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Vegas to OK Prostitution — The Pope's "Secular Challenges?"

Vegas to OK Prostitution — The Pope's "Secular Challenges?"

Yesterday the Pope praised America as a nation where strong faith and religious beliefs live harmoniously with secular society. His remarks, delivered at the White House as part of his first trip to the US, came with a caveat addressed later to the bishops: The US is battling a "subtle influence of secularism" that threatens to derail the righteous. He said:

Is it consistent for practicing Catholics to ignore or exploit the poor and the marginalized, to promote sexual behavior contrary to Catholic moral teaching or to adopt positions that contradict the right to life of every human being from conception to natural death?

Maybe the Pope should have started his trip in Las Vegas. The Sin City mayor just had this to say about legalizing prostitution:

It's disingenuous when people say they don't want to legalize it. Right now it's uncontrolled and unregulated. There's no check and balance as far as the women's health is concerned and legal brothels could be an important revenue-raising device for the city. When you speak about it intellectually, not morally, it makes sense.

Las Vegas exists in an odd bubble as much of the rest of the state allows and watches over the sex trade. To see the dilemma,

. While critics say that any prostitution amounts to sexual slavery, proponents of legalization say that it will actually limit human trafficking, now rampant in the unregulated landscape of Vegas. Could allowing it be just the ticket to protecting women? The chief lobbyist of the Nevada Brothel Association says, "legal brothels could work anywhere. They could be huge in Las Vegas. It would be great for the women and for our industry . . . "

Who's right? Is the Pope spot on saying that more sexual permissiveness is a road to ruin? Or is the Las Vegas mayor right by acknowledging the women's health and economic factors of a foregone conclusion like the world's oldest profession? Does what happens in the Vatican, stay in the Vatican?


