Idaho CBS affiliate KIDK reports on a woman who claims she and her 17-month-old son were booted from a non-denominational Christian half-way house when she refused to discard her Pagan jewelry and (witch-themed) fantasy novels.
Rachel “Raven” Litzau
“A young lady seeking help from a faith-based temporary housing program in Idaho Falls is on the streets tonight, looking for shelter … She tells me the organization is discriminating against her because of her beliefs. Litzau came to the Ruth House two weeks ago with her 17-month-old son. She was trying to get away from her abusive husband and get back on her feet. The Ruth House is a non-denominational christian housing center. They say they will accept anyone, but Litzau is pagan. And she tells me that quickly became a problem. “It was along the lines of, ‘Oh, well we’ve had a lot of complaints about this,’ and then suddenly it was like she saw my ring for the first time, and said, ‘Oh, and that’s got to go that’s satanic and your jewelry has to go,’ and I said, ‘I’m sorry I can’t do that. It was really insulting because there’s a big difference between satanism and paganism,” says Litzau … When Litzau refused to discard her jewelry and books, she was asked to leave.”
Since all the other local homeless shelters are at capacity, Litzau will most likely have to sleep on the street tonight. But when the quality of mercy is strained by intolerance, unfavorable press coverage might just remind them of their “Christian” duty.
“I couldn’t talk to the director of the Ruth House on camera, but did reach him over the phone. Robert Gulden tells me he’s not even sure Litzau violated any of the organization’s rules. They don’t have any standards on jewelry and the only rules on literature state that the ladies can’t read books with descriptive words or pornographic pictures. Gulden did mention Litzau was struggling to get along with the nine other girls in the room, and that probably influenced his staff’s decision … Before I talked to Gulden, he hadn’t even heard of the issue. He tells me he should have been notified and that his staff didn’t follow proper protocol. That’s why Gulden is asking Litzau to come meet with him personally and try to work things out.”
However it happens, let’s hope that Ms. Litzau finds a bed for her and her child tonight, and succeeds in escaping the abusive relationship she ran from. Perhaps the Pagan community in Idaho can look into this and find a more accepting environment for this young mother? Ruth House may take her back in tonight, but what will happen when the camera’s glare turns to the next story?