In 2019 the most disturbing decision of the Salem City Council was to go along with a poorly thought-out plan by city officials to temporarily house the public library in a building owned by an organization that denies LGBTQ rights, the Salem Alliance Church.
In case you missed out on reading my blog posts about this unethical travesty, type "Salem Alliance Church" in the Google search box in the right sidebar to find what I've written on this subject. For example...
Scott Rick, the librarian at South Salem High School, drew attention to how the Salem Alliance Church discriminates against gueer people in December 2018, when he wrote a letter to the editor that was published in the Statesman Journal. You can read it in my post, Two reports of how Broadway Coffee House/Commons discriminates against LGBT people.
(The Salem Alliance Church runs the Broadway Commons and Broadway Coffee House.)
One year later, Rick has an excellent opinion piece published in the December 29, 2019 issue of the Statesman Journal, Salem taxpayer money shouldn't go to organization that denies basic human rights. Here's some excerpts from the piece.
When people suggest that President Trump’s statements and policies are racist or homophobic, he vehemently denies it in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
The same thing happens when you ask Salem Alliance Church officials about their discriminatory policies toward the queer community.
Church leaders insist, for example, that their refusal to marry same-gender couples is not discriminatory. They seem to believe that by couching discrimination within religious freedom it can no longer be considered discrimination.
By this logic, the church would also be justified in refusing to marry a mixed-race couple.
...The Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination (to which Salem Alliance belongs) refers to homosexuality as “detestable” based on Leviticus. Church leaders at Salem Alliance preach against homosexuality and gay marriage.
By sending this message of intolerance into our community they are directly contributing to the self-harm that is so prevalent in the queer community. Queer people are made to feel that there is something wrong with them, that they are detestable and detested, resulting in suicide rates much higher than for the general population. Fortunately, Salem Alliance rejects some parts of Leviticus, such as 25:44-46 which endorses slavery.
...church leaders have repeatedly refused to answer the simple question “would the Broadway Commons hire an openly queer applicant?”
The Broadway Commons also refuses to issue an equal opportunity employer statement. They believe that religious freedom grants them the right to refuse to hire any applicant that does not conform to their standard of “appropriate” sexual orientation.
...Many community members do not feel comfortable using facilities owned by a church that spreads intolerance in our community. For this reason, public and private organizations are encouraged to refrain from renting and using facilities owned by the Salem Alliance Church.
Taxpayer money should not be flowing to an organization that so blatantly denies basic human rights to cherished members of our community. Celebrate diversity.
I'm a big admirer of libraries. But I agree with Rick that those who support LGBTQ rights shouldn't use the Salem Public Library when portions of the collection are moved to a building leased from the Salem Alliance Church, which will open on February 18.
With so many suitable buildings available in Salem, there was no good reason to house a temporary library in the church-owned building. City officials simply thought that the controversy over paying an organization that discriminates against LGBTQ people would blow over.
Hopefully that won't happen. I won't set foot in any building owned by the Salem Alliance Church, because I support LGBTQ rights. Others, I'm confident, will feel the same way.