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Prayer task force takes on porn

Myrtle Beach- It is shaping up to be a David versus Goliath battle.

On one side, a small band of self-proclaimed prayer warriors and a church van.

On the other side, a flourishing local sex industry that has for decades resisted Horry County’s attempts at regulation.

Elva Martin, an Anderson County pastor, said it’s not about the size of her six-member prayer task force, which gathered Thursday in a Myrtle Beach church.

It’s about getting out in the street and praying.

“God works with small groups. It worked in Anderson,” she said.

The prayer task force will load up a van Saturday and pray in front of strip clubs on Seaboard Street in Myrtle Beach and city hall – the same method Martin said she used to fight off the “rulers of darkness” where she lives.

Martin and her flock prayed and threw Bibles in front of bulldozers that were building a strip club in Anderson County. Eventually the building was stopped and adult businesses there were indicted for obscenity.

“One nude club came and we rose up in arms,” she said.

Martin and her local partner, Surfside Beach resident Ted Potts, hope for the same in Horry County.

They created a list of 75 businesses they hope to shut down with prayer.

It’s a big order. “I think it helps to persist and not to lose hope,” Potts said.

It was a light turnout for the task force’s first meeting at Kingsway Pentecostal Church in south Myrtle Beach.

Rosean Osmundson was among the few who gathered. She said she says a little prayer when she passes adult business.

When asked why she signed up for the spiritual battle, she said, “I know it is something harmful to families. There is nothing good about it.”

Meanwhile, Horry County has just started its newest push to regulate adult businesses in the courtroom.

The county has been searching for ways to rein in the businesses, which can be popular among tourists.

Often, provocative dance and nudity are protected as constitutional rights of expression in the United States and the county has had very little success bending adult businesses to its will, until two developments in recent weeks.

Gym Omni, a spa where employees were arrested three times on prostitution charges, and Excitement Video, an adult video store where police made 21 arrests in three years, were temporarily shuttered as public nuisances by county judges.

Those cases must still play out in the courts, but Horry County hopes to use the public nuisance law to shut down other repeat offenders.

Martin said her task force will be assisting in that battle – she compared her and the county’s work as a two-tiered war against adult businesses.

“A good army practices reconnaissance, then you train, then you go out,” she said.

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