Church Bans Interracial Couple

I’ve heard horror stories over the years of churches that have made incredibly stupid decisions, but this one even shocked me.

On November 27th the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church (as a side note, I grew up Freewill Baptist and I never encountered this) voted 9 to 6 to ban interracial couples from church services or functions, with the exception of funerals.

According to ABC News…

Stella Harville, 24, and her fiance Ticha Chikuni, 28, are the couple that prompted the church’s actions. Harville is white and Chikuni is black. The couple met at Georgetown College in Kentucky, where both were students, and they plan to marry in July 2012.

Harville is in graduate school in Indiana and Chikuni is working at Georgetown College, but when the couple visits Harville’s parents in Pike County, Ky., they usually go to church with her parents.

Harville’s parents Cathy and Dean Harville have been church members for decades. Cathy Harville has taught Sunday school at the church and Dean Harville was a deacon there and is currently the church’s secretary. They consider the church’s 42 congregants their family.

But after a service in June where Stella Harville and Chikuni participated by singing and playing the piano for a hymn, the family was shocked when then-pastor Melvin Thompson approached them after the service.

“There seemed to not be a problem and then all of a sudden the pastor at the time came up to [Chikuni] and told him he could not sing anymore,” Harville said. “That floored us. We wanted to know why.”

The next week, Cathy and Dean Harville met with Thompson and were shocked to hear their pastor say that members of the congregation had said they would walk out if Chikuni sang again. The parents wanted to know exactly who had a problem with their future son-in-law.

“‘Me, for one,'” Cathy Harville said that Thompson replied. She said he added, “‘The best thing [Stella] can do is take him back where she found him.'”

There’s a part of me that so wants this all to be one BIG mistake. Surely this church can’t be for real.

But as far fetched and as radically misguided as this story is I think it’s important for us to remember how easy it is to miss the mark when we start putting our own personal preferences ahead of God’s Word. Nothing destroys a church quicker than a self seeking agenda that isn’t committed to the truth of the Gospel.

Every time an individual makes laws requiring more of us than what God requires, human pride and the desire to control others enters the equation. It continuously amazes me how we can complicate what God made so simple.

Praying you and I never become so blinded (don’t think it can’t happen).

55 Responses to “Church Bans Interracial Couple”

  1. Yea… its interesting that only 15 people voted so the church is probably around 50 members if that. Soon, if this continues… it will be “us 9 and no more.”

  2. jaydoak says:

    another article I read about this quoted Thompson as saying the move “was not intended to judge the salvation of anyone, but is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve.” Still trying to figure out how this promotes “unity” and what it says about the community they serve.

  3. Trish Salmeier says:

    This is horrifying that this kind of thing still happens in this day and age, and what a sad commentary on this congregation of “believers” and their pastor. The whole incident is not acceptable and I hope that this family, though hard as it might be to part ways, will walk away from this congregation and find brothers and sisters in Christ to fellowship with and grow in wisdom and knowledge. Thank you for sharing this with us Peter and may we lift all of these people up in prayer that their eyes will be opened to the era of their ways and that their hearts will be softened to the message of Christ and not hardened by prejudice.

  4. Ric Booth says:

    This is a sad reminder of what our ancestors’ churches looked like for the past 300 years.

    However, your closing statements bring to mind our current church’s (not your’s or mine necessarily) response to the LGBT community.

    Every time an individual makes laws requiring more of us than what God requires, human pride and the desire to control others enters the equation. It continuously amazes me how we can complicate what God made so simple.

    Praying you and I never become so blinded (don’t think it can’t happen).

    Indeed. Your closing statements are profoundly (prophetically?) apropos to the church today.

    • Misfit says:

      I believe there is a huge difference between living in rebellious sin (whether gay, strait or adultery) and being an interracial couple. We are so desensitized to sin and I hate hearing about how the church (ours included) are opposed to the homosexual agenda yet will gladly allow a man to become a deacon who is cheating on his wife; actively watching porn or grant membership to an unmarried couple who is openly and admittedly living together. We should love on people, regardless. But we have to be the salt and light and call sin SIN. Just because the world accepts does not make that okay.

      • Ric Booth says:

        Actually, the world (for a very long time, if not forever) has unequivocally not accepted homosexuality. The fact that the church has been conformed, seemlessly, to that world view for so long should give us all cause for pause.

  5. Laura says:

    Few facts –
    The vote has now been rescinded
    There were 9 people who voted for this
    The church has about 50 in membership
    The former pastor initiated the vote
    The new pastor (been there 1 week) voted against it
    The National Association did not endorse it
    The vote was not a quorum – obviously

    This is not the position of most in this denomination – in fact it is quite the opposite!

