US & Canada

Ohio strippers stage picket outside church services

Supporters of Fox Hole strip club in Ohio
Image caption Supporters of the Fox Hole strip club have been picketing outside the church for three months

Several Ohio strippers are protesting outside a church whose members want to put their strip club out of business.

The bikini-clad dancers are picketing a congregation that has photographed customers' number plates and asked if their wives know where they are.

The Fox Hole club's owner has told the pastor he will call off his protest if the church ceases its demonstrations.

But the pastor has refused, saying, "as a Christian community, we cannot share territory with the devil".

"Light and darkness cannot exist together," Pastor Bill Dunfee told the Associated Press news agency, "so the Fox Hole has got to go."

The strippers have been sitting in deckchairs outside New Beginnings Ministries church in Warsaw, Ohio, during Sunday services.

Some hold signs bearing Christian messages such as "Jesus loves the children of the world" and citing Bible verses.

The strip club is about nine miles (14.5km) from the church.

"Everybody has sinned, and that doesn't mean I'm not going to get into heaven," Fox Hole stripper Laura Meske, 42, told AP.

"I believe in Jesus. I don't believe what they preach. They preach hate."

The confrontations between the two camps have reportedly been largely friendly, with Mr Dunfee and congregants greeting and chatting to the strippers outside the church.

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