Why We Attended the City Council Meeting in Waco

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Katy Worrell

Communications Director

kworrell@jesussaidlove.com

PO Box 523 Waco, Texas 76703

March 25, 2014

On Monday, members of our leadership team were present at the public hearing on the new proposed city ordinance governing sexually oriented businesses in Waco. This has caused some concern regarding our ministry and what we stand for. We feel this is a great opportunity to clearly communicate who we are and what we believe. We believe the Gospel: love God, love others. We do this through worship and advocating for justice. I can’t think of a more appropriate passage within the Gospels than John 8:3-11, which brings the heart of this issue to light when we are dealing with sexual stigmas and the law. In reading this passage of scripture, please envision yourself, your daughter, your mother, your sister, and your neighbor in such a harsh and devaluing situation:

John 8:3-11  New International Version (NIV)

3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Jesus was not arguing the issue of sin. He argued the condemnation of the law. He was not interested in marginalizing her further; He was interested in empowering her to change. This would require her effort and her choice; however, she was now offered dignity and an option.

The ministry of Jesus Said Love reaches dancers, club employees, and management. We aim to engage with the dancers and labor for the Gospel by showing them the unconditional love of Christ. Our ministry does have a social work/agency component as well. In this regard, we offer programs and assistance to support the dancers and help them build healthy life goals that will empower them. Here are some surprising facts regarding our women:

  • Most fall below the poverty line and are on some form of government assistance. These are largely “poor women” (insert stigma).

  • Most of our demographic are mothers, and single, working mothers at that (insert double stigma).

  • Most of our women are frowned upon for what they do for a living. These are marginalized women.

  • Most of our women are there because they feel they have no other choice. We desire to change that.

What does this have to do with the ordinance? Well, it affects our women who may not be eligible for the proposed license or who have good access and comprehension of the license. It affects their employment; the new ordinance may prove to be too strenuous for them and inhibit how they make their money (see proposed ordinance for further details). In this case, we are looking at employment issues. Where do they go for work? Many do not have a GED or a college degree (because they’re trying to work toward schooling). Some may have a criminal history, mental health issues or a deficit in transportation. How will the ordinance help these citizens with job re-entry? We simply desire that all angles of this ordinance and its effects be weighed heavily.

Ordinances are useful and helpful to maintain a vibrant and healthy city. Ultimately, they are put in place to protect and provide for a city’s most valuable commodity — its citizens. The proposed ordinance will affect just that — its people. Our desire is to ensure that the demographic we reach is provided for. We desire to see Waco give our women options and surround them with support so that they are loved and cared for by their community.

Jesus Said Love is for the City of Waco and for the women we minister to.

Grateful to serve such beautiful, smart women,  

Emily Mills

Founder/Co-CEO, Jesus Said Love