Can you top (less) this?

Wednesday Mollie looked at a story from CNN.com about an odd encounter between a shop-keeper and a would-be robber. It wasn't clear exactly what, if anything, actually happened during the meeting.

Spurred by the thought that I might find one as weird as Mollie's, I jumped when reader Adam sent GetReligion an Associated Press story hot off the wires proving that "sin" still sells -- or at least percolates. Here is another tale that leaves the reader begging for more: that of a topless coffeehouse that burned to the group a few nights ago, apparently a victim of arson. Situated in Vassalboro, Maine (the name itself is worth an article), the cafe and its shirt-free waitstaff had been controversial since it opened in February (apparently not every small town in the state has one).

The story opens in a straightforward fashion. It's not until the middle, when the writer interviews owner Donald Crabtree, that things get a little confusing.

Crabtree said he's determined to reopen his business.

"I'll keep going. ... I've got some girls out of work and I'm going to do all I can to get in there," Crabtree said.

The shop's opening in February raised the ire of dozens of residents. Someone recently called police to complain that a waitress was outside the business without a shirt. An ordinance was proposed to regulate nudity at local businesses.

Where was the ordinance proposed? Didn't the town have any rules regulating nudity before -- or was the opening of a topless coffee bar something the "Town Fathers" never envisioned? Were any churches or religious organizations involved in trying to get the cafe shut down -- or at least get the waitresses to wear shirts when the weather got cold?

Then there's a quote from a Richard Flick (otherwise undentified) arguing that 97 percent of the townspeople probably opposed the coffehouse. Say that was the case. Who were the patrons?

But the most mysterious quote comes at the end, when Vassalboro resident Sherry Perry says: "I'm a believer and I'm a Christian and I don't want this trash in my backyard. No good can come from it."

A "believer and a Christian?" Sherry, what is it you believe in? Either reproter Glenn Adams didn't ask her, or the editor chopped off the story at that point. Without more context about local and state "decency" laws, the possible opposition from local faith groups, and how Ms. Adams identifies herself, readers might get the idea that there's some odd happenings going on Maine.

Please respect our Commenting Policy