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Eminent Domain: City of Houston Stealing Land from Churches

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Published on: August 8, 2015

We have seen this over and over in movie after movie.  The rich land developer swoops into a dying section of town.  He uses his power to condemn people’s homes and businesses to get the land cheap.  Then, unless a hero comes in to save the day, he builds massive high-rises and quadruples his investment.  This is the fantasy that we were fed in the late eighties.  Now, we come to realize that more times than not, it is the government who uses these tactics rather than the rich.

Christian News reports:

The Houston Housing Authority is seeking to purchase property through eminent domain belonging to the two entities—a total of four properties—to build a 63-unit affordable housing development and a library in the city’s Fifth Ward. But the churches don’t want to give up their property and the Housing Authority says that the project can’t move forward without them.

This will mean that the churches will have to take the offer the city gives for the land, or they will lose their land.  The churches are not unused, and they are seeking to make a difference in their communities.  They want and are having an impact in the area that God has placed them.

Christina News continues:

“These churches have been all along the way from back when the Fifth Ward was called ‘the bloody Fifth’, or as Texas Monthly used to call it—’the toughest, proudest, baddest ghetto in all of Texas,'” attorney Jeremy Dys told reporters. “This was back when it took the police hours instead of minutes to get to them when gunfire was a routine sound in the community.”

“These churches have been buying up properties and houses of ill repute and turning them into centers for youth, tearing down one that had to be torn down and building new places for youth centers, ministries for people coming out of drug addiction and that sort of thing,” he continued.

These fellowships have been working in these difficult communities while no one was willing to do anything for the fifth ward residences.  When the work was the hardest and most dangerous, the city had no interest in the people.  It was the Christians who were hard at work, ministering and praying.

And these fellowships have now filed to block the city from taking their property.

Christian News reports:

With the assistance of the Christian legal organization The Liberty Institute, First Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church and Latter Day Deliverance Revival Church filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Harris County Court in an effort to obtain both a temporary and permanent injunction against the effort.

They want to ensure that the work they have sought to do for their community will not be undone by pencil pushers.  People who do not care for those who live, work and worship in this neighborhood.  They think that statism is the answer, and we will find that we, as the Church, will be more and more at odds with them.

Christian News continues:

“Now that the churches have done well to get this challenging community back on their feet, now that they have done a good job of cleaning up the properties and getting the Fifth Ward back into a good place to live in and to work in and to raise a family, the city is saying, ‘Thanks a lot for the hard work, good bye,'” Dys said.

We find that when the Church acts and function as the Church, we do not need the state to do for the poor and wicked in our neighborhoods.  We are the means that God uses to redeem our culture.  Hopefully, these Christians will send the HHA down the road, and the work they have begun will be continue.


Editor’s Note: This is the same city government that subpoenaed pastors’ sermons after trying to enforce a repugnant bathroom ordinance to allow mentally ill people, who think they are the opposite gender, to use the bathrooms of said gender. Houston’s lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, has already lost that battle. It looks like she is going for round two.

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