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Church: Whites Only at the Door, Please

This is one of the most astonishing stories I’ve ever seen. A black pastor at a church in Charlotte, NC sent out an email to volunteers telling them to make sure to have only white greeters at the door before service. Because white people are apparently “the best of the best.”

Controversy has sparked at a north Charlotte church after a pastor sent an email asking that “only white people” stand at the front door to greet the congregation.

A viewer contacted WBTV after getting an email from Pastor Makeda Pennycooke, an African-American woman, at Freedom House Church along Salome Church Road.

The email was sent to a group of church volunteers who act as greeters for the church’s 9 a.m. service…

“We anticipate having an increase in the number of people visiting and attending Freedom House over the next few weeks,” Pastor Pennycooke says in the email.

She then says that “first impressions matter” and says the church wants “the best of the best on the front doors.”

“We are continuing to work to bring our racial demographic pendulum back to mid-line,” she continued in the email. “So we would like to ask that only white people be on the front doors.”…

Pennycooke then acknowledges the request is a “sensitive situation” and said quality trumps quantity.

“We would rather have less greeters on the front door if it means that the few that we have will represent us the best,” Pastor Pennycooke wrote.

And white people apparently would represent them the best, for some unspoken reason. The church’s response to the controversy is every bit as idiotic as you might expect:

“The email was sent by one of our longtime pastors in an attempt to emphasize that our greeting team reflect the racial diversity of our entire congregation,” a statement sent to WBTV read. “However, she admitted it was a mistake to over-emphasize any specific group and sent an apology email within 24 hours of the original email going out.”

Right. Because if you want the greeters to “reflect the racial diversity” of the congregation, you make sure they’re all white. QED.

Comments

  1. gshelley says

    I don’t understand, how almost forty years after the civil rights act, the right can see cases like this, or the one a couple of years ago where a church refused a mixed race couple and think that by extending similar protections to gays, churches that don’t approve will be shut down or pastors arrested.
    I think it may be because they acknowledge blacks as real people, with similar motivations to them, but don’t extend the same to gays, so don’t believe gays want equality, and instead think they are just trying to bring down society
    It doesn’t make sense, but it’s also the only logical explanation I can see. If that makes sense.

  2. says

    I was about to offer some justification that maybe white greeters would show that the church wasn’t all black; but apparently the pastor’s reasons (or at least her explanation of them) were exponentially stupider than the one I charitably imputed to her.

    Way back in the 1930s, the Communist Party of the USA had a similar policy: whenever a black Communist came under attack for his race, a white Communist was expected to stand up and defend him. This wasn’t because anyone considered whites “the best of the best,” it was so show racial solidarity. (The CPUSA was the first major US political party to incorporate civil rights into its official party platform.) I had thought this pastor had a similar idea, but it turns out yesterday’s Communists were smarter and more fair-minded than today’s evangelical wingnut Christians. Who knew?

  3. Abdul Alhazred says

    The CPUSA was the first major US political party to incorporate civil rights into its official party platform.

    No. It was the Republicans.

  4. Abdul Alhazred says

    And since when was the Communist Party USA a “major” political party, rather than a screwy little cult?

  5. Abdul Alhazred says

    The Communist Party tried unsuccessfully to co-opt the civil right movement as well as promote mass murder in the USSR

    And still old commies try to pretend.

  6. eric says

    Agree with @5 and @6; this appears to be an attempt to say “we want to attract whites, so let’s use white greeters.” But the pastor was so bad at trying to say that in a politically correct way, her cloaking verbiage made the message more offensive rather than less offensive.

  7. Al Dente says

    During the 1950s and 1960s J. Edgar Hoover insisted that FBI infiltrators and informants in the CP-USA pay their dues. Gus Hall, who was Chairman of the party during that time, claimed the leadership knew who the informants were by checking the dues records. The FBI reimbursed its informants, which meant Hoover was one of the major financial supporters of the Communist Party-USA.

  8. wscott says

    Agree with @5 and @6; this appears to be an attempt to say “we want to attract whites, so let’s use white greeters.” But the pastor was so bad at trying to say that in a politically correct way, her cloaking verbiage made the message more offensive rather than less offensive.

    That’s the way I read it too; trying to make a predominantly black church more diverse by bringing in more whites. Clumsily handled, to put it mildly, but not necessarily malicious intent. If a mostly-white church had put black greeters at the door in an attempt to attract more black members, some people would call that “reaching out” and see it as a positive thing. I think if the pastor had said something along the lines of “let’s make sure our greeters aren’t all the same race” she would’ve been ok. And I think the church’s apology was an attempt to point out the pastor’s intent, while admitting that her actual words didn’t match that.

    The FBI reimbursed its informants, which meant Hoover was one of the major financial supporters of the Communist Party-USA.

    I was going to call hyperbole on this, but according to Wikipedia: “By 1957, membership had dwindled to less than 10,000, of whom some 1,500 were informants for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).” So yeah, that’s not insignificant. Tho knowing how informants work, they’re typically recruited specifically because they’re already inside; so most of those 1500 would likely have been party-members with or without Hoover’s “help.”

  9. Jackson says

    @10 Abdul Alhazred

    The Communist Party tried unsuccessfully to co-opt the civil right movement as well as promote mass murder in the USSR

    And still old commies try to pretend.

    Yeah, how dare that sneaky WEB Du Bois try and co-opt the civil rights movement!!

  10. says

    Back before Stalin’s atrocities became apparent to the whole world, when organized labor was visibly fighting for real economic justice, and when huge chunks of the capitalist world were reeling from the Crisis of Capitalism known as the Great Depression (and the rest of said world were never sharing in all that wealth to begin with), the CPUSA were a pretty big deal indeed, as were several other progressive and/or socialist organizations. The CPUSA didn’t fade to screwy-cult status until after WW-II, when everyone got disillusioned with the USSR and the New Deal managed to save capitalism from itself despite itself.

    Oh, and it wasn’t just the FBI who propped up the later CPUSA; the KGB lent a few hands too.

  11. says

    I agree with those who assume that this was well-intentioned but stupidly executed.

    The alternative — that a black pastor who leads a mostly black church is trying to increase racial diversity through an appeal to white supremacism — fails to make sense on any level.

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