Two seemingly unrelated stories hit the news in the Pittsburgh area this week. One is about a church that's not a church, and the other is about a dance studio that really is a dance studio. But ultimately, they're both about sex.
I can hear you all now: "Ooh, she said the "S" word!"
In North Huntingdon, Westmoreland County, a man and his wife applied for a permit for a variance to operate a church on their property. This church, named the Church of Spiritual Humanism, held services on Saturday nights--after midnight--and no one under age was permitted to attend. Right off the bat, that seems a little odd to me. It must have sounded that way to the neighbors, too, because they began filing complaints against the property owners. Last night, the commissioners rejected the application for a variance. They decided the applicants were operating a business in an area zoned residential.
How did they come to this conclusion? When neighbors began finding condoms along the side of the roadway, they suspected that the so-called Church of Spiritual Humanism, was really a sex club. After further investigation, they found a website that listed the Swingers Palace at the same address as the church. The church also charged a $50 fee to attend services and checked ID at the door to make sure everyone was over 21.
John Ondrik, who was ordained online for $90, says he "offers a more private, more hands-on" service. I'll just bet he does!
In the other story, Stephanie Babines, sued Adams Township in Butler County because they denied her an occupancy permit to open a dance studio because she offered pole dancing. They determined it was a sex-related business because of that. Yesterday, Adams Township officials changed their minds. In addition to pole dancing, Ms. Babine's studio will offer striptease, Stiletto Strut, hoop aerobics, power lap dancing, and an abdominal workout called SeXXXercise. Participants must remain fully clothed, and there are to be no spectators.
Maybe it's just me, but this sounds really weird. I know pole dancing is supposed to be the latest thing, but those other things??? I just can't imagine anyone signing up for something called SeXXXercise.
How about you? Were the right decisions made in each of these cases? Would you sign up for any of those classes? Or teach one?