Mississippi church refuses to marry black couple

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A Mississippi couple says the church where they planned to get married turned them away because they are black.


Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson say they had set the date and mailed invitations, but the day before their wedding they got bad news from the pastor of predominantly white First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs: Some members of the church complained about the black couple having a wedding there.

The Wilsons, who live in nearby Jackson, said they attend the church regularly although they are not members.

Pastor Stan Weatherford told WLBT TV in Jackson he was surprised when a small number of church members opposed holding the wedding at the church.

“This had never been done before here, so it was setting a new precedent, and there are those who reacted to that because of that,” Weatherford said.

Weatherford performed the July 21 ceremony at another church.

“I didn’t want to have a controversy within the church, and I didn’t want a controversy to affect the wedding of Charles and Te’Andrea. I wanted to make sure their wedding day was a special day,” Weatherford said.

WLBT reported that church officials now say they welcome any race. They plan to hold internal meetings on how to move forward.

Written By: The Associated Press
continue to source article at cbc.ca

27 COMMENTS

  1. I hope they present this to the ACLU and sue them!! That is crazy! They can’t do that!! They ( the Baptist Church ) however, can claim they they did not perform the wedding because they were not members, but I would think they had paid for and reserved the church for their wedding there. That just can’t happen!

  2. Clearly, this is horrible, racist, and rage-inducingly hypocritical, and I sympathize with Charles and Te’Andrea. But let’s not lose sight of the obvious fact that we non-believers face a similar sort of marriage discrimination, at least in the U.S. It’s not that we want to get married in churches, but rather that the marriage ceremony is so inextricably tied up with religion. Any lousy clergyman can easily obtain a license to officiate weddings (and profit from it!) but in many states non-religious ceremonies are limited to small, staid ceremonies at the local courthouse.

  3. Will someone please explain to me why African Americans support a religion that has NO PROBLEM with SLAVERY? I hope this will cause this cute couple to wake up and smell the reason. Have a nice secular wedding with the local mayor and take the money you would have to pay the church and throw a kickass wedding party.

  4. Will someone please explain to me why African Americans support a religion that has NO PROBLEM with SLAVERY?

    I too have puzzled over this.  Europeans colonised Africa and imposed Christianity there too. Americans imposed it on the slaves.  It teaches people to accept abuse. It is really sick religion.  You would think black people would have dumped it as part of independence/equality

    There has been a small rebellion — Black Muslims, but that is pretty much out of the frying pan into the fire.

    It was imposed by force.  Perhaps they were just utterly brainwashed or they utterly brainwashed their kids hoping the belief would make the overlords go easy on them.

    Modern day Christians ignore all the teachings of the bible, including those of Jesus and Leviticus. They focus 100% of one obscure verse in Leviticus hidden among his desires to put people to death for every imaginable crank sin. The Christian creed has collapsed down to “Thou shalt persecute homosexuals. For the rest, do what thou wilt.“ If Jesus could see his religion now, he would say “You have got to be kidding.”

  5. If every black person in the south turned atheist, hundreds of churches would collapse. Though I too cannot fathom why blacks would embrace the religion of the people who enslaved them.
    (It seems to hold true elsewhere too. New Zealand Maoris are also strongly Catholic.)

  6. Similarly women are often found in studies to be more devout than men, when all three abrahamic religions promulgate nothing but the subjugation of women. That’s stockholm syndrome on an epic scale.

  7. That kind of monopoly was broken in the UK only fairly recently (last 20yrs or so), and now all kinds of country houses, historical sites and other places can hold ceremonies. This also eliminates the trip to the reception and saves time and money on the day.
    I refused point blank to get married in a church but we had loads of wonderful places to choose from. I think only about half of first marriages take place in churches now.

  8. In North and South America the indigenous people adopted the conqueror’s Christianity. It might have been a bit like the cargo cults.  The natives would see the conquerors with ships, guns, metal all kinds of gifts of the gods.  Obviously the conquerers’ god was more generous and powerful.  Also, presumably the conquerors would be a little less blood thirsty with the converts.

    They may also had just added Jesus/Mary/Jehovah to the pantheon of gods they already worshiped.

    I see here today in BC a strange mixing of Christianity with old traditions. 

    Perhaps what is needed are some movies to explain to native people just how they were had by the Christians.  Surely with Roots black people know the basic history. The first nations people and the south Americans know white people screwed them over, but I don’t think they understand the role of the church and how it continues to hurt them.

  9. I think that the pastor made a very thoughtful decision. This was the first time he had encountered this problem in his church. He arranged for the marriage to take place in another church so that the couple had an unspoilt special day and then set about tackling the problem so it shouldn’t arise again in the future. It sounds like he managed the situation as well as he could.

  10. And the couple’s special day remained so unspoilt that they felt the need to go to the press, the story ended up on a Canandian new site, from there the story went around the world, and now his church has become known internationally as one that tolerates, and indeed bows to, racism. I dunno, I’m still inclined to say it was a bad call.

  11. Thanks, Roy. Your point illustrates one of the many reasons I look to the UK with some mixture of admiration and envy (though I must admit that I am disappointed to see Creationist spores establishing colonies there).

    To clarify my point a bit, though, it’s not so much that one has to get married in a church here in the US, but rather that the vast majority of licensed officiants are clergy. This does have the effect of keeping many weddings in houses of worship, as some clergy use their favored (oops, favoured) status as license-granters to insist that the couple get married in the officiant’s religious franchise. Admittedly, judges can perform wedding ceremonies, as can certain staff at county courthouses. But the point remains that the large, family-oriented, celebratory nature of weddings is curtailed for many by the small, impersonal nature of a courthouse ceremony. (That is my experience, anyhow; I would love to hear others’ experiences.)

    In some states — mainly the more progressive ones — there are “one-day minister” policies whereby anyone can apply to perform wedding ceremonies. To me this seems a nice workaround, though an incomplete solution, since by essentially granting temporary minister status, these policies maintain the unnecessary and discriminatory connection between the marriage ceremony and religion. It also contributes to the sense of religious privilege currently fueling the gay marriage debate here. If marriage became a purely civil ceremony, officiated by anyone with the proper training (which would certainly be minimal), then we would move past the antiquated system that allows clergy to discriminate however they please: against blacks, against the non-religious, and against same-sex couples.

  12. Admin:
    This is probably Mabus/Markuze. Under the terms of his parole he is prohibited from posting any comments. This comment, along with any origination information, should be sent to the Montreal Crown Prosecuters Office, Montreal Police and Markuze’s parole officer. 

  13. When Linda Ward said that mississippi only abolished slavery in 1995, my first thought was that although slavery was no longer practiced, it had taken them till 1995 to make it official. Rather than it being a joke, I imagined that it was technically true but only because of some legal formality. So I am sort of with Harps in that nothing that you learn about such backward places is completely unbelievable.

  14. “This had never been done before here, so it was setting a new precedent, and there are those who reacted to that because of that,” Weatherford said.

    I don’t think that is all is you know.  Marriage is an emotional arrangement and, like all emotional arrangements, a deeply personal endeavour.

    I fear we (the non-religious) miss understanding that some of the resistance to non-standard (different race/same sex) marriage is based on people conflating the “special to them” feeling with the notion of “sanctified”. To religious people marriage as a rite sanctifies the physical and takes things to a different plane. I can understand this impulse, for who doesn’t want to see their loved ones, and their feelings for them, as somehow set apart? N.B. I only emotionally “twigged” this when listening to a song that magnificently walks the thin, thin line between sweetly touching and nauseatingly cheesy: Don Henley’s For My Wedding.

    N.B. I am in no manner or fashion accusing Don Henley of anything other than emotional engagement with his spouse, I sincerely hope he is blissfully happy.  No, I am just seeing his work as a way of understanding possible thought processes. He simply wanted his wedding to be special.  I get that. I very much hope we all can.

    Anyway, this is how it can work, and this is how marriage can be thought about. Marriage is, for the deeply devout, a putting “away of childish things”; a passport to adulthood, and an ultimate method for the assumption of personhood. Of course, I think this is mistaken in that I see the conflation between “set apart” and “non-physical” as an unsubstantiated conclusion – one with its basis in religiously inspired sexual prudery and unthinking dualism.

    Unfortunately, when looking at the rite in this fashion, I find myself drawing the dark conclusion that when devout people seek to deny marriage to autonomous adults, they do not just seek to deny marriage, they seek to deny personhood as well.

    I fear that the people in this church using ‘tradition’ as a justification are not just objecting to a change of policy: they are objecting to being forced to view some people as fully human. They wish to hold onto the notion that only white, straight people ever make sanctified love (and be thus both physical and spiritual) while all the rest are just rutting monkeys and/or filthy perverts.

    This is deeply unpleasant, this is blinkered … and this is sloppy reasoning.  I say “sloppy”, because personhood – as opposed to “animal hood” – is not conferred by a ritual, it is instead conferred by understanding that we are physical things, with physical needs, physical emotions and individual demands – and it matters not a jot that we are such.

    This thinking is also (I rarely make this argument, but the circumstances here demand it) unchristian.

    Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
    1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

    In the unlikely event that anyone from this Church is reading this, I hope they are:-
    a) feeling ashamed and
    b) making an effort to drag their filthy minds out of the gutter.

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