A small Kentucky church has chosen to ban marriages and even some worship services for interracial couples. The Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, located in Pike County, made the vote in response to a longtime member who is engaged to a man whose birthplace is in Zimbabwe.
Other pastoral leaders in the area were quick to denounce the church's vote. "It's not the spirit of the community in any way, shape or form," Randy Johnson, president of the Pike County Ministerial Association, told the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The small congregation, which usually hosts about 40 members each Sunday, held the vote after longtime member Stella Harville, brought her fiancé Ticha Chikuni to church with her in June. The couple performed a song together at the church in which Chikuni sang "I Surrender All," while Harville played the piano.
Chikuni, 29, who works at Georgetown College, is black--and Harville, who was baptized at the church but is not an active member, is white. Dean Harville, Stella's father, said he was told by the church's former pastor Melvin Thompson that his daughter and her fiancé were not allowed to sing at the church again. However, Thompson recently stepped down and the church's new pastor, Stacy Stepp, said the couple was once again welcome to sing.
Stepp's decision prompted Thompson to put forth a recommendation saying that while all members are welcome at the church, it does not "condone" interracial marriage, and that any interracial couples would not be received as members or allowed to participate in worship services. The only exception? Funerals.
The Harville family has formally requested the congregation to reconsider the interracial ban, and Thompson has also said he would like to resolve the issue, the area CBS affiliate WYMT has reported.
A copy of the recommendation, obtained by WYMT, reads in part:
That the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church does not condone interracial marriage. 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. All are welcome to our public worship services. This 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.
Members of the church held a vote on Thompson's proposed language, with nine voting in favor and six voting against. The other members in attendance chose not to vote.
Gawker notes that Pike County is 98 percent white and home to the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud.
The Harville family doesn't see Gulnare's new policy promoting anything like unity or civil peace. "They're the people who are supposed to comfort me in times like these," Stella Harville said.
And Stella's father was much more forceful in his denunciation of the interracial ban. "It sure ain't Christian," Dean Harville said. "It ain't nothing but the old devil working."
woah...woah...woah.... i didn't even finish i stopped at
"Stepp's decision prompted Thompson to put forth a recommendation saying that while all members are welcome at the church, it does not "condone" interracial marriage, and that any interracial couples would not be received as members or allowed to participate in worship services. The only exception? Funerals."
because i just couldn't continue anymore.. So from my impression of this they are now allowing prejudice in the church families. That honestly just sounds more of a off shoot than focusing on religon. I mean when i use to go to church(when i was a little kid) i was told "God Loves everyone no matter race,color,creed,etc." If that is true then wtheck is is this bs? It honestly sounds like to me this church is more about looks and control than focusing on their religon. smh. its sad and pathetic if people gather to hear the word of God but to now build up nastiness into their church. I came from a interracial couple and IN one as well. This is just insane how people these days are just taking the opprotunities of a "safe" area for people just to add in some negativity into it. GWIM? its one less opprotunity out there for a person to be themselves and to feel like they do believe in the decisions that is right for them. This church needs to get over it and focus on their "God" and what the church was originally meant to be there for.
December 2, 2011 at 8:24 AMAgreed.
I will never understand how "christains" will march on political rallys, abortion clinics and the like but allow this crap to go on. This is nothing but a bunch of idiots using the christian religion as a way to control people.
It doesn't matter, for the word of God says in the end there will be NO CLOAK!! People tend you use the word of God and religion and manipulate it to suit their needs. This tends to give the impression that all churches are like this. But even in the Bible it says 'He will seperate the wheat from the tears', meaning those who claim to be will still be weeded out and destroyed. The bad part about it is they have people supporting them. Jesus does love us all, reguardless of ... Its when people allow the devil to use them (massacre of different races) smh!
It's not CHRISTIANS doing this, it's legalistic religious zealots that are coming to light and unfortunately this is sparking people to a prejudice of Christians. Please don't take the actions of a small group of people who are being ignorant of true Christianity (being like Christ..ie loving, compassionate) and base your opinion of all people who are Christians and lump it all together. That is no different that lumping together whites as bad people based one the actions of a few or African-Americans in the same manner. Not all Christians are extremists and THAT narrow-minded.