Chicago Nuns vs. Strip Club: A Lawsuit Over Indecency, Loud Music, And The Lord
You know how the joke goes: A fews nuns and a reporter walk into a strip club... wait, let's try that again. A group of Chicago nuns filed a lawsuit against a strip club, alleging that the club is in violation of a law that states an "adult entertainment establishment" needs to be at least 1,000 feet away from a place of worship. The strip club in question, Club Allure, is located in a suburb outside of Chicago — and just happens to sit within 1,000 feet from the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo compound. Club owner Sean O'Brien maintains his establishment is not a straight-up gentleman's club because it features "silk acts," but the nuns remain unconvinced. They not only believe the strip club is sinful and indecent, but they also say it's harmful to children in the area.
Oh, and the club also plays loud house music during prayer time. (Admittedly, that would annoy just about anyone.)
According to The Associated Press, the sisters have also witnessed some lewd public displays, including drunkenness, public urination and even discarded used condoms. "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."
However, The AP reported that there aren't any police reports backing up the nuns' assertions, and a representative for the village of Stone Park — which was also named in the lawsuit — said the town hasn't broken any laws.
The Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo held a demonstration outside Club Allure this week, attracting both children and adult residents from the suburban neighborhood. They held signs, said prayers and made some cracks at the Club Allure owner, who looked on, dumbfounded.
If you're surprised by the sudden political activism of these Chicago sisters, don't be — activism is a long-held tradition among religious sisters. Sometimes, the activism gets a little more extreme than demonstrating outside of a strip club.
Take, for instance, Sister Ardeth Platte, who's the inspiration for Sister Ingalls on Orange Is The New Black. In 2003, Platte was arrested for vandalizing a Colorado missile silo with two other sisters. After cutting a hole in the missile compound's chain-link fence, Platte used her own blood to make the sign of the cross on the silo.
Another nun has recently followed in Sister Platte's footsteps. Earlier this year, 84-year-old Sister Megan Rice was sentenced to 35 months for breaking into a nuclear facility with two other anti-war activists. She reportedly asked for more prison time, telling the judge "Please have no leniency with me."
Unfortunately, some protests don't get nuns in trouble with the law, but their God. In 2009, Sister Donna Quinn was reprimanded by the Catholic Church for her relentless activism for abortion rights, including escorting women into Chicago-area clinics and marching in Washington, D.C. Sister Quinn was forced to put her activism on hold, though not for long. Earlier this year, Sister Quinn announced her support of the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, and even created an online petition for it.
As for the nuns waiting outside Club Allure with signs and rosaries, who knows what they'll try next.