SALEM, OR.– A sign reading “Jesus Loves Strippers, Honk If You Agree” is causing controversy.
Cynthia Shaver, the executive director and founder of a group called Pole Gems, says, “Jesus loves strippers because Jesus loves all.”
She worked as a cocktail server in a strip club about 20 years ago.
“One thing that I realized is that these people working in these clubs sometimes… the conditions are hard. It’s a hard job,” Shaver said.
To help out those who work in Adult Entertainment, Cynthia says Pole Gems provides free and low cost services, and are using the sign as a way to bring money to their fund-raising efforts.
“We are a faith-based organization. But our mission is not to try to convert people. We offer counseling, we offer all kinds of stuff. We throw baby showers, we fill in (honk) thank you! We fill in where people may not be able to afford like their electric bill,” said Shaver.
However, Salem Community Vision, a prominent civic group, is not happy about the sign.
Brian Hines, who is on the steering committee for the group, said that it makes Salem look tacky.
“I mean one, it’s way bigger than the usual political sign. I mean, it’s smack dab in the right-of-way. It’s obscuring the vision, the sight line to the intersection. It didn’t have to do with the message. We had no idea what Pole Gems was. Personally, I kind of like the idea of ‘Jesus loves strippers’ even though I’m not religious. I mean who doesn’t love strippers?,” Hines stated.
Despite the positive message, a city spokesman confirms that the sign is out of compliance.
Shaver doesn’t see why the sign is causing such a stir.
“I have never heard of such controversy over a sign,” she said.
Shaver says that they took down their sign-post and replaced it with sign holders Monday afternoon after a code enforcement officer talked with them.
She says that the officer told them that all of their signs are non-complaint due to size regulations, but the city only took action on the one in the right-of-way because of complaints.