Monday, December 31, 2007

Bishop Thomas Weeks Speaks on Wife Juanita Bynum

Bishop Thomas Weeks, III recently did a series of interviews to discuss the situation with Juanita Bynum, his estranged wife. Weeks was indicted by a grand jury for aggravated assault, terroristic threatening and two counts of simple battery.

However, the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence (the procedure is legally known as "dead docketing"). This has led to some controversy, as some have accused Juanita Bynum of attempting to profit from the glow of publicity coming from the events that took place in her life. She labeled herself "the new face of domestic violence", and took interviews while the trial was taking place.

Bynum's husband, Thomas Weeks III, has been on a major media campaign to defuse the negative publicity surrounding the events that occured with his wife. His church has lost 1500 members during the past 4 months.

According to media sources, Weeks has claimed that his wife is behaving in the way she has because she desperately needs money for her ministry and wants her ex-husband in prison so no other woman can marry him. Weeks argues that the ordeal is the result of a setup.

Weeks told Lee Bailey of EUR Web: "The truth is it wasn’t a beat down and the truth is that I am not an abuser. The truth is that I’ve been the one abused previously in my marriage and kept it silent. The fact still remains that I was the abused at any level in this relationship."

Weeks also challenged the legitimacy of the bruises obtained by his wife.

"And then 4 and a half hours later after these bruises appear she uploads them to a website," said the Bishop.

Weeks has eluded to the fact that his wife has "emotional and mental challenges" in her past in which she "goes in and out of reason and wisdom and fact and truth". He continues his media campaign, which has tarnished the image of both individuals.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Why I hate Christmas Gift Certificates

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

My mother, who is one of the wisest people I know, was talking to me the other day about gift certificates. We were having this discussion while debating what to get our needy-ass, yet loveable relatives for Christmas (only a couple of them are needy, most of them are loveable). Christmas is that overly commercialized holiday that seems to come every single year. I don't mind Christmas, but it seems that the word "Christ" has been removed in exchange for the last part "must". "I MUST have this", "we MUST do that", it's crazy!

At any rate, we were wondering if gift certificates were the best gift to give, since it avoids the awkward, yet inevitable reality that you are going to always end up giving something to someone that they just bought, don't want or don't need as much as something else. So, you have then graced your loved one with the burden of yet another trip to the pawn shop or the 50 mile long Walmart return line right after the holidays are over. They are also burdened with the guilt of having to pretend that they like your gift, even though they really don't. You know, those fake, awkward smiles that make your face hurt and stomach turn.

We both concluded in our scientific analysis (My Mama and Me Labs, Inc.) that gift certificates were better than regular gifts, since you can get what you want.

But I had to put the brakes on our ground breaking analysis....I then said, "Well, based on that logic, it would seem that money is the best gift certificate, since you can not only get whatever you want, but you can use it at any store."

That led us to wonder: "What exactly do companies give us in return for exchanging a hard earned $50 dollars that can be used ANYWHERE for their pathetic, multicolored little piece of paper that can is also worth $50, but can only be used in ONE PLACE?"


The companies typically give us nothing in exchange for the purchase of a gift certificate. It would be one thing if they allowed us to purchase a $30 gift certificate for $25. That would make our decision to limit the stretch of our money at least partially worth while. But when you give them $30 dollars that can be spent anywhere, they give you back the same $30 dollars that can only be spent at one place.

That's not all they do to screw us for the holidays.

Companies also get over on the fact that many of us never use the gift certicates anyway! According to Needham, Mass.-based consulting-firm TowerGroup, over $5 billion dollars in unused gift certificates allow corporations to fill the stockings of their stock holders. And believe me, they aren't giving that money to charity.

So, my mother and I both came to the grim conclusion that gift certificates, from a financial standpoint, are not very good gifts. Cash is the best gift certificate there is. It's the thought that counts, and my mother and I put quite a bit of thought into our decision. We hope our relatives appreciate it.

So this year, everyone we love is going to get a card with cash in it. That's the same gift that makes every third grader smile (Remember when that old relative you never talked to sent you that ugly card every year that always had cash in it? Don't pretend like that WAS NOT the first card you opened!). Perhaps the third graders are onto something, since this gift can make adults smile even more.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

History of Black Church Segregation in NY


New York for much of its early history had a huge enslaved population. People of African descent in the city, during the colonial era and for much of the 19th Century, lived under a harsh form of Jim Crow-like segregation. Racist regulations extended even into their houses of worship. Most churches had an area, either in the back, the balcony or separate rooms where Black New Yorkers were housed and located during the religious service. As slavery waned, the City’s newly freed Blacks chafed under New York’s long standing segregationist policies. In spite of this oppression and despite several deadly and destructive race riots, New York’s African American community remained vibrant, dynamic and because of their efforts, the City continued also to be a center of abolitionist, anti-slavery activity.

St. Augustine’s Church at 290 Henry Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, which opened in 1828, has as part of its original architecture two rooms, up a small twisting flight of stairs that were and still are called Slave Galleries. These rooms, just above the balcony and mainly out of sight, were intended for African American congregants, servants and perhaps even visitors, and may have been so used for years after slavery ended.


