“I’m not trying to condemn anyone’s lifestyle…” –T. W. Jenkins, pastor at the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa, FL
Translation: “I don’t have to try, after so many decades of practice.”
Julion’s death was expected
He’d been dying a number of years
Still, the end will leave none unaffected
And his husband shed plenty of tears
But the church where he was to be buried
Then found out that the dead man was gay
Worse than that, was the fact he was married
So they turned the man’s husband away
In this church, by this cross, ‘neath this steeple?
It could never be done, can’t you see?
Lest parishioners learn—gays are people
And the church is as wrong as can be
This is a heart-wrenching story, with heroes and true love, and a villain serving an evil order.
Julie Atwood was standing at her son’s casket when the phone rang. The church where her son’s funeral was scheduled to be held the next day decided to abruptly cancel the service, after the pastor learned the deceased was gay and his obituary listed a surviving “husband.”
Atwood said she was told it would be “blasphemous” to hold the services at the church because her son, Julion Evans, 42, was gay.
“It was devastating,” she said. “I did feel like he was being denied the dignity of death.”
Evans’ husband, Kendall Capers, says the pair were partners for 17 years and married last year in Maryland. Evans died at home after a 4-year battle with a rare illness called Amyloidosis, which destroys organs in the body.
He says the obituary named him as “husband,” and that their marriage was no secret.
Julion had so many friends and family who wished to attend the service that a large church was needed. New Hope, a church where many of those family members attended and/or had been baptized, agreed… until congregation members saw the obituary:
T.W. Jenkins, pastor at New Hope says was not aware of that Evans had a husband or was gay until members of his congregation saw the obit and called to complain. They did not think it was right to have the funeral at their church.
Jenkins said his church preaches against gay marriage.
“Based on our preaching of the scripture, we would have been in error to allow the service in our church,” Jenkins said. “I’m not trying to condemn anyone’s lifestyle, but at the same time, I am a man of God, and I have to stand up for my principles.”
It certainly wouldn’t do to have a walking, talking, loving refutation of your sermons right there in the sight of God and everybody.