    • Heather says:

      I also grew up FWB (though I am not now), and I never encountered this either. I graduated from FWBBC and this is not taught by it’s leaders in the school or the denomination. This position was not endorsed or supported by FWB as it’s statement spoke directly against it.

      I pray that despite the denomination, we realize that people are human, and we continue to fail. Without Christ, we have no hope of redemption or reconciliation to others or the Father. May we be convicted in our own hearts of our own sin and extend grace to all.


    • katdish says:

      Thanks for that info. It doesn’t change the fact that there was actually a vote, but the additional information helps paint a better picture of the circumstances surrounding the events. Still sort of dumb founded that people actually sat around in a group and discussed it in the first place, but to Pete’s point, it’s amazing what we can justify when we put what we want ahead of what God’s word instructs us is right.

    • Pete Wilson says:

      Agreed Laura. But it still happened.

      And the bigger issue for me is that it happens all the time. Not with this particular issue but the reality is we put our personal agendas ahead of the Gospel on a regular basis.

  6. Frank says:

    Saw this article on the front page of my local Ky paper and had to re-read it three times in hopes that it would change…it didn’t. So naturally I immediately grabbed my phone and called relatives out west trying to explain that I do not live in ‘that part of Kentucky’. I do that a lot.

    There are several facts surrounding this story, one of them being that the vote was rescinded. Hopefully it was rescinded because it was wrong and not due to the pressure of public opinion.

    I agree that I continue to be amazed at how complicated we make what God made so simple. Isn’t that the reason Jesus used stories, that he would lay it out we would have that blank stare that says we don’t get it, so He would put it in terms that sheep understand.

    I vehemently disagree with your last statement, in that I do pray that I am not that blinded, however, it can certianly happen. Do not underestimate my capacity for ignorance, it might surprise you!

    • Julie R. says:

      I am trying to understand what it is you “vehemently disagree” with in Pete’s last statement. I went back and re-read what he said and read what you say in your last statement and they both seem to say the same thing. He prays we do not become blind you pray that you do not become blind… what is it that I missed? Please help. thank you.

    • Pete Wilson says:

      “I vehemently disagree with your last statement, in that I do pray that I am not that blinded, however, it can certainly happen. Do not underestimate my capacity for ignorance, it might surprise you!”

      Hey Frank. You might have read the post wrong. You can’t vehemently disagree because that’s exactly what I said. :)

      • Frank says:

        It is my KY edumacation shinin’ through, ya’ll are correct and I did read it wrong. Trying to say that not only can it happen, I have found myself being just as ignorant in other areas. Sorry

  7. Randy says:


    I, too, was horrified at the terribly unbiblical and unloving action of this small church in Kentucky. Because of my spiritual legacy, it hit much too close to home. Sadly, it is too representative of much of the American church world (especially in the south, but not only in the south). I’ve heard and seen it in various forms over the years. I’m thankful to be serving in a more ethnically diverse community of believers now than ever before, but there is still so much more that the church in America needs to do to combat this attitude and thinking.

    It is good to know that the vote of this Kentucky church was overturned by the congregation and even a strong statement of condemnation of racism and bigotry came out of their following actions. It does, however, highlight the needs to bring the issue out from under the proverbial rug and face it with repentance (institutional) and pro-active measures to change the climate of the church world even more concerning racial equality and relationships.

    I wrote a related post here…

    …and my friend, Kevin Riggs, wrote a guest post here…

    • Pete Wilson says:

      Great links…thanks Randy. Did you know Kevin was a friend of mine as well? He used to be the speaker at the church camp I went to as a kid. He had a huge impact on my life.

  8. Neil Schori says:


    Your post is spot-on! Adding requirements is just what the Pharisees did to their people and Jesus’ harshest warnings were to them.

    Makes me wonder what I’m doing to people in my church just like it.

  9. Andy says:

    Pete I also couldn’t believe this. But if it is not this it is something else. Pride is getting in the way in churches to let God do the work that is going. God has been showing that he owns the churches and he can either close them or like Crosspoint he can praise the church cause of the path that He has planned, You are listening to Him and following the plan that God as for Crosspoint, Thank you for doing this.

  10. Beth says:

    I agree with you. This shocked me. Jesus himself was a revisionist. The simplest way to approach the gospel is to begin with the greatest command. In freedom we have a lot of choice in how we chose to love others in the post-Acts church.

