“Strip clubs (Not Churches) are exempt from the Covid lockdowns, and are deemed essential by our governor! So we decided we are NOW Awaken family friendly strip club!” – Pastor Jurgen Matthesius.
Two California megachurches pastors have rebranded their churches into temporary “strip clubs” in protest of the state’s closing down of places of worship due to the COVID-19 pandemic while permitting strip clubs to stay open.
In November, San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel R. Wohlfeil ordered California to end any actions that prevent clubs from “being allowed to provide live adult entertainment.” Meanwhile, several California churches continue to fight legal battles with authorities to reopen in-person indoor services.
Before the start of Sunday’s sermon, pastors at two churches opened with short burlesque dance routines, taking off their jackets and even throwing their ties into the cheering audience.
“Strip clubs (Not Churches) are exempt from the Covid lockdowns, and are deemed essential by our governor!” said senior pastor of Awaken Church Jurgen Matthesius on Instagram. “So we decided we are NOW Awaken family friendly strip club!”, RT reports.
The pastor then rolled with the joke, clarifying, “we strip the devil of his hold, power & authority over people’s lives!”
A similar bit was performed by Godspeak Calvary Chapel Pastor Rob McCoy, who has sparred with local authorities over orders prohibiting indoor worship services.
In a video circulating of the service, McCoy first plays a Fox News clip of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee who quipped that churches should reopen as a “temporary strip club.”
“I don’t have a lot of experience with the strip clubs,” Huckabee says in the clip. “I do have quite a bit of experience with churches … and I would think it’s ridiculous to say that people are safer in a strip club than they are at church.”
Huckabee suggested churches must “announce their pastor will remove his tie during the sermon, and therefore he will take off an article of clothing making it a temporary strip club so that people will be able to go to church.”
McCoy, who was previously fined thousands of dollars for holding church despite restrictions, then breaks out in a clean version of a “striptease” before removing his tie as music plays in the background.
“This is insane!” McCoy said afterward. “Cannot America see the hypocrisy and the stupidity of all this? You’re being lied to.”
McCoy told pastors who “don’t do politics” to “get out of the church” because the church is “all about politics.”