USA    PRIEST PLANS TO PAY LAWBREAKERS TO LISTEN TO GOD'S WORD
Fr Michael Pfleger plans to pay prostitutes and drug dealers to listen to the Gospel.
   "We have to be willing to try radically new ways to reach people," Pfleger said of the effort expected to begin this week with teams of two hitting the streets at night.
   Pfleger said he first mentioned the idea during his sermon Sunday at St. Sabina Church, his parish on Chicago's South Side. His congregation responded immediately with cash donations and volunteers.
   "Instead of wasting money going to banquets," he recalled preaching, "let's take that $20 banquet ticket, let's go out and find the prostitutes and drug dealers.
   "Let's say, 'We're going to buy your time. But for this half hour, we want to sit down and talk about God's love for you."'
   Pfleger has already made a name for himself in Chicago by taking on everything from violence on the Jerry Springer Show to alcohol ads that target minorities.
   Gayle McCoy is the head of Genesis House, a Chicago organisation that helps rehabilitate prostitutes. She said Pfleger's heart is in the right place, but hoped he would spotlight the need for long-term solutions to address drug addiction and sexual abuse.
   
AP
29/3/00

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