New York City was an early center of slavery in colonial America--- for much of the period only the city of Charleston, South Carolina had a larger enslaved population. Brought to New York from Africa, South America, the Caribbean and the South, people of African descent were largely commodities to be purchased, traded, measured and sold. For most, New York and its unwinding harbor was a quick stopping off point on the way to somewhere else on the triangulated trade route that led primarily south. Most must have found it an exotic, scary, sometimes cold and fleeting place. Yet, a significant number remained, to undertake the backbreaking work that building this expansive metropolis required.

As decades passed, the city and the African population grew, as did New York’s dependence on the free labor they provided. Special laws were passed to control the enslaved population. To calm the fear of revolt and insurrection, it became illegal for Black New Yorkers to gather in groups of more than three. To justify and maintain a white privileged class, African New Yorkers were denied access to housing, jobs and most public and private institutions, businesses and facilities. We often lose sight of the fact that New York City played a crucial role in both the development of the slave trade in colonial America and the virulent racism that accompanied it and helped codify the culture and concept that later came to be called in the South -- Jim Crow.

Across the street from what is today City Hall in downtown Manhattan, the African Burial Ground, the graveyard of colonial African New Yorkers was rediscovered in the 1990s. It was about five acres wide and used for virtually a hundred years until the end of the Revolutionary War. The history and existence of the African Burial Ground demonstrates that New York Jim Crow reached into the graveyard. Indeed segregation in New York reached into every facet of life for African and African American New Yorkers, including, perhaps especially their religious sanctuaries and institutions.

On the odd occasion, in the hands of a racist priest or a rowdy hate mongering congregation, religious events like marriage, communion or baptism could erupt into embarrassing and even dangerous experiences. In the main, for Black New York, when allowed entrance, church must have been oddly like the devil wrestling with God, as they were closely monitored and set apart. In some, Black New Yorkers had to sit or stand in the back of the parish, in others they were confined to an area in the balcony. In several churches there were rooms for Blacks, often out of view. These rooms, like the two at St. Augustine’s Landmark Church at 290 Henry Street in Lower Manhattan, were called Slave Galleries.

“Once in a while some of the old timers would talk,” says Harold Hayes, long time parishioner and Lower East Sider, “I used to hear little things that the blacks used to sing up there and such things and they were slaves.”

What is now St. Augustine’s landmark church has been standing on Henry Street in Manhattan since 1828. Constructed, legend has it, with rocks gathered from a long gone mountain, locally known as Mount Pitt, once a few blocks away. Originally, the church was called All Saints. A controversial aspect of its design, are two rooms on either side of a more than 150 year old Erben Organ one flight above the balcony. We know from articles and church records that these rooms were referred to as slave galleries and associated with the African American community.

A historical anomaly is that slavery in New York City and State officially ended in 1827. If so, why would a church that opened in 1828 build two slave galleries? This question ignited some intense debate in corners of the New York Historical community.

“Maybe they didn’t believe slavery was going to end.” The Reverend Errol Harvey, Rector of St. Augustine’s Church has said with his wry smile.

Though the vast majority of African American New Yorkers were no longer enslaved by 1827, the last gained freedom in 1841. The emancipation of slavery in New York was complicated and gradual. A law to stop slavery in New York State passed in 1799, starting a process that climaxed in 1827. A great deal is yet to be learned about who sat in the St. Augustine’s slave galleries – were they slaves -- indentured servants ill treated or otherwise -- free blacks encumbered by New York Jim Crow?

Around 1949, after decades spent struggling to survive, a decision was made to move St. Augustine’s Church, located on E. Houston Street into the All Saints Building on Henry Street and merge the institutions. The Christian part of the community had largely become African American and Hispanic. The new Church leaders decided to assertively reach out to them. In the ensuing years ironically, the once rich white All Saints Free Church became the primarily working class African American St. Augustine’s Church. Its first African American Rector was appointed in 1977. Reverend Errol Harvey, who has been at St. Augustine’s for 23 years, is the second. Reverend Harvey has spearheaded and supported renewed interest in the Slave Galleries, embracing the St. Augustine’s Project’s mission to help tell the story of African American New Yorkers and their contributions to the culture and development of the City and the neighborhood.

Rodger Taylor
Management Board member

author of "The Black Holocaust for Beginners"
Social Activism is not a hobby: it's a Lifestyle lasting a Lifetime

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bishop Thomas Weeks Apologizes to his wife Juanita Bynum

Bishop Thomas Weeks, estranged husband of Gospel personality Juanita Bynum, publicly apologized to Bynum this week. According to Essence Magazine, Weeks sent out an e-blast with the following statements:

“In the book I share my weaknesses as a husband. I also share weaknesses on the other side of my spouse. From that I have wounded her and I want to say publicly, and privately from my heart, ‘I’m sorry,’” he says.

