During my run this morning I passed a church somewhere in the Cultural District in Portland. There was a sign on the church reading: “No loitering. Church business only. Police enforced.” I’d be curious to find out what exactly it is that they deem as “church business.” The sign is likely meant to keep the homeless people from sleeping on the steps of the church, but aren’t these the people the church is supposed to be reaching out to? Perhaps I’m drawing too much into this simple sign but my experience with religion has left me quite jaded and it’s this sort of rubbish that rubs me the wrong way. I find an extreme amount of hypocrisy happening among churches; it seems many of them only want to help the people they feel are worthy to be helped, which excludes the possibly smelly, hungry, ragged clothed people that call the streets of Portland home. Churches are supposed to lead by example, feed the hungry, shelter the needy, be a light in the dreary night for all who may need it. The sign I saw, however, translates to me as this: “We don’t want you clogging up are precious pews, and heaven is too full already for the likes of you. Please stay away unless you’re clean and ready to tithe.” Call me crazy but this is not the type of message a church should be broadcasting. If there is an actual problem with loitering and juveniles defiling the church property, I would think better words could be found to illustrate this.