Demonizing Barack: The enduring racist double standard

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(Obama sets the record straight on Race, Religion, and his Pastor)

Having absorbed all of the calumny, reprobation, and histrionics I can stand regarding Barack Obama, Trinity United Church of Christ and its former Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, I can be silent no more.

Having failed to make the manufactured Farrakhan smear stick, Obama’s tormentors have succeeded in distorting Jeremiah Wright into his horrifyingly racist doppelganger.

First, let me say that Barack Obama’s “denunciation” of some of Dr. Wright’s justifiable indignation about America’s hypocrisy regarding race, war, and Hillary Clinton, left a bad taste in my mouth, a very bad taste indeed.

Obama, the Junior Senator from Illinois, has labored mightily to run a campaign which focuses on that which unites rather than that which divides because it is a reflection of the way he has lived his life and made his career as an organizer, lawyer, state legislator, senator, and presidential candidate. He hasn’t always met that goal. His unequivocal support of Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of innocent Lebanese civilians in 2006 and his failure to adequately address the Clinton campaign’s deliberate and repeated attempts to racially polarize Democrats reflect his craven accommodations to America’s racial hypocrisy.

A sistah named Cassandra from Michigan emailed me saying, “For the first time I don’t care whether or not he wins if he must shed his spirituality and dilute his soul to neutralize the stench and sting of truth that so many White Americans refuse to acknowledge…The hypocrisy and denial of how racism is destroying the integrity of working class and poor American blacks, whites, Latinos, Arabs and Asians is the seam that is dividing and will eventually shred the Democratic Party.”

Americans talk a good game, but in the end, as Jesse Jackson before him, he is being held to a racist double standard that previous white Presidents and Presidential Candidates were not held too.

Barack Obama’s religious affiliation with Trinity United Church of Christ is an affirmation of his own bi-racial heritage as the son of a Kenyan and white Kansan. To say that his membership in the United Church of Christ, a predominantly white denomination created in 1957 from the Congregational Christian Church and the Evangelical Reform Church is somehow suspect or racist is both ludicrous and false.

Trinity United Church of Christ is both integrated and welcoming of all people-including gays and lesbians. When Hillary Clinton’s denomination, the United Methodist Church, sent conflicting signals over the issue of homosexuality and restricting the role of gay clergy and the ability of gay congregants to have their unions blessed in the Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ went in the opposite direction in affirming its covenant with gay clergy and parishioners. Years before then, Wright established an AIDS ministry and a singles ministry for gay and lesbian congregants.

Lisa Miller, writing in Newsweek said, “As a leader, Wright defied convention at every turn. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune last year, he recalled a time during the 1970s when the UCC decided to ordain gay and lesbian clergy. At its annual meeting, sensitive to the historic discomfort some blacks have with homosexuality, gay leaders reached out to black pastors.”

“At that session, Wright heard the testimony of a gay Christian and, he said, he had a conversion experience on gay rights. He started one of the first AIDS ministries on the South Side and a singles group for Trinity gays and lesbians—a subject that still rankles some of the more conservative Trinity members, says Dwight Hopkins, a theology professor at the University of Chicago and a church member.”

Given the hatred and venom spewed forth in too many black pulpits toward black gays and lesbians, Dr. Wright stands out as enlightened, inclusive, and welcoming. But he would have to be in order to grow the church from 80 to 8000 members in three decades. Dr. Wright is the opposite from the bitter, angry, and bigoted portrait the corporate media has fashioned.

Come on, people. Do you really believe that a “black racist” would choose a 90% white denomination in which to plant his flag or are you just some kind of a damn moron engaged in a typical form of racist projection. I defy anyone to name one integrated, gay-friendly, mainline, protestant, predominately African American congregation you’ve ever stepped foot in where you’ve experienced hatred. I know damn well that nobody can because there is no such thing. Are you seriously scared of a moderate, bi-racial politician who bends over backwards to be inclusive, mainstream and non-threatening? Please.

Don’t fall for the right-wing attack campaign launched by Fox News and its corporate mimics.

Obama’s rise to prominence has been swift but it is not unlike that of another little known state politician who rose to prominence over thirty years ago, Jimmy Carter. Carter, you’ll recall was a born-again Baptist layman who also made common cause with all people regardless of race, religion, or background in order to heal the nation after Watergate. During the first months of his presidency in 1977, his home congregation, the Plains Baptist Church, of Plains, GA, forced out Pastor Bruce Edwards, because he sought, with the support of the President, to integrate the church.

