OPINION – The Black Church is a big business, whether one likes to admit it or not. The Black Church alone has accumulated well over 400 billion dollars in the past 30 years. I came across an article dated back to May of 2013, concerning this staggering number. I can imagine that number has been bypassed in the present at astronomical rates. Before I get the “what about the churches in the white communities?” I’m not worried about them, I’m worried about “us” and the state of Black affairs.
When I’m in the Black neighbourhoods all I see is a church at every corner, a liquor store, and businesses that aren’t owned by Blacks infiltrating the neighborhood like the plague. All businesses in the neighborhoods aren’t owned by Blacks, nor the majority of the Black community owns the place that they reside.
The issue of how much wealth has accumulated in the Black church gave me reason to pause and how that money can address some issues. Issues ranging from: lack of community centers for the youth and the elderly, militarization of police departments, education, mass incarceration rates, school to prison pipeline, jobs being outsourced overseas, lack of Black owned businesses (which includes banks) and these issues are primarily in the poor Black community. I can go on and on…
Research conducted by Livesteez has reported that an estimate of $420 billion in tithes and donations has been accumulated by Black churches since the 1980s. An ongoing investigation into the spending of mega-church leaders was first initiated by Senator Charles Grassley around 2008.
“The church has gotten caught up in materialism and greed, a lifestyle. Many ministers today want to live like celebrities and they want to be treated like celebrities. In other words, instead of the church standing with the community, the church has become self-serving. It has strayed away from its mission,” stated Dr. Love Henry Whelchel, professor of church history at The Interdenominational Theological Center.
All that money that is assessable, one would think would make the lives of those who attend church and those in the community would improve for the better. Some churches do organize marches (concerning police brutuality), but what have marches done for us lately? One would think all the money Clefo Dollar, Bishop Long, and T.D. Jakes among others received (especially in the mega church) poverty levels would subside right?
In the past 30 years, poverty levels in the Black community are worse than it has been in the present. People can’t find jobs because the jobs one’s parents had are now extinct. Once jobs were outsourced thanks to the GOP’s favorite icon President Ronald Reagan with his “Reaganomics”, jobs that used to flourish in Detroit, Baltimore, and other inner cities have been sent overseas.
The vast amount of money the Black church has garnered has come from an already poor community. One would think these church leaders would take that funding and redistributed it into their poor districts. I mean a total of 400 Billion dollars in the past 30 years, would contribute to ensuring businesses are started up, community centers are built, and even funding for college are started. I would love to see the day that a Black grocery store, laundry mat, cleaners are started up based on the outpouring donations of those who attend these churches.
Just check out what Clefo Dollar was recently requesting, but the outrage was swift:
Dollar attributed his family’s safe arrival to “a grace working on that airplane, that brought my girls back home to me, you understand what I am saying?” he said from the pulpit to thunderous applause.
Dollar said that after those incidents, he “knew that it was time to begin to believe God for a new airplane.”
All I see and hear is these Pastors like Clefo Dollar asking for private jets, living in lavish mansions and driving luxury vehicles. Tax-free money all at their disposal, no questions asks – but where is the integrity? These church leaders claim to love serving the community every Sunday, but how about serving that same community in return? That tax-free money should be reinvested in the right places where one can see improvement in the community in which they reside. As far as I’m concerned these church leaders are using their congregation to support their materialistic lifestyle, while their congregation remains poor, oppressed and ignored.
What I also noticed, during the current Black Lives Matter movement, the mega church has been absent. Not one comment from the likes of Bishop Long, T.D. Jakes, etc. How about bailing out everyone when protestors were arrested during Baltimore and the Fergurson uprising (because I refuse to call oppressive actions a riot). The Black Church was a force to be the reckoned with during a time where Martin Luther King Jr. was fighting for civil rights. King and his supporters were quickly bailed out during their acts of civil disobedience, which led to their arrest. In the present, the lack of support from the Black church has been a glaring reality.
Religion is big business; unfortunately that big business does not equate to improvement to those that seek positive results in the community. Pastors like that aren’t serving God, they are serving themselves, and that is one of the reasons I would never give my hard earned money to any of them. I’m not telling one to stop attending church, but do the research and investigate the church and their leaders. One should ask major questions, but the main one should be this:
Is the church one is willing to attend, doing all there is possible to help the poor, or are they retrieving all the tithes for their own financial gain?
Before going to a church where the Pastors are millionaires and contribute nothing to the people they serve, do the proper research. There are good Black Churches out their, but they are being overshadowed by these materialistic leaders. False Prophets are lining their pockets with the cash one gives away, and they couldn’t care less about their congregation. Just imagine if the Black Church did the right thing, how much of a financial powerhouse they would be? The Black Church has been skating way too long, with no accountability, and that has got to stop. These Church leaders sold out for their individual wealth, and that is not what the history of the Black church was clearly about. Now it’s about reality shows like the Preachers of L.A., and that alone should tell one where all money is going.
Just blogging for the masses, ya dig?