What century is this? This story intrigues me because it makes me wonder how many houses of worship are this racist in this day and age? At Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church in Pike County, Kentucky, an inter-racial couple, Stella Harville, who is white and who was baptized there and a member of the church as a child, brought her fiancé, Ticha Chikuni, a native of Zimbabwe, to sing at a service. And then this happened:

Dean Harville said Melvin Thompson, who had been pastor for many years, told him in August that his daughter and her fiancé couldn’t sing at the church again.

Thompson stepped down as pastor in August, citing health issues, but he refused Harville’s requests to drop the issue, Harville said.

The new pastor, Stacy Stepp, said the couple could sing at the church if they wanted, Harville said.

In early November, Thompson proposed the church go on record saying that while all people were welcome to attend public worship services there, the church did not condone interracial marriage, according to a copy of the recommendation supplied by the Harvilles.

The proposal also said “parties of such marriages will not be received as members, nor will they be used in worship services” or other church functions, with the exception of funerals.

The 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,” the copy supplied to the Herald-Leader read.

Alrighty, then. So you can show up if someone dies, but not in any other context. Where is that in the bible? By the way, Thompson told the newspaper after this blew up that “the proposal has been taken out of context.” He declined to elaborate what all of this actually meant, you see.

The vote to be a racist church was 9-6. Southern Beale blogged about this tragedy.

Pike County is in Eastern Kentucky: it’s Appalachia, it’s coal country. Not a lot of people of color in this part of the state, so perhaps this story is not a big surprise but it is a shame. I’m really not that surprised that nine people voted for such a heinous declaration, telling themselves (no doubt) that they aren’t racist, oh no! But some people might be uncomfortable and so “in the name of the greater unity,” we’ll go along with this.

Unity, yes. It’s so important.

And you people who didn’t want to take a stand? What the hell is wrong with you? Do you think God doesn’t know what’s in your hearts? Shame on you.

Take a look at the interesting comments section of the news article.