Florida Church Cancels Funeral Of Married Gay Man

“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.

WFLA News Channel 8


  1. MaryL says

    Lifestyle?! I am sick of this word being used in this manner. These men loved each other, married, worked, paid taxes, etc. They were just two people living their lives and apparently, doing no harm to others. That church doesn’t deserve to handle this funeral.

  2. Who Cares says

    I’m going to give a counterpoint to the outrage about what happened.
    What is the difference between a church being able to not marry a same sex couple and the same church being able to deny the funeral to one of the two people in such marriage?

    Granted that pastor is an ass, at a point like that you should care about the people still alive.

  3. Cuttlefish says

    MaryL–right with you.

    Who Cares–note that the widower agrees with you–it is absolutely the church’s right to refuse service. Saying “yes” for a couple of days, then “no” a day prior to the funeral is perfectly legal, yet reprehensible. “The people still alive” include all those who planned to attend the funeral of their friend or family member. Julion is beyond being insulted, but his husband certainly is not, nor is his mother, nor are his friends. Matthew 25:40-45 and all that. “I have to stand up for my principles” my ass.

  4. Who Cares says

    Don’t have to convince me that it is reprehensible. Like I said the guy should have swallowed his pride and help the people still alive.
    And if we start tossing bible verses in this case I personally prefer the parable of the good Samaritan, even though you have to explain to most people how despised the Samaritans were during the time the parable was formulated.

  5. Cuttlefish says

    Oh, no worries, I don’t for a moment believe you were arguing on behalf of the church. Who behaved perfectly legally. Bastards.

  6. MaryL says

    Legally, yes. Lacking xian love, yes again. Don’t they follow that man who didn’t shun anybody? Their venerated book says he ate with the hated tax collectors and spent time with a prostitute? (Just piling on after the Samaritan example.)

  7. doublereed says

    What fucking principles are those? Where does it say death is only for heterosexuals? What, does he review all of his patients and say “Nope, I see you cheated on your spouse. Away with you.” As if.

    Seriously, can’t even give people the dignity of death? What the fuck does his sexual orientation have to do with anything?

    Let it be known this guy is just fucking relentlessly evil and despicable.

  8. doublereed says

    Reading the comments of the article soothed me. Many voicing their disgust and anger at such actions.

  9. says

    There has been a social media backlash against the church:

    On Twitter, even at 10 PM Friday night, several angry tweets per minute were still flowing.
    On Facebook, aside from flooding news feeds, the vocally outraged dug up the church’s Facebook page — it does not appear on their website — and left literally hundreds of scathing reviews and comments.

    As of this writing, there are 222 one-star reviews and seemingly hundreds of negative comments — about 20 per hour were being posted Friday night.

    A sampling:

    “Right-wing Christians like these kinds of ‘Christians’ claim there’s a war on Christians in this country. There isn’t a so-called war, but if there were it would be because of actions exhibited by these kinds of churches.”

    “Well, you are a shining example of why I no longer believe in God…if a loving God existed, He would not allow people like you to use His name to harm others.”

    “In Timothy 2:8 we read: ‘I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.’ Which is why you also don’t allow funeral arrangements for women with braided hear or who wear jewelry. Am I right?”

    “The pastor of this church isn’t standing on principles he is standing on judgment and bigotry. I ask him to contemplate and meditate on this question… Would Jesus approve of this? Would this be the actions of the Savior? I think you need to bow in front of the Lord and pray… pray for true guidance from Jesus. This family chose this church for a reason so where is the compassion of community? If I were a member of this congregation I would find a new church.”

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