As you can read below, the pastor of the church believes this gives them a religious license to discriminate, sort of like how Agent 007 had a license to kill, even though under normal circumstances this is illegal.
According to the Oregon State Bar, it is legal for religiously affiliated businesses to engage in discrimination against LGBT people. But this doesn't make it right.
Here's what the person who contacted me, who wanted to remain anonymous, said. I recall that this message came through Facebook after I'd written a blog post about how Hobby Lobby mixes religion with its business practices.
I saw your post about hobby lobby, so I think I feel comfortable sharing more ...the "business" I am referring to is Broadway Coffee house. Turns out it is not an actual business and all proceeds go to pay church staff and support the church ministries of Salem Alliance Church .
Seems like something the public should be aware of, especially since I was told gay people would not be able to work there
It feels very underhanded to keep that info from consumers. Myself and about 40 others who live around the coffee shop have been boycotting Broadway for over a year now . We just want them to put up a sign that says the coffee shop supports the ministry of the church and is not an equal opportunity employer. If they do that, we will end the boycott.
Today, the Statesman Journal ran a letter to the editor that made a similar point about how the Broadway Commons, which contains the Broadway Coffee House, discriminates against LGBT people because it is owned by the Salem Alliance Church.
Though Scott Rick focuses on not allowing same-gender couples to marry, I noted that he uses the phrase "discriminating against LGBT members of our community in various ways," implying there are other ways discrimination is happening -- such as not allowing LGBT people to work at the Broadway Coffee House.
Here's the letter.
Boycotting Salem meeting place sends message discrimination won't be tolerated
By serving as a gathering place for the community, Broadway Commons is a major asset to Salem.
Unfortunately, the owners of Broadway Commons, Salem Alliance Church, are actively discriminating against LGBT members of our community in various ways, including refusing to allow same-gender couples to marry.
Religious freedom is sacred, but when any organization discriminates, we have an obligation to take action to bring an end to such discrimination.
In years past, the Bible was used to justify slavery and opposition to civil rights for African Americans. By discriminating against the LGBT community, Salem Alliance Church is continuing that unfortunate tradition.
Refusing to allow same-gender couples to marry is no different than refusing to allow interracial couples to marry.
By boycotting Broadway Commons, we can send a clear message that discrimination is not tolerated in our community.
Many private and governmental organizations use Broadway Commons for meetings. If you are invited to a meeting at Broadway Commons, please consider letting the meeting organizer know that you cannot attend due to the discriminatory practices of the Salem Alliance Church.
Rick's call for a boycott of Broadway Commons, which includes the Broadway Coffee House, should be seriously considered by those in Salem who reject discrimination for any reason, including religious.
I've never understood why our country tolerates discrimination in the name of religion when the same behavior is illegal for non-religious people to engage in.
What's next, allowing religious people to drive drunk if this is part of their belief system? Allowing anyone with a hateful belief system to discriminate? Why should a collective discriminatory belief system be treated differently than an individual discriminatory belief system?
The City of Salem has held a number of meetings at the Broadway Commons.
But recently public meeting for the Downtown Streetscape and Our Salem projects have been held elsewhere. It'd be good to know if this was because of the Broadway Commons' discrimination policy against LGBTQ members of the Salem community.
If so, great. Kudos to the City of Salem.
If not, then the City of Salem and other government agencies should make it a policy to never hold meetings at the Broadway Commons until the Salem Alliance Church starts acting in the name of love, not discrimination, like religious organizations are supposed to do.