    Segregation would not be my way. Discrimination like this doesn’t even sound like my gospel. Sometimes I wonder if I am reading a different Bible all together. Or else something has gone missing in interpretation.

    I think the pastor of this church has done a great disservice to its members who should be challenged to lay down their prejudices as Jesus lay down his life. I realize a community is held together by its preferences but it seems a regressive step to do this.

    Generally I dislike politically laden labels such as progressive and regressive as they have systems information buried in them which at first use it is easy to miss. But I was under the impression we had come a lot father than this in breaking down racial stereotypes.

    I don’t live in a ethnically diverse area. It worries me racism may be more widespread than I had believed. I hope God blesses Stella and Ticha and they can find a church who love them in the way they each (and both) deserve.

    But yes. I agree we are all growing, and where I see clear someone else may see blinkers. As in horses’ blinders.

    This story got to me last week when I first heard about it. I’ve experienced my own fair share of prejudice. The church becomes a sad reflection of the place we live in, rather than a light for the world.

  11. Bill Hillyer says:

    The Bible does not teach this. It just shows how our sinful nature continues to blind us to the truth of God’s Word – and how He sees his people.
    I’ve always wondered about Moses… after all, he was a Hebrew and he married a north African woman! (I don’t think they were both blond haired and blue-eyed.) Yet, the Lord blessed Moses with a helpmate who was just what he needed. God is color blind.
    I’m so thankful this congregation recanted, I hope they’ve repented as well!

  12. Lindsey says:

    Stories like these just make me think “Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and right all that is wrong.”

    I do believe that there is some benefit to stories like these. They open up a dialogue about diversity in the church. While this church’s prejudice was flagrantly out in the open, there are subtle ways in which many churches communicate a lack of value on diversity. As an African American, I have more often than not been in church environments where the staff and the congregation tend to all look the same…and it isn’t like me. This is particularly true since I have lived in the South because growing up in Mass., we had so few churches that there was no choice but for them to be diverse.

    While diversity is nice to many churches, it is not something that is really embraced as important, as worth pursuing, as reflective of the Kingdom of Heaven. I ask, does the music you sing, the staff you choose, the programs you put on, the trappings of your church really say to other races, ethnicities, etc. that we really want you here? {and this is a question I think both predominantly white and black churches should ask}. God values diversity and unity- seemingly much more than most churches today.

  13. Julie R. says:

    These are the kinds of stories that sicken me. The pastor, or former pastor also stated he isn’t racist…Someone get that man a dictionary.
    We have some people in our town who PREACH from their pulpit, that Caucasians are the “superior” race as dictated by God… THAT MAKES ME SO ANGRY I CAN’T THINK STRAIGHT. To the best of my knowledge, and PLEASE correct me if I am wrong; there is absolutely NO PLACE in the Bible that talks about skin color. Am I right? It discusses facial hair, height, facial structure, hair color… but I have never seen any place that specifically says that someone was of any particular color. Is there a place? I believe this was done to draw us AWAY from using skin color to make rules.
    I have more trouble extending grace to narrow-minded ‘Christians’ than I do extending it to someone who sits outside of the shiny walls and steeples.
    Praying for my shortcomings, and for the healing of the community that this church sits among.

  14. Jenny says:

    Horrifying… I have seen more yukky things since being in FT ministry than I ever did the two decades I worked in corporate America, and yet, I still feel like we can find redemption in this broken and beautiful place called the church. People are people, but shoot we are dumb and hurtful sometimes.

  15. Pete, you will enjoy Kevin Rigg’s comments about this too. Check out his blog.


  16. Beth says:

    Please excuse me: the pastor who instituted the vote I should have said. I was in a hurry to let my thoughts escape. I meant also, the place where I live is a reflection of its environment and I have numerous examples from my own life to underscore my point. I did not mean you live in a racist place. Or to heap scorn on the world at large for its values. Those in the world and not in the Church do have the defense they don’t know any better, having never themselves been forgiven. But what defense does the church have? I can’t believe a modern church is against “mixed” marriage when we know and it is taught widely on the science curriculum we are all descended from the same ancestors. One species.

    I know the Bible should be our first authority as Christians but it worries me when faith groups apply rules to fall into legalism which prevent all from receiving the message of the gospel as equals. This is a giveaway I’m not in church leadership and have never had to deal with these problems firsthand. I have in fact dealt with them. But only from the other point of view.

