A group of dancers from a local Ohio strip club, as well as its owner, are sick and tired of the tactics of a local church's parishioners and its pastor who has made it their goal to shut the place down. So they showed up to Sunday worship to protest. And they stripped off their tops to do it.
Employees and supporters of the Foxhole North showed up at New Beginnings Ministries in Warsaw, Ohio, to protest Pastor Bill Dunfee and his congregation's crusade to run the strip joint out of business.
According to the Coshocton Tribune, the protest was well-attended:
About 30 dancers, other staff, family and friends from the Foxhole North either marched with protest signs or sat in chairs across from the church. Church members have been protesting the private gentlemen's club for nearly nine years. Two women were topless for about half of the four-hour protest.
"They come up every weekend, and they're very abusive and certainly unchristian-like," club owner Thomas Geoarge told WBNS-TV. "Calling the girls [bleeped] and [bleeped]. They're abusive to the customers. They sit out with video cameras, they take pictures of license plates, tell them they're posting them to the web."
While the church put up tarps to block congregants from having to see the nudity, at least one parishioner got into a shouting match with some of Foxhole North's supporters, and news cameras were rolling:
Dunfee, however, isn't backing down.
"I hope he will realize that the Foxhole has no business in this community," he told the news outlet, adding later, "I take very seriously the responsibility as a pastor to see to it that the gospel of Christ is lifted up, that Christ himself is lifted up, and that evil is confronted."
George and his supporters aren't changing their tactics either. He told the news station he plans on showing up every week until the church stops its protest.
And he's not the only one criticizing the church. Anny Donewald is the head of a Christian group called Eve's Angels based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that reaches out to strippers. She made the trip down to the site of the protest and seems to be siding with the dancers over the church's tactics.
"The Bible says, if you're with someone and they don't receive your message, brush your feet off and keep it moving," she told the Tribune, which noted she led the group in a prayer. "[The church] definitely needs to go away, because they're causing so much of a problem and there's no humility in that."
The church hired an off-duty sheriff's deputy to stand guard during the confrontation that remained "mostly peaceful." It plans to do the same next week.
And as both local news outlets point out, it's not illegal for women to be topless in public in Ohio.