CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The LGBT Community Center of Charlotte has abruptly changed course from a planned holiday giving campaign to benefit an anti-LGBT Christian ministry.
On Tuesday, the center’s weekly newsletter included a call for supporters to give to a holiday charity drive benefiting the Charlotte Rescue Mission. According to the center and partner Impressions Network, it was the second time the center had participated in a drive for the local ministry. The drive would have collected donations for the Charlotte Rescue Mission’s Rebound Men’s and Dove’s Nest programs.
But, by Wednesday evening, the donation drive had been called off.
“This is definitely a group we do not want to be associated with,” said Glenn Griffin, operations director for the LGBT Community Center.
The reversal comes after one community member raised concerns about the center’s partnership with the ministry. In 2003, the Charlotte Rescue Mission refused volunteers from the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of Charlotte, a primarily LGBT congregation, because of its views on homosexuality and sin.
The mission’s executive director, Rev. Tony Marciano, who is still employed by the group, told local media at the time, “We cannot endorse a church that openly teaches that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle.”
After a personal conversation with Marciano, then-MCC pastor Mick Hinson told qnotes, “Even after a personal conversation with Marciano, the Rescue Mission hadn’t changed its mind. I told him that we weren’t looking for them to support our church. Just the opposite, I explained that we wanted to support them and their mission of feeding the hungry. ‘Well, we can’t support your church,’ he kept saying. He never could get past that.”
Griffin said his organization will now look to partner with another organization this holiday season, citing as a possibility Crisis Assistance Ministry, which includes sexual orientation in its own employment non-discrimination policy.
Holiday donors beware
The Charlotte Rescue Mission isn’t the only anti-LGBT ministry that often ramps up donation drives at holiday time. Check out our past coverage on anti-gay organizations and learn what LGBT-inclusive criteria you need to look for before donating to non-profit organizations.