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Nuns sue strip club: Pole dancers and pious preachers? 'Holy' legal kerfuffle!

Nuns sue strip club
Nuns sue strip club
Nun Deep in Prayer / Wikimedia Commons

Nuns have taken a very un-nun-like step and pushed past the command to “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” deciding to sue a nearby strip club and their swanky, skanky ways. The Illinois strip club’s throbbing music at all hours of the night interferes with the nun’s prayer time, and now the convent is turning to a “higher power” to do something about it – the law.

Reports The Associated Press via MSN on June 17: “The Sisters of St. Charles named Club Allure Chicago and the village of Stone Park in their lawsuit filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court. They claim the club violates Illinois zoning laws, which require a 1,000-foot buffer between adult entertainment facilities and places of worship.”

Included among the iniquities cited in the lawsuit seen by the holy sisters: “public violence, drunkenness and litter, including empty whiskey and beer bottles, discarded contraceptive packages and products and even used condoms,” according to the lawsuit. The charge also claims the nun’s daily routines are impacted by the strip club’s “pulsating and rhythmic staccato-beat noise and flashing neon and or strobe lights.”

“Our sisters' sacred space has been invaded,” Sister Noemia Silva told the Chicago Sun-Times. “At night now they hear the music when they're praying. That's uncalled for.”

The immoral ways and thumping, bumping music has now pushed the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles to not only file a suit, but to take their cause to the streets. Video carried by the Chicago Tribune showed some of the sisters joining community members in a protest parade, walking under an enormous banner that reads: “No More Strip Clubs in Stone Park.” Three neighbors who live near the club have also added themselves to the suit.

Peter Breen, from the nonprofit law firm Thomas More Society, filed the suit last Friday on behalf of the Sisters of St. Charles. Breen says: “Most people would find that offensive, to put a strip club next to a home for sisters,” and added that the club opened last fall but the convent was not properly notified or given a chance to make a rebuttal to the planned strip club business.

The Chicago Tribune picks up the story:

The suit is more about moral views than lights or noise, according to Robert Itzkow, who said he used to be the club's owner and is now its attorney.

The club is soundproofed and keeps lighting and deliveries in the front to avoid bothering neighbors, he said. The club is next to a container yard and a recycling dump, in an area zoned for adult entertainment and in a village known for strip clubs.

“This is an ideological dispute,” Itzkow said. “We spent an awful lot of money to make sure that this kind of thing would not occur. The whole thing is just a question of ‘we don't like you; you don't conform to our religious beliefs.’”

But Itzkow said the club's dancers “aren't monsters. They're daughters; they're mothers, and some of them are Catholics too.”

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