During the waning days of the Presidential campaign, a black minister and “publicity seeker,” Rev. Clennon King, challenged the official policy of the church forbidding “Negroes and other civil rights agitators,” from membership. I find no record of the firestorm of criticism we see regarding Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright. Nobody called on him to resign his membership or denounce the racially prejudiced people with whom he had lived his entire life.

Plotting a middle ground, the church, following Carter’s lead, denied Rev. King membership. The final straw, however, came after Pastor Edwards and his wife adopted a half-Hawaiian child. According to the President’s brother Billy, it was bad enough that the pastor was a liberal integrationist, but adopting the “tan-skinned” child was “99 per cent of the preacher’s problem,” wrote Margaret Montagno in Newsweek.

The Plains Baptist Church subsequently changed its policy in word, but not in deed. Nicholas King, writing in the New Republic said, “The ‘opening’ of the Plains Baptist Church was achieved last fall under the leadership of the Carter family…But there was opposition to the opening from the church’s old guard, and the only black face in the congregation the Sunday Jimmy Carter first returned to Plains as President belonged to a Secret Service man.” After he left the presidency, Jimmy Carter left the church and joined with former Plains Baptist Church members at Maranatha Baptist Church. The small congregation of 135 opens its doors to 12,000 visitors a year to hear the President teach Sunday School. A few years ago, Carter also left the hopelessly right-wing Southern Baptist Convention.

According to the Los Angeles Times, during the 1980 presidential campaign, in the midst of a conservative tide taking over the Southern Baptist Convention, the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Bailey Smith, proclaimed, “God almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.” Again, nothing was heard from the media calling on President Carter to renounce the convention of which he was a member or for then Governor Ronald Reagan, who had addressed the same gathering of evangelicals in Dallas that same day to renounce the divisive and anti-Semitic statement of a right-wing supporter. The Washington Post covered the story on page F10 on September 26, 1980. The New York Times covered the story on three occasions and A 18 was the closet it came.

Lastly, can anybody recount for me the media firestorm over Pat Robertson’s endorsement of Rudy Giuliani. Refresh my memory about how many times the clip of the Religious Broadcaster and Baptist Minister advocating the assassination of the president of Venezuela, a supplier of oil to the United States, was run on Fox News and the rest of the corporate media in denunciation of Giuliani. How many times did they run the clip of Robertson agreeing with Jerry Falwell about the proper blame for 9/11 on abortions and gays and lesbians in a manner meant to accuse Giuliani of intolerance?

Today, nothing is materially different for the Hawaiian bred Barack Obama than it was for the half-Hawaiian son of Jimmy Carter’s Pastor. America, like Plains Baptist Church, has the same problem and like Jeremiah Wright has pointed out eloquently for thirty-six years as Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, race is 99 per cent of it.

Evangelist Bynum gets restraining order, seeks spousal support

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Hat Tip:  D. Aileen Dodd, Atlanta Journal Constitution 

National evangelist Juanita Bynum has filed for divorce in Gwinnett County and has been granted a restraining order as the proceedings move forward.

The petition for divorce and the mutual restraining order was received by the Gwinnett County Superior Court Thursday afternoon.

Bynum, who separated from her estranged husband Bishop Thomas W. Weeks III in June, is seeking a divorce based on the argument that her marriage has been “irretrievably broken,” and that she is a victim of “cruel treatment.”

Bynum, 48, told police in August that Weeks beat, choked and stomped her to the ground in the parking lot of an Atlanta hotel. Weeks, also a pastor, has denied the alleged abuse.

He was charged with felony aggravated assault, felony terroristic threats and two counts of simple battery in connection with the alleged attack.

The wealthy evangelist is also asking the court for possible financial support “that the court may deem equitable or appropriate.”

The divorce petition in Gwinnett mirrors a petition Bynum had filed earlier this month in Ware County. That petition was dismissed because it was filed in the wrong jurisdiction. Lawyers for Weeks, 40, said the case had to move north to Gwinnett because that’s where Weeks resides. The couple have a $2.5 million home at a Duluth country club.

Attorneys for Weeks said Friday they will respond to the divorce petition, but said they question Bynum’s motives for her recent media appearances. In recent weeks Bynum has appeared on the front page of The New York Times and has been a guest on Christian radio and Good Morning America.

Bynum, who has declared herself the “face of domestic violence,” has said she plans to launch a ministry to help women who suffer partner abuse.