Join The Conversation
observer1 observer1 9 years
First, we should all respect one another and our different beliefs. Just as the original poster has the right to post two pictures side by side, one who finds this juxtaposition offensive has the right to express their opinion, and remove their support for the medium through which these images are depicted. Second, to state that morality has no place in laws, and to insinuate that society has no right to legislate laws that limit the autonomy of individuals (i.e. if a woman chooses to practice prostitution freely who is one to object) is not consistant with those laws that currently exist in our land. Numerous laws limit the actions of individuals. One can not commit suicide, use certain pharmacological substances, enter into marriage with a close relative, engage in relationships with a consensual minor, not pay taxes, dodge a draft, murder, be cruel to animals, commit perjury, etc., etc. , etc. Society has a vested interest in legislating morality as determined by the voters of a region to foster a functioning society. In addition, is there truely an action that only affects one person and not society in anyway. If prostitution is legalized, this not only effects the woman who decides to engage in prostituiton. The Johns, any offspring, those involved in the business, and society as a whole is effected. If the prostitute becomes pregnant or sick, does not society incur a financial burden as they may have to aid in medical bills or welfare. What are the effects on the families of the Johns. What is the message that society sends to its citizens, particularly young woman if it condones and financially gains off of prostitution. Our current mass media glorifies sex, drugs, adultery, violence to make as much money as they can. This is influencing society, particularly the young, and desensitizing individuals to the above. Third, the argument that prostitutes will be safer if prostitution is legalized and therefore no one can object is flawed. Violence against prostitutes may not decrease. Legalizaion may lead to more Johns, more prostitutes, and possibly more violence as the incidence of the action increases. Secondly, not all prostitutes will work in the structured legal system as they may be illegal, stand to make more money on their own, or may wish to remain confidential. Third as previously illuded to, there are other actions other than legalization that can be taken to decrease violence against prostitutes - increasing sentences and detering johns, providing safe havens for women in need, providing more job opportunities for woman in need, decreasing the incidence of prostitution may have an effect as well. Fourth, to insinuate that STD testing will protect woman against all disease is foolish. There are windows in the current testing in which diseases do not show up positive. Second our tests are not 100% senstive or 100% specific, and may not pick up or rule out diseases one is testing for. We do not have tests for all the known STD's. Finally, we do not have tests for current/ future unknown disease etiologies. If one was to have testing for STD's in the 70's and early 80's, one would not be testing for what later would be identified as HIV. These woman are not only open to any STD, but any communicable disease that close contact may predispose one to. Are we going to screen the participants to physical health screenings to r/o fever, headache, rashes, shortness of breath, sputum production, blood in the sputum, achey joints, swollen lymph nodes, muscle soreness, cold sweats, diarrhea, or any other sign of infection. Would one not want to rule out TB in a border state in which some of the supplies of prostitutes may come from countries in which TB is more endemic. I do hope that we all learn to respect and love one another. Learn to protect life, especially the most vulnerable. A debate may be needed about legalizing prostituion, but the arguments put forth so far are very superficial and not explained in any depth. In the end, I hope the side favoring the sanctity of all life, and the respect for a woman's body wins out.
lizlee89 lizlee89 9 years
so KrisSugar, do you think we should let people murder other people so that they will be safe? or make robbery legal so that they don't hurt themselves trying not to get caught? this idioctic "logic" is why we continue to kill our babies in abortion, because "we don;t want to make it illegal because that will force women to get an unsafe stupid - you know what would be even more safe and respectful for those women? - not letting them have sex with strangers for money!!!!!!!!!
littlebmac littlebmac 9 years
I think that the concern should be not to encourage the sex trade in the first place and prevent it from expanding. Why shouldn't women be educated about the risks in being a hooker and then give the chance to better themselves, rather than using the trade to earn a living? By keeping the conditions as realistic and disgusting also takes away the disillusion of glamour and money, and hopefully more women will think twice about getting a job through a pimp.
syako syako 9 years
jubex this whole blog (and world for that matter) would be a much nicer place if we COULD all respect one another. As you see disrespect for other religions on citizen, I see disrespect toward Catholics. And m, your words in the first paragraph in comment number 103 we're pretty condescending imo, which is why I felt the need to respond to them.
jubex jubex 9 years
i think you have to agrre that it is nothing compared to the disrespect/ignorance shown in some of the comments on this blog towards the muslims....sorry i forgot to finish the sentence
jubex jubex 9 years
i think prostitution should be legalized.prostitutes are human beings, and no matter what the job, everyone should be and feel protected when doing's a social issue, and mixing religion with it it's just wrong. I don't have anything against any religion, but i think social consciousness and morality should matter more in the making of laws, not religion.because when you mix religion with the state the result is always bad. people should do what's right because their it's what's right, not because their are going to hell.but this is another discussion. Oh, and regarding the respect or the lack of it towards the catholic church i think you have to agrre that it is nothing compared to the disrespect/ignorance shown in some of the comments on this blog. if we are going to respect catholics, can we respect everyone else too?
Meike Meike 9 years
Well, then I stand corrected. The point I was insinuating with my original post is that no matter how offensive the material is (within legal grounds, of course), Sugar has the right to post whatever she pleases and it is okay. Just are you are expressing how offensive you think it is, I am expressing how I think it isn't. No one can very well accommodate all of us since we are all diverse individuals. I mean, should I be offended that several religious sites state that I'm going to hell or that I have less morals because I haven't established myself under any one religion? I guess I should be but I'm not because I'm above people who think that way.
syako syako 9 years
pardon moi. Did I say "I'm going to stop reading Citizen Sugar because of this"? Did I say "Let's rise up and burn pictures of citizen in the town square"? Did I say "Citizen you are an infidel how dare you"? I don't believe I did. :ponder: And, the comments I made stem from the overall disrespect for the Catholic church that I've noticed on the posts on this blog and in the comments section. So as I'm sure you'd appreciate me not putting words in your mouth (ms. agnostic, not atheist, apologies) I'd appreciate it if you stuck to using your own words. Thank you.
