Bastardizing the Dream: Alveda King

Standard

This is the week set aside in honor of one our own, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Normally a time for celebration, I have come to dread our annual commemoration because of photo-op’s like the one above with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Dr. King’s niece, Alveda King, has fallen off the mountaintop, bumped her damn head, and become a member of the vast right-wing conspiracy.

 

Employed full-time by the religious right, she is an aggressive pro-life activist, minister, and professional public speaker. As she has moved steadily to the right, Alveda has provided political cover and given full license to those who would distort, defame, and destroy the dream of her late Uncle in the name of a fictitious colorblindness that is really white supremacy.

 

A long time opponent of Affirmative Action, she is entangled in a network of right-wing preachers hell bent on destroying the progressive social change that Dr. King fought for. While Dr. King spoke of the power of love and the creation of the beloved community, the glue that holds their little movement together is hatred, homophobia and a fixation with stopping same sex couples who love each other from having the right to marry.

 

In the month of Mrs. King’s death, Alveda participated in “Justice Sunday,” a wingnut gala consisting of the full constellation of reactionary politicians and their talabangelical brethren dedicated to fighting for the confirmation of Bush’s judicial nominees like Samuel Alito. Alito, an archconservative with a history of hostility to civil rights, provided the fifth vote to strike down voluntary Affirmative Action plans in the public schools last year. Weakening the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education without the guts to admit it, Alito and his allies on the court dealt the principle of ending separate but equal education a mortal wound.

 

Among those beating the drums of fascist religiosity with Alveda were Justice Sunday colleagues Tony Perkins, Head of the right-wing Family Research Council and a former Louisiana politician who paid white supremacist and neo-Nazi David Duke for his mailing list, and Jerry Falwell, a former segregationist who smeared Martin Luther King, Jr. as a tool of communists.

During most of Dubya’s first term, he found some way to paw Coretta Scott King in a manner that made my blood boil. Born on the same day as my grandmother two years apart, Mrs. King was always an icon in my household. I would NEVER allow George W. Bush to put his damn hands on my grandmother and I could never understand why Mrs. King visited the White House of a man who stole the Presidency. Her graciousness was always taken advantage of by this White House and she invariably became a colored prop in Dubya’s annual racist stage play of deceit every third Monday in January.

 

My personal favorite was the 2003 King Holiday. Within days of the holiday, the Administration announced a bold frontal assault on Affirmative Action by filing a brief against the Affirmative Action Admissions programs for both the University of Michigan and its School of Law. Writing a powerful Five-to-Four opinion upholding the principle of Affirmative Action, Sandra Day O’Connor ended her twenty years of steady opposition to Affirmative Action programs. Within two years, she resigned from the court only to be replaced by Alveda’s choice, Samuel Alito. It is only a matter of time now before Affirmative Action is destroyed by the Roberts Court.

 

Monday, I kept hearing reports of Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee being invited to attend King Day services at Ebenezer Baptist Church by a member of “the King Family.” While not identified, I have a hunch that the black fool in question was Alveda. She was the one sitting next to the presidential contender that told White South Carolina Republicans that they shouldn’t tolerate anybody dictating to them about where, when and how to fly the confederate flag. After desecrating the sanctuary with his presence, Huckabee used the occasion to accept the endorsement of a group of black wingnut preachers, the “Coalition of African American Pastors,” a group Alveda has claimed a board membership of on her website.

 

 

This week, Martin Luther King III, “deeply” concerned about politicians misappropriating the legacy of his father, wrote John Edwards a beautiful letter telling him to keep fighting and stay in the race. If he was truly concerned about folks distorting the dream, he would have stopped his Mama from being used by George W. Bush, stopped his sister Bernice from demonizing gays and lesbians, put his foot down to permit the man who paid for his Daddy’s funeral, Harry Belafonte, to eulogize his mother instead of the ignorant patrician in the White House, and done something to put his cousin Alveda in check.

 

As adherents of the drum major for justice who preached non-violence, it would be unseemly for the members of the King family to take Alveda aside and beat her ass until she remembers what the hell the dream is really about. Nevertheless, let me be the first one to say to the King family that all of black America would happily forgive y’all if you laid down the principles of non-violence temporarily to “lay hands” on Alveda with “the love of the Lord.”

 

I won’t tell nobody and I am quite sure that Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, a King family friend, would help. After all, she has kept her girls outta jail, despite the mess they’ve been involved in, and I’m very sure a discrete word from the mayor to the Po-po would squash it. If Shirley can’t help, somebody can always call Bishop Thomas Weeks, Juanita Bynum’s soon-to-be ex-husband. The way I see it he’ll pop either the question, Alveda, or both.

