I remember reading something in the Constitution about a separation of church and state.
Isn’t it somewhere in the beginning?
Some politicians seem to have skipped that part.
Maybe we should remind our local and state government that they really shouldn’t be using religion as a basis for tossing people in jail or shutting down their businesses.
Because that’s exactly what our government does every day.
Why else do we toss prostitutes in jail? Why else does our government think it has the right to tell businesses where and when they can sell us alcohol?
Vice law, baby.
Philly has a whole squad of police officers — under the command of Lt. Charlie Green — who do nothing but toss people in jail for engaging in “vice” activities.
But it’s not like modern folks (i.e. people who are still alive) just got together and said, “Oh, the services that strippers offer in the privacy of a VIP room must be judged by us, we who have higher moral authority!”
I’m sure vice laws are based on Christian religious thought from ancient history. As in, “Sunday is the Sabbath, so, not all liquor stores can be open on Sunday!”
By that same logic, Jewish citizens could demand that liquor stores be closed on Friday evening to Saturday night.
On March 28, the Pennsylvania Senate passed a bill — it still must clear the state House of Representatives — that would allow Pennsylvanians to have domestic wines shipped to their houses.
This is progress.
However, it also begs the question: Why on Earth does some politician out in Harrisburg have the right to tell me where I get my booze?
As long as I’m not hurting anyone else (like, say, buying black-market vodka in front of a preschool), it’s nobody’s business.
Similarly, for the last few months, the citywide vice unit has been spending lots of time and money busting strip clubs for prostitution. Personally, I don’t want my tax dollars spent on monitoring the business strategies of strippers.
What strippers and their customers do in a secluded area of a privately owned business is none of our concern.
I’ll clarify that statement by saying that it’s an entirely different story if these strip clubs are becoming a nuisance for nearby residents.
If the clubs attract violence and other bad things that spill out to the surrounding area, by all means shut it down.
But, let’s take for example, the Penthouse Club in Port Richmond. There have been a few attempts to shut this place down, but how many times has the Penthouse caused violence in the area?
I work right around the corner from the Penthouse and, sorry vice-law lovers, but I find that little section of Port Richmond is just as quiet and uneventful as it was before the club opened.
But with these vice laws on the books, the cops and the government will find ways to stick their noses into the private lives of people who are engaging in “immoral” activities that don’t concern the general public.
Now, if your husband or wife is a raging alcoholic who constantly blows your savings on go-go dancers, that is a problem.
It is, however, a personal problem.
In November, a number of people who wanted the Penthouse Club shut down complained that their husbands were spending all their money on strippers and booze.
All I can say is this: Dump the guy! He’s a loser and you never should have married him in the first place.
What you shouldn’t do is call the cops.
Your guy with the wandering eyes is none of the government’s business.
The same way the state Senate should have no interest whatsoever about whether I receive a bottle of wine in the mail.
It’s time for vice laws to go.
Our government — local, state and federal — wastes money and time when it shoves itself into our private affairs.
Doing so on religious grounds is even worse because, really, it’s unconstitutional. ••
ldquo;Riverward Rants” reflects the opinions of Joe Quigley, a Fishtown resident, area native and writer of the Web site PhillyNeighbor.com, where he makes cynical (and uncensored) comments about life in the riverwards. He can be reached at JQuig1984@gmail.com.