Last week, the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo filed suit to shut down Club Allure, a strip club operating next door to the convent. They allege that Club Allure violates a state law prohibiting adult-entertainment establishments within 1,000 feet of a school or place of worship. (You can read the complaint in PDF form here.)
The sisters, who aren’t taking this lying down, filed their suit against both Club Allure and the village of Stone Park through the Thomas More Society, a non-profit Catholic law firm. Naturally, one assumes that none of the good Christians at the firm have ever actually set foot inside Club Allure, but they have noted in the complaint that
… its internet descriptions and advertising give ample cause to believe that the club features many scantily clad, nude, or partially nude dancers and other entertainers, both male and female.
Not that we, y’know, looked or anything. Because that would be a sin.
That’s just the first of many complaints the Sisters have against their neighbors. Club Allure and its clients, advertised as operating until 5:00a, stand accused of:
- Decorating their property with bright, flashing neon lights;
- Playing loud music;
- Public drunkenness and violence;
- Littering, including alcohol bottles and used condoms;
- Selling alcohol, which must be resupplied daily by really heavy trucks;
- Allowing women to walk the streets around closing time, “alone or in groups, with or without accompanying males.”
“I think most people would find that offensive, to put a strip club next to a home for sisters,” says Thomas More Society attorney Peter Breen.
Dean Krone, an attorney defending the town of Stone Park, argues that the state law is unconstitutional because its overly-restrictive zoning would keep a small town like Stone Park from being able to host a strip club at all, and under the First Amendment’s freedom-of-expression laws, municipalities are not allowed to ban such establishments entirely.
His colleague Robert Itzkow, who will be representing Club Allure in court, speculates that the lawsuit has less to do with noise and litter, and more to do with Catholic ideology and views on sexual morality… and the efforts of pious women to legally enforce those views.