This could make for an interesting constitutional challenge in Pittsburgh. John and Kim Ondrik insist that they are running a church out of their home, which they call the Spiritual Palace of the Church for Spiritual Humanism. Their neighbors call it a swingers club.
The Ondrik allegedly charge for admission to their church but allow single women to enter for free. Rev. John and this wife are fighting for a variance that is commonly granted to home churches. Local officials say it is nothing more than a raunchy business disguised as a church. Yet, their attorney insists that visitors are only asked for a donation to the church and are not charged for the Midnight masses that have attracted the most controversy.
Yet, critics insist that (before it was taken down) the Web site showed that couples were charged an admission of $50 while single men had to pay $75. Single women could enter free. They also have statements from past visitors who insisted that he had to pay to enter. “Dave” said that he was actually put off by the religious stuff that he heard and simply want to “swing.” Yet, he said that there was no traditional preaching or pews etc.
What is interesting is the position laid out by the officials. Assuming that the Ondrik’s only requested donations and made clear the religious basis for their ceremonies, would orgies and sexual encounters then be deemed a religious practice? Could “ministers” receive salaries for such acts? Sex between consenting adults is legal and the city would have to get a court to rule that such faiths are not bona fide religions.
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