The City of Birmingham Alabama revoked the rental leases of the Church of the Highlands due to the social media activity of its lead pastor Chris Hodges. Ps. Hodges who liked various posts from Turning Point USA.
Overall, this megachurch rented school buildings from Birmingham City School to hold Sunday services along with community outreach. Part of the free services offered through these rented facilities include free covid-19 testing for residents in Birmingham’s public housing.
The Church rented two high schools: Parker High School and Woodlawn High School. These sites were used for Sunday services. In total, Church of the Highlands paid to the city around $817,000.
But the controversy between Hodges and the city did not stop here. Not only did Church of the Highlands lose their lease, they also were prohibited by the city to allow church volunteers and clinic workers to work at public housing communities.
In 2009 the Church of the Highlands founded Christ Health Center in Woodlawn. This independently run clinic serviced the Woodlawn area as well as the Marks Village public housing complex in Gate City.
This whole ordeal represents a gross abuse of power by the city of Birmingham. First, the Christ Health Center and Church of the Highlands are separate entities. Second, while Turning Point USA is a controversial organization, they are fundamentally a conservative organization.
But probably the most egregious outcome of these closures is the choice of the city to limit subsidized/free medical care to communities of need because of political pressures.