  17. Pete – What a tragedy this. What an honor to serve interracial couples in our community. Praise God that His love and real hope are color blind. May God expand our impact into places that are often missed or even pushed away. Cudos and love to you, Pete. You rock! — Michael

  18. Misfit says:

    Sadly, there is a unspoken code in church. I have seen it also against mixed race, blacks, home-schoolers, SAHM’s. It is against divorced people, no matter the persons circumstances. It may not be the heart of our Pastor (which is why we still go) but the majority of staff, workers and members make them feel so uncomfortable MANY leave and don’t come back or even bother going to another church. It is heartbreaking. They have compassion for the homeless and the recovering drug/jail/addicts until they stumble. It makes the hurting feel they have to dress a certain way, fit a certain mold, have the perfect family to fit in. Somewhere in the ‘production’ of worship, the heart for the misfits has been lost. Not all of us fit the “mold” nor can we every hope to be one of the pretty church people.

    • Joe Pote says:

      Sad, but true, Misfit. Certainly not true of all believers, but true of many.

      Sometimes, I wonder why God entrusted us with the gospel. Jesus is so full of love and compassion. I am amazed at the Holy Spirit’s ability to lead people to Himself thru the ministry of such an imperfect bunch of misfits as we, His church!

    • ttm says:

      Yes, Misfit, I have seen and felt these prejudices first hand at several churches. I was a SAHM and homeschooler for some 19 years. My spouse divorced me after 14 years of marriage. My extended family and circle of friends contain interracial couples with mixed race children. I can’t speak from personal experience about the drug/jail/addiction issues, but you are spot on about there being “molds” that you are expected to squeeze into as a church member.

      The churches I’ve attended have also NOT been kind to those struggling with mental illness, chronic health ailments, and anyone who persistently questions what is put forth as God’s truth. I’m a skeptic at heart. I question everything. Since I was little, I’ve always questioned what appear to be inconsistencies in Scripture. When I don’t accept the “easy answers” offered by Sunday School teachers or mentors, I’m labeled a troublemaker. I’m tired of wearing that label. I’m tired of looking around a church auditorium and thinking, “Am I the only one who doesn’t readily believe whatever is being dished out on the beautifully shined up denominational silver spoon?”

      I’m also very sensitive to HOW things are said and done. Way too many times, I’ve witnessed people treated like crap at the hands of those who are responsible for a schedule or a particular vision. It seems like the plan/vision/organizational structure becomes the driving force and there really isn’t time or desire to deal with anything or anyone who gets in the way of the church being this perfectly organized, always barreling forward, progressive machine cranking out success stories and better numbers.

      Real people aren’t usually “fixed” in the twinkling of an eye with a sprinkle of God dust or a neat, little three point acronymized sermon. Real people with real problems need ongoing time, prayer, dialogue, and friendship. Those things have often been in short supply at the churches I’ve attended.

      It is heartbreaking to consistently be called “part of the family” from a pulpit but continually feel like “a wayward sheep.” I got tired of trying to be like everyone else. I got tired of having to defend who I feel God created me to be. Though I feel closer to God than ever, I no longer attend an institutional church. Honestly, I can’t see myself ever going back to a place where the system matters more than the people it claims to help.

      • Joe Pote says:


        I am so glad that feeling ostracized by insitutional churches has not dampened your enthusiasm for God.

        It sounds like God has blessed you with an interesting ministry as simply being a friend.

        I’d love to know more about how God has worked that out thru your life.

        • ttm says:

          Hey, Joe,

          After growing up in a fundamentalist Christian family who attended the local church three times a week, plus being active in community Bible studies and other outreach opportunities and attending a very conservative Christian liberal arts college, I am quite surprised to find myself standing firmly within God’s palm of love but outside the parameters of church at this point in my life. Although I have moments of clarity, most of my “Christian certainty” has morphed into something more like astonishment at the mystery of who God is and how God continues to work in my life in ways I don’t understand.

          Several things have contributed to my descent (or ascent or simply adjustment, depending on how you define it) from Bible thumping world-changer to people hugging listener. The most devastating was a divorce I did not want and had to work through while being preached at, pitied and pamphletized with pithy statements and theological stances of divorce by those who still went to bed at night in the arms of their “greatest blessing from God.” I had to learn to answer my child’s questions with honesty but in a way that wouldn’t damage his relationship with his dad. I had to try to cobble together some kind of future career (Ha. Definitely still working at this one!) while continuing to honor the promise to home school my son all the way through high school. I had to try to redefine family while not getting drowned in the sadness that sometimes swelled up out of nowhere. All of these things were humbling–because I saw how often I am prone to anger and bitterness, to wanting the easy road, to shrugging and just giving in to the desire to curl up and die. Without God’s help, I know that I would not be here today.

