Pastor Refuses Funeral For Woman Who Didn’t Tithe While Comatose

Here’s an incredibly appalling story. A preacher in Houston refused to perform a funeral or even allow his church to be used for one for a woman who had been a part of his church for decades because she didn’t tithe during the last couple years of her life while she was first in a nursing home and then in a coma.

ouston pastor has come under fire for refusing to bury a 93-year-old woman who had been a member of his church for 50 years but had not tithed enough as her death neared.

Barbara Day told KRIV that she was devastated by the way pastor Walter F. Houston treated her when she contacted him about a funeral at Fourth Missionary Baptist Church for her mother, Olivia Blair.

“It was like the last insult in the world, there was nothing else that I could do for my mommy but funeralize her in the church that she loved and worshiped all of her life, even as a little girl,” Day said, explaining that Houston told her that Blair “had not paid her dues, and she had not attended the church in recent years.”

“For the last two years, my mother has been in either a nursing home or she’s been in a hospital,” she pointed out. “And the last few months, she was in a coma!”

Her story is corroborated by a man who tried to intervene on her behalf with the pastor, to no avail:

Tyrone Jacques of, who first reported Day’s story, told KRIV’s Isiah Carey that he “pleaded” with Pastor Houston to change his mind, but he refused. Houston later explained to Carey that Blair was no longer a member of the church because she had not supported it financially in the last 10 years.

Day, however, said that her mother had supported the church up until two years ago, but then she became ill and was unable to attend Fourth Missionary or any church.

“I asked the pastor, I said, ‘Well, why didn’t someone go check on her? Why didn’t someone go reach out to her?’” Jacques recalled. “And his reply to me was it was up to the family to notify him. And the comment that really set us off was, if the family cared so much, why didn’t they at least send a dollar to the church a week to reserve her membership?”

On his website, Jacques noted that he had offered to pay for the funeral, and to have it on a day the church was already closed.

“Sir even though your church is closed on Friday, and I have offered to pay the cost to have this funeral in your church, you’re still refusing to allow this funeral for a member who has been a part of this ministry for 50 years?” he asked Houston.

“Membership has its privileges,” the pastor reportedly replied.

Yeah, because that’s exactly what Jesus would do. What an asshole.

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  • Mike Morris

    An asshole, yes. But this pushes the greed right out front. It should result in a mass exodus from his poor excuse for a house of god.

  • grumpyoldfart

    The rest of the flock will make sure they get up-to-date on their tithes, and that will give the preacher enough extra cash to buy himself something nice for Christmas. Big win as far as he is concerned. Shame about Olivia Blair; silly old woman.

  • alanb

    Mike Morris,

    He has done this before, apparently a number of times:

    If I let them have a funeral for their mother, then I have to go back and apologize to all of those other families that I told no, and I am not going to do that. The rules are the rules!

    While reports that attendance is down, there appears to be enough authoritarian followers left who are OK with it.

  • Mobius

    What an asshole.

    Exactly what I thought when I first read this story.

  • Michael Heath

    While being functionally illiterate is no excuse for mistreating others, this preacher demonstrates such on his homepage:

    It’s always frustrating encountering someone who lacks integrity; it’s really disappointing when they’re someone who others willingly follow.

  • ButchKitties

    Go back and apologize to previously wronged families? I won’t do it! It would be unchristian of me. – Pastor Houston

  • daved

    The church’s web site has a page about tithing. I’m glad they have their priorities straight.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    The 4th Missionary Baptist Church is the answer to an atheist’s prayer: a perfect example of religion-as-ripoff.

    Gotta say, otoh,, though apparently still in the “bible-believin'” frame of reference, does provide some powerful antidotes: How to Feed 60 People a Month by Not Paying Tithes, Is Your Pastor A Pimp Preacher? Take The Test, etc.

  • Tobinius

    You will know them by their love… for money. Just like that Jesus guy they are always yapping about.

  • anubisprime

    Perfect example of when the dollar is far more important then the love of their god.

    And a clue that it is all about the cash now…obviously every cent is holy!

    Where and in what bible does it specify that if you become ill or are unable to enrich the pastor every week that you can fuck off and die and even get buried elsewhere ….must be Leviticus if at all.

