It is clear that the Broadway Coffeehouse, which is run by the Salem Alliance Church, does indeed discriminate against LBGTQ people as my previous posts on this subject have laid out. See:
Two reports of how Broadway Coffee House/Commons discriminates against gay people
Salem Alliance Church pastor talks about sin of same-sex sex
As you can read below, I've asked representatives of the coffeehouse and church if the coffeehouse would refuse to hire someone otherwise well qualified but who was gay, in a same-sex marriage, or engaging in same-sex sex. The same questions have been asked by a KATU reporter and by another interested person, Johnny Green.
Those representatives have refused to give an answer to whether the Broadway Coffeehouse discriminates against LBGTQ people. I even posed the question by saying that the job applicant was a member of the Salem Alliance Church, but is openly gay and in a same-sex marriage. The applicant just considers that it isn't a sin to have same-sex sex, as the church maintains.
Again, no answer. So it seems clear that the Broadway Coffeehouse is indeed a gay unfriendly place, despite their protestations that they are an "inclusive gathering place." I don't consider homophobia to be inclusive, loving, or what Jesus would do.
(I'm an atheist, but my understanding is that the root of the Christian belief that same-sex sex is a sin comes from the Old Testament.)
KATU reporter Joe Douglass contacted me after he read my first blog post about the Broadway Coffeehouse. Later, he sent me a Facebook link to a post where Douglass shared a statement from Robb Childs, the executive pastor for Salem Alliance Church. Here's what Douglass' post says. I didn't include the link to my blog post/article since it is above.
In response to accusations the Broadway Coffeehouse and Commons in Salem discriminates against LGBTQ people as described in the below article by Brian Hines, Salem Alliance Church, which owns the coffeehouse, sent me a statement claiming they don’t ask prospective employees about their sexual orientation. It also says, “We intentionally hire followers of Jesus,” and that the church affirms an “orthodox view of marriage.”
Robb Childs, the church’s executive pastor, sent me the statement. He would not answer follow-up questions as to whether the coffeehouse would hire LGBTQ people if their orientation became known and whether any LGBTQ people work at the business.
Following is the entire statement from Childs:
“Broadway Commons was built by Salem Alliance Church as an inclusive gathering place for anyone and everyone under a vision that church, community and commerce could come together for the common good. Broadway Coffeehouse is a business/ministry of Salem Alliance Church located in the Broadway Commons building.
For nearly 100 years, Salem Alliance Church has been committed to loving all individuals through all of its ministries. We believe everyone is created in God’s image with inestimable worth, and therefore, we seek to treat every individual, even those with whom we might disagree, with dignity and respect.
It is with this mission that we operate Broadway Coffeehouse. While we intentionally hire followers of Jesus at Broadway Coffeehouse, it has not been our practice to ask sexual orientation questions during the hiring process.
While Salem Alliance Church affirms the long-standing, orthodox view of marriage that the Church has affirmed for centuries, we have not sought to use Broadway Coffeehouse as a religious platform. Instead, we strive to demonstrate a welcoming spirit and provide exceptional service to everyone in our diverse community. Jesus had a beautiful way of interacting with the people of His day with grace and truth and we want to be a reflection of Him. We love our community and we work hard to be good neighbors, open to all who visit our church, use our facilities or stop by for coffee as we serve our city following Christ’s example.”
It's disturbing that Salem Alliance Church calls homosexuality and same-sex sex a sin in the privacy of their sermons, but isn't willing to be honest about this in its public persona. Rather, in the statement above Childs dances around the question I, the KATU reporter, Johnny Green, and many other people want answered by the church:
Would you refuse to hire a qualified gay person to work at the Broadway Coffeehouse if they were open and upfront about their homosexuality, even if they were a member of the Salem Alliance Church?
I don't buy the "we hate the sin but love the sinner" spin that Childs tries to get away with.
Same-sex marriage is legal everywhere in the United States. Same-sex marriage has the approval of 67% of Americans. Sexuality is an integral part of marriage. Science has learned that sexual orientation is wholly or mostly determined by genetics and isn't a choice. The excerpt is from the first link:
The cross-cultural similarities evinced by the Lethbridge study offer further evidence that being gay is genetic, which is, in itself, an interesting finding. But we as a society should challenge the notion that sexual preferences must be nonvolitional to be socially acceptable or safe from scrutiny. The etiology of homosexuality, biological or otherwise, should have no bearing on gay individuals’ right to equality.
Hating the sin of same-sex sex is the same as hating people in same-sex relationships.
The bigoted attitude of the Salem Alliance Church and the Broadway Coffeehouse is rapidly becoming a relic of an unenlightened time, in much the same way that racial prejudice has endured among a minority of people in our country even though our laws and culture are moving forward on this front.
