Salvation Army sneaks Creationist Literature to Children at Science Fair

Yesterday I took my son to a science fair here in our small city of Washington, PA called STEMfest.  It was the first time that such an event has occurred in the city, and after talking with one of the organizers I was pretty excited that this was something I could take my 5 year old. It was your typical science fair for the most part with local tech companies, universities and private high schools doing science demos and activities for kids.  For some reason the Salvation Army was there, but they seemed to be just there out of the goodness of their hearts.  They had little plastic cups where they helped the kids make slime.  Kids love making slime and then put it in a little ziploc bag.  I noticed that they also had slightly bigger Salvation Army plastic bags which I thought was just an extra safeguard in case the slime leaked out and didn’t get the other take home stuff from the event wet with slime.  However, something else was lurking in the bag.

Fast forward to this morning and my son is taking out stickers in this:

 

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Notice the cover indicates is meant to lure kids into believing this contains scientific information.  A bible resides on the science lab desk and somehow a cross appears in the atom symbol.

The pages inside don’t get any better by making their religious nonsense appear to be part of things for which we have scientific evidence.

 

At least they are promoting women in science right?  You can see the attempt to legitimize bible verses and religious rhetoric as scientific.  They have the gall to call this a Time Traveler Guide, but Day 1-5 is Creation, Old Testament, Visitation, Preparation, and Celebration. Inside is also a plastic transparency like thing where you are supposed to use a flashlight to find various scientific items, bible verses and symbols in a science lab.  A page of stickers, and then finally this exercise which asks the kid to “Complete the timeline with correct daily drawing sticker”

 

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My son was playing with stickers in the book before I saw what this was.  Fortunately he can’t read yet and constructed this according to his own logic, which I think you’ll like.  He says to me that “fire creates trees and then new leaves, leaves cause clouds and then rain, rain causes evil kings, and evil kinds lead to death.” We watch a lot of nature shows so he know forest fires lead to new growth and he knows trees give off a lot of moisture and creates clouds and rain in rain forests.  The evil king thing though remains a mystery.  🙂  Anyway, I told his explanation makes more sense than what this is actually trying to tell you.  This booklet is made by “Answers in Genesis”.  Which, as many know, is a particular dishonest Christian fundamentalist organization trying to push the Bible as being literally true (except for the parts that make no sense).

I am definitely going to complain to the organizers.  Despite this being a conservative county, I don’t expect they knew this was going on.  Given the one organizer I had talked to prior to the event, I don’t think the organizers intended for any booth to hand out religious literature.  The fact that such anti-science creationist nonsense was being snuck to kids, I’m sure (I hope) will come as a surprise.

My dad always had a soft spot for the Salvation Army as when my parents were starting out life together and didn’t have much money.  Salvation Army was helpful to them and was willing to marry them, as many other Christian pastors wouldn’t as they rejected a mixed marriage.  As a result I will still thrown in some money when they are asking for donations around Christmas time.  No longer.  The disturbing part here is how deviously the Salvation Army hid what they were handed out while sucking kids in with a fun activity, and how the booklet itself misrepresents religious claims as scientific with images meant to trick and indoctrinate children.  It’s simply appalling.  So be aware parents when taking your kids to a science event, you may find a wolf in a scientist’s clothing.

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40 thoughts on “Salvation Army sneaks Creationist Literature to Children at Science Fair

  1. Wow. You’d think that a traditionally neutral or low-profile charity would mostly concern themselves with simply helping others — kind of like what their entire mantra and service has been since 1865! In fact, on their website, on their About Us page, the very first ‘button/symbol’ says and I quote: “We meet human need without discrimination.” 😕😲

    Do they have a new national director? Perhaps an evangelical Protestant fanatic?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. OH! Apologies Swarn. A bit lower on the same website page it states this and I quote again:

      Our Mission Statement.

      The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

      Well, there you have it. 😦

      Liked by 3 people

        1. True. I would hope that those type tables/stands/tents, whatever they had setup, would allow an atheist-secular-humanist table/tent immediately next to them offering the exact opposite world-view of piles of scientific facts, laws, and truths. Right?

