The Portland chapter of the Church of Scientology this month purchased the Sherlock Building, where it plans to move. But something about the location of the building sticks out: It's across the street from a strip club.
Namely, it's across the street from a male nude strip club called Silverado. The club is ostensibly gay (a rainbow flag hangs outside its door), but straight women also go there.
Not to blanket statement all religious organizations, but I doubt many of them would be willing to set up camp next door to a strip club. Some liberal ones probably would.
I called the president of the Portland chapter of Scientology, the Rev. Steven Crandell, to see if he was concerned about the strip club being so close.
"If you look around in that neighborhood, it is Old Town and it is what it is," Crandell said. "Our hope is as various things happen in the neighborhood, we will bring good things to neighborhood"
I asked him if he meant stripping was a bad thing, to which he said, "I don't think it's what you'd want your daughter to do." (I reminded him that in this case, it would be your son.) "But you have to respect the laws of the land," he said.
He didn't give a clear stance on where the Church of Scientology stood on stripping, but he did say the church has "a non-religious moral code called The Way to Happiness." You can find more information about it at scientology.org.
Crandell told me he has lived in Portland all his life, and the church has a mission for social change.
"What you'd hope would happen is - not through a militant presence - but that through your own philosophical views that kind of stuff (strip clubs) would dissipate," he said.
As far as homosexuality goes, the Church of Scientology has been criticized in the past for homophobia because of its founder's views. The founder, L. Ron Hubbard, classified it as an illness or sexual perversion. But the present day church says it does not dictate sexual preferences. A report from the church in 2005 says:
"The Church of Scientology does not dictate sexual preferences. Scientology is a practical method of improving conditions in life and works to increase a person's abilities, give higher IQ and better reaction time, greater ability to solve his problems in life - things of this nature."
What do those at Silverado think about this? When asked what he thought of the church moving in, a man who answered the phone at Silverado said, "Doesn't bother me as long as they mind their own business. We were here before them."