Via Rawstory and HuffPo, we get news of Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church in Pike County, KY, where all seemed perfectly fine and ducky until lifelong (and white) church member Stella Harville brought her Zimbabwean fiance, Ticha Chikuni, to sing a song with her at a church service.
What is the result, you may ask? Why, church members voted 9-6 to pass a resolution that their church does not condone interracial marriage!
Sayeth former pastor Melvin Thompson, author of the ridiculous resolution:
“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, said Thompson, the church’s former pastor who stepped down earlier this year. “That’s what this is being portrayed as, but it is not.”
Melvin Thompson seems to think that if he runs around with the goalposts in hand, we won’t notice they’re missing. He is mistaken.
“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.”
What is that I don’t even.
“Intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve”?
Perhaps I’m missing something because it’s almost midnight and I haven’t had any coffee since mid-afternoon, but, is there any message here aside from “don’t make us uncomfortable”?
The church congregation is all-white, and I suppose this resolution is their way of letting it be known that they intend to keep it that way? To paraphrase Irshad Manji, they’re not concerned with unity so much as uniformity.
If the church body’s “unity” depends on keeping interracial couples out, then I guess their identity demands that they keep a safe distance away from those people. (But they’re not racist, no, of course not.) If they keep seeing well-adjusted, loving couples like Stella and Ticha, they might end up thinking that the separation between white people and black people (as well as Asians, and Latinos, and Natives, and Middle Eastern folk, and, and, and…) is an accident of history rather than a hard line carved in stone. They wouldn’t like that; they like their hard lines and don’t like to revise their categories and hierarchies.
I suppose that, with their belief in Biblical inerrancy, the Free Will Baptists don’t accept evolution by natural selection. It would probably not put me on their good side if I told Mr. Thompson and his fellow non-racists that all of humanity started out in sub-Saharan Africa. Guess what, Thompson? We are all Africans!