Proving that I'm used my retirement time wisely, here's a video I captured from my TV of a KATU (Portland, Oregon) news story about the controversy over a "Jesus Loves Strippers" sign that was placed illegally in the public right of way in Salem, my home town.
I was interviewed for the story!
In my remarks I'm representing Salem Community Vision, a group I'm a member of that seeks to improve the vitality, vibrancy, and overall coolness of semi-sleepy Salem.
Here's part of what I said:
It turns out that this group aims "to support, empower, and equip people working in all facets of adult entertainment, and victims of sex trafficking, to live healthy, flourishing lives."
Well, that sounds good -- aside from the question of why PoleGems seemingly feels the need to butt into the lives of everybody who works in the adult entertainment industry, regardless of whether they feel the need for support, empowerment, and equipment to live healthy, flourishing lives.
[Note: I don't believe in God or in any religion. So trying to convert people to Christianity or any other supernatural fantasy strikes me as a waste of time. But I also believe in freedom of expression, so long as it isn't coercive. Along that line, I suspect that many, if not most, workers in the adult entertainment industry view PoleGems as I view Jehovah's Witnesses: people who deserve to hear "No, thanks, not interested."]
Here's a few excerpts from the PoleGems web site:
We have a great team of volunteers at POLE Gems. We are all committed to furthering the mission of Christ by assisting women and men who are involved in the sex industry. We believe that God has called us to this particular field and love to see Him working in the lives of those we serve.
...We have many opportunities to get connected with POLE Gems. First, pray! Our ministry would not be as successful as it is without the covering of prayer from our many supporters! Our volunteers gather once a month to go into the clubs with gifts and love for the staff and dancers.
And the PoleGems Facebook page talks about their connection with Strip Church in Las Vegas.
Strip Church serves, teaches and equips women who share a heart and calling to reach out into clubs. We provide 2-3 Training Conferences each year, developing 20-30 people each time. These leaders are trained to do strip club ministry in their cities across the U.S. Our Strip Church Network is supported through monthly training conference calls, resources, networked websites, blogs, prayer, and branded materials to use inside the clubs.
OK. Like I said, this is a free country.
Christians are free to proselytize in overt and covert ways. Bringing gift bags to women who work in strip clubs and befriending them in hopes they will come to Jesus (and leave the adult entertainment industry) is a totally legal thing to do.
Personally, though, I feel that Christian efforts to bring people back to the "straight and narrow" would be better served by visiting the head offices of large money-sucking corporations, especially those in the fossil fuel industries that are wrecking our planet.
I realize that some of the workers in strip clubs are taken advantage of and need help. But so do workers in many other industries, which leads me to suspect that the zeal of PoleGems is founded more in a moralistic judgement that strip clubs are evil, than in a desire to help the most afflicted American workers.