Apparently some people still have a problem with interracial couples. The Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, a small church in Eastern Kentucky, recently voted to bar interracial couples from church membership and participating in church activities.
Reuters reports that the church decided to vote on the issue after one of its members, Stella Harville, married Zimbabwe native Ticha Chikuni.
According to WKYT Mountain News, the church voted 9-6 to ban the couple from future church activities. The church said in a statement:
“That the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church does not condone interracial marriage. Parties of such marriages will not be received as members, nor will they be used in worship services and other church functions, with the exception being funerals. All are welcome to our public worship services. This 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.”
Dean Harville, Stella’s father and longtime church official at the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, said that there didn’t appear to be anyone upset during his daughter’s ceremony.
“There didn’t appear to be any problem. None whatsoever.”
But now that the church has voted to ban interracial couples, Dean says that his daughter and her husband are no longer allowed to participate in the church’s choir.
Melvin Thompson, the pastor at the Kentucky church, told a local radio outlet:
“I do not believe in interracial marriages, and I do not believe this (ban) will give our church a black eye at all.”
But the Pike County Ministerial Association did fill the need to distance itself from the Fulnare Freewill Baptist Church. Randy Johnson, president of the PCMA, said:
“This kind of thing brands all of us so easily. That’s not who we are. From all the churches I’ve talked to so far, it’s really not anger so much as it is shock.”
Do you agree with the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church? Are you shocked that the church is barring interracial couples from church activities?