According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the book contains chapters entitled, “Opposites Attract, But Do They Last” and “She Wanted to Be the Next Oprah at Any Cost.”

Weeks had planned a major media tour to promote the book, including appearances on The Tom Joyner Morning show and 1380 WAOK in Atlanta. Weeks has promised that anyone who purchased the book can now get a refund.

The message was sent in an 8 minute video email sent to thousands of worshippers. Weeks calls the message "The Most important message ever sent".

According to Weeks, the couple has not spoken since August 21, when Weeks was accused of beating, choking and stomping his wife in an Atlanta airport hotel parking lot. Since that time, Bynum has been under scrutiny, as some have accused her of using her experience as a chance to gain greater fame and opportunity.

Related story: Juanita Bynum Opens Up to Essence Magazine

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Minister Farrakhan Breaks Down the Conspiracy against Black Youth

By: Andrea Hodges

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has always been concerned about the state of Black youth. On November 4th he passionately vocalized his concern from a webcast at the national headquarters of the Nation of Islam that reached 120 cities across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and South Africa.
According to, Minister Farrakhan reflected on the words of scripture in the Book of Exodus when Pharaoh said, “Come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they join onto an enemy and come against us.” It was with those words that a decree went out ordering the slaying of the male offspring of the Children of Israel. Ashahed M, Muhammad, author of the article “Justifiable Homicide: Black Youth in Peril” wrote, “ Minister Farrakhan said what we are looking at historically and prophetically in the scriptures has a direct bearing on what we are experiencing in these modern times.”
In his message, Minister Farrakhan countered critics who doubt anyone would consider eliminating such a large number of people—especially in America---in the name of oppression. His explanation reveals a plan that seems “unthinkable” but is actually occurring as you read.
Through the execution of methods like social engineering and executive decisions that subtly destroy “undesirable people”, Farrakhan illustrates the reality of a war between good and evil. “We have to work hard to make the devil’s plan unsuccessful.”
To highlight the subtle success of social engineering Minister Farrakhan cited the following facts:
Black men in prison in the United States, outnumber those jailed in any other part of the world.
A large majority of Black males do not finish high school and of those who do and go on to college, only about 22% graduate.
Of that 22% most are from other countries
Minister Farrakhan argues that with such a large number of Black males being unable to compete in the work force, they explore illegal revenue paths more often, are more easily coerced into the army, or are more likely to become trapped in the criminal justice system due to criminal behavior.
Minister Farrakhan used a number of sources to explain the reality of executive decisions in our world. “An executive decision is a judgment made at the highest level concerning a branch of government required to administer law or policy,” said Minister Farrakhan, explaining that a decision has been made at the highest levels to not only limit population growth but to eliminate large numbers of people considered “undesirable” using a variety of methods.
According to, Farrakahn quoted a report titled, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” from the Neoconservative think-tank the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) that explained a shift in combat methods to biological warfare targeting specific genotypes. also noted that Minister Farrakhan believes that worldwide famine, forced sterilization, toxic food, toxic water, toxic air and toxic medicines administered through vaccinations as weapons of war confirm the plan to discard specific populations has already been put into play.
As further support, Minister Farrakhan cited Henry Kissinger’s 1974 report which said that “depopulation should be the highest form of policy toward the Third world.” He also noted that the
London office of the African National Congress (ANC) found that Israel gave nuclear weapons to apartheid government of the Afrikaaners in South Africa that only destroys people; targeting specific genotypes, or genetic expressions.

The Baby TD Jakes?

When I saw this clip, I honestly wondered if this child actually knows and has experienced the things he is preaching about. I respect the fact that his parents have taught him things at an early age, but I am a believer that, like my father, a man is a better preacher when he has experienced something worth preaching about. It is my opinion that there is a danger to believing something before you even know why you believe it. Also, the arrogance of men can lead some to want to become pastors in the pursuit of power, rather than the pursuit of a service to a higher power.

But then again, he is a cute little kid ain't he?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Megachurch: Mega God or Demigods?

What's up with all these blinged out Pastors?

My father is a pastor, and I have alot of respect for the church. Also, as a financial expert, I have alot of respect for money. But I know enough about money to know that sometimes, money and God just don't mix. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for chasing economic empowerment and using money as a tool for positive change in the world. But I think we've gotten to a strange reality when I can't tell my preacher from a rap star. I've never thought that a pastor should be a CEO, since many CEOs worship the dollar bill. That's almost like saying you can be a hooker and a school teacher. Some combinations are like ketchup and apple sauce....they just don't mix.

It is for that reason that I invite the Senate investigation into some of the megachurches, some of whom seem eager to prey while praying, and invoke the name of God to make themselves into Gods. I don't hate these men, but I know what lies in the hearts of men. In the hearts of men, you find ego, lust, and a thirst for power, things that don't seem to fit with the righteous path.

For those pastors who seem to feel that it is critically important for them to have private jets and Rolls Royces, I only ask this question: What would Jesus do? Would he drive in a Rolls Royce and live in a mansion while there are people starving in his own community? I think not.
My video thoughts are below, enjoy!