A Mississippi church is coming under fire for blocking an African American couple from getting married there two days before the ceremony was due to happen.
Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson had been attending the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs for months and had planned their wedding for July 21. The invitations had been sent out, the rehearsal was set up, and then Charles Wilson received a phone call. Some of the predominantly white congregation had complained to the pastor, Stan Weatherford, who agreed to block the couple's wedding. According to Charles Wilson, the pastor had received “all sorts of phone calls [and] text messages, and it was just not going to happen.”
According to some in the church, the objections were made by a small number of people who didn't want a precedent being set, as no African American couple had ever been married at the church.
Q: How should the pastor have handled this situation?
(Editor’s Note: After this question was sent to our In Theory panel, the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs issued an apology to the Wilsons, acknowledging that its decision ‘resulted in hurt and sadness.’ The Wilsons called the church’s statement “an insult” and “misleading to the public,” according to a CNN report.)
“Well, that's the bar rag in the face,” was my first thought upon hearing of this incident, and that seems a good description for such undignified, blatant discrimination. Even for Mississippi, it is shocking. So much for Southