Politics

Nevada Evangelicals Are Backing Brothel, Strip Club Owner For State Legislator

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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A legal brothel and strip club owner won the nomination for a seat on the Nevada state assembly, and now some evangelicals are backing him.

Dennis Hof, 71, who declares himself “America’s best-known pimp” and runs five legal brothels, was nominated June 12 for a state assembly seat in Nevada and now aims to win in the general elections in November, with the blessing of some of Nevada’s evangelical voters, according to Reuters.

Some evangelicals said they are willing to support Hof, the author of “The Art of the Pimp,” despite his dealings in prostitution, because they see him as a political outsider and an honest person — as they see President Donald Trump. Hof has worked to cultivate that image, even campaigning as “The Trump of Pahrump.” (RELATED: Christian Group Requires Leaders To Be Christians, University Cries Discrimination)

“This really is the Trump movement,” Hof told Reuters.

“People will set aside for a moment their moral beliefs, their religious beliefs, to get somebody that is honest in office. Trump is the trailblazer, he is the Christopher Columbus of honest politics,” he added.

Evangelical Pastor Victor Fuentes said that when Hof won the nomination for the assembly seat, he thanked God for Hof’s victory.

“People want to know how an evangelical can support a self-proclaimed pimp,” Fuentes, who serves as a pastor at Ministerio Roca Solida Iglesia Cristiana in the Las Vegas, told Reuters.

Fuentes said that he believed Hof would defend religious rights and other individual liberties.

“We have politicians, they might speak good words, not sleep with prostitutes, be a good neighbor. But by their decisions, they have evil in their heart. Dennis Hof is not like that,” he added.

Other self-proclaimed evangelical Christians have declared their support for Hof for similar reasons, even in the face of the several allegations against Hof that he sexually abused, and in at least one case allegedly raped, women who worked for him. These allegations, Hof’s supporters said, were lies, according to Reuters. Even voters who have voted to shut down Hof’s brothels, like Robert and Debbie Thomas, said they would support Hof in the election.

“Dennis Hof seems to me to be a man of his word and he does what he says,” Robert told Reuters, despite the fact that Hof’s brothels “bother me a lot.”

Dan Cox, research director at the Public Religion Research Institute, said that evangelicals’ support of people like Trump and Hof signify a shift from placing primary value on personal morality to upholding “tribal values.”

“It’s more important for evangelical voters that Trump is fighting for an idealized, white Christian, conservative America,” Cox told Reuters. “Tribal values now supersede personal morality as an animating force.”

Some evangelical voters, like Pastor Paul Goulet of the International Church of Las Vegas, cannot stomach the idea of supporting a man who profits from prostitution.

“For me, it goes back to faith and values,” Goulet told Reuters. “Hof has a profession making money out of young women who sell their bodies for sexual favors. It’s demeaning to women. I can’t wrap my brain around supporting someone who does that.”

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