WARSAW, Ohio — Strip-club owner Tommy George rolled up to the church in his grabber-orange Dodge Challenger, drinking a Mountain Dew at 9 in the morning and smoking a cigarette he had just rolled himself.
Pastor Bill Dunfee stepped out of a tan Nissan Murano, clutching a Bible in one hand and his sermon in the other, a touch of spray holding his perfectly coiffed ‘do in place.
Inside the New Beginnings Ministries church, Dunfee’s worshippers wore polyester and pearls.
Outside, George’s strippers wore bikinis and belly rings.
Both men agree it is classic sinners vs. saints. But George says it is up to America to decide which is which and who is who.
Dunfee says God already has chosen.
The battle that has heretofore played out in the parking lot of George’s strip club – the Foxhole, a run-down, garage-like building at a Coshocton County crossroads called Newcastle – has shifted 7 miles east to Church Street.
Every weekend for the last four years, Dunfee and members of his ministry have stood watch over George’s joint, taking up residence in the right of way with signs, video cameras and bullhorns in hand. They videotape customers’ license plates and post them online, and they try to save the souls of anyone who comes and goes.
Now, the dancers have turned the tables, so to speak. Fed up with the tactics of Dunfee and his flock, they say they have finally accepted his constant invitation to come to church.
It’s just that they’ve come wearing see-through shorts and toting Super Soakers.
They bring lawn chairs and – yesterday, anyway – grilled hamburgers, Monster energy drinks and corn on the cob.
They sat in front of the church and waved at passing cars but largely ignored the congregation behind them.
“They’re just mad,” he (George) said, “because their wives won’t let them come to my club.”