The ATLAH Worldwide Missionary Church is a highly controversial anti-LGBT church and ministry located in Harlem, New York. James David Manning is the chief pastor.The church campus is the site of the unaccredited ATLAH Theological Seminary, where classes are offered on preaching and prophecy.The church also has a studio that Manning uses for his Internet radio program The Manning Report.
In early 2014, the Manning posted a series of anti-gay messages on its letter board. Example messages include:
- Obama has released the homo demons on the black man. Look out black woman. A white homo may take your man.
- Jesus would stone homos. Stoning is still the law. (This message also included citations of four biblical verses.)
- Many of these homos moving into Harlem looking for some black meat
Later in 2014, Manning promised that President Vladimir Putin of Russia would release information collected by the KGB that would prove that President Obama is homosexual and also claimed in a video presentation that Starbucks was “Ground Zero” for Ebola. He warned people to stay away from Starbucks if they did not want to get Ebola. In a follow-up broadcast, he claimed that what “Starbucks was doing, is they were taking specimens of male semen, and they were putting it in the blends of their lattes.
In January 2016, a state judge ordered Atlah Worldwide Church be evicted and the building to be sold at a public foreclosure auction after failing to pay creditors more than $1.02 million, court records show. The Church maintains they are afforded tax exempt status by the New York Supreme Court and are not liable for the fines citing the Court’s ruling in December 2004. The Ali Forney Center announced their interest in acquiring it for the purposes of an LGBT youth homeless services center, and raised $200,000 in two weeks from a fund-raiser to achieve that goal
Today the Ali Forney Center released the following press release:
The Ali Forney Center (AFC), the nation’s largest and most comprehensive organization dedicated to homeless LGBT youth, announces that it is organizing a demonstration to protest ATLAH Church’s plan to burn the rainbow flag. Yesterday, Rev. James Manning posted a sign indicating his intent to burn the rainbow flag as a “victory celebration” in response to a recent court order relating to his ongoing foreclosure case by the City of New York for lack of payment of city utility bills.
“Reverend Manning’s threat to burn the rainbow flag in the courtyard of his church is reprehensible, especially in the aftermath of the Orlando Massacre,” said Carl Siciliano, founder and executive director of AFC. “We plan to surround his church with rainbow flags, the symbol of our pride as a community, to show that our pride cannot be destroyed, symbolically or otherwise. The best response to his hate is a display of community love and pride by the LGBT community and our allies,” said Siciliano.
This week a court order was released in the ATLAH foreclosure case, restoring the case to the calendar. This vacates the foreclosure while ATLAH is able to make its argument to the court that the foreclosure should not proceed because the church is tax exempt. The NYC Dept. of Environmental protection has previously determined that ATLAH does not qualify for an exemption from paying their water bills because the church facility includes six residential apartments. It is anticipated that these legal proceedings will drag on for many months before a final determination is made. A link to the court order can be found here.
“Rev. Manning’s declaration of victory is premature,” adds Siciliano. “All he has won for now is the opportunity to incur many further legal costs as he tries to escape the consequences of decades of failure to pay ATLAH’s water bills.”
“Furthermore, I strongly suspect that the ATLAH facility would not qualify for an exemption, not only because of the residential apartments, but also because of the film studio Manning has had constructed in the space, where he regularly films videos promoting politicians he endorses, and attacking their opponents. It is my understanding that such use of the ATLAH facility very likely violates the requirements for tax exempt organizations,” says Siciliano.
Our good friend Jesus has a message for “Reverend”James Manning.