 

Although I can’t help but lampoon Alveda and make light of this situation for the sake of my fragile sanity, bastardizing Dr. King’s dream is no laughing matter.

Evangelist Bynum’s $4.5 million dollar home on auction block

Standard

Hat Tip:  Bt Mike Morris, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Evangelist Juanita Bynum’s $4.5 million South Georgia compound is scheduled to be auctioned off next month for nonpayment of property taxes, officials said.

Ware County Tax Commissioner Steve Barnard filed a lien against the 23.6-acre property owned by Juanita Bynum Ministries on June 7, citing failure to pay $32,007.56 in 2006 property tax.

According to the lien, a $3,200 penalty and $2,240 in interest is also owed.

It’s the latest legal drama involving the nationally known Pentecostal evangelist, who has been in the news in recent weeks after alleging she was beaten by her estranged husband, Thomas Weeks.

Barnard said Tuesday that the property, on St. Bernard Trail near Waycross, will be sold at auction on Nov. 6 on the steps of the Ware County Courthouse. The auction will be canceled if Bynum Ministries, which still has ownership, pays the full amount before that date, he said.

Bynum’s Waycross-based ministry bought the property for $4.5 million last year.

Barnard said there is a 7,487-square-foot house, a 6,748-square-foot house and a 1,366-square-foot house on the property. Bynum lives in one of the homes, he said.

Barnard said someone from Bynum’s office called him last month, “wanting to know if they could set up a payment plan, and I told them if she sent me $25,000, I’d take it out of the [Nov. 6] sale, and she’d have 60 days to pay the balance.

That partial payment was supposed to be made by Sept. 28, Barnard said.

“I never received anything, and then last week, I received a check for $5,000 and someone from her organization called and wanted to know if we got the check,” Barnard said. “I said, well, we got a check for $5,000 that was supposed to have been $25,000, and they wanted to know if that would take it out of the sale and I told them, no.”

Bishop Weeks countersues Bynum

Standard

 

Hat Tip: Errin Haines, Associated Press

ATLANTA – (AP) The husband of televangelist Juanita Bynum denies that he treated her cruelly and says they have not been continuously separated since June, as her divorce petition alleges.

Attorneys for Thomas W. Weeks III were expected to file his counterclaim for divorce later Wednesday. The four-page document goes beyond simply answering Bynum’s petition and makes a case for Weeks.

“Now they have each asked for a divorce,” said Randy Kessler, one of Weeks’ attorneys.

In the response, Weeks admits to most of the allegations in Bynum’s complaint, but denies her assertion that the two have been separated since June. Weeks said they spent one night together in August that boosted his hopes for reconciliation.

The next day, Aug. 22, Bynum claims her husband beat her. According to a police report, she told officers Weeks “choked her, pushed her down, kicked and stomped her … until a bellman pulled him off of her.”

Weeks faces charges of aggravated assault and making terroristic threats. He is free on $40,000 bond and is not allowed to have contact with Bynum.

Bynum’s divorce petitions cited “cruel treatment” and said the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

Weeks told reporters their estrangement began June 3 when Bynum announced to the church that she was “planning to leave our church never to return.”

The couple wed in a million-dollar, televised ceremony in July 2002, and their marriage played a prominent role in their ministries. The couple co-wrote “Teach Me How to Love: The Beginnings.”

Weeks’ response to his wife’s divorce filing asks that the court equitably divide the couple’s debts and assets.

Bynum, 48, is head of a ministry that also includes a gospel record label and seminar tours. She has sold thousands of motivational books, CDs and DVDs related to empowerment and relationships.

Weeks, 40, is known to his followers as Bishop Weeks and is head of Global Destiny Ministries, based in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth.

Evangelist Bynum gets restraining order, seeks spousal support

Standard

 

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.

Juanita Bynum on Good Morning America

Standard

 Juanita Bynum

Hat Tip: Good Morning America

Evangelical preacher Juanita Bynum and her husband, Bishop Thomas Weeks III, are superstars on the Christian circuit. But recently the Atlanta-based couple’s profile reached the stratosphere after Bynum accused her husband of domestic violence during the summer.

The episode surprised many of Bynum’s followers because the televangelist’s fan base is largely female and her sermons often center on female empowerment. The situation also served as an opportunity for them to challenge every word Bynum had ever preached.