“She thinks she is going to get some benefit by going public with this,” said Randy Kessler, Weeks’ attorney. “It is not necessary for divorce purposes. We are going to take the high road.”

Bynum’s attorney Karla Walker also sought a restraining order in the divorce petition.

The protection order prohibits both Bynum and Weeks from “any act that injures, maltreats … intimidates or harasses” each other. It also prevents the couple from retaliating against each other by disconnecting the utilities or canceling insurance policies.

Bynum, who uses the married name Bynum-Weeks, is asking the court that her last name be restored to Bynum, which she uses for professional purposes on occasion.

Bynum and Weeks married in an elaborate ceremony in 2002. They moved to metro Atlanta in 2006 to start Global Destiny Church in Duluth.

I thought the Negro was broke and had been evicted from his place. How can you get support from a brotha with no endz.

Bishop denies assaulting Bynum

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Just When I thought this was pretty much played out, another wrinkle develops in the melodrama that is the Weeks-Bynum divorce. 

Turns out that Bishop held a press conference today in which he denies beating her.   Amazing.  From what I can tell, he told a boldfaced lie.    This press conference is a naked PR ploy to cloud the issue of domestic violence and play on the sympathies of the weak minded.  You be the judge and read for yourself.

Hat Tip: by John Shriek, 11Alive News

“She said,” last week.
“He said” on Friday afternoon.

Ten days after Evangelist Juanita Bynum proclaimed herself “the face of domestic violence,” her estranged husband, Bishop Thomas Weeks, told reporters he wanted to speak out to try to set straight “the many discrepencies, dramatizations and untruths.” Weeks denied violence toward Bynum, and insisted he walked away from a confrontation with her on August 21, the night he’s accused of assaulting her.

I have always loved my wife and have been nothing but faithful to her,” Weeks said in a statement he read to reporters at his church, Global Destiny Ministries, in Duluth. “I want to be clear in saying I do not condone in any way, shape or form, violence of any kind towards women. My role has always been to operate as a protector and not as an aggressor. I have walked away from many situations between the two of us, just like I walked away that night.”

Weeks did not answer questions from reporters, on the advice of his attorneys, and did not comment further on the criminal assault charges against him.Atlanta police say a hotel bellhop saw Weeks kicking, beating and choking Bynum in the parking lot of the hotel that night, and that the bellhop heard Weeks threatening to kill Bynum as the bellhop pulled Weeks off of Bynum.

“I want to share my heart with the people,” Weeks said Friday, “to inform all that will listen that there are two sides to every story.”

He asked people to keep an open mind while he fights the criminal charges against him.

“I am asking that everyone that has already judged me to take the time to consider other perspectives. I understand that my silence to date has given me the perception of guilt,” but he said he does not believe in speaking publicly about what he considers to be private matters between him and his estranged wife.

Weeks said their current troubles began on June 3, when, he said, Bynum suddenly announced to their congregation that she was quitting the church, the church that she and Weeks had founded together, never to return. “It was the first time I knew she felt this way about our church family,” Weeks said. Bynum has always maintained her own, separate ministry that she founded and led prior to their marriage in 2002.

“The shock to the congregation was the start of many rumors,” Weeks said of Bynums’ surprise announcement.

Two days later, he said, her office sent a fax to his staff, “cancelling a major, international event and noted the reason was due to our marital separation. I was then informed by my staff about the fax. It was the first time that I was made aware of our separation.”

Thenn on June 14th, Weeks said, Bynum’s attorney mailed him a “cease and desist” letter ordering him to stop using Bynum’s name, face image, sound or likeness in anything related to the church.

“We were not legally allowed to mention her name even in prayer,” Weeks said. “Many people were offended by my removal of her image, as it appeared that it was of my own doing…. I did not share her letter from her lawyers to the church family in an effort to cover and protect her from negativity and perceptions, as I have done countless times over the past five years.”

Weeks said he still hoped he and Bynum could work out a reconciliation, and on August 16 he said she showed up at his office saying she, too, wanted to reconcile. “It was that day that I first began to believe that our marriage was moving in a positive direction. It was my understanding that the relationship was salvageable,” Weeks said.

On August 20, he said, “I was with my wife the entire night… and felt that our love for each other was going to get us through these hard times.”

Weeks emphasized that, contrary to earlier statements and reports, the reason he met with his wife on August 21 was not that he was seeking a reconciliation. He thought that their previous night together meant that they were already reconciling.

