I thought it was a bold move. With the encouragement of my wife, I decided I wanted in too. I volunteered to join in on the regular prayer vigil outside a local strip club.
This was a couple years ago. It was an initiative started up by a friend of mine with the blessing of our pastor. Every other week we would pray outside a local strip club in Dallas, Texas. In all we held our vigil for one hour long on a weekday evening during the strip club’s business hours.
Now, I thought it was a brilliant idea. I have prayed outside abortion mills for years, and this family friend had joined me in doing that. Now we were going to be holding a regular prayer vigil outside a hotbed of demonic activity elsewhere.
About eight to 10 men showed up each of the many times we did this to join together in prayer. We stood across the street from the “gentlemen’s club,” in the grass along the public right-of-way. Our group leader held up a large wooden cross and we took turns leading decades until we completed all the mysteries of the Holy Rosary. We also prayed the Stations of the Cross or other prayers on occasion.
God graced us by letting us see some fruit from this prayer vigil. We banded together as brothers in the faith with a shared purpose, able to put our profession of the faith into practice. As I recall we were thanked by folks who lived or worked near the strip club for being a visible witness against the hellhole in their vicinity. We even had one of the dancers come tell us how hard of a life she has led and how this means of employment put food on the table for her daughter.
Yet, my most lasting memory, from all the times doing this, came when the manager of the strip club paid us a visit. That’s right, the manager of the strip club walked from his place of lustful business across their large parking lot and more than four lanes of traffic, to come talk to us.
He spoke for about 20 minutes or more with our group’s leader, while the rest of us held back in prayer for the manager. I did not hear much or any of the conversation, but my friend replayed it for us afterwards. It was illuminating.
Among other things, the strip club manager wondered what we were doing out there. If we were so religious, shouldn’t we be volunteering at the soup kitchen or doing some other charitable work, he argued.
Our leader pointed out that feeding the poor and holding a regular prayer vigil for those working at and patronizing the strip club are not mutually exclusive acts. How does he know whether any of us feed the pour or do other such acts in other free time we have?
As well, my friend rightfully asserted that this manager’s conscience must be pricked by our presence. For, if we were wasting our time, and he was right in the way he collected a paycheck, then why did he come justify himself to us?
The Catholic Church ought to be doing more to try to get these demonic establishments removed from our communities. These morally-depraved places prey on vulnerable women who often have sexual and physical abuse in their past. These women collect money while leading men to commit grave sins against the 6th and 9th Commandments. Any community that allows a topless bar to operate ought to be ashamed.
Imagine if the #MeToo movement were to be carried ought properly. In addition to exposing sexual harassers, our society would do well to purge itself of all sexual evildoers. After all, if we are going to get serious about ending sexual harassment, then we need to end the areas of our culture where women are treated as nothing better than sexual objects. This would include those who produce pornography and run porn sites, as well as those who run strip clubs.
Perhaps we planted seeds in those who came to talk to us that eventually led to them leaving the industry. Perhaps those planning to stop in saw us and decided they were too ashamed to go inside. Only God knows.
My presence there was to shed light on a dark corner of our society. It was meant to give my brothers and sisters inside an opportunity to do some self-examination in the hopes that they repent. I did not come to condemn but rather to persuade not by words but by my physical presence in opposition. In short, my presence at this regular prayer vigil was meant to offer hope to those feeling hopeless and lost.
Likely, not until I die will I ever know what good came from being out there, but that is okay. God knows and can use those prayers. I am thinking I may start this up here where I live, since I have since moved.
Now, I do not recommend just anyone go and do this, but I do encourage you to consider if you are up to the challenge. I highly recommend that anyone who does so be sure to visit the Confessional shortly beforehand and be in a state of grace. The spiritual warfare going on at or near a place like this is no laughing matter. Be careful, mind your local ordinances, stay in the public right-of-way, and did I mention be in a state of grace?
Together by holding more of these regular prayer vigils across the country we can show that the Church does not stand for these moral sewage centers to exist. What do you say?
So, have you ever prayed outside a strip club before?
If not, do you think you could start?
Please leave any comments you have below.