Reply To: Give me your cold and homeless — but not your cold, homeless sex offenders

Sandy Rozek
Sandy Rozek

Hi, thank you for writing. First, I deeply regret any hate messages you received. Our organization fights the use of hate language constantly as those on the registry are often recipients of it. That was never, ever my intention in writing the article.

Yes, you have to obey the law. My issue with your announcement of your shelter’s accommodations as reported in the media article had to do with your frequent insistence that anyone and everyone was welcome when that was not actually the case. Regardless of the reason for your not being able to shelter those on the registry, they are not welcome, and the effect of your insisting that everyone would be creates an impression of hypocrisy. That is what I was pointing out.

I do not believe that my quotation marks around “sex offender” in the paragraph you reference will be seen as quotes from you. That is clearly a paragraph of my own opinion, not one quoting your or your ministry. I use the quotes because the vast, vast majority of those on the registry are not sex offenders. They were, once upon a time. They are no longer, and the ones who were actually innocent never were.

Now. Let’s talk about what we agree on and what can be done to help this situation. If I am reading your sub-text correctly, you are not happy about turning away anyone. I put several suggestions in other comments that I have made on this thread. There is strength in numbers. A significant number of clergy putting out the word to the public and to legislators that you feel like the separation of church and state is being violated when state laws dictate that you must behave in a manner that contradicts your religious beliefs of mercy to all might get some needed conversation going. I have no idea of the tendency of the ACLU there to involve themselves in such matters, but the ACLU has been very proactive in Rhode Island in a very similar case. Some of the details are here:

Again, I am deeply sorry to have occasioned hostility toward you or your ministry. And sometimes people who are in positions to do so need to stand up and defy what is wrong in our society. And the treatment of American citizens who are listed on a sex offender registry is wrong. I do believe that you know that.