On August 21, he said, she called him asking to meet with him at a hotel, saying to him that, as he described it Friday, “Juanita Bynum Ministries was in need of our church facility and members’ support in order to raise monies” for one of Bynum’s projects. “She shared her urgency that we meet that night,” Weeks said.

Weeks did not describe, in his statement Friday, his August 21 meeting with Bynum, what led to their confrontation or anything else about it, and he did not discuss the indictment against him. He has pleaded Not Guilty.

“I would like for Juanita to know that I respect but regret her decision for a divorce. My church family is fully aware that I have always supported her in every endeavor. I have never hindered her from pursuiing her ministry vision or personal goals in life…. I want her to know that I am praying God’s best for her.”

Weeks’ divorce attorney, Randy Kessler, told reporters after Weeks read his statement that “he can’t stop the divorce from happening.” Kessler said Weeks just wants it to be settled as soon as possible, in private.

“The Bishop is not interested in money, this is not a case about money,” Kessler said. “We’d like all offers to remain private” as the two negotiate a financial settlement.

“Everybody, all of us, have blemishes, have flaws, that we do not want exposed” in a public courtroom, Kessler said, and Weeks is hoping to settle both the divorce and the criminal charges against him out of court.

There was no pre-nuptual agreement, Kessler said.

“The truth will eventually be known by all,” Weeks said. “In the end, God will always get the glory.”
 

Juanita Bynum speaks out

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Video courtesy of Hello Negro

Hat Tip: by D. Aileen Dodd, Atlanta Journal Constitution 

She aired her dirty laundry on a national stage, first as a victim of divorce and dead-end affairs and now as a victim of domestic violence.

National Pentecostal evangelist Juanita Bynum, 48, went public with her pain Tuesday, sharing yet another chapter in her tumultuous life story.

The tough-talking pastor, who has survived a divorce, a nervous breakdown and life on welfare, broke her silence two weeks after her second husband, Bishop Thomas W. Weeks III, allegedly beat, stomped and choked her in a hotel parking lot.

In a room with flashing cameras, Bynum said she has forgiven Weeks for the alleged attack and that her ministry will take a new twist because of the pain she has suffered.

“Today, domestic violence has a face and a name and it is Juanita Bynum,” said the pastor.

Weeks, 40, is facing charges of felony aggravated assault, felony terroristic threats and two misdemeanor counts of simple battery in connection with the Aug. 21 incident. The charges against him carry a maximum possible sentence of 27 years.

The bishop, who moved to metro Atlanta in 2006 to launch Global Destiny Church with Bynum, told his congregation that the devil made him attack his wife. Weeks was released on $40,000 bail from Fulton County Jail on the day he turned himself in to police. He is due in Fulton Superior Court on Friday.

Bynum said she was speaking about the incident Tuesday because she didn’t want her fans or colleagues to view her as a “damsel in distress.”

She said she intends to keep all her obligations to her ministry, including serving as host of an international talk show airing on Trinity Broadcasting Network.

A few hours after her 10-minute news conference Tuesday, Bynum was expected to appear as a special guest on TBN’s “Praise The Lord” program, a Christian talk show featuring ministers, gospel artists and other newsmakers. Fans learned of her appearance on Bynum’s Web site and began showing up at TBN studios in Decatur about noon to get a seat.

Bynum initially had planned her news conference at TBN but changed the location to the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead. She stood poised with her hands clasped in front of her, wearing baggy jeans and a pink Daytona Beach sweatshirt. A diamond wedding band sparkled —- from her right hand.

Bynum would not speak about the future of her marriage to Weeks. The couple wed in an elaborate ceremony in 2002. They had been separated for several months before the alleged attack.

“This is such a difficult moment for me,” Bynum said. “First, I want to go on record and say I forgive my husband and I wish him all of the best.”

The pastor said while some of her supporters have kept quiet about the incident, she does not intend to move on with her ministry as if the attack never happened.

“Relationships are what they are, [they] have their difficult moments,” she said. “… This has changed my life forever.”

Born in Chicago, Bynum was reared in the charismatic Church of God in Christ, a denomination that has a history of female evangelists. She married in her early 20s but within a few years divorced. After years of moving from being a beautician to a Pan Am flight attendant to joblessness and food stamps, she came into the Pentecostal ministry.

