BY KIMORA COCHRAN
In 2007 Juanita Bynum called the police on her estranged husband, Preacher Thomas W. Weeks III, after he allegedly attacked her. Weeks was ultimately charged with aggravated assault and terroristic threats. In 2010 Bishop Eddie Long was in the middle of a despicable scandal after five young men accused him of sexual coercion – said to begin when the males were only minors. Despite his death in 2011, beloved Pastor Pastor Zachery Tims Jr. caught national headlines after being found dead in a New York hotel room with a glassine envelope containing (what was believe to cocaine). Most recently, mega church Pastor Creflo Dollar was arrested as a result of his daughter calling police with claims of domestic abuse.
Almost once a year the media has a field day making a mockery of the Black church through the shortcomings and alleged criminal matters of a prestigious pastor. By no means should criminality in the pulpit be condoned. However, the alleged iniquities of a pastor capturing more notoriety than the philanthropy occurring inside churches daily should be considered sinful in and of itself.
The Black church is not only the oldest African American institution, but the largest, most viable institution for African American philanthropy. Not to mention, the Black church has played a pivotal role in securing civil rights for African Americans throughout history, and continues to be a significant element in African American advancement. The black church is at the heart of educating the African American community about incentives or political issues that are beneficial to enchanting the lives of African Americans. Many Black churches are not only focused on meeting the basic needs of people, but also on promoting economic empowerment and development.
But, sadly, all that goes out the window when a preacher gets arrested.
Common complaints surrounding the lavish lives many mega church pastors live have been howled for ages. “Why does he need a private jet? Where is all the money going? Exactly how much are they paying that pastor? Why does the pastor have a Rolls-Royce, and I’m struggling?” These cries only add fuel to the fire when the same pastors are caught in criminal mischief – leaving churchgoers feeling as if their money was mismanaged.
It would be more beneficial to African Americans to wonder why most states spend more of their tax money on incarcerating their Black men, than it spends on educating their innocent children.
It would be more beneficial to media to figure out how African Americans only make up 13.6 percent of the U.S. population according to census data, but reportedly make up 40.2 percent of all prison inmates – mega pastors not included.
Instead of throwing stones at “criminal” mega-pastors while ignoring the Black church’s worth and contribution to society, it would be more beneficial to think of ways in which we can integrate the most racially divided hours of the week- Sunday mornings.
Can I get an Amen?