The pastor of an Ohio church which often protests the business of a neighboring strip club was arrested last week for trespassing on the club's property several months after strippers appeared topless at his church in defiance of the protests.
According to the Coshocton Tribune, Pastor Bill Dunfee of New Beginnings Ministries was reportedly standing at a public property parking lot next to the Foxhole North Club with his Bible when the owner, Thomas George, confronted him, reportedly shoving him several times with force. After Dunfee refused to leave, he was arrested by local authorities.
"We will not be discouraged. We will not be deterred. We will not give up on what is right. We will continue to let our light shine and hold up Jesus," Dunfee said.
This is not the first time New Beginnings Ministries and the club has experienced an altercation. For the past eight years, church members have stood near the club's parking lot to protest the establishment or to persuade incoming customers as to why they should refrain from entering.
According to Dunfee, George's anger stemmed from the fact that patrons have turned away from the club due to the church's protests, and because at least one stripper has left the club and turned to Christ. The New Beginnings Ministries congregation has also offered the exotic dangers housing, food and money.
But not all of the exotic dancers are appreciative of the church's efforts. Several months ago, a few topless strippers gathered on the church's property claiming that the congregation members had been harassing them for years. And, earlier this year, several bikini-clad strippers brought lawn chairs to the church's entrance and camped out, and one of them even flashed a church member. At the time, the strip club owner told USA Today that he could not control who saw the topless women even if children were present, noting that "they just happen to be unfortunate innocent bystanders in this whole mess."
Despite opposition, the church says it will continue to protest the strip club's business and publicly share the Gospel.
" ... Many potential patrons of the club have committed or recommitted their lives to Christ and have returned home to their spouses with a pledge to keep their marriage vows sacred, as God intended. For this reason, we continue to stand ... while some may view our actions as 'protest,' we consider it an opportunity and our duty as Christians ...," reads a statement on the church's website.
Dunfee is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Sept. 29 on the trespassing charges, which are considered fourth-degree misdemeanors.