          That said, God wasn’t always easy to find (still isn’t). And one thing I began to feel is that the “static” of church–our pastor’s notions or the notions of those from whom he stole sermons, the beliefs put forth in my small group, the system itself with all of its expectations to be in unity and to accept the Groupthink–got in the way of me really walking my own path with God. So, I finally left.

          I begged God to meet me in new places–and surprisingly I began to really notice and to FEEL God’s presence in secular music, movies, conversations at work and at the grocery store, blogs, the silence of midnight, etc. I realized that the I AM THAT I AM is so much bigger than the color by numbers, engineered vision we have created of who God is and isn’t. And in this understanding, I realize that perhaps it’s okay to stop pounding people with theological precepts and to stop figuring out who’s in and who’s out.

          I realize that it’s okay to just be who I am–letting the I AM shine through this broken glass. I have been broken and pieced back together much like a stained glass window. When you inspect each chunk of glass, you will find bubbles and bumps and inconsistent color. But when God shows up in those brighter moments and I let the love shine through–I know that it, I, we are breathtaking (and so is every single person with his or her unique image).

          Right now I’m planted in fertile ground. My son is an atheist. I have coworkers of all religions who are currently dealing with suicide of a parent, possible STDs and unwanted pregnancies, potential jail time for various offenses, difficult and failing marriages, looming bankruptcies, dying parents, and many other deep issues. Because I know how it feels to really hurt, to wonder if God gives a damn, to be blasted with trite Christian platitudes, my behavior has changed.

          I honor the free will of people. Jesus didn’t “hard sell” himself. He had a pretty small evangelism budget (of course, the ultimate cost was exorbitant.) He let people think, believe, and act however they wanted to. He may have chided a bit or offered explanation–but more often than not, he answered questions with questions and gave an invitation to hang out for awhile. Scripture doesn’t say so, but I imagine Jesus was a hugger. And he offered love to every one even if they didn’t convert (and he already knew who would and who wouldn’t choose the way.)

          So when people want a soft place to land, I shut up and listen and offer a hug. And then, whenever the Spirit in that mysterious way of connecting us all, lays that person on my heart; I ask God to show up for them in a way that they cannot help but notice. They may never become a Christian. They may never attend church. They may keep on living in sin forever or rejecting the gospel forever. But in my opinion, they still deserve that moment of joy and love and peace when God shows up just for them.

          In my opinion, God is so much bigger and more loving than we can understand. He redeems ANY person, ANY situation, ANY messed up plan. And our moments of amazement at that are so few and far between. But lately, I really try to celebrate that when I get a glimpse.

          So, here’s today’s glimpse: My ex-husband is coming into town for a few days to hang out with our son. Normally, they get place about an hour away. That’s been great for me because I, like many people, love better from a distance. But, this time they want to hang out around the house for a good amount of time. And I am finally (after 10 years) ready for that. Over the past few months, I have intentionally renewed a friendship with my ex. Not just a polite civility–but an opportunity to reconnect as friends after all that we’ve been through. It’s a start. It will take time. But I believe that eventually even THAT stained glass image will offer something to someone who just needs a glimpse of God’s amazing and mysterious ability to redeem everything. :^)

          • Joe Pote says:


            I’m just smiling as I read your comment…seeing God’s glory shining thru your stained-glass window!

            So, based on what you’ve old me, you and I have a lot in common, including the fundamentalist Christian family background, and growing up spending almost as much time in church and Bible studies as in school…as well as a divorce we didn’t expect that served as a catalyst to re-evaluate a lot of things.

            Like you, I have found myself investing in more ministry opportunities outside the conventional church…opportunities that look a lot more like being a friend than like preaching.

            Even within the church, I’ve gravitated toward the less conventional areas, such as starting a new Sunday School class specifically for those of us who have experienced enough shattered dreams to need to discuss things with a bit more honesty than a lot of people are ready to hear.

            Thank you, so much, for sharing your experiences! I feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit. I hope our paths will cross again.

            God Bless!

          • Joe Pote says:

            Hey, ttm, one more thing. Would you mind if I post your above discussion on my blog? I think my readers would benefit from hearing your story.

            Thanks & God bless!

