strippers vs. the church

after suffering through a week of hard-hitting news coverage (i say that with tongue planted firmly in cheek) about some jack-wagon in florida threatening to burn the quran, i present the following for your consideration (it made my top-ten on two lists: the “just when i thought i’d seen everything” list, and the “if you’re going to call him a fundamental, evangelical christian, please put me in a different category” list).

earlier this week, the cnn belief blog ran a video about a strip club in warsaw, ohio that has “turned the tables on a church after years of protest.”  i love the first line of narration: 

the fox hole strip club is closed on sundays, but these days folks in warsaw know where to find the dancers–they’re outside the new beginnings ministries protesting the church for protesting the club.

if you want to watch the video, here’s the link. http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/30/strippers-vs-church/

apparently bill dunfee, pastor of new beginnings ministries (don’t you miss the good ‘ol days when churches were named “first this” or “bethel that”?  then we knew which group should be the object of our scorn and derision) has decided he could rid his town of sinners by protesting the local strip club on friday and saturday nights.  the congregation went so far as to take pictures of license plates and post them online.  strip club owner, tommy george, says the actions of the church have hurt his business significantly.

here’s the funny part…

the exotic dancers have started showing up at the church on sunday mornings with protest signs and lawn chairs.  they are quoted as saying, “these people aren’t my judge, jesus is my judge” and “i’m not trying to hurt anybody, but i’m tired of them coming to our workplace with signs and harassing our customers and calling us whores.”  

here’s the sad part…

pator bill dunfee thinks it’s great.  in the video, he is heard to say, “they’re lost…lost!  these individuals are gonna’ perish unless somebody rescues them.  these girls are victims of the sexual industry.”

without resorting to a whole lot of “let him who is without sin cast the first stone” rhetoric, can we agree that this is another horrendous example of phariseeism?  while this pastor and his church may have good motives, the execution is misdirected (at best) and damaging to the kingdom.  if these girls are truly “victims” as pastor dunfee says, shouldn’t we be caring for them and showing them compassion?  paul said we should Regard prisoners as if you were in prison with them. Look on victims of abuse as if what happened to them had happened to you.” (Hebrews 13:3 – The Message)  i commend them for their passion, but at what point does a group of christians say, “we’ve got to do something…hey, public persecution and blatant disdain seem like a good idea!”

toward the end of the two-minute video, pastor dunfee says, “i am glad that they are here.  and our congregation is seizing the opportunity so, hey, keep on coming!  keep on growing the crowd!”

at least, with that final remark, we finally see pastor dunfee’s true motivation.

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