She gained popularity nationwide more than a decade ago for her messages of female empowerment and for her popular “No More Sheets” sermon on breaking free of sexual promiscuity.

Bynum said that after the alleged attack she was holed up with family feeling “weak and helpless.”

But Tuesday she said she won’t keep quiet on the issue of domestic violence.

“This isn’t a religious issue, it’s a social issue,” she said.

Bynum would not say whether she would participate in the prosecution of her husband or discuss her feelings about him. She said she is focusing on her new ministry. “Instead of a victim, I want to become an advocate,” she said.

Juanita Bynum’s ministry at a crossroads

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Juanita_Bynum_My_Spiritual_Inheritance_abridged_compact_discs.jpg

 Hat Tip: By Errin Haynes, Associated Press

Juanita Bynum is known and admired by thousands as a fiery evangelist whose no-nonsense, lead-by-less-than-perfect-example message of self-improvement was seemingly illustrated by her fairy-tale marriage to a man who also is a widely known minister.

The romance, which included a million-dollar wedding, became a nightmare last week when Thomas W. Weeks III was charged with choking his wife, pushing her to the ground in a hotel parking lot and stomping on her.

Her example, of living one’s life as an empowered Christian single woman-turned-spouse, now shifts to spouse-turned-survivor.

“The very thing she’s been preaching and proclaiming has now blown up in her own life,” said Duke University theology professor J. Kameron Carter. “She becomes Exhibit A for her own message.”

Since their marriage in an elaborate ceremony in 2002, Bynum and Weeks had both worked out of Global Destiny Church, but had their own independent and successful ministries, attracting tens of thousands to their conferences and selling thousands of books and CDs. She is the star preacher in the marriage, with her successful career as a media personality, gospel singer, author and playwright.

They had become estranged, and on Aug. 22 they met at a hotel to try to reconcile their differences. Within hours, police were called to Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, where they found Bynum with bruises. According to the police report, she told officers Weeks “choked her, pushed her down, kicked and stomped her … until a bellman pulled him off of her.”

Two days later, Weeks turned himself in to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office. He was released on $40,000 bail with the condition that he have no contact with his wife or her sister. On Friday, he was indicted on charges of aggravated assault and making terroristic threats.

Weeks’ attorney, Ed Garland, didn’t immediately respond to calls seeking comment.

A request to speak with Bynum through her publicist was declined.

Bynum’s MySpace page has a message for her followers: “I am currently recovering from all of my injuries and resting well. There are so many great things happening for me in my future, and so much to look forward to concerning my destiny, this too shall pass. The Bible says in Proverbs 4:25 ‘Let your eyes look right on with fixed purpose and let your gaze be straight before you.'”

Bynum, a former hairdresser and flight attendant, gained wide attention after she preached her breakout sermon, “No More Sheets,” at a Christian singles event in 1998 about breaking free of sexual promiscuity. An audience of thousands applauded her raw, no-nonsense delivery, peppered with first-person accounts of her struggle with her spirituality and secular ways.

“I find it very difficult to listen to anybody preach to me about being single when they got a pair of thighs in their bed every night … telling me to ‘Hold on,'” Bynum roared. “I wanna hear ‘Hold on’ from somebody who’s really holding on! I wanna hear ‘Hold on’ from somebody who knows about struggle!”

She admonished the women in the audience to improve themselves before seeking husbands.

“We ain’t got nothing,” she told them. “What are you bringing to the table? God is calling you to accountability today! Get yourself together!”

Lauren Aqeel was 10 years old when she saw Bynum’s sermon and said it had a powerful effect on her.

“At the time, there were not many female preachers I had been exposed to,” said Aqeel, now 18, who added that she felt the call to preach a few years later. “She has been a mentor from afar to me.”

Pulpit power couples like Bynum and Weeks lead several successful black churches, with their marriages prominently factored into their ministries and serving as an example to their congregations. Often, the wives also run popular women’s ministries that extol the virtues of being a good Christian woman, spouse and parent.

These couples include Creflo and Taffi Dollar, who head World Changers Church International, based in College Park; Bishop T.D. Jakes and his wife, Serita, leaders of The Potter’s House, based in Dallas; and Bishop Eddie Long and his wife, Vanessa, who are the faces of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia.

But for Bynum and Weeks, the allegation of domestic violence could have meaning beyond their marriage.

“For all of the strides that have been made to overcome the male dominance that is associated with fundamental Christian expression, this throws light on the ways in which women have been overshadowed in problematic and troublesome ways in the charismatic movement,” Carter said.

