Walter F. Houston and his church in Houston, Texas
Olivia Blair was a member of Fourth Missionary Baptist Church in Texas for over 50 years. The 93 year old stopped attending her church two years ago when declining health forced her to move into a nursing home. On November 11, after spending several months in a coma, she passed away at a local hospital.
Her daughter, Barbara Day, contacted the pastor of her mother's church to arrange a funeral service. Pastor Walter F. Houston refused Ms. Day's request, telling her that her mother hadn't tithed properly over the past years. Ms. Day explained that her mother had been in declining health and reminded him of her long record of membership. Pastor Houston still refused.
Tyrone Jacques, of PimpPreacher.com, a website dedicated to exposing just such un-Christian behavior, asked Mr. Houston to reconsider. Mr. Houston replied "I am not changing my bylaws for someone who was not active...If the family cared so much then why didn't one of them at least send a dollar over here to reserve her membership?"
Mr. Jacques offered to pay the cost of Ms. Blair's funeral, suggesting that it could be held on a Friday since the church is normally closed on that day.
"Pastor" Houston's final words on the subject: "Membership has its privileges."
I would like to say to Mr. Houston: "And being a pastor has its responsibilities."
Where was Mr. Houston when Ms. Blair became ill? What is the going rate for a pastoral visit at Mr. Houston's church?
Whether Olivia Blair stopped tithing two years ago, ten years ago, or even twenty years ago isn't the point here. Ms. Blair attended that church for 50 years. Church membership is not a business arrangement.
Walter F. Houston has no right to call himself "Pastor." He is nothing more than a corporate shark, hiding behind a pulpit, counting his profits.