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Swarn. You may not be aware but the Salvation Army is exstrememly anti-LGBTQ. I have boycotted them for years. They tried for a while to fudge their stance to get on donation distributor sites but when asked or when you go to their site they are specific on their stance about homosexuality and transgender. I am sorry your fair let them in, they are very aggressive in any area they get into. All in the name of god. Like many religious groups their view seems all is fair in the name of their god even if it means disrespecting people’s wishes , parents rights, and sneaking religious material to kids. After all non-religious people are godless heathens who don’t count and if they can get the kids when they are young maybe they can keep them. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sadly I haven’t investigate them too much to know what their stance is on much. Like I said, I had just grown up with a positive view of them, because at least in the early 70s and in Canada, they married a mixed race couple when no one else would. It’s bad enough holding fundamentalist views, but it’s the way they snuck the literature to the children was low. If they just had it on the table for kids to take so their parents could see it as well that would be one thing, but to just hide it in a bag is extremely dishonest.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Scottie/Swarn, this is exactly why I support OTHER much more humane charities that focus more on HUMANS and their dire needs than a mythological Savior, fictional Abrahamic God, and a wholly UNreliable, erroneous, ambiguous Canonical New Testament!

      I wonder… would the Salvation Army go to an Islamic or Jewish community/city and do the exact same “service” as they would here in the U.S.? 🤔

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Very sad isn’t it? Instead of doing it SIMPLY to be compassionate toward ANY human being, doing it because it is just GOOD, RIGHT, to pass it forward. Inclusion, collaboration, compassion, empathy — without any mythical negative conditions attached!!! — makes all of us thrive! Exclusion, discrimination against others DIFFERENT than you (in their own perceptions), divisiveness, AND spreading fraudulent information/lies, or unproven, unverified history… makes us all suffer!!!

          Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m trying to do it somewhat discreetly (since my blog isn’t that popular either!) as this is the first year and I would like events like this to be more commonplace and continue so I’m just going to email the organizer I know and try to guage the situation before raising a lot of hell. Lol

      Liked by 2 people

        1. That was my thought exactly. We teach STEM to children in our schools, but not actually teaching them about how science works. It’s bizarre.

          I posted the response from the organizer, just above the response I posted from the Salvation Army.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t noticed that, but it’s possible. Although the next one is just a’s and o’s. So possibly they are just trying to make it easier by just focusing on one or two vowels. Either way…nothing to do with science! lol

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I got a response this morning from the lead organizer. She said:

    Thanks for letting me know about the stickers and booklet. I was unaware. You are correct, this was a science festival and while we allowed people to have info about their business or organization for people to take, this seems different. From what you are saying, I am assuming nothing on it mentions anything about the Salvation Army. Regardless of the information, she shouldn’t have distributed in that fashion either.

    So that’s good news from an organization perspective in terms of the fair. I have decided to contact the PR person at the Salvation Army in Western PA to see what they say.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is the response from the Salvation Army.

      Dear Swarn,

      We proudly and openly promote the fact that The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Our message is messaged on the Bible. Our ministry is motivated by the love of God. Our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meeting human needs in His name without discrimination. We teach STEM classes through our Christian-based youth programs, which is where this literature came from. It was not, and never has been, our intention to deceptively give children this information. If you would like to learn more about our program and services, please visit our website at http://www.salvationarmy.org.

      Thank you,

      Ava Henderson
      Director of Marketing and Public Relations
      The Salvation Army of Western Pennsylvania Headquarters
      Office: 412.446.1642 | Cell: 412.580.6770 | ava.henderson@use.salvationarmy.org
      700 North Bell Avenue, PO Box 742, Carnegie, PA 15106

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hello Swarn. What is your next step? Will you pursue this further? They clearly intended to deceive the children and parents and did so with the intent of by passing the religious / atheist views of both the parents and child. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Scottie. I thought about going to the paper with the story…assuming they’d find it worthwhile, but I decided against it, simply because I have gotten to know the organizers, it’s the first year and I don’t want to bring a lot of publicity to the situation that might be seen as negative. While I think it could spun positively, it would take work and this person was organizing this event voluntarily. I would say if the Salvation Army is back next year then all bets are off! lol

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Swarn! I’m just now reading this as we’ve been traveling for the past several days (see my latest post).

