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The milk of human kindness

And then there’s Gulnare Freewill Baptist church, which told a parishioner – ever so politely, you understand – that her fiancé couldn’t come to the church again, on account of how he’s not a white person. Perfectly understandable. It’s because they (church members who voted on “the issue”) want to promote greater unity among the church body and the community. Obviously you can’t do that if there’s a not-white person at the church when all the other persons there are white. That would promote lesser unity. Everybody would look around uneasily and kind of split apart.

Melvin Thompson, former pastor of Gulnare Freewill Baptist church, proposed the ban after Stella Harville brought her fiance, Ticha Chikuni, to services in June. Harville, who goes by the name Suzie, played the piano while Chikuni sang.

Interracial couple Stella Harville and  Ticha Chikuni banned by Kentucky church

Before stepping down as pastor in August, Thompson told Harville that her fiance could not sing at the church again. Harville is white and Chikuni, a native of Zimbabwe, is black.

Last Sunday, church members voted 9-6 in favor of Thompson’s proposed ban. Others attending the church business meeting declined to take a stand on the issue.

“That the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church does not condone interracial marriage,” the resolution states, according to WKYT.

“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.”

God is love.

Comments

  1. Scote says

    I read about this earlier. I just love the part where the church instigator says it is absolutely not about race and that he isn’t a racist. WTF? Does he really think that banning participation by interracial couples is not racist? What *does* he think it is? :p

  2. says

    No no no you see it’s about unity. Interracial marriage breaks up unity because…because…well because white people can’t do unity with black people. But that’s nothing to do with racism. Good heavens no.

  3. duke says

    But, can we do unity with blue people?

    Though, I do wonder exactly how many people at the meeting “declined to take a stand on the issue.” I think I’m going to be firmly in the camp that thinks if you’re not against discrimination, you might as well be for it.

  4. Stewart says

    Hang on, it says the problem started when Chikuni sang – and Thompson did say it wasn’t a racially motivated move. Maybe… maybe Chikuni has a lousy singing voice and this whole thing is all in order to avoid having to tell him. They simply can’t bring themselves to offend him in that way, so they’ve invented this whole nonsense about not letting him sing (and all the other bans so as not to attract too much attention to the singing issue) with the excuse that it’s because of his skin colour. When you look at all the facts we know so far with that in mind, everything could fall into place. Astounding what horrific acts unchecked politeness can drive people to…

  5. Stewart says

    There was a “Two Ronnies” sketch once with Ronnie Corbett auditioning to be a TV newscaster (no, I checked – “continuity announcer”). He’s awful but won’t stop trying and Ronnie Barker, who’s auditioning him, tries every technical reason under the sun (like because of his height he’d be broadcast completely in green) till he finally tells him he’s simply dreadful, which Corbett cheerfully accepts in a “Well, if that’s the case…” manner.

  6. 2-D Man says

    All this unity is making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside… oh, no wait, that’s just the burning cross.

  7. Aquaria says

    Though, I do wonder exactly how many people at the meeting “declined to take a stand on the issue.” I think I’m going to be firmly in the camp that thinks if you’re not against discrimination, you might as well be for it.

    I can tell when people haven’t lived in the south nor near-south.

    You might be silent, too, if you thought your neighbors would turn on you. The people who didn’t vote are probably the ones afraid of their houses and cars being vandalized or their children beaten up. It’s a real concern in towns all over the South.

    Silence in the South is usually the sign of fear–of the violent, the powerful, or both.

  8. julian says

    The people who didn’t vote are probably the ones afraid of their houses and cars being vandalized or their children beaten up

    I was about to get real self-righteous until I read this. Thanks for the reminder. These situations are messier than fuck and the bystanders don’t deserve the indignation douchebags like me end up feeling towards them for basically keeping themselves and their family safe. .

  9. Richard Smith says

    “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.

    And it won’t, in any way, be a celebration of the reduction in the population of that sort of person…

  10. NancyNew says

    Facepalm…

    I was brought up presbyterian in a smallish midwestern college town. I remember my parents being on the pastor’s side in a church split on able to attend services?

    The pastor (who did not wish to be titled “Reverend” as he believed that should be reserved for god, and who the richer members of the congregation were less than thrilled with because he thought his job was to support those who needed it, not hang out with the rich parish members–he was sertainly on the side of allowing anyone who wanted to come to church in.

    We lost some church members over it. I think I was 6 or 7–and I am now 52. That was back in the 60’s–and this is one battle I though had already been fought.

    At the very least, that pastor taught me something important–set a pretty darned high standard. Whether I believed or not, he could be trusted to follow a reasonable ethical standard in the face of opposition.

  11. Francisco Bacopa says

    What? No Bible texts cited to back up their position?

    You can find a text to back up just about any vile position, but it’s pretty hard to find one that would exclude this couple. You also have to remember that in the early of the early church, people traveled and moved across the whole empire all the time. Interracial relationships were fairly common.

    I know some racists like Bob Jones could supposedly discern that God disliked interracial relationships from the Tower of Babel story. But that’s stretching things a bit.

  12. says

    Well the bible never mentions Zimbabwe, does it? So a guy from Zimbabwe must be not biblical.

    Of course the bible never mentions Kentucky or the USofA, either, but let’s not go there…

  13. Maria says

    Wow. That’s overt, even for the south and I live here. Well, I might not share Suzie’s beliefs in her god but there’s hope in all this. Someone like her came out of a place like that. She must have known that introducing her fiance to her church/community would be a difficult proposition at best. While we rightfully scorn the idiots in the church, don’t forget to acknowledge the courage needed to perform her actions, even in 2011.

    I’ll also second the notion that silence doesn’t necessarily mean agreement with the views being proffered. Some of these places are so insular, so tightly wound, so stagnant that the powerful families rule quite strongly. Little fiefdoms if you will, and if you are dependent on them, well… tough. I’m not trying to make an excuse for the silence of some church members, but it’s probably not a “they are all racist rednecks” because obviously Suzie isn’t. She’s hopefully not alone and I hope the media spotlight on her courage inspires others.

  14. says

    Of course the bible never mentions Kentucky or the USofA, either

    But the Book of Mormon does, so it’s clearly superior to the bible :)

  15. rukymoss says

    Take a look at the comments on the original article linked to above. I didn’t read all 300+, but in the 100 or so I looked through, I didn’t find a single one that supported the church’s decision. One commenter even said it was a shame that people had to turn to godless liberals to get better behavior. Several people made explicit invitations for the couple to join their church. I felt better about the area after reading these.

  16. says

    But, can we do unity with blue people?

    Not me. The only blue person I know of was some dude Orac blogged about a while back, who got that way by overdosing on colloidal silver as part of some quack cure. But it’s not about skin colour; it’s about aversion to demonstrated stupidity.

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