ATLANTA – A national group of black and Hispanic churches is calling for the minister husband of evangelist and gospel singer Juanita Bynum to be suspended from the ministry because of allegations he beat his wife.
Thomas W. Weeks III, known to his followers as Bishop Weeks, was charged with aggravated assault and making terroristic threats following a confrontation last month that police say left Bynum badly bruised. Weeks and Bynum are estranged.
The Washington-based National Black Church Initiative said Weeks' Global Destiny Ministries is not part of its network, but that it considers the charges against him harmful to the entire Christian church.
The coalition, which works to address racial health disparities and problems in black families, sees Weeks' alleged actions as "morally wrong and reprehensible." Domestic violence, the group said, is a root cause of the failure of black families and marriages.
The coalition said it wants him to apologize to his wife, his church and the Christian family, and to seek counseling.
Police say that during an Aug. 21 argument outside a hotel, Weeks, 40, choked Bynum, pushed her to the ground and started to kick and stomp on her. A hotel employee intervened and pulled Weeks off her, police said.
Bynum, 48, is a former hairdresser and flight attendant who became a Pentecostal evangelist, author and gospel singer. Her ministry blossomed after she preached at a singles event about breaking free of sexual promiscuity. Among her books are "No More Sheets: The Truth About Sex" and "Matters of the Heart."
Her album "A Piece of My Passion" had been listed in the top 10 gospel albums by Billboard magazine for several months. She also preaches through televised sermons.
The couple married in 2002. Together, they wrote "Teach Me How to Love You: The Beginnings."