A Church in Florida is under investigation after claims it's actually a nightclub
Yes, in what seems like a storyline lifted straight out of a mid noughties, straight to DVD teen movie, a church in Panama City Beach is supposedly acting as a front for all night spring break parties.
The Life Centre Church caught the attention of the local Sherif after he noticed a banner outside it advertising a nightly event called "Spring Break Amnesia". Upon entering the church, he found they were selling t-shirts baring classic spring break mantras such as "I Hate Being Sober", "Ask Me Where's The Party At" "Thirst Patrol" and "What Will You Do For My Beads?".
The perplexed sherif then went on the Spring Break Amnesia website and found that they were hosting lingerie nights, 'anything but clothes party' and finally the penny started to drop. Talking to local news, the sherif Frank McKeithen remained surprisingly even-handed, saying "[they've got] nasty night's coming up, wet 'n' wild's coming up, maybe it's a different kind of church, I don't know."
But why would a nightclub pretend to be a church? Well apart from the obvious hilarity of hosting a wet 'n' wild party in a sacred building, if the venue is considered a church it is exempt from local laws requiring nightclubs to close at 2AM - making it the only after-hours destination in the city. Whether or not the venue is a church could also affect it's tax status, but this hasn't been discuss publicly by law enforcement.
The story was original broken on a local news channel on Tuesday and they are now reporting that the Spring Break Amnesia website has undergone some amends since their coverage. Indeed when I went on the site today, there is so evidence of hastily added damage control. Messages, such as "This IS NOT a nude event" and swimsuits are HIGHLY SUGGESTED" have been tacked onto the event bios for the anything but clothes and wet 'n' wild events respectfully.
It's unclear at this point if Spring Break Amnesia are paying for legal counsel, but if so surely they could point out that church events don't usually have to specific whether or not they're hosting "nude events".
In fairness to The Life Centre Church, it's been reported that they have always had "No Alcohol" signs on their doors, but as Frank McKeithen so astutely put it, "just because they say 'no alcohol' doesn't mean there isn't alcohol there." Indeed if I was to put my well-worn cynical hat on for a second, I'd say that the twenty dollar coverage charge they ask as a "donation" on entry and the 5AM closing time would suggest that they're events are firmly in BYOB territory.
In their defence, The Life Centre Church has put the below statement on their website.
So crafty plan or hilarious mix up? For legal reasons it's up to you to decide, but for now we'll let their promotional video have the last say.