Mississippi Church Says No to Marrying Black Couple
The First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, has never had a black couple's wedding performed there since it was founded in 1883. The first such wedding was scheduled to occur there this very month. But one day before Charles and Te’Andrea were to be married there, they were told they had to have the wedding elsewhere.
The reason? They were black.
The church's pastor, Stan Weatherford, stated some members of the church objected so strongly to having the first black wedding there that they threatened to fire him as the pastor if he performed it. As a compromise, Pastor Weatherford performed the wedding on July 20, at a black church down the street.
According to the ABC News report, Charles and Te’Andrea were not members of the church, though they attended there often. Also, Te’ Andrea’s uncle is an employee of First Baptist Church, and her father is a member. Still, the congregation could have disallowed the request on the grounds that Charles and Te’Andrea were not members, if it wanted to. But evidently, that was not a problem, which means that if everything else were the same but that the candidates were white, there would have been no problem with allowing the wedding.
Looking at this situation from a Christian standpoint, the church has no justifiable reason for its position. Some might argue that it is that local church’s right to refuse to marry the couple purely on the basis of race, if it wants to. With that, I totally disagree. The last time I checked, Christ is the head of the church (see Colossians 1:18)—not the deacons, not the pastor, not the congregation, not the denomination, etc.
Pastor Weatherford told WLBT-TV that the church is now holding internal meetings to address how to respond to future requests by black couples to be married there. Really, this should not be a hard thing to decide on for a local Christian church. We are called to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. That means we must take the lead in doing what’s right in the sight of God.
I am sure that some, perhaps most, of the members of First Baptist Church, Crystal Springs, Mississippi, want to do the right thing in this matter. The pastor said he would have liked to perform Charles and Te’Andrea’s wedding at the church. Hopefully, going forward, this local church will get real and do the right thing.
Copyright ©2012 by Frank King. All rights reserved.