2013 Favs: Battling Sisters of Stone Park, IL Hold Their Own Against Strip Club

Melrose Park 255x256Sr Noemia Silva. Courtesy of Rudy Lopez, CNA

When the city fathers of Stone Park Il came out in support of the worthy project of building a strip club next to a convent, they failed to reckon with the grit, guts and determination of nuns.

I’ve written before about the moral courage of women. When that moral courage is empowered by an unwavering commitment to the love of Jesus Christ, it becomes the kind of force that wears away stone.

I don’t know too much about Stone Park, Il, even though we have similar towns here in Oklahoma. From what I’ve read it’s a small town with a large number of strip clubs. So far as I know, they’ve gotten away with this up to now.

Bishop Scalabrini Community of the Missionary Sisters of St Charles Borromeo Scalabrinians in Melrose Park IL EWTN US Catholic News 2 10 12 300x225

Bishop Scalabrini Community of the Missionary Sisters of St Charles Scalabrinians

But when they decided to build a multi-million dollar “adult entertainment” club across from the convent of the Missionary Sisters of St Charles Borromeo, Scalabrinian, they started a fight with people who aren’t impressed by money or scared of bouncers.

The intransigent support for this particular strip club, might lead to the conclusion that the people who run this town are what you might call dedicated to having this particular strip club in this particular location.

They want a strip joint next to these nuns and they aren’t going to give an inch until they get it. Earlier in the on-going battle the owner of the club played the Christian-bashing card.

Dont “… impose your religious beliefs,” he said.

Uh-huh.

This guy makes his living by treating women like animals in a zoo. I can certainly see why he wouldn’t welcome the nun’s “religious beliefs” on his premises. What I don’t understand is why he has fought so hard to put his premises on the nun’s doorstep.

NYC081

Why is it so very important to place a strip club next to this convent? You’d think that piece of land was the last place in the continental United States that was available for such uplifting civic projects. The people who run this town are dug in on this. Is Stone Park in some sort of strip club competition with another town? Do they perceive a strip club gap developing that they have to fill?

The strip club is called “Get It,” which I think says a lot about the services it plans to offer. The intention was to open this club during Holy Week 2012. I think that speaks for itself. 

The war is one year on and the sisters are still holding their ground. They recently held a rally to celebrate this fact, which says a lot in itself.

As many as 500 people have gathered for a prayer vigil. More than 3,000 people have signed petitions against the Club.

“It’s not only for the sisters, but for the community itself,” Sister Noemia Silva said. “All of our communities are praying for this; it’s just constant, constant prayer.

She compared their fight to David and Goliath. “David won the battle because he trusted the Lord. He’ll fight this battle for us.”

From CNA:

CHICAGO — Residents and religious of a small Chicago suburb rallied to celebrate their so far successful campaign against the opening of a multi-million dollar “adult entertainment” club across from a convent.
“We came together as a community, as people of faith and stood together fighting for family values against what some thought was an unbreakable giant,” Sister Noemia Silva of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo, Scalabrinian said at an April 22 press conference.

“It’s not only for the sisters, but for the community itself,” she told CNA in a later interview.
Outrage has erupted locally over the building of the establishment, particularly because of its location next to the missionary sisters’ convent and retirement home. Proprietors of the business have been accused of breaking state law, which requires a 1,000-foot “buffer zone” between places of worship and such businesses.

“They haven’t respected state law and so we’re going to tell them, ‘You need to respect that,” Sister Noemia Silva said. “This should not have even happened so close to a worship area.”
Although the $3 million establishment, “Get It,” was slated to open during Holy Week of 2012, it has yet to open its doors to the public largely due to community protest and a legal battle between the landowner and building owner.

Sister Noemia said the sisters, who are spread throughout 18 countries, have been praying for the intercession of St. Michael. “All of our communities are praying for this; it’s just constant, constant prayer.”

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/religious-sisters-celebrate-one-year-of-blocking-illinois-adult-club?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2013-04-25%2013:47:01#ixzz2RUdAXUIu

 

 

 

What’d I Say?

One of the neat things about writing for Patheos is that there’s no censorship here. I am free to write what I want and say what I think. That goes for the other writers. We go off in different directions all the time. There is no “official” Patheos position on what we say. Our thoughts are our own.

Take, for instance, a post that I recently wrote in which I referred to a small town here in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area called Valley Brook. I’m sure that the various Patheos writers would have taken many different positions on this issue.

Here’s part of what I said,

We have a whole town, called Valley Brook, here in Oklahoma that makes its revenue from prostitution under the guise of strip clubs. Nobody anywhere gets police protection like the strip clubs of Valley Brook. It appears on the outside that the Valley Brook Police work for the strip clubs.

I want to be clear about what I meant. I did not mean that the Valley Brook Police get direct money from the strip clubs that line the main street of Valley Brook. What I meant is that there are people who think that the police may be too zealous about protecting those strip clubs because it appears that the clubs are a major source of revenue for the town.

The Valley Brook police have a history of troubles, including a former police chief who pled guilty to drug charges last November.

While I want to state emphatically that I have no personal knowledge of prostitution occurring in the strip clubs at Valley Brook, and I certainly don’t want to make people think that I do, the town is the subject of jokes and discussion like this, this, this, this, this, and this about what many people say happens there.

There also have been arrests made by the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department (not the Valley Brook Police, whose offices are a few blocks away from this club) for “lewd behavior” at the clubs in Valley Brook. For that story, go here. Based on these kinds of comments, conversations, and arrests it is my opinion that the stories about Valley Brook are probably true.

Strip Club Owner to Nuns: Don’t Impose Your Religious Beliefs on Me

Standing Against Christian Persecution

The strip club and the nuns story has gone on for a while and it appears it will continue.

