Mayor Annise Parker's controversial settlement relaxing physical contact rules at 16 local topless clubs appears to have triggered an escalation in hostilities between those who operate and patronize strip joints and those who'd like to see them shut down.
"Those that are forking out the money to fund this industry, what they call the 'Johns' , we are looking at every possible way we can start going out and exposing who they are. It's just time," said Rev. Dave Welch, leader of the Houston Area Pastor Council.
Welch says his group is looking to attack the customer base by recording and potentially publishing the license plates of those who spend their money in sexually oriented businesses.
Welch says he's got nearly unanimous support from his 300 plus members, which include the leaders of some of the largest and most influential churches in greater Houston.
"If you are an elected official, community or business leader, husband or father, every time they go into these places they are helping undermine and destroy the community including their own families. Everybody has to be individually responsible for their own actions," said Welch.
Which leads to the question: Is recording and publishing the license plates of those seeking a lap dance legal?
Fox 26 legal analyst Chris Tritico says if that's the strategy the pastors choose there's nothing in the law to stop them.
"I think that's perfectly lawful because it's happening in a public place and you have no expectation of privacy. If you go to a strip club, you need to be aware now your information may be taken down by one of these pastors and made public," said Tritico.
Welch says the Pastor Council is consulting its own legal advisors. He offered no time table for the recording of license plates.