Friday, December 02, 2011

Kentucky Church Bans Interracial Couples As Members

I thought this country had moved well beyond the Jim Crow- mentality days, but I'm sadly mistaken. There are still racists out there who fail to look beyond the color of someone's skin, and some of those racists are living in Pike County, Kentucky.

The Freewill Baptist Church in Gulnare, Kentucky, has made a decision

"... not to accept interracial couples as members or let them take part in some worship activities."

It all started with Dean Harville's smart 24-year-old daughter Stella, who is studying at an Indiana university for her master's degree.  Optical engineering.  Although Stella is not an actual member of the church, Dean has been for a very long time, after all, Stella was baptized in that church.  Dean also happens to be a clerk and the Church secretary. Stella is engaged to 29-year-old Ticha Chikuni, from Zimbabwe. But he's obviously not the right color for this particular Baptist church, because after Stella brought her  fiancé to a service in June, and he sang "I Surrrender All" while she accompanied him on the piano, some very racist decisions were made.

Dean Harville said Melvin Thompson, who had been pastor for many years, told him in August that his daughter and her fiancé couldn't sing at the church again.

Thompson stepped down as pastor in August, citing health issues, but he refused Harville's requests to drop the issue, Harville said.

The new pastor, Stacy Stepp, said the couple could sing at the church if they wanted, Harville said.

In early November, Thompson proposed the church go on record saying that while all people were welcome to attend public worship services there, the church did not condone interracial marriage, according to a copy of the recommendation supplied by the Harvilles.

The proposal also said "parties of such marriages will not be received as members, nor will they be used in worship services" or other church functions, with the exception of funerals.

The recommendation "is not intended to judge the salvation of anyone, but is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve," the copy supplied to the Herald-Leader read.

Funerals? How generous. And what's this about greater unity?  Barring certain people is the antithesis of unity.

Hardware store owner, Thompson, claims it was all taken out of contest but refused to elaborate further. And of a 40 or so membership, only 15 voted- 9 of those are obviously racist, 6 are not. Some cowards abstained.

Dean himself believes it's racism.
Harville said the resolution was motivated by racism and has given the church, the community, the county and even God a black eye.

"It sure ain't Christian. It ain't nothing but the old devil working," Harville said.
Thankfully, they seem to be in the minority, since many have voiced outrage at what is a blatantly racist decision.

Johnson, with the local ministerial association, said the reactions have included heartbreak and disbelief.

"Most of us thought that we'd moved well beyond that," he said.
Obviously not.

Not very Christian of them!

UPDATE 12/7/11:

Looks like there was such an outcry, the Kentucky Church decided to reverse its decision to ban interracial couples.  Whether their decision was based on the fact that it's against state and federal laws to discriminate or they found it was the Christian thing to do is debatable.   But Pastor Stacy Stepp said that this time around, the congregation voted to "accept all people regardless of race, creed, or color and to accept everyone into the fellowship of Christ."

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