Thanks to the city government of Stone Park, Il, the community of the Missionary Sisters of St Charles Boromeo Scalabrinians now have a strip club two feet from their property.

As we all know, the current reply to any request for official consideration or civil rights for Christians is to tell them to “stop putting their religious bigotry on other people.” We are told to keep our faith at home, to practice it at church and then to keep our mouths shut everywhere else.

The owner of the strip club is no exception to this charming behavior. His advice to the sisters? Keep your religion to yourselves, and oh, by the way, I pay taxes and you don’t.

Of course, none of this addresses the question of why the strip club owner wanted to put his “business” next to a convent in the first place. It also doesn’t address why the city planning commission went along with it. Stone Park’s mayor claims that the process was legal, but that does not in any way explain why this permit to build was approved.

We have a whole town, called Valley Brook, here in Oklahoma that some people believe makes its revenue from prostitution under the guise of strip clubs.

Why do elected officials deliberately corrupt and degrade the cities they are supposed to be working to build and govern? What would motivate them to turn their statutes into open doors for the lowest kind of commerce? Why would anyone think that putting these kinds of things into neighborhoods and next to convents is a good idea?

We’ve had to pass laws at the state level here in Oklahoma to keep them from putting these places across the street from grade schools. The upward-looking elected officials in Valley Brook must have used a measuring tape to make sure they built their school as close to the strip joints as they could without going over the line.

It’s an interesting world we live in where elected officials work to further the interests of the lowest common denominator in their society. It’s an even more interesting world when people who degrade and sell women as if they were chattel can lecture a group of nuns and tell them their viewpoints are unworthy because they are Christians.

I would call that world soul-sick and depraved. But then, I’m used to being told to keep my faith at home where it belongs. It no longer bothers me.

The Chicago Sun-Times article describing this situation says in part: (emphasis mine)

Proposed strip club to nuns: Don’t impose your religious beliefs on us
BY STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporter sesposito@suntimes.com

Missionary Sister of St. Charl, Melrose Park, illinois. Sister Marissonia Daltoe, stands near the convent’s garden that shows the new gentleman’s club that is to close to the Sisters Convent. February 7Th,2012 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

The owner of a soon-to-be-built strip club in the western suburb of Stone Park has this to say to a group of neighboring nuns who don’t like his plans: Mind your own business.

“As a legal, tax-paying citizen of this community, we ask only to be judged fairly by what we have done and not through the recent religious fervor,” Bob Itzkow, the club’s owner, said in statement released Friday. “In reference to our non-tax-paying neighbors, we ask that you treat us as we have treated you, by not trying to unduly disturb us by imposing your religious beliefs on us or others. All throughout our plans for this project, we’ve followed the letter and spirit of the law.”

The Missionary Sisters of Saint Charles Borromeo, who occupy the property next to the club, have moral objections to the project and have raised questions about whether the rules were followed properly by Stone Park officials during the 2010 approval process.(Read more here.)

Nuns Object to Strip Club Next to Convent

I have sometimes wondered if city planners are trying to destroy the cities they serve.

Here in my neck of the woods we’ve had to fight the city’s plans to put everything from dumps to strip clubs in quiet family neighborhoods. We usually lose.

Resident’s only learn of the plans after the wheels have been greased, so to speak. When they try to protest, they are forced to take off work, go downtown, pay parking, and then sit through all-day waits to testify before bored commission members who obviously have already made up their minds.

What usually happens after that is that the commission ignores their protests and votes to go ahead with their bad idea. The citizens then go home to live with the disastrous effects this decision has on their neighborhoods, homes, families and lives.

Before too many years, the same commissioners who voted to destroy the neighborhood are asking for a bond issue so they can “rebuild” it. They decry the strip clubs, street walkers, drugs, gangs and run-down buildings as if they were dropped in by a big bird instead of being invited, supported and forced into these neighborhoods by their own actions.

Guess who makes money from these bond issues? Why the people who own the construction companies that do business with the commissioners.

And we wonder why American cities are in such chaos.

Remember those posts I’ve written exhorting Christians to be honest and do a good job at their work? Well, that applies to people who sit on planning commissions and city councils, too.

A case in point is a recent action by the village officials in Stone Park, Il. These officials have decided that good city planning requires that they allow a strip club to go into business less than two feet from the property line of the convent of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo Scalabrinians.

It seems that the strip club would be next to the retirement home for elderly sisters and the building that houses the formation house for novices and the provincial offices. The nuns, not surprisingly, object.

The EWTN News story about this new strip club says in part:

Bishop Scalabrini Community of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo Scalabrinians in Melrose Park, IL

Religious sisters in Stone Park, Ill. are fighting the opening of a new strip club near their convent, saying the business is contrary to their Christian work and undermines the neighborhood.

“It’s built right next to our premises, about 400 feet away. It is against our Christian principles,” Sr. Madonna Daltoe, treasurer of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo Scalabrinians, told EWTN News Feb. 9.

“This new structure has gone up already behind us,” she added. “We do not need to add any more to the village’s social problems. They have enough of these sorts of places, I would say, and we do not want any more. It is not helping the neighborhood.”

The sisters work with poor migrants in their area and provide evangelization outreach as well.

They have objected to Stone Park village officials’ approval of the strip club, which will have partially nude performers and alcohol, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The group questions whether village officials properly followed the rules during the approval process for the club. Its green-walled metallic structure may have been built too close to the sisters’ property, less than two feet from their fence line.

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=4856#ixzz2IvcNK3UK

 

For more, see: Strip Club Owner to Nuns: Don’t Impose Your Religious Beliefs on Me


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