    I have “donated” used items to the SA many times over the years, not really thinking about their creed. However, after walking away from “the faith” some years back, I began to see them in a different light. Now I refuse to give them anything … and if I’m alone (without my other-half) when coming across their “Christmas pots,” I make a point of letting them know I would far rather contribute to those who truly need help rather than an organization that promotes a non-existent supernatural being.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed. Like I said in my post, I appreciated their support of mixed race marriages for my parents and for that I have been sympathetic towards them, thinking they weren’t quite this fundamentalist, but this experience has certainly opened my eyes to what they are actually about. Perhaps they’ve changed philosophically over the years given the apparent rise in fundamentalism since the early 80s, and maybe they are less fundamentalist in Canada where I’m from. The response from the PR person at Salvation Army was quite disturbing.

      Like

  5. rautakyy

    I really liked the way your son reasoned how the stickers should be glued. He has a scientifically oriented mind.

    Now, I guess, whomever made this propaganda for the kids, wanted to make it really easy, by printing the answers into the stickers. Yet, even though I have grown in a country, that has a Christian state church, I have studied religion both in school and in the university and I have actually read the Bible (what a waste of time), I do not understand the references and symbolism made in the stickers timeline, nor their relevance to Christianity, or even the Bible. Is it something obvious in the Christian culture within the US?

    Creation and the leaf propably refer to the so called garden of Eden, but how does the burning bush refer to Cristophany? I know, that Christians have tried to wiggle their Jesus character into some of the ancient Jewish prophesies, with nonsensical claims, like that one about Isiah talking about the so called “man of sorrows” wich is an obvious reference to the suffering of the Jewish people, or human suffering in general, not some particular individual, but is this about some wider attempt to make even the Moses story to be about the coming of Jesus? How?

    It is easy to see the relevance of the cross in reference to the crucifixion, but what do the clouds refer to? What is the crown supposed to be? Is it an attempt to make the claim, that the end is nigh? In Europe hardly any larger chruch of any significant numbers openly campaigns against evolution, or for creationism, but does this mean, that the creationists in the US are also universally convinced, that the world is going to end very soon? I find this to be an exeptionally terrible line of thought combined with the fact, that we are talking about a country that has a large creationist population and the worlds largest arsenal of nuclear weapons. Tell me it ain’t so?

    By the way, did you know, that the Israeli archeologists recently found a city that was over 7000 years old. How embarrasing, that some people built cities already 1000 years before the world even was created?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments Rautakky. And yes my son does have a scientific mind. I think all kids are curious and if fostered will develop reasoning skills, but perhaps it’s more genetic than I think.

      I too have trouble understanding the presence of the burning bush. The other ones I think I understand at least from the prospective of many Christians here in North America.

      The leaf, you are correct. The cross…well 33 AD is the year Jesus was crucified (supposedly). The clouds? Well after crucifixion he was taken up to heaven. Pictures in books here often show him going up into the clouds, and heaven is very often depicted by this cloudy place. lol Anyway, I think that’s the implication…Jesus is watching over you in heaven.

      The crown signifies that when Jesus returns he will be King as he builds his Kingdom here on Earth. Lord of lords, king of kings, and all that jazz. 🙂

      As to why they are so hellbent on keeping creationism alive is a complete mystery considering that they clearly don’t take every part of the old testament literally…so why that? I think it’s their only push back against evolution which they see as a philosophy that negates their faith. I think it’s also a push back against secularity which they as eroding the religiosity of the U.S. Which it is, and thank goodness. I could go more into why they have an apocalyptic imagination as well, but that would take too long. Either way, yes I am very worried by such people! lol

      Liked by 1 person

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