The Chamber Commerce of Bend wants the world to believe that we are a progressive city that is a great place to do business. I wouldn't disagree with that at all - until there is support for businesses that openly discriminate and set us back a few centuries in their thinking.
A recent article in The Bulletin reminded me that instead of moving forward, Bend would rather move backward and send a very different kind of message to the world.
Apparently, the Northwest Nazarene College is seeking to place facilities in Bend or Redmond. This college, already known for their extremist right-wing Christian views has delightfully told us in their "About" page that they require students and faculty to agree to "lifestyle requirements" and in as much, you must agree that marriage is only between a man and a woman (and that's just the tip of the iceberg).
Welcome to open discrimination and a step backward, Bend.
I am not attacking religious institutions in general; so let's not even go there. There are plenty of recent examples of "real" religious institutions that fully support equality in all forms - and, yes, that includes same-sex marriage.
These are the real heroes of the religious community. And they are receiving increasing support for their courage to embrace and love everyone without trying to indoctrinate.
Same-sex marriage, whether you disagree or agree with it, is not a religious issue; it is a civil rights issue. Men and women can marry in or outside the church and do so everyday. A marriage license does not require a church.
Regardless of that, I know of many schools (and attended one) that are based on church principles that openly and happily accept all forms of humans and beliefs: gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, married, single, atheist, etc.
They do not place any type of discriminating, derogatory, or otherwise regressive "lifestyle requirements" on any of their students or staff.
If the City of Bend and State Board of Higher Education for Central Oregon are willing to support and accept these types of institutions then they are sending an equally strong message to the world that we are not a city that wants to bring in new business, new residents and increasing revenues.
Think this doesn't matter? It sure does because businesses and people do their research before relocating and institutions such as this are definitely not the way the majority of this country thinks and feels in poll after poll.
The right thing to do is to let these institutions know we don't support discrimination in any form; either change the policy or you are not welcome here. Period. This goes not just for this particular issue, but for all discrimination issues.
If the city is giving tax breaks or using any sort of taxpayer monies to bring this backward institution to Bend, then they are going to have another set of issues on their hands to deal with.
We should send a message to this college that their "lifestyle requirements" are not welcome here. If you agree, I encourage you to reach out to the State Board of Higher Education for Central Oregon and/or the City of Bend and let them know.