Only in Texas?

Pole Dancing for Jesus

As a native Californian, I have endured my share of wisecracks, raised eyebrows, and certainly-not-politically-correct epithets about California. A state as large and diverse as California is likely to have its share of oddities. I’m sure every state has its share. After all, human beings are creative and unique wherever they dwell.

Sometimes I think Google purposefully aggregates bizarre news stories in my Texas feed. That, and my own empirical observations, give me plenty of interesting fodder for my blog. You Know You’re Still Not a Texan When… skyrocketed unique visitors to my site. I’m sure the I’ve Got Spurs video at the end of that post was the main reason. It was truly hysterical! It’s the perfect pick-me-up if you’re having a bad day.

How about this: Pole Dancing for Jesus. Yes, you did read that! Pole fitness has been around for several years. I remember hearing about pole fitness classes in California before we moved to Texas. However, I’m not sure I would have put pole dancing and Jesus together in the same sentence.

Is this only a Texas phenomenon? Maybe it’s not limited to Texas, but is also present in other bible belt states. That’s an interesting thought considering many bible belters totally disapprove of dancing altogether. These are the same people that are adamant that Jesus turned the water into grape juice at the wedding at Cana. No, I can’t see pole dancing for Jesus anywhere else but Old Town Spring, Texas. Old Town Spring is about 25 miles north of Houston and 200 miles south of Dallas. Interesting. That’s considered the civilized part of the state.

Then there is Fat Ho Burgers in Waco. Pimped out dishes include “Sloppy Ho Brisket” and “Supa Dupa Fly Ho with Chz”. Poor Waco. They have certainly have had their share of weirdness. And to think that Baylor, a nationally ranked Christian university, anchors that town. Hmm. I see the possibility of a proselytizing protest! Maybe a good old fashioned throw down with the headline: Theologues vs. Fat Hos. (Truly tasteless).

Finally, you’re next pastor may have received his seminary training in prison. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is now offering biblical studies classes for male Texas prison inmates. Prison ministry is nothing new. I certainly spent enough time making my rounds at San Quentin, Soledad, Atascadero State Hospital, and the California Men’s Colony. In fact, Tex Watson of Charles Manson fame and I had our own little program at the California Men’s Colony.

I’m not entirely sure as to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice System’s motivation. Certainly peer ministry and having a worthwhile purpose while incarcerated can be beneficial. Surprisingly, Texas doesn’t even have the highest ratio of inmates. Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma are leaders in that realm. Hmm, also bible belt states. Texas does lead all states in executions, however. Seminary-trained inmates will never have to worry about ministry opportunities.

Maybe it’s a good thing the the Texas Supreme Court upheld the Pole Tax. Doesn’t your state have a “Sexually Oriented Business Fee Act”? In Texas this is known as the Pole Tax. It’s a $5-per-patron fee assessed to strip clubs where alcohol is served. Strip club owners appealed the 2007 law stating that it violated their First Amendment rights. The course disagreed saying that it wasn’t directed at the expression of nude dancing , but to the “secondary effects of nude dancing when alcohol is being consumed”.

Supposedly the tax collected is going toward low-income health insurance, of which Texas has the highest number of uninsured, and programs combatting sexual assault. Currently only a fraction, about $14.5 million, of the $40 million tax fee has been collected. I think the real reason strip club owners aren’t paying the Pole Tax because they are holding true to their Republican roots and opposing this tax!

By the way, the pole dancing for Jesus class doesn’t have to pay the Pole Tax because alcohol isn’t consumed. Good thing since there isn’t a fee associated with the class. Admission is free with church bulletin.



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