By J E SOLOMON
A small Kentucky church made news headlines in the United States last week for reportedly banning marriages and some worship services for interracial couples except for funeral services. The church leadership voted 9-6 on Sunday, November 27 in favor of the ban.
Not surprisingly, criticisms and outright condemnations from other pastoral leaders in the area and from right-minded Christians across the United States consequently led the church, Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, to rescind its decision.
The church’s odd position on interracial marriage followed an alleged musical performance by a long time member of the church, Stella Harville, 24, a white woman and her fiancé, Ticha Chikuni, 28, a black Zimbabwean who sang “I Surrender All” while Stella played the piano. Chikuni is currently working at Georgetown College in Kentucky.
The Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church’s pastor, Melvin Thompson is said to have stepped down and a new pastor, Stacy Stepp, has said that the couple was welcome to sing in the church.
I only hope that the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church leadership overturned the infamous vote in good faith and not as a result of public denunciations and mounting pressures from other church leaders.
Regardless of what the Kentucky church does after the outcry, one thing stands out clear. It certainly has lost any respect it had in the past. No amount of face-saving efforts now will win the church genuine respect and recognition in the eyes of peace-loving Christians around the world.
Christianity is established on peace, love, and goodwill toward all men. So, for any Christian organization to be so racist as to have the guts to ban interracial couples from taking part in worship and other services, that church is unworthy of respect from Christians anywhere. The action of the church sent a message that clearly ran contrary to the tenets of true Christian teachings.
If Jesus Christ were to be physically present today, and have all of His apostles around, neither He nor any of his apostles would do a thing as inglorious as banning interracial couples from participating in singing and worship services other than funeral services. Perhaps the only apostle who would do such a thing would be Judas Iscariot, the money-minded betrayer of Jesus. Presented with any amount of dollars by a bigoted racist, Judas would not hesitate to vote in favor of such a ban. Sure, only a Judas; only a betrayer.
In this day and age, when people are enthusiastically embracing, adopting and caring for children of other races and backgrounds and creating multiracial families, and with all the open-mindedness and evidence of universal tolerance for interracial marriages, it’s such a shame that the leadership of one church could stoop so low as to drag the image of Christianity into a filth. That vote was outrageously insane – clear and simple.