  19. Eva A says:

    Pete, we visit Crosspoint when in Nashville. We are from Owensboro KY. Here is an update from CNN that the ban was “null & void” because it was not a vote of the full congregation (Lord help the 9 who voted to ban inter-racial marriages. (It is not inter-species! but don’t get me started, as an adoptive mom of minority children….) :

  20. Geoff Little says:

    Dear Pete – Totally agree with your blog – UNTIL you reference God’s Word as the place where we find direction for things such as how to behave in Christian worship. Isn’t it the Apostle Paul who very clearly explains in 1 Corinthians 14:34 – women shoud be silent during worship and be under man’s authority – and – 1 Timothy 2:12 – SAME thing.

    So, I don’t use the Bible to figure out social and cultural direction in my life. If I did, I’d be fired from my equal opportunity employer and kicked out of my church, where women are allowed, and celebrated, as clergy. I’d also have no gay friends, which would be a travesty.

    Please respond, good sir.

    Geoff Little
    Nashville, TN

    • Pete Wilson says:

      Well where do you find direction Geoff? Your gut.

      I’ve got friends I deeply love that are gay and we certainly have women in our church that are involved in leadership and worship.

      However, God’s Word is still the ultimate authority in my life.

      I think you’re getting into a larger debate of “descriptive” verse “prescriptive” and how we apply the certain passages you mentioned.

      I know it’s dicey.

  21. Andrea says:

    When I read this article a week ago it made me so sad. As part of an inner racial couple myself it made me so sad. My husband and I have faced some discord from others about our marriage & relationship, and always, always we use it as a way to speak the love of Christ, and how God loves us all. It’s so sad to me that this type of hatred still exisits in the body of Christ. It’s completely un Biblical.

  22. Rusty Williams says:

    If I comment on this the way I really want to I will sin! Ugh!

  23. Laura Anne says:

    I actually heard about this a week ago through my friends church in Zambia. The story was posted on a Zambian news website, and it caused a lot of hurt and anger and disgust. I was ashamed to read it – I was saying to my friend how I was ashamed of the colour of my skin and what it must represent to many people who may think I think like this pastor and the elders who voted in this despicable rule.

    It divides rather than unifies.

  24. Brad says:

    Earlier in my career, I was in corporate advertising for a big casino company in Las Vegas. When I came home to East Tennessee for some holiday and went to the church I grew up in, the pastor displayed a video that showed how the world was bascially going to hell – including a lovely shot of my casino with prostitutes and drugs superimposed over it. Needless to say, I’ve never been back.

  25. Richard says:

    I guess this church was a little uncomfortable with Chikuni. How sad, I wonder if they will be uncomfortable in heaven! where, “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and tribe and people and tongue, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9-10) What a great day it will be! And even our Caucasian tribe will be there, but not just ours every ethnicity will be represented! Amen!

  26. Trish says:

    So glad you like Mexicans! Feliz Navidad :)

  27. Joe Pote says:

    Disappointed? Yes. Sickened? Yes. Shocked? No.

    It was not terribly long ago that this was common in this country. Today, thankfully, it is less common for prejudice and racism to be expressed this overtly, but still very common to be hidden behind a thinly veild veneer of political correctness.

    I was five years old when my father was asked to resign the church he had pastored for four years, because he had invited some international students to attend services. People in the congregation were scared witless that their little girls might grow up thinking it was okay to marry someone of another race. Keep in mind that these were single young men in this country for an education. Ironically, none of them were even of African ancestry…I guess the parishioners at least maintained a standard of equality in the prejudices…

    Blindess is the natural consequence of sin…inherited and otherwise…

  28. Pam says:

    AMEN to that Pete

  29. When I read this story a couple of weeks ago, I was mortified. I don’t understand racial prejudice, but I get that it exists. I get that some people think – for whatever reason – that they’re better than someone else.

    I don’t like it, but I get it.

    What I DON’T get is how anyone who claims to be a Christian can turn away ANYONE on the doorstep of God’s house. Don’t want them coming over to your private residence? Fine, that’s your prerogative. Don’t want to socialize with them? Okay, whatever you want.

    But banning them from God’s house? That goes against everything we’re called to do and be as Christians.


  30. Susan Hart says:

    Wow! Isn’t Christ all about loving people? We just finished a study in Romans called Being an R12 christian. So many rules and regulations many in our small group grew up with but where did the rules and regs come from? The churches we grew up in! The church we now attend has a simple philosophy, Love God, Love people, Serve the world. Always good reading your blog Pastor Pete! Hope to someday get to Tennessee and visit your church!

  31. This makes me feel sick. Thanks for sharing, Pete, and especially for your humility in doing so.

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