With bulldozers churning up the earth at the front door, the small Centennial Baptist Church in this struggling industrial hub west of Tulsa seems about to fall to the wrecker.
But the construction is just roadwork, for now. And that is all it will ever be if the congregation has its way.
“The Lord didn’t send me here to build a minimall,” said the longtime pastor, the Rev. Roosevelt Gildon.
In what a local newspaper called “a battle between God Almighty and the almighty dollar,” Sand Springs is moving ahead with a redevelopment plan to clear the church and other occupants from the rundown district near downtown to make way for superstores like the Home Depot.
Surely the U.S. Constitution provides the solution for this one:
No person shall be . . . deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Because the Kelo decision makes it even easier for the local government to underbid, the following should not surprise us:
He said the offer of $142,000 for the church and two extra lots was not enough to move to a new location where he could serve his 50 or so regular members. He said he was “praying over” the question of a counteroffer. “If I have to move,” he said, “we’re not going out of existence.”
This is not an issue of Democrat v. Republican or black v. white. It’s a matter of government v. you, and it has to stop right now!