UPDATE: The church voted to overturn the ban; actually they were reminded by the national association that their resolution was invalid as it violated state and federal laws. Interestingly, at least 30-40 people voted unanimously to overturn, either emboldened or cowed by the news that it was illegal. No breakdown as to whether the abstainers all voted and the ones who voted to ban stayed home.
You’ve heard about this. After a talented young interracial couple performed a gospel song at a small Kentucky church they had been attending, the former pastor told the girl’s father the couple was no longer welcome at her childhood church, and then several months later the pastor brought up a resolution banning all interracial couples from membership, or even participating in worship services as musicians.
The young couple, Stella Harville and Ticha Chikuni, are now engaged, and have a bright future. Their former church is now embroiled in scandal, brought on by the actions of just 9 people who voted for the “not-racist” resolution, and also by the INaction of about 25 people, who either abstained or left before the ballot. The church’s future is less bright.
This is NOT how we’re supposed to “do church.” It’s sure not how it’s done at Holy Moly.
There were only about 40 people in church that day. As a member of a small church myself, I know how hard it is to attract young, dynamic people. You can’t do the work Jesus calls His followers to do (feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, offering support to the afflicted) unless you have a really committed, loving core. Jesus may have started with a few fishers of men (we had the St Andrew reading last week) but He had a compelling message that still moves people to accomplish much with little.
25 abstentions? No wonder young people have such a poor opinion of Christianity. Who else would be rejected by action or inaction?
The national body of Free Will Baptists had no policy on interracial dating or marriage, because they rightly saw it as a non-issue. Unlike most Calvinist Baptists, they don’t believe in pre-destination. That is, they don’t believe that a select few are potentially headed to Heaven, but that all humanity has free will and can choose whether to accept Jesus, etc. etc.
Sadly, Stella and Ticha probably won’t be going back, and neither will the rest of her family, and everybody else will vote with their feet.
Meanwhile, the now-former pastor who started it all insists he’s not racist or prejudiced. Maybe he just really, really didn’t like the song the couple performed.
I hope they put it up on YouTube, and I hope they end up somewhere that values their talents and commitment to each other.
The resolution approved by the Gulnare church says it does not condone interracial marriage and “parties of such marriages will not be received as members, nor will they be used in worship services and other church functions, with the exception being funerals.”
Ballots were cast after the service, attended by about 35 to 40 people, but it wasnt clear why so few people voted.The church member and former pastor who pushed for the vote, Melvin Thompson, wouldnt tell The Associated Press why he did it.
“I am not racist. I will tell you that. I am not prejudiced against any race of people, have never in my lifetime spoke evil” about a race, Thompson said earlier this week in a brief interview. “Thats what this is being portrayed as, but it is not.”