Sex workers in this country get a bum rap.
Just last week, a group of exotic dancers from The Fox Hole strip club in Warsaw, Ohio, protested outside a nearby church whose members have been trying to put their club out of business.
Wearing bikinis, the dancers held signs and complained that New Beginnings Ministries not only picketed their club, but tried to shame their patrons into never coming back -- by taking pictures of their customers' license plates and asking them if their wives knew of their whereabouts. This has gone on for four years.
According to the Huffington Post:
Laura Meske -- known as Lola, stage age 36 but really 42 -- hid behind a sign proclaiming, "Jesus loves the children of the world!".... Meske -- a tattooed mother of four -- said she made $30 instead of a couple hundred dollars last Friday with the protesters outside. "I'm not the most beautiful woman in the world," she said. "I go out there and I try to make my money."
The pastor of the church says he cannot condone sharing "territory with the devil" and that the strip club and the church cannot peacefully co-exist.
But these dancers are just trying to earn a living and the church is standing in their way. So, who is the good guy in this -- and in other instances of "stripper giving"?
- Getting naked for Haiti: A group of strippers in Toledo, Ohio, raised more than $1,000 for Haitian earthquake relief efforts earlier this year.
- Lusty ladies unionize: In 2003, the Lusty Lady in San Francisco became the first strip club to unionize and become worker-owned, providing more money and better benefits for all the workers there.
- Charity car wash: Countless strip clubs have bikini charity car washes. In Minneapolis, a high school would not accept the money the dancers at Inver Grove Heights Club raised for them.
- Erotic dancers for kids: In Australia, there was a huge controversy earlier this year when a television station hired strippers to perform as part of a charity for the Ronald McDonald House. People were horrified, but the organizers defended themselves by saying that the women were merely part of a cabaret troupe and there was nothing sexual about it.
- Breast cancer charity says no to strippers: A breast cancer charity in Vancouver turned down the Exotic Dancers for Cancer, a group of current and former strippers in Vancouver who have held an annual fundraiser for the past couple of years in honor of one of their members. In 2007, the same charity stepped forward to accept a $3,000 donation after the strippers were shunned by other unnamed organizations.
Charities need money. The money goes toward food and clothing that help people in need, so it makes no sense to refuse money because it comes from something they think is immoral.
Say a white collar criminal gives an enormous donation to a children's charity? Should we refuse to take it because the money is ill-gotten? It becomes a bit like Robin Hood, but it seems to cancel the "bad" act out. As long as the money is going toward something good, it doesn't seem like anyone should care how that money was raised.
So many charities themselves have questionable practices. It seems bizarre to pay an enormous amount to the CEO of a charity that purports to help those who can scarcely afford food. So, who are those people to question the practices of the giver?
Stripping is legal. There is no illegal activity, no questionable practice. It's all on the table. If charities want to draw the line at accepting money from illegal activities, then fine. But it seems like drawing the line at something they are morally opposed to is just sitting on their high horse.
In this case, all the dancers want to do is feed their children and go about their business.
Is there really anything wrong with that?
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