WARSAW, Ohio — Dancers at an Ohio strip club plan to protest topless outside of an Ohio church during this Sunday’s services, reports state.
New Beginnings Ministries in Warsaw has been standing against Foxhole North in Walhonding for several years, and the strip club has protested the church in return. In 2010, the matter made headlines after dancers from Foxhole showed up outside of the church in bikini tops while holding signs quoting from the Book of Matthew, such as “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing” from Matthew 7:15.
“Everybody has sinned, and that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna get into heaven,” stripper Laura Meske told the Associated Press. “I believe in Jesus. I don’t believe what they preach. They preach hate.”
“You don’t stand up there for years for hate. That’s not hate. That’s love,” replied church member Debi Durr, as a fellow congregant offered food to the strippers outside.
“I got a church 900 feet down the street that causes me no problems,” club owner Thomas George said. “And I got this moron nine miles down the street that causes me more headaches.”
While Pastor Bill Dunfee says that he would like to see the facility close, he also says that his church has worked to offer alternatives to the employees and patrons of Foxhole North.
“I tell them, ‘I will put a roof over your heads and your bills will be paid, and your children’s bellies will be full,'” he explained to the Columbus Dispatch, understanding that some women may seek employment at a strip club out of desperation for money.
Dunfee says that at least one dancer left the club because of their efforts and turned to Christ, and business has also decreased at the location.
But George states that he wants the church to leave his strip club alone. He has gone to court in the past to seek an injunction against New Beginnings Ministry in the form of a buffer zone, but has been denied twice. George says that Sunday’s protest is a last resort.
“I’ve been left no recourse by the county judge, sheriff and other people around there who have supported [Dunfee],” he told the Zanesville Times-Recorder this week. “I don’t want to [use nudity], but obviously [Dunfee] doesn’t understand the meaning of just go away.”
Dunfee said that the upcoming protest will in no way deter the church from continuing to speak out against the strip club and its activities, and to offer help to women. He finds the presence of the strippers outside of New Beginnings Ministry as a witnessing opportunity.
“The bottom line for us is that it’s a gospel issue,” Dunfee said. “When the church was born over 2,000 years ago, it was in the midst of opposition. We know what we’re doing is working.”
Toplessness is legal in Ohio as state statues do not specifically ban baring one’s breasts in public.