Let the bells ring and let the red kettles overflow


The sound that traditionally fills the air every holiday season is the sound of the ringing bells of the Salvation Army’s bell ringers involved in the red kettle Christmas campaign.  

For many in my generation, the sound of the Salvation Army bell ringers could almost always be heard even before the car was parked. Sadly, as a result of the annual campaigns of political correctness against Christmas and religion, many retailers have chosen to abandon the Salvation Army and its annual Christmas red kettle campaign.

So, why should any of us care about the dwindling number of Salvation Army bell ringers and red kettles? Why should any of us care whether the Salvation Army’s annual red kettle fundraiser succeeds or fails? The answer is simple, and the answer is actually a question which we should all ask ourselves: Where would we be without the Salvation Army? 


Over the years, many anti-religion organizations have launched annual campaigns to silence the Salvation Army’s bell ringers.  One is left to wonder just exactly which of the anti-religion organizations would step forward to replace the Salvation Army, which anti-religion organization would be willing to feed the hungry, provide disaster relief, assist the disabled, elderly and ill, provide shelter and necessities to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children?

Although numbers alone could never write the many stories of those who have been helped by the Salvation Army, it is important to consider just a few facts from the Salvation Army’s 2017 Annual Report, facts which are just a glimpse into the faces of the more than 23 million who have turned to the Salvation Army in their hour of need. 

During 2017, the Salvation Army provided basic social services to 13,804,263; holiday assistance to 2,934,171, summer and day camps to 260,546; disaster assistance to 241,638; senior citizens services to 936,475; substance abuse treatment to 146,990; medical care to 13,730; provided transportation to 1,217,720; served meals to 52,259,152; provided lodging to 9,905,970; and, distributed clothing, furniture and gifts to 16,528,404.

As you can see, the numbers of those who have been served by the Salvation Army in 2017 alone are staggering. 

So, again, the answer which we need to ask ourselves is if the bell ringers stopped ringing, and the red kettles disappeared, which organization would step in and assist the twenty-three million who were served by the Salvation Army in 2017, or those the Salvation Army will be serve in 2018, 2019 and in the future?  Would it be the Freedom from Religion Foundation, or some other anti-religion organization which opposes anything that is done in the name of Jesus?  Of course not, otherwise instead of the Salvation Army’s bell ringers and red kettles, we would already see those anti-religion organizations ringing bells and filling their own red kettles with donations which would be used to assist the millions who are already served by the Salvation Army. 

So, as I often do, I would invite each of you to join me on my imaginary mountaintop, a place where we can look listen and look out over the horizon for the Salvation Army’s bell ringers and red kettles, places where each of us can go to contribute, if even in a small way, to the needs of all the millions who in their hour of need turn to the Salvation Army every day, week, month and year.  And if you can’t find a bell ringer of a red kettle, visit the Salvation Army’s website at, a place where you can give generously for those in need.

Mark Wohlander, a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor, practices law in Lexington, Kentucky. Other of Mark’s columns and Liberty quote prints are available at

Kentucky Today’s Perspectives section provides a public forum for our readers to express their views on issues of importance. The opinions expressed are those of the writer and should not be construed as an official position taken by this newspaper. We encourage you to join in the conversation by sending your essays to We reserve the right to reject submissions deemed inappropriate.  


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The Salvation Army started in England because the “state” was failing the poor, especially the children. Someone with conviction stepped forward and made a difference in millions of lives across the years and across the ocean. Mark’s point is one I have pondered, also. The anti-religion groups want to sweep through, burn the churches and leave nothing but dispare and hopelessness.

I never forget every Christmas when I was a poor boy and received a gift and Christmas party from the Salvation Army. God had richly blessed me, and I can now give to help others. I would not waste one dime on a group that tears down and helps no one. As Mark pointed out, who will help those in need when the anti-religious groups sit in their nice homes sipping their wine and patting themselves on the back for denying hope and some happiness for millions?

Saturday, December 15, 2018

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