Senator Matt Bartle of Independence, has sponsored a new law which has become fiercely contested by Missouri strip clubs and adult bookstores. This Bill, which aims to prohibit the sale of alcohol and full nudity at strip clubs, also requires such establishments (including adult bookstores) to close at midnight, and forbids the entry of anyone younger than 18. Also surrounding the bill is the requirement that these places of business could not be located within 1000 feet of a school, church, or public park.
While it’s easy for conservative minded people to applaud the favorable decisions of government in regards to traditional morality, the “Strip Club Bill” raises an interesting thought: Should the domain of government intrude upon business and individual responsibility (thus leading to a parental state) – or should it the duty of the individual to stand vigilant in the community against moral transgressions both big and small?
Through articles like the September, 2010 edition of Missions Mosaic (www.womenonmission.com), we see evidence of work that the Christian community is diligently pursuing in raising awareness on the Human Trafficking Battle, and ultimately being utilized in the changing of lives. This is work that is of lasting and meaningful change – something the State could or would never do in such a dramatic way. Through the efforts of “WorldCraft”, Christians are helping teach people how to live productive lives. When a young mother learns a fair-trade business in Nepal, it helps her to leave a life of prostitution. When a Father is educated to become an artisan in India, the “poison promise of a sex trafficker seeking to ensnare his daughter loses its appeal.”
In our own state of Missouri, we can recognize human trafficking, slavery and degrading bondage – and work individually to put a stop to it. Individuals like Sharon Fields-McCormick (of the North American Mission Board) works to mobilize area churches in getting involved in addressing the issue of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children. As Sharon states, the church is not exempt from sexual misconduct or criminal behavior. “Customers are in our churches. Stakeouts reveal men arriving to have sex with a minor, driving vehicles with car seats and fish symbols.” But, with a multibillion-dollar sex industry that is second only to drug trafficking, and permissive attitudes towards sexual behaviors, Sharon understands how these unhealthy appetites are fed – and often result in criminal behavior. Although people can blame the government over the slide of morals in America, ultimately it rests in Christians resting upon their laurels and hoping for an escape, or that someone else fixes the problem.
Is it right for the American to wait for Government to educate her people on behavior, and to bestow the kinds of good deeds or charitable works which the individual has powerfully exercised to transform societies in times past? Joel McDurmon states in God verses Socialism, “Government is God’s minister for avenging wrath upon evildoers – to rid the land of criminals and threatens others as they contemplate doing evil. The sword is a ministry of fear and of vengeance. Only within the limits of its God-given function of punishing and deterring evil is it for our good…It does not mean in addition to punishing crime, the State must also engage in taxation for welfare, charity, and good deeds in society.”
Perhaps our Founding Father’s said it best, when they wrote the words “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union…” This should remind us that it’s “We the people” who must work to form a more perfect community, society, and government through our nation’s foundational ideals of God’s truth and justice. It’s up to us!
More information regarding the “Strip Club Law”