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-Houston Wants to Take Down Two Historic Black Churches

by Dr. D ~ August 5th, 2015

The City of Houston TX is threatening to take the property of two historic black churches. The churches are involved in ministry in the neighborhood providing numerous services to the poor families living there.

The city authorities want to take the church properties through eminent domain in order to build taxable housing and a new library. Attorneys from Liberty Institute filed a lawsuit for the churches against the City of Houston on August 4, 2015 to block the action. From Todd Starnes at Townhall.com:

“The government cannot take a church’s property and give it to some other business in violation of the law,” said Hiram Sasser, the deputy chief counsel for Liberty Institute. …“It’s tragic that the city of Houston wants to take the churches’ property away and give it to someone else, just so they can make money.” …

Both congregations are located in Houston’s Fifth Ward – which has a notorious history of violence and crime.

Liberty Institute said the ministries of both churches have been credited with turning the neighborhood around – reducing crime and drug use.

However, if the city has its way the food pantries, young centers and programs to combat drug use and gang violence will be evicted to make way for affordable housing.

<Read the whole article >

Response: This is the same city government that tried last year to stop pastors in Houston from preaching on homosexuality and actually subpoenaed 5 pastors who objected. Now they are trying to close down two historic churches actually doing a great work helping the poor.

The excuse given is the need for ‘affordable’ housing which would also bring needed additional tax money into the coffers of the city. A new public library has been thrown in to justify eminent domain. However, they really do need to draw up a new plan that does not include the property of two churches that are actually helping folks in the target neighborhood.

Similar urban renewal projects around the country have resulted in the ‘gentrification’ of low income neighborhoods with so-called ‘affordable’ housing costing far more than the residences they replaced and new high-end chain businesses replacing the local long-time business owners. The previous owners seldom get what their properties or businesses are really worth when forced out by eminent domain.

If the city is successful in this case, there will no longer be a place for these churches to meet and minister in this inner city neighborhood. All under the pretense and excuse of building a new public library and providing ‘affordable’ housing that the present residents will not be able to afford.

The fact that most of the churches and over 400 pastors in Houston actively opposed the efforts of the mayor of Houston to institute a transgender bathroom law, that included provisions to force religious institutions to comply, should not be ignored as part of the background in this case. Getting even might be one of the possible motivations for trying to shut down the two historic churches.               *Top

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