So, when Bynum accused her husband of attacking her physically in a parking lot outside an Atlanta hotel, the incident seemed unimaginable for what many saw as picture-perfect couple.

The pair, who met in 2002 and were married a year later, separated earlier this year. On Aug. 21, the day the attack occurred, the couple met in an attempt at reconciliation.

Bynum showed police her bruises and claimed Weeks choked, kicked and stomped on her. She said he continued to do so until a bellman pulled him away.

A History of Violence

Bynum revealed on “Good Morning America” Wednesday that this was not her first encounter with domestic abuse.Her first marriage, which inspired her million-copy selling sermon “No More Sheets,” ended as a result of domestic abuse. At the time, Bynum quietly divorced her husband and chose to move on with her life.

“He repented for what he did. I made a vow that I would not talk about that situation,” she said.

Now, as her current husband faces charges of aggravated assault and making terroristic threats, according to The Associated Press, Bynum said she has decided to speak out. (Her husband is no longer is allowed to contact her.)

“You don’t call it abuse until it’s a parking lot situation,” she said. Often times people classify such behavior as marital issues, but it’s abuse when you’re getting yelled at, Bynum added.

Some critics have accused Bynum of using the situation to gain recognition and a larger following. Bynum shot down such allegations.

“The popularity that God had favored me with was already there,” she said.

Still, others questioned how a preacher who encouraged women to stay with their husbands regardless of their troubles can now change her tune. But Bynum said she still believes a wife should support her husband.

“It is the responsibility of every wife to make their husband feel loved and respected,” she said.

But, Bynum said, while people should live by the rules of their spirituality, they also should recognize danger signs.

“I think spiritually needs to be used in a proper manner,” Bynum said. “You need to pray, but you also need to take yourself out of harms way while you pray.”

The New Face of Domestic Violence

Since the incident with her husband, Bynum has christened herself the new face of domestic violence, and some of her followers believe it may have a lasting effect on Christians and their faith.

“It’s kind of like a black eye, you know, on Christianity,” said WTJH gospel DJ Reggie Gay. “We’re supposed to be able to get along with each other and live right and do all those kind of things. But it’s kind of tough. So I would encourage that congregation of people to be prayerful.”

Weeks has denied abusing his wife.

“I want to be clear in saying I do not condone in any way, shape or form violence of any kind towards woman,” he said. “My role has always been to operate as protector and not as an aggressor. I’ve walked away from many situations between the two of us just like I walked away that night.”

Bishop denies assaulting Bynum

Standard

 

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.”
 

Bishop Weeks bows to inevitable and won’t contest divorce

Standard

Televangelist Juanita Bynum’s husband, accused of assaulting her, will not contest her petition for divorce after all, his attorneys said Thursday.

The Rev. Thomas W. Weeks III had held out hope that he and Bynum could reconcile even after she filed a petition for divorce Monday, but now “has come to the personal resolve, that if Juanita is insistent on a divorce, he will not stand in the way,” his attorneys said in a statement.

Bynum’s attorney Karla Walker said she is withdrawing a divorce petition filed in south Georgia’s Ware County, where Bynum has a home, and refiling the case in Gwinnett County, where Weeks lives.

Bynum, known for her message of female empowerment, claims Weeks choked, pushed and stomped on her in a hotel parking lot after an Aug. 21 meeting in which the couple failed to reconcile.

Weeks faces charges of aggravated assault and making terroristic threats. He is free on $40,000 bond and is not allowed to have contact with Bynum.

Bynum, 48, is head of a dynamic ministry that also includes a gospel record label and seminar tours. She has sold thousands of motivational books, CDs and DVDs related to empowerment and marriage.

She has now emerged as a self-appointed “face of domestic violence” and has said she wants to be seen as a survivor, not a victim, of abuse.

Weeks, 40, is known to his followers as Bishop Weeks and is head of Global Destiny Ministries, based in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth. He co-wrote “Teach Me How to Love: The Beginnings” with Bynum, and the two wed in a million-dollar, televised ceremony in 2002. They have been estranged since June.

The developments of the past few weeks may have put things in perspective for Weeks regarding the relationship, his attorney Randy Kessler said Thursday, who added that his client will speak out Friday.

“He put the word out there, said he was open for reconciliation,” Kessler said. “I guess he got no positive response. At this point he’s not going to fight whether or not there’s going to be a divorce.”

It ain’t like he had grounds to contest the divorce, noway.