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UNLIKELY ALLIES

If you can't fight city hall, join forces.

The bar was called The Green Turtle, a sleazy liquor establishment housed downstairs in a weather-scarred apartment building. Here prostitutes picked up clients and then used the upstairs apartments to ply their trade.

The Green Turtle was on a strip of Arlington Street known to locals as "Satan's Headquarters." The infamous street was lined with bars, infesting the community with drugs, alcohol, prostitution, and gambling. On Arlington Street was also a church. In the early 1970s, I had become its new pastor, succeeding a long tenure by my father. Shortly thereafter, the city mayor contacted me, asking if the church would consider, as a part of a minority relocation program, moving closer to the suburbs. The city would make the land available to us at a discounted rate and assist us in its development.

His offer was tempting; a fresh start elsewhere would allow us to escape the blight of Arlington Street. We declined, however. The area, we believed, needed a Christian witness.

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