‘Jesus loves strippers’ sign causes controversy for Oregon faith-based organization

SALEM, Ore. (WCMH) — A sign proclaiming Jesus’ love has caused some controversy in western Oregon.

The sign sits on a busy road and reads “Jesus loves Strippers. Honk if you agree.”

Cynthia Shaver used to work in a cocktail club two decades ago. Today she runs an organization called Pole Gems that provides free and low-cost services to adult entertainment workers.

“We are a faith-based organization, but our mission is not to try to convert people, Shaver told KATU News. “We offer counseling, we offer all kinds of stuff. We throw baby showers… We fill in where people may not be able to afford like their electric bill.”

Pole Gems put the sign up to help with a fundraiser.

“Jesus loves strippers because Jesus loves all,” Shaver said.  “One thing I realized is that these people working in these clubs, sometimes the conditions are hard. It’s a hard job.”

Although Shaver has had a good response from the sign, one prominent civic group is trying to get the sign removed.

“It’s just a mess,” said Brian Hines of the Salem Community Vision steering committee. “It makes Salem look tacky.”

Hines said it’s not the message on the sign that bothers him; it’s the placement of the sign.

“I mean, it’s smack dab in the right-of-way,” he said. “It’s obscuring the vision, the sight line to the intersection. Personally, I kind of like the idea of ‘Jesus loves strippers.’ I mean, who doesn’t love strippers?”

A Salem city spokesperson did confirm that the sign in out of compliance. Shaver says all of her signs are out of compliance due to size regulations, but the city only took action on the one near the right-of-way because of complaints.

“I have never heard of such controversy over a sign,” she said.

After speaking with a code enforcement officer, she took down the sign post and replaced it with sign holders.