Press Release: On Monday evening, Liberty Institute filed a lawsuit against the City of Houston for threatening to take the property of two historic Houston churches in violation of Texas’ religious freedom law, including the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act. View the lawsuit at the bottom of this page: https://www.libertyinstitute.org/fifthward
The City of Houston is threatening to bulldoze the Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church and condemn the property of the Latter Day Deliverance Revival Center. The churches are located in Houston’s Fifth Ward, which is notorious for its history of violence and crime. In 1979, Texas Monthly called it “Texas’ toughest, proudest, baddest ghetto.”
After decades of serving in the community, the churches helped transform the Fifth Ward into a safer place, offering church-run food pantries, youth centers, and programs to combat drug use, gang violence, and abuse. Watch video about the churches: https://www.libertyinstitute.org/fifthward
The City of Houston tried to purchase the church land in the past, but the church leaders refused, expressing their desire to stay in their current locations and continue ministering to the people of the Fifth Ward.
Bishop Roy Lee Kossie, who has served as the pastor of Latter Day since 1965, says, “When we moved in to this area, it was considered the highest crime-rate area in the city of Houston. People shot first and asked questions later. But we love this community. This is where the Lord called us and this is where we want to stay. We aren’t giving up without a fight.”
Liberty Institute Deputy Chief Counsel Hiram Sasser says, “These churches have served this community for decades. They’ve held the neighborhood together through a lot of hard times. It’s tragic that the City of Houston wants to take the churches’ property away and give it to someone else, just so they can make money. The government cannot take a church’s property and give it to some other business in violation of the law. These churches, their congregations, and this neighborhood are not for sale.”