Oh God! Oh God! Oh GOD!!! By the way, I’m also a cop.

A CHURCH in Sedona, Arizona, has been found, after a lengthy (!) undercover (!) investigation (!) to be a brothel.

The jokes just write themselves, don’t they?

During a Wednesday search of the Phoenix temple and two church-related sites in nearby Sedona, police seized evidence showing that “male and female ‘practitioners’ working at the Temple were performing sexual acts in exchange for monetary ‘donations,’ all on the pretense of providing ‘neo tantric’ healing therapies.

But I lived near Sedona for about 3 years, and spent a considerable amount of time there. Knowing Sedona even the little bit I do — the area is movingly beautiful, there are more art galleries per capita than anyplace on earth, and the level of woo-woo and alternative lifestyles there is extremely high — it’s totally believable to me that this IS an actual church. That they MEAN it.

Look at the Phoenix Goddess Temple website:

Sex is a holy, sacred and divine healing force at the core of our beings. Once we embrace this force instead of deny it, we become successful, happy and powerful manifestors.

Sgt. Steve Martos, a Phoenix police spokesman said

What’s unusual is that they were trying to hide behind religion or church, and under the guise of religious freedom, they were committing acts of prostitution. We certainly respect First Amendment rights. However, religious freedom does not allow for criminal acts.

I wonder if his department ever went after any of the other churches for criminal acts: conning people out of their money, abusing children, covering up the abuse of children, causing the deaths of children through lack of medical care, on and on. The ones caught are probably the tip of the iceberg.

I’m not a big fan of churches of ANY type, but if you’re going to allow people to worship freely, you can’t shut some people off just because they fall outside the curve of what YOU consider normal.

As long as none of the parties to the “ceremony” is suffering serious injury, I think they should allow it as a legitimate exercise of religious freedom.

As to exchanging money for sex, it’s one state line away from legal (in Nevada), and if it was immoral, half the people on Earth would be on a greased chute to hell.

The alleged brothel generated tens of thousands of dollars a month, Martos told CNN.

That sounds unworkably low, to me. I’ve talked to exotic dancers who have annual incomes well into 6 figures. And that’s just for DANCING. For an entire “brothel” to pull in “tens of thousands of dollars a month” … well, it doesn’t sound like a brothel at all.

It actually does sound like a church.

__________________________________

I’m interested in reader feedback:

Is prostitution ever a viable career choice for women (or men)?

Do you know anyone who has ever exchanged money for sex (either as payer or payee)? How did they feel about it?

Finally: There’s a petition you can sign to urge the Arizona governor to stop the prosecutions.

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