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Widows and orphans paid the Cook lawsuit
by Bishop Tom Brown

            It's done! Paid in full! The unjust lawsuit leveled by former Mayor John Cook, which forced Word of Life Church to settle or lose its property, is finally over. The church was arm-wrestled by the courts, forcing our church to pay $418,750.

            For what? For our speaking out against an anti-democratic mayor--a mayor who refused to honor the votes of El Pasoans. And when he saw that he was going to lose the recall election, instead of doing the honorable thing and defend his position, he sued the citizens of El Paso to stop his recall election. He abused his position knowing the courts would back up a mayor over the people. He was right. Being mayor has its advantages. The office has power over the people, at least in El Paso.

            Our church members had to come up with $418,750 or they would lose their church land. In less than 90 days people sacrificially gave $127,115. The church refinanced the remaining balance.

            Not only did our members give, but I want to thank the 20 churches and ministries that also contributed to our church. Cook and Walker did not take money simply from one church, but from many.

            It's amazing that people actually think a corporation paid the lawsuit. Where do you think the church gets its money? Of course from people. It exist through people. People are the church.

            Cook and Walker took money, not from a corporation, but from ordinary citizens that sacrificed to save their church.

            They took money from a family, Mr and Mrs W, that runs an orphanage in Juarez. Today, the money that could be used to help feed and cloth orphans went, instead, to line the pockets of a rich lawyer.

            Widows and single moms sacrificed to give money to the lawsuit settlement so their church would not lose its land. So next time Mark Walker sits down and enjoys a meal, he should bow his head and thank God for the widows and single moms at Word of Life Church that helped pay for his filet mignon.

            Ms D, a young college student, touched my heart. I know the sacrifices she made to go to an out-of-state college, yet when she heard that her church was in trouble, she gave. There were many young students like her who gave $20 or $10. Anything to help save their church.

            I appreciate Mr A as well. He is retired and takes care of his 90 year old father while living in a small house in the Lower Valley, yet he pulled out of his account to give a large donation. All to pay a lawyer.

            There is also Mrs J who is a waitress, just trying to eke out enough money to pay her bills. Yet, she sacrificed nearly a weeks salary to pay Mark Walker.

            The number of African-American families that gave was large. Some are senior citizens, like Mr and Mrs B, that lived during the struggle for their civil rights. Yet, it wasn't their color that mattered this time, it was their religion. They knew they lost their free speech because of their fight for traditional marriage.

            The citizen of El Paso also lost. How? Our church had plans to build a 2 acre park with a wedding gazebo, yet those plans are on hold. Instead of spending $650,000 to build a park that would benefit all the citizens, it had to borrow to pay for the lawsuit.

            Make no mistake about it: we all lost because John Cook sued us! Yet, we lost more than money or a park; we lost our free speech. Our church does not have free speech because when it cost us nearly a half million dollars to speak out, our speech ceases to be free!

 

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