'Significant breach of fitness': Oregon city mayor faces heat after equating Pride flags to swastikas
Mayor Matt Diaz of Baker City, Oregon, is facing backlash from citizens after comparing those who support LGBTQ+ pride to Nazis, Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) reports.
The local leader recently shared Facebook post featuring "an image of four Pride flags positioned to look like a swastika," along with the caption: "When you join four pride flags you become ultra pride."
Per OPB, Diaz's "post came only a few days before Baker City's third annual Pride Walk, an event meant to celebrate the local LGBTQ+ community," which is led "by Baker County Safe Communities Coalition and New Directions Northwest, an addiction treatment nonprofit."
According to the report, Pride Walk organizer and New Directions staffer Haley Huekman, did not discuss the mayor's post, but emphasized, "Pride is about accepting and celebrating those who are in the LGBTQ+ community. It values tolerance, acceptance and inclusion. For several years the Baker County Safe Communities Coalition has put out 'You Matter' signs around Baker County. This campaign is to remind community members that we all have a place here."
Diaz has since offered an apology "for any misunderstanding," adding, he has "no hate for those who choose a different lifestyle, religion, or sexual preference than my own."
Still, the mayor stood behind his post, saying, "The post in question was meant to illustrate how the DEI or 'woke' ideology is being propagandized and militantly forced on American society and culture using the same psychological tactics used by the Nazi party in the 1930s - 1940s. It was meant to demonstrate how this movement, under the guise of inclusion and affirmation, is attacking the very foundation of America's Judeo-Christian values, a movement that some of our citizens have been thoroughly indoctrinated into."
During a Thursday evening City Council meeting, according to OPB, Diaz requested attendees only focus on discussing the city budget, and "to wait until the next regular council meeting, where he said they could bring up concerns about 'almost anything.'"
When Diaz requested Thursday's City Council meeting discussions solely focus on the budget, and nothing else until "the next regular council meeting," according to OPB, one attendee, Randy Cox spoke out, saying, "I want the budget to be for everybody. Not some of us. Not some of us for who we go to church with. Not some of us for whatever we believe in. You work for everybody."
Many other residents have expressed dissatisfaction with the mayor, calling for his resignation, OPB reports, while The Baker City Herald published a statement from City Councilor Beverly Calder, saying, "His words cast shadows far beyond our city limits as this discussion will carry on in social media platforms forever," she wrote. "This will impact our efforts to attract new businesses as well as the tourism that our communities depend upon. It's not a small thing, it is a significant breach of fitness regarding public service."
OPB's full report is available at this link.
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