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