. Countless major charities worldwide are capable of effectively carrying out their charitable functions on a large scale without anti-LGBT political activities or anti-LGBT employment policies. believes the Salvation Army is capable of doing the same.

We recognize that the Salvation Army is capable of extraordinary goodness. This year, we’re optimistic that the Salvation Army will choose to truly ‘do the most good’ by opening their hearts to treat everyone with equal love, dignity, and respect.”

If you are reading these words, the time has come for you, too, to make a choice.  Of course, no choice being right and no choice being wrong, but all choices, rather, being a declaration of your own truth and an expression of who you know yourself to be.

So the next time you find yourself faced with a bell-toting, red-apron-wearing volunteer waving a bell in front of a red kettle, hoping silently for your contribution, what will you choose?

(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

Naughty or nice?

We protest mightily to any possibility of our lives being spied upon, traced, monitored, and kept track of.  We want our whereabouts to be kept private and our comings and goings to be off the grid.  For many, imagining that the government, big brother, or any other external entity has the ability to observe our every move is a chilling prospect.

So it is puzzling to me why the same doesn’t always hold true when it comes to what we tell our children.

“You better watch out.
You better not cry.
You better not pout.
I’m telling you why,
Santa Claus is coming to town.
He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!”

Yes, these are the lyrics to a well-known Christmas tune, one which is being sung over and over and over again to many children this time of year, especially in the few weeks leading up to Christmas Day, the day that the fat man with the white beard and red coat slides down the chimneys of all the houses in the world to give gifts to those boys and girls who have been good.  You know, those special children who have earned it and who deserve it.

And apparently the monumental job of keeping tabs on the do-gooders and wrong-doers has gotten too big for Santa.  Now he has elicited the assistance of an elf, an elf who sits on a shelf inside the homes of families around the world and reports back to Santa on a daily basis who is being naughty and who is being nice, which, as we all know, has a direct correlation to the amount of presents, if any, children stand to receive.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite fond of the jolly old fella and enjoy the magic and wonderment his character brings to the holidays.  I’m just wondering, could our children be given a better opportunity within which to understand what gift-giving is truly about?   Do they need to be spied upon, their choices tallied up by an elf who sits on a shelf, and their actions judged so harshly by this mysterious man who visits once a year and his loyal round-the-clock sidekick?   How do we expect our children to grasp larger concepts like a nonjudgmental God when we continue to throw ideas like a judgmental Santa Claus at them?

Isn’t one of the main reasons we struggle so much in our relationships because somewhere along the way we have been taught that in order to get something, we must give something or do something or be something?  We withhold our love when we think we are not receiving the love of another.  Maybe the best gifts we could give to a child are an appreciation for the gift of life itself, a deeper knowing of why we are all here in the first place, and the experience of giving and receiving in the spirit of love and compassion instead of one that is mired down by the heavy weight of consumerism and laced with lofty expectations.

If we tell our children that if they don’t behave, Santa won’t bring presents; or if we tell our children if they don’t straighten up, the policeman will take them away to jail; or if we tell our children if they aren’t good, God won’t let them into heaven, what is the underlying message we are really conveying to our kids?

(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at