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Pastor refuses to marry a black couple

July 29, 2012

I was under the assumption that we were living in a post-racial society. A pastor in Mississippi refuses to marry a couple in his church because they are black because his church has never married black couples since it started in 1883. However, they allow black members. He admittedly said the church would’ve fired him if he didn’t refuse them. Correct me if I am wrong but is your legacy as a pastor defined by you actually pastoring a church or doing the right thing? I am not a theologian so someone will have to help me on this one. I thought doing what was morally right (within God’s Law), instead of what was traditionally right in the eyes of the church, is the mission of the pastor?

Whenever I am conflicted on something, I take it to my Facebook page so I can get input. I attempted to play devil’s advocate and asked the many commenters who were wholeheartedly against the pastor’s actions “Would you feel the same way if he was refusing a same-sex couple?” I wanted to know because I was interested to know if people were conveniently against the pastor or stood on principle. The argument suprisingly stayed firm for a few. They felt that if these were members of that church, the pastor was obligated to marry them despite how the congregation felt.

My point was, a pastor should act within God’s Law. The decision to marry them or not is not a decision that comes from the congregants unless there were other guidelines in place such as, being members, undergoing marriage counseling, not in a current marriage, not living together, etc. But, I don’t know. Maybe you can help with this one.

The story has received more comments than the population of the town it happened in!

ABC News – Yahoo! News
They had booked their wedding far in advance. The invitations had been sent, the programs printed. But one day before Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson were to be married at the Mississippi church they frequented, they said a pastor told them they would have to find another venue — because they were black.

There has never been a black wedding at the First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Miss., since its founding in 1883. According to Pastor Stan Weatherford, some church members objected so strongly to breaking that precedent, they threatened to oust him from his pastorship.

Rather than risk his job, Weatherford, who is white, said he decided to marry the pair at a black church down the road.

“My 9-year-old was going to the church with us. How would you say to your 9-year-old daughter, ‘We cannot get married here because, guess what sweetie, we’re black,'” Charles Wilson told ABC’s affiliate WAPT-TV.

Outrage over the wedding’s forced relocation swept the Jackson suburb of about 5,000 into a media firestorm.

The vast majority of Crystal Springs residents, blacks and whites alike, were “blown away” by the church’s decision, said Theresa Norwood, 48, who was born in Crystal Springs and has lived there her entire life.

Norwood said she believes Weatherford should have married the Wilsons regardless of the risk to his job.

“That church was their home,” she said. “What would Jesus have done? He would have married them, without a doubt, because it’s the right thing to do. We’re all God’s children.”

While the Wilsons were not members of the church, they often attended services there, and Te’Andrea’s uncle is an employee of the church, and her father is a member. Charles Wilson told WAPT that the couple had planned to join as members after their wedding, which was held July 20.

Weatherford told WLBT-TV in Jackson that he would have liked to marry the couple as planned, but he decided to perform the ceremony elsewhere as a compromise to ensure that the Wilsons could be married while “addressing a need within our congregation.”

Norwood, who is black, said her nephew came to worship at First Baptist Church while he was temporarily living with her, having been evacuated from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The church “made him feel at home,” she said, but now she wonders whether he would return there when he visits Crystal Springs.

The church is now holding internal meetings to figure out how it should respond to future requests by black couples to be married there, Weatherford told WLBT-TV.

For her part, though, Norwood, who is dating a white man, said that if she and her boyfriend decide to get married, they will likely look for a different venue.

Here is the link to the story:–abc-news-topstories.html

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2012 1:43 pm

    The bigger question is why do blacks feel the need to assemble where they are not welcomed! Perhaps this undercurrent was hidden as is all racism is at first yet, once it surfaces the inherent need for blacks to force their way in or burst always ensues. Loving, accepting and caring about another human being regardless of their race is not negotiated through command no one can legislate another person’s emotions to feel .so, I concluded black folks should wake up and realize there is always going to be somebody that doesn’t like you, accept you, nor do they want to accommodate you for no other reason than that you are black. Fight the powers that be when your pursuit of an education, job, or housing is effected but under circumstances such as this ( church building) we need to step back and not only examine the white persons perspective but greater than this we should examine our own.

    • Deedee permalink
      July 30, 2012 5:41 pm

      The article did not mention anything of the couple not being accepted to attend this awful church. I imagine they would not have been there if the couple felt any hostility, or are they use to this treatment in Mississippi?

  2. Chandra permalink
    July 29, 2012 3:45 pm

    In the life of this couple, they experience first hand where a church would rather preserve a deep-rooted, segregated history that promote covenantal marriage between one man and one woman. This pastor would rather feed his family, keep his job, than upset his parish. The pastor’s job is to shepherd but this story is a great example of how pressure from the inside can lead to a pastor trying to avoid conflict in his church. This pastor should learn conflict should not be avoided; conflict should be managed. The pastor and the ones opposed did not say the Bible said we can’t do this. They know there is not Scripture to back up their belief system. The people are more interested in preserving a history of hate than offering the love of God. I would not have expected this to happen in 2012 not even in conservative circles. Thanks for uncovering this story. I think all pastors should take heed to the subtle ways decisions put cultural preservation over the Word of God.

  3. July 30, 2012 8:05 am

    “WOW” I guess the real question would be. Is this a church? or a place to meet and praise racism. Here’s the question, who is the church? Here is the answer YOU the people. This church and the congregation got some real praising to do. All that attend this so called church, need to get a health check up. LOVE shows no colors, but this church is showing just what color LOVE means to them. The best way to see this church, is backward and do not attempt to move forward…Peace Out!

  4. Deedee permalink
    July 30, 2012 5:07 pm

    I am not surprised at all, this is mississippi. Where their babies are dressed, in bikini’s, and paraded in front of an untold number of pedophiles, in hopes of getting that coveted beauty crown!

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