93-year-old Olivia Blair, deceased.
A 93-year-old Houston, Texas woman was denied burial by her longtime pastor due to what he deemed delinquent tithes.
“It was like the last insult in the world,” Barbara Day, daughter of the deceased Olivia Blair, told FOX 26.
Blair became a member of Fourth Missionary Baptist Church at the age of 43, spending almost 50 years with the congregation. When she died just before Thanksgiving after a sustained illness, the family contacted the church to make funeral arrangements. However, the pastor, the Rev. Walter Houston, said “absolutely not” due to the fact that Blair had not supported the church financially via her tithes in over a decade.
“For the last 10 years, my mother has been in either a nursing home or she’s been in a hospital,” Day told FOX 26. “And the last few months, she was in a coma. What does this have to do with God? Why can’t I give my mother her last wish to be funeralized in a church that she loved so much?”
Preacher watchdog Tyrone Jacques, of PimpPreacher.com, said he met with Houston to urge him to change his mind, but was allegedly told by the minister that he could not change the church’s by-laws for someone who had not been a member for several years, and said Blair’s family members should have paid the tithes in her stead to “reserve her membership.”
Jacques even allegedly offered to pay for the funeral and Houston still said no, explaining, “Membership has its privileges.”
Day was appalled by the lack of compassion, telling FOX 26, “All they care about is getting money, money, money, money, money!”