The Housing Authority of the Birmingham District and the Birmingham Board of Education have decided to cut ties with the largest church in Alabama. The controversy surrounding the lead pastor’s social media likes was integral to the entities’ decision to no longer be associated with the megachurch.
Last week, a local English teacher filed a complaint against Church of the Highlands pastor Chris Hodges. She reported that he had liked a social media post published by Turning Point USA’s leader Charlie Kirk. She felt the tweet was racially insensitive.
The tweet shows two photos: One of President Trump standing next to Muhammad Ali and Rosa Parks. And another one of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam with two men wearing blackface and a KKK costume. The captions read “The racist Donald Trump in the 1980s” and “Progressive Leftist Ralph Northam in the 1980s” respectively.
As a result of Hodge’s promotion of the controversial tweet, both the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District and the Birmingham Board of Education will no longer partner with the church.
“Due to a recent social media controversy involving Church of the Highlands’ pastor Chris Hodges, HABD Board of Commissioners voted Monday during a special called meeting to end HABD’s partnership with the church,” the affordable housing provider said Monday.
Church of the Highlands had provided outreach programs and social services at its Campus of Hope located in a nearby affordable housing community.
The Board of Education also voted Tuesday to sever its ties. Church of the Highlands paid $12,000 a month to rent two high schools for Sunday worship services.
On May 31, Pastor Hodges publicly apologized to his congregation for his behavior on social media. He emphasized that he and his wife value every person.
“Some saw something on social media that questioned my character. And I’ll own it by the way but that is not what I believe and that is not what we teach,” Hodges said in a sermon. “I understand how this has made you feel and I apologize. Honestly, it’s understandable to me. I don’t take it personally.
“If you look at that it will be abundantly clear that we value every person. For every person that has been marginalized, rejected or belittled, abused, or even afraid because of how God made you, Tammy and I, the Church of the Highlands family, stand with you,” he added.
“Racism, bigotry, prejudice exists; it’s real. And it’s of the devil. White supremacy or any supremacy other than the supremacy of Christ is of the devil.”