At a forum Thursday at Spelman College, a historically black women’s college in Atlanta, many of the young women in the audience said they were shocked and saddened to hear of the alleged attack on Bynum.

“It just hit me like a wake-up call, that even the strongest can be victims,” said sophomore Elizabeth Alexander. “When he was hitting her, her husband had no respect for her role.”

Alexander said she sought the opinion of her own pastor, who is male, expecting him to condemn Weeks’ actions. Instead, he responded with scriptures, and said nothing of domestic violence being wrong.

“I was thinking ‘This is my spiritual leader. If I’m abused, what do you do for me?'”

Support for Weeks has been strong on his MySpace page. One message posted Aug. 28 reads: “Bishop Weeks, don’t be discouraged, but be encouraged. Stand firm and know that the Lord is mighty in battle.”

Kera Street, 20, said she is disturbed by such comments.

“She is a victim,” Street said. “It can’t be supported or condoned by the church.”

In an Aug. 31 e-mail to The Associated Press, Jakes said it is time for the faith community to come out of shock over the Bynum-Weeks controversy.

“Knowing the Bible may make you a strong Christian or a great speaker but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the only resource we can draw from or work with to help those in our pews who suffer in silence,” Jakes wrote. “Prayer is a good starting point but this is a problem where wise and fair action steps are needed.”

Aqeel said the incident brings Bynum closer to her followers.

“It got a point where you didn’t see her past anymore,” Aqeel said. “You were seeing a polished, well-groomed, woman of God. But now you see she’s still a work in progress. That’s going to create a deeper audience for her.”

Carter said it’s impossible to predict how Bynum’s ministry will rebound, but he said it’s possible she’ll resume with little loss.

“This in no way undermines her significance. If anything, it underscores the importance of that aspect of her message — the need for healthy relationships. It underscores that no preacher is bigger than their own message.”

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Bishop Weeks: The Devil made me do it.

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Juanita bynum's husband

Hat Tip: by S.A. Reid, Atlanta Journal Constitution 

Global Destiny Ministries members on Sunday circled their spiritual wagons around their pastor, Bishop Thomas Weeks III, now charged with beating his estranged wife, the nationally known evangelist Juanita Bynum.

Most congregants approached for interviews after Sunday’s 8 a.m. service declined to comment on the marital problems of Weeks, 40, and Bynum, 48.

Those who did urged caution in taking sides in the issue and passing judgment on two people they consider spiritual giants, but also human.

“There are three sides to every story,” said Clarkston’s Shannon Mayers, a frequent visitor. “Nobody has the right to judge anybody. God is in the midst of that and will work it out.”

Member Maurice Adams, 26, of Atlanta said he was disappointed to hear the news but still considers Weeks his bishop.

“We all make mistakes. He deserves another opportunity,” Adams said. “I’m hurt, but I do respect him for being man enough to show his face today.”

Weeks took the pulpit two days after his surrender to authorities in connection with the alleged attack on Bynum. His remarks included appreciation for the prayers and support that he said have come in for him and his wife and thanks to those in attendance in spite of the controversy.

Weeks sparked thunderous applause and cheers when he asked members to tell those seated next to them: “We’ve got certain things going on right now, but I refuse to stop coming to the house God built.”

Weeks, wearing a dark suit and his customary bow tie, blamed the devil for the accusation that has him facing two felony charges. He didn’t, however, offer any specifics before introducing a guest minister who preached in his stead, then exiting the room.

The bishop is charged with aggravated assault for allegedly choking, kicking and hitting Bynum on Tuesday night in a parking lot at the Renaissance Concourse Hotel and with making terroristic threats to kill her. Both are felonies.

After turning himself in, he spent six hours in the Fulton County Jail before being released on $40,000 bond Friday.

The couple reportedly met at the Renaissance to talk about reconciliation after having been separated for several months.

Bynum, known for her fiery sermons that empower women, has been in seclusion since the attack and was not present at Sunday’s 8 a.m. service.

Global Destiny is a ministry the couple co-founded and pastor. In addition to Duluth, other church locations are in Los Angeles, Washington and London.

The charges are only the latest of Weeks’ troubles.

Authorities went to his Duluth home in June to serve an eviction notice.

Six months earlier, a former employee complained to police that Weeks got physical with her in escorting her from the church property.

Weeks is due in Fulton County Superior Court on Sept. 7.