Portland Police Chief Mike Reese and Portland Fire and Rescue Chief John Klum plan to participate in a Salvation Army "Celebrity Bell Ringing Challenge" this morning, despite calls by some gay-rights activists to boycott the Christian charity.

Klum and Reese (who last month abandoned his plans for a mayoral campaign) will compete to see who can raise the most change from passersby outside Nordstrom beginning at 10am. A Fire Bureau press release encourages citizens to "drop a few coins or dollars into the kettle," and says the event raised nearly $18,000 last year for the Salvation Army's local service centers.

Although no local gay-rights group has formally announced support for the Salvation Army boycott, the charity's stance on homosexuality is getting renewed national attention this holiday season.

The slow-boiling boycott campaign, which reportedly dates to 2001, is intended protest the Salvation Army's history of lobbying against the application of anti-discrimination laws to gays and lesbians. Here is what the Salvation Army says about homosexuality on its website:

Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex. The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life. There is no scriptural support for same-sex unions as equal to, or as an alternative to, heterosexual marriage.
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"To my knowledge, the Salvation Army does not turn anyone away from services based on their sexual orientation. The Portland Police Bureau has had a long-standing partnership with the Salvation Army; the organization has worked with police specifically in regard to shelters for women and children, emergency services and social service aid to many of Portland's vulnerable communities."

Update 3:40pm Dec. 13: Corah reports that Klum raised $1,300 to Reese's $400.