Letter of the Week
This week's illustrious Letter of the Week award goes to Liz Nahnsen for bringing to our attention the exciting world of "Godvertising."
As a resident on the Northwest side of town, I can't help but notice Westside Church's newish row of banners along Newport Avenue. Usually they are banal church advertising, but they are getting increasingly bold, and unpleasant. A few weeks ago the theme screamed at passing motorists "FAMILIES IN CRISIS," with a background of a man's ominous fist and some needles and stuff obviously depicting a drug theme.
Today I noticed the bravest signage yet: A photo of a man and woman's feet poking out from under bedcovers with a bright red caption "PURE SEX." I'm no prude, and as I write this I'm sure I'm creating just the sort of controversy the marketing folks at Westside Church are going for, but my dislike of these signs has little to do with the message. Although I strongly dislike fear or alarmist-based selling of anything (be it religion, political affiliations, or elliptical machines), what frosts my cupcakes about the Godvertising is that these banners loom over a huge block along Newport Avenue - a very popular and pretty walk/bike/drive. For those yet to experience these hulking morality memos, they are reminiscent of other innocuous ("Happy Holidays!" - city of Bend) or interesting ("You Can't Not Think" OPB), or informative ("0% Financing Until Your Children Graduate College!") except that 1) the signs are not voted on by representatives of the area, and 2) they are not displayed to the enrichment/education/entertainment of the population that views them regularly. I am not familiar with ordinances addressing such advertising on the business' own property, but legalities aside, how about a little consideration for those who just want to get from point A to point B without a graphic lecture?
Other businesses along this stretch have modest, informative, often humorous signage and are respectful of all the different sensibilities to be found on the west side. When the Westside Church complex completed building, we were excited to see evidence of a good neighbor: lovely landscaping with waterfall feature, an open volleyball court, and unobtrusive religious iconography on the property. I encourage them to be considerate of their diverse neighbors and keep the morality memos inside.