Sunday, May 31, 2009

Faith Aloud Mourns the Murder of Dr. George Tiller

Faith Aloud Mourns the Murder of Dr. George Tiller
May 31, 2009

Abortion Provider Dr. George Tiller was murdered by a gunman who shot him point-blank while he was ushering in services at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. His wife, Jeanne, watched in horror from the choir loft.

The clergy and members of Faith Aloud mourn the loss of this courageous, dedicated, and religious man. He and his clinic had been the victim of violence many times before, yet he continued to provide women with desperately needed care. As one of the few providers in the country for third trimester abortions, Dr. Tiller served many women who had planned pregnancies that had gone wrong. He was deeply religious and his services to women and families at his clinic included the guidance of a chaplain.

"Dr. Tiller taught me so much about the spiritual concerns of his patients," said the Reverend Rebecca Turner, Executive Director of Faith Aloud. "He was a kind, compassionate man who respected women and listened to them. America cannot tolerate this kind of domestic terrorism. We must put an end to the hostile rhetoric that fuels this kind of violence. We must hold people accountable who bully women on the sidewalks of abortion clinics. There is nothing "pro-life" about murder and nothing "Christian" about the hatred that fuels it. My heart goes out to abortion providers all over our country who share in this tragedy."

Faith Aloud is an interfaith organization that supports women in all their decisions concerning problem pregnancies.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Michael Orlando Changes His Mind!

Today Faith Aloud received the following e-mail from Michael Orlando (see previous posts to catch up on the story). Thanks to everyone who wrote to Mr. Orlando opposing his decision to deny us service based on our political and religious beliefs.

Recently the Orlando family made a public statement that, due to our Pro Life beliefs we would no longer provide services to Planned Parenthood and Faith Aloud because their views did not agree with our family beliefs. Given the family dynamic of our business this decision was made from an emotional place without considering all of the consequences. We have since learned that this Pro Life stance has been considered by some to be an act of discrimination. That was never our intention. Orlando’s has never discriminated against anyone and has a reputation of generosity and fairness in our community. We would like continue supporting our community without discrimination to any organization regardless of their political or religious beliefs. We strongly believe in the values of diversity and equality that have made our country great. While we as a family uphold the values of our faith and will continue to be Pro Life, we will not inflict our beliefs on our customers. We will respectfully offer our catering and facilities to any organization that has an interest in using them despite our differences. We apologize to anyone we may have offended in our previous decision and look forward to serving our entire community equally.

Michael Orlando
General Manager
Orlando's Catering and Event Design

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Letters to Michael Orlando

These are letters that Faith Aloud's Executive Director and Board President have sent to Michael Orlando in response to his decision to no longer serve Faith Aloud:

A Letter from the Rev. Rebecca Turner, executive director of Faith Aloud, to Michael Orlando

May 7, 2009

Dear Mr. Orlando:

I was quite shocked and disappointed to receive your email stating that you would no longer welcome our business simply because we are a pro-choice organization. It is disappointing that you would give in to angry protesters carrying hostile signs about your business rather than supporting the paying customers who were well-behaved.

On the St. Louis Catholic blog, it quotes you as saying you will no longer provide services to Planned Parenthood. We are not Planned Parenthood and never have been. We are an organization of religious groups and individuals. At the banquet were dozens of clergy. There were also many politicians and directors of several other non-profit agencies. They are all quite dismayed to hear of your announcement and many have vowed to remove their business from you.

It seems to me it would have been very easy for you to tell the detractors that you cannot check the political and religious status of your customers. But instead you've publicly declared that you can't serve pro-choice organizations. That list is so much longer than you probably realize.

I am saddened for the position in which you have placed yourself and saddened that we will not be enjoying the excellent services provided by your wonderful staff.

We will have no difficulty finding another banquet center who will welcome our business.


Rev. Rebecca Turner

Executive Director of Faith Aloud

A Letter from Rev. Krista Taves, board president of Faith Aloud, to Michael Orlando

Mr. Orlando,

I am the Rev. Krista Taves, minister of Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel and president of the Board of Faith Aloud. For the last two years, I have attended Faith Aloud's banquet at your facility and was very pleased with the quality of service. I am deeply disappointed with the decision you have made. I can respect our differences of opinion, but your decision to take the profit you made from our loyal patronage of your facility and donate it to those who oppose us is very disturbing and very insulting. You have disrespected those who honored you and trusted you with their business. Furthermore, you have affirmed the disrespectful and abusive behavior of the protestors who met us at your doors. I can certainly respect your belief that abortion is wrong, but the extreme and inhumane tactics of those protestors is a form of violence that should not be condoned by anyone. You have now validated and condoned that violence.

I will do what I can to ensure that many become aware of your decision and I will urge them to boycott your business. I conduct many weddings and am frequently asked for referrals for reception locations. I will explicitly encourage those couples who come to me not to use your

facility and I will tell them why. I will also refuse to officiate at wedding ceremonies held in your banquet facilities. You can be sure that the thousands of Unitarian Universalists in this city will also not be availing themselves of your services.

Rev. Krista Taves

Faith Aloud board president

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Well folks, its official...the rumors are true. Orlando's Banquets and Catering has caved to the pressure of radical anti-choicers and banished Faith Aloud. Michael Orlando, owner of Orlando's Banquet and Catering, has decided to donate all the profits from the Faith Aloud Awards to radical anti-choice causes to "make amends" for serving us. Furthermore, Michael Orlando has made the poor choice of refusing to serve people associated with Faith Aloud. Basically, Michael Orlando has chosen to ban pro-choice people from all of his venues. In his email to us, Michael Orlando wrote, "After much discussion and deliberation with our family who takes a pro-life stance in our community, we feel we must decline the opportunity to host your event in the future. I hope you understand our position."
We wonder how he can ask that we understand his position when he not only doesn't understand ours but has also chosen to ostracize anyone who associates with our position . When emcee extraordinaire and marriage equality activist Ed Reggi talked to Michael Orlando about the decision to ban Faith Aloud, Michael Orlando told Ed, " this is a right as a Catholic business to refuse anyone that goes against their families beliefs."
How does this make you feel? What can you do? Here at Faith Aloud we encourage you to BOYCOTT Orlando's Banquet and Catering. Don't have your event there, don't attend events there, and tell your friends not to go there. If you want to do more, write to Michael Orlando directly and express your disappointment with his choice to refuse those who support choice. His address is Orlando Gardens, 8352 watson Rd., St. Louis, MO 63119.