  • John Pieret

    From Michael Heath’s link @ 5 under Mission Statement:

    To equip the saints for the work of ministry, and to show love one for another that others may know that we are the Lord’s Disciples.

    Talk about “Mission Impossible”!

  • caseloweraz

    “Pastor” Houston: The rules are the rules!

    Any bets on whether he never violated any of those rules? I think it would be a sucker bet.

    At the bottom of the church’s Web page is the rather odd statement “Jesus Came, So We’re Going.”

    Good. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  • matty1

    Interesting that the Jesus depicted in the new testament reserved his harshest criticism for religious leaders who talked up their own obedience to the rules while refusing to help others. Makes you wonder if Houston actually takes in any of what he quotes on Sundays.

  • peterh

    “Pastor” Houston: The rules are the rules!


    Pastor, your rules are bullshit.

  • colnago80

    I’m sure that the blog’s resident physics professor and former math department chairman would invoke his patented no true Scotsman shtick should he happen by.

  • Modusoperandi

    Yeah! You sure showed her, padre!

  • markus

    Now that is True Christian Compassion, Pastor Greedy.

    What would Jesus do with a man like this?

    There was this part about throwing tables at people and flogging the living hell out of them…


  • Marcus Ranum

    The little man in the sky NEEDS MONEY!

  • moarscienceplz

    So, does the word “Baptist” in the name mean that they are part of the Baptist Church, or does it simply mean they have a swimming pool in the sanctuary? I found a site that says this church “in 1968 became the first black church to join the Union Baptist Association, an important step in the integration of churches in the state”, whatever that means.

    I would think the UBA would want to take steps to avoid this bad publicity, but I don’t know if they have any power over this “man of God” (ha!)

  • Lofty

    church protection racket.

  • lorn

    Lofty @ 20 nailed it.

    If you want to get pastoral services you have to pay the vigorish, commonly referred to as the “vig”. It is the result of the intersection of a society of grifters that keep records and collect debts, and preachers as the authorized middle men for religion.

    This is the protestant version of Catholic indulgences. In both cases the middlemen can make your journey into a mythical afterlife hard or easy, depending on how well you compensate the middlemen.

  • sugarfrosted

    I found a site that says this church “in 1968 became the first black church to join the Union Baptist Association, an important step in the integration of churches in the state”, whatever that means.

    It means racial integration. There were (and probably are) black baptist churches and white baptist churches much like there were schools. This is basically analogous to the racial integration in schools.

  • http://dontlinkmebro F [i’m not here, i’m gone]

    How are women supposed to tithe, anyway? Make the pastor a damn sammich? Because she shouldn’t be out working or spending some Man’s hard-earned money.

    Did I get that right?

  • thebookofdave

    One local woman says she had to peddle her mother’s body from church to church to funeralize her

    Isaiah Carey’s report suggests that multiple churches successively turned Barbara Day down before one finally sold out, and agreed to help bury her mother. It’s almost as if they were united under the common core of moral values that pastor Houston was candid enough to reveal to us.

  • thebookofdave

    Oops! Tag fail. The nested quote was me.

  • jeffreykramer

    “Membership has its privileges,” the pastor reportedly replied.

    And Jesus said: “You have taken my Father’s house and turned it into a freaking American Express commercial?!!

  • Donnie

    colnago80 says:

    I’m sure that the blog’s resident physics professor and former math department chairman would invoke his patented no true Scotsman shtick should he happen by.

    I wondered how long our resident genocidal fuckwad would come out of the weeds spouting out about nothing except calling out heddle. SLC, I loved it better when you were just calling for the nuking of Iran in order to make peace in the Middle East. Your love of humanity keeps shinning through and is an inspiration for all humans.

  • Phillip Hallam-Baker

    I seem to remember a verse or two about moneychangers being turned out of the temple.

    Of all the commands in the OT, the most important was to bury the dead. It took precedence over everything including the Sabbath.

    Still, I am sure this pastor will get his 20 pieces of silver from somewhere.

  • Trebuchet

    Fifty years ago black pastors were leading the Civil Rights revolution. Now they seem to have become part of the problem.

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    Funny thing about this is that the preacher clearly is a non-believer. If he really believed, I’m pretty sure he’d know he’d be on a spit over that lake of bbq sauce.

  • whirligig

    Rev. Houston has a point. Who’s going to buy the bull if they can get the bullshit for free?