I will never set foot in the Broadway Commons now that I know how the Salem Alliance Church looks upon same-sex relationships. In short, as a sin.
In a continuation to this post you can read a comment on my first blog post from Luke, who apparently is a manager at the Broadway Coffeehouse. As you'll see, I took him up on his offer to ask some questions, but I never heard back from Luke, or anyone else. Two of my follow-up emails also are copied in.
Luke, thanks for your comment on my blog post about Salem Alliance Church. I do have a few questions.(1) Since the Broadway Coffee House is part of Salem Alliance Church, I’ve been told that money raised by the Coffee House, and by Broadway Commons in general, goes in the church’s financial accounts. I assume this is correct, but would appreciate confirmation of this. In other words, if I buy a latte at the Coffee House, which I’ve done numerous times, does the profit from that purchase go to support church operations?(2) You said you don’t ask about sexual orientation during the hiring process for Coffee House staff. But as unlikely as this may be, let’s imagine this scenario: a “follower of Jesus,” as you put it, applies for a job. In the course of the interview this person says, “Wanted to let you know that I’m gay, and I’m married in a same-sex marriage.” Would they be hired if they were otherwise qualified?As you [can] read on my first blog post about this issue that you commented on, this is what someone reported to me:The pastor told me that the baristas are church staff and have to be employees of the church and follow church rules to work there . He also said that they do not need to follow non discrimination laws because they are an outreach ministry...not a licensed business. I think the general public should know this.(3) So another question is, is what this person said true? Namely do baristas have to be church staff? Do they have to follow church rules to work there? I ask this because my second post is about the lead pastor at Salem Alliance Church saying that same-sex sex is a sin, and it needs to be given up by church members.Thus I’m wondering if the Coffee House would hire someone who is openly gay, is in a same-sex marriage, and is having same-sex sex within that marriage. Let’s assume they are a member of the Salem Alliance Church. They just choose to ignore that rule about same-sex sex set down by the pastor, because it doesn’t make sense to them.I look forward to your responses. I’ll share those responses unedited on my blog.— BrianThis mornings email to Luke and Childs:Luke, just wanted to give you a heads-up on what I’m planning for a third blog post about the Broadway Coffee House and Salem Alliance Church.Tonight I’ll likely report on the church’s statement to the KATU reporter, Joe Douglass, which he shared with me and also put on his Facebook page. That statement fails to say whether the Coffee House has a non-discrimination policy against LGBTQ hiring/employees, so unless I hear otherwise from you, I’m going to assume that the Coffee House would indeed not hire someone who is gay, in a same-sex marriage, and/or admits to engaging in same-sex sex.In other words, the church’s repeated failure to respond to questions about hiring gays leads me to conclude that Salem Alliance Church and Broadway Coffee House DO discriminate against LBGTQ people, which is something people in Salem should know about. If I’m wrong about this, please reply to this email by 6 pm tonight, after which I’ll be doing my blog post writing.Lastly, I saw on the Salem City Council Facebook page (a private page not associated with the City of Salem) that Johnny Green has gotten the same response from the church. He said that he’s asked the church, or maybe Coffee House, about their hiring practices regarding LBGTQ people, and also hasn’t gotten a response. So this does seem to be an instance where silence from the church speaks more loudly than words. Thus I’ll be reporting on that silence, and what it means, unless I hear from you or someone else from the church before 6 pm today..— Brian
Another email to Luke:Luke and Mr. Childs, I want to add a more personal note to you.I’m an atheist, though for 35 years I was a fervent believer in God, eastern mysticism variety, having belonged to an Indian religious organization. Since 2004 I’ve had an active Church of the Churchless blog where I’ve shared my evolving views, which I guess can be summarized as “spiritual, but not religious,” using “spiritual” in a non-supernatural sense.What I say in public on my blog is the same as what I believe in private, within my own mind. I don’t have a public faith, or rather non-faith, that is different from my private faith.What I’ve having difficulty understanding is this:I understand that the faith of Salem Alliance Church members in your teachings/rules is strong and firmly held. I disagree with what you believe, but naturally I support your right to your own religious beliefs. From the sermon excerpt I’ve shared on my blog from Pastor Fowler, it seems clear that the Salem Alliance Church considers same-sex sex to be a sin, and doesn’t approve of same-sex marriage for the same reason.If this is true, and I have every reason to believe it is, then why doesn’t the church and Coffee House simply publicly admit that it is your policy not to hire LBGTQ people, because you believe they are engaging in a serious sin by engaging in a same-sex sexual relationship?Personally, I’d applaud this honesty. Sure, I still wouldn’t agree with it. But I much prefer that religious people be honest about their religiosity, than have a private form of religion that is different from their publicly-professed faith.Anyway, just wanted to share these thoughts with you.— Brian