Meike Meike 9 years
Oh please, don't even suggest I'm close-minded. And, it's presumptuous to assume I'm atheist. I'm agnostic, I've grown up in a loving Catholic household and am very well versed on more than one religion. Religion regarding this topic means nothing to me. You are allowed to express your opinion, Syako, but you take it to another level as if to try and persuade Sugar to remove the photo because of your own beliefs. At least, this is the impression I get from reading your posts.
syako syako 9 years
nica, I mean, thanks for clearing that up. That's what I meant, I just didn't feel the need to elaborate on it especially since I was trying to get my point across quickly.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
LOL syako, I thought similarly when I read Meike's post. I thought 'oh ok since religion means nothing to you, then it IS ok', so glad we cleared that up lol... and I'm glad to know it's all about meike. It's good to know these things for future conversations ;-) As far as Meike's other comments. I do agree with your comment that it's not all about the strip. There is so much more here that people don't realize. Our family loves living here, we love the climate, the outdoor life, the list could go on.
nicachica nicachica 9 years
btw, i didn't actually get to see him speak the other day. the tickets i got where to go to Catholic University's lawn in front of the Basilica and see him ENTER. So ummm...i still saw the Popemobile in front of me! silly me for not understanding my
nicachica nicachica 9 years
Syako, in one of your first comments, you said you were offended because the Pope is an infallible human being. Sorry, but that's not true. The Pope is ONLY infallible when speaking on matters of dogma dealing with faith and morals. He is not infallible as a human since all humans are flawed and with sin.
syako syako 9 years
so just because your atheist I'm not allowed to express my concerns about the photos, yeah great way to be open minded. :oy:
Calster Calster 9 years
I have to agree with Vegas: legalizing prostitution can only help to regulate women's health and protect those selling their service.
Meike Meike 9 years
You know what? There is no argument about whether Sugar can post this or not because a handful of people find it offensive. Religion means nothing to me. So, preserving the sanctity and holiness of the pope or any religious leader is zero on my list of priorities. I do not respect them anymore than the strangers I pass by on a daily basis to work. I certainly not the least bit offended by these two photos placed in relation to one another. On topic: I live in Vegas and unbeknown to many people is the fact that a lot of these women love their jobs as prostitutes. Between my friends and I, we do question their profession and why they do it. Well, Vegas is an incredibly superficial city. If the city grosses $7 billion a year on gambling alone, imagine how much it makes on dining, hospitality, spas, shopping, concerts, parties, weddings, conventions, real estate, high-end strip clubs, etc. The employees of these impeccable and luxurious services are paid low wages but receive ridiculous high amounts of tips from tourists, socialites, and celebrities. For example, valets here have on average a $65k a year income. Not bad for a job that doesn't require great education. Consequently so, everyone is able to afford a nice lifestyle. Everyone is trying to outdo one another here. Hence, why do many prostitutes in Vegas love their jobs? It's really very simple. They love securing themselves a glamorous lifestyle. Furthermore, many of the brothels here have, well, standards that have to be met before a woman can be accepted in this industry. There is no need to feel sorry for them when they want to be part of it. They're not being forced into this industry. They could have any other job on the Vegas strip and it would pay well for a more than comfortable lifestyle. In relation to LV's motives for legalizing prostitution, economic downfall is irrelevant. When you take into consideration the value drop of the dollar, expect tourism to keep cities like Vegas alive and strong. The attractions and services excluding prostitution drive that tourism. It's a bigger incentive for Europeans to visit us now that 1 Euro is worth 1.59 U.S. dollars. Vegas is not economically in trouble like rest of the country. We have a rather good 'buffer'. Additionally, we're hijacking companies left and right out of California by enticing them with 'Earthquake Free Zone' ads and the like. After 9/11, Vegas, tourism slowed down but still thrived. The city wised-up and has since then expanded its economic diversity. It's not all about the strip. Do the research on companies in the neighboring suburbs.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
No problem Kim. Just wanted to make sure that you knew what I meant!
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
Cine I knew that I was directing my comments to Auntie Coosa, sorry for not making that clear.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Kim, not sure who you are directing your comment towards, but it has nothing to do with the size for me either. Just wanted to make that clear.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
syako - yes and that I understand and respect. But to argue it's because she's large chested is just ridiculous to me.
syako syako 9 years
kim I can't speak for the original commenter, but my problem with it was the bad taste of the women's picture.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Darn does that mean others are wrong if they are not Catholic - I never learned that in a Catholic church. What happens to other Christians or other religions.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
So the Pope would not bless a large chested woman if she were at one of his Masses? I didn't realize the siza of a woman's chest was relevant to any blessing she may or may not receive from the Pope or any priest. Did Jesus not bless large chested women either?
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Well I think under the circumstances with regard to the photos being offensive or not we're all right. We all have our own code of ethics, morality, theological ideology, and political leaning. If you say it's offensive it's offensive if you say it's not it's not.
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 9 years
What I don't appreciate as a Catholic is that some people who do not understand the Catholic Church, also do not show respect to its representative. The Pope is Christ's Vicar on Earth. He represents not just the Church, but Christ himself. So what you've done in effect is taken a photo of Christ, perhaps with His hands raised in blessing, and put it above a big busted woman. Can't get too much more disrespectful than that, can you? You're not related to Bill Maher, are you? The answer is Yes, the Pope is correct. I invite you to attend your nearest Catholic Church and talk to a Priest to learn more about who we are. I'm not going to argue the point, but those curious can go to and read our Catechism to get a better understanding of our faith.
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