Thursday, December 01, 2011
"A tiny church in rural Kentucky was fending off charges of racism Thursday after some members voted to ban interracial couples from most church activities, the members said, "to promote greater unity among the church body."
Members of the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church in Pike County, Kentucky, voted for the resolution after their Sunday service, which says the church 'does not condone interracial marriage'.
The church member who drafted the resolution, Melvin Thompson, claims he is not racist and called the matter an 'internal affair'.
"I am not racist. I will tell you that. I am not prejudiced against any race of people, have never in my lifetime spoke evil about a race," said Thompson, the church's former pastor who stepped down earlier this year.
However, church secretary Dean Harville says the resolution only came after his daughter - who has attended Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church since she was a baby - visited the church this summer with her boyfriend from Africa.
Stella Harville brought Ticha Chikuni -- now her fiancé -- to services back in June. Harville, who goes by the name Suzie, played the piano while Chikuni sang for the congregation. The two had visited the church before.
Chikuni is originally from Zimbabwe but he has lived in the United States for 11 years. He now works as a student advisor at Georgetown College in Kentucky.
"Ticha Chikuni is a loved and respected member of the Georgetown College family as is his fiancé, Stella Harville, a 2010 graduate. We look forward to celebrating their wedding this summer," Todd Gambill, Vice President for Student Life & Dean of Students at Georgetown College, told theGrio.
Church members voted 9-6 in favor of Thompson's proposed ban, Mr Harville said. It was taken after the service, which about 35 to 40 people attended. Mr Harville said many people left or declined to vote." [Story]
Folks, we are talking about the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church in Pike County, Kentucky! And, 15 people voted. FIFTEEN!
I bet a lot of you are wondering why a devoted racism chaser is not putting this story very high up there in order of importance. I really have to wonder if a tiny church in Kentucky cares if they are called racist. Bad for publicity? Yes, like all those black families and progressive thinking people who were going to go to Pike County, Kentucky for their next vacation, are suddenly going to cancel their travel plans. "Mrs. Field, remember that trip we were planning to Pike County,dear? Bad news; we can't go. It turns out that they have a Baptist church down there with some racist in it." Seriously?
This story made national news, and, for the life of me, I can't figure out why. Maybe the cynic in me is not at all surprised that a preacher in a small Baptist church in Kentucky could be a racist. (BTW, the preacher's name is Melvin. Someone check his bloodlines?) Or, that a lifelong member of the church bringing home her own version of Kunta Kinte would not go over well with the congregation.
I guess A-merry-cans are still hoping that we are post-racial, and stories like this tend to bring us back to reality. I hate to question the moral rectitude of my fellow citizens, but thanks to blogging and my other daily pursuits; I have a front row seat to the ignorance and hatred parade that goes down Main Street every day.
So this story is a yawner, unless, of course, you happen to be poor Stella and Ticha. Don't worry guys; you don't need a church wedding, you still live in A-merry-ca, the "land of the free". Just remember, there is always city hall. You can thank Richard and Mildred Loving for that.