You've probably heard the news that Target has decided not to allow the Salvation Army to post bell ringers in front of their stores during the Christmas season. Kevin McCullough and Hugh Hewitt have the details. Kevin's first paragraph tells you the whole story:

For years the Salvation Army has been allowed to stand just outside Target stores, ring a bell, and smile as passersby toss in coins of varying amounts to help provide important services to homeless and poor people throughout the cold weather season across the United States. This year Target has changed its mind.

The only other thing you need to know is that Target isn't being forced to make this decision by some runaway liberal judge who decided he didn't like the Salvation Army. The truth is, Target could allow the Salvation Army to stay this year if they wanted to.

I don't think this is big deal in the great scheme of things. It strikes me as a foolish decision that will ultimately impact those who benefit from the Salvation Army's ministry to the poor and needy. On the other hand, I've generally paid no attention when I've seen the bell ringers. I usually just walk on by. Rarely have I stopped to give any money.

Today I was shopping at a local supermarket when I saw my first Salvation Army bell ringer this year. So I fished into my pocket and found some change. Things seemed a bit disorganized and I had to search to find the kettle. Only it wasn't a kettle but was some other kind of red container with a locked lid and a small opening in the middle to receive the money. I put my coins in and went on my way.

It's not much of a story, but if Target hadn't kicked out the Salvation Army, I'm sure I would have kept my money in my pocket. No one saw me and no one spoke to me, which made it even better. As protests go, it won't be in the newspaper tomorrow morning, but it was a personal protest nonetheless. I was glad to do it and I think it's put me in the mood to do it again. Take that, Target! If you want to be part of a boycott, have at it. And I think it's a great idea to let the Target folks know how we feel about their shortsighted decision. But there is something more important we can do. Let's make sure this year the Salvation Army has the money it needs.


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