Ellie Goulding is rethinking her planned halftime performance during the National Football League’s (NFL’s) Thanksgiving Day game between the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills over concerns about the game’s association with the Salvation Army, Yahoo! Sports reports. The charitable organization has been accused of promoting homophobia and transphobia.
The NFL’s Thanksgiving Day broadcast is typically one of the most-watched games of the regular season, and this season promises to be no different. Both teams are at or near the top of their respective divisions, and though it’s far too early in the season to discuss playoff contention, both teams could see their playoff future look a bit brighter with a Thanksgiving Day win.
The Thanksgiving Day game is significant for another reason as well: the halftime show kicks off the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign, which will bring the familiar bell-ringers standing in front of retail outlets, collecting spare coins, to raise money for the charity during the holiday season. And singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding has been slated to perform.
On Tuesday, Goulding posted an Instagram photo showing herself wearing the Salvation Army apron and helping out at one of the charity’s locations in New York, talking up the charitable work the organization does.
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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. ????????
However, commenters pointed out that the organization has recently come under fire for purportedly promoting homophobia and transphobia.
According to a 2013 HuffPost report, the organization is clear in its belief that homosexuality is immoral.
“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,” read a statement previously posted at the organization’s website.
Further, the organization has fired LGBTQ employees, and attempted to strike a deal with the George W. Bush administration that would ensure that religious charities receiving federal funding would be exempt from any local ordinances banning anti-gay discrimination. This was purportedly a move to avoid being compelled to pay health insurance benefits to same-sex partners of its employees.
Goulding, now that she’s been made aware of the controversy, is calling on the organization to make a donation to an LGBTQ advocacy group as a gesture of good faith. If they don’t, she won’t be performing, she says.
“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,” she said.
As of this writing, neither the Salvation Army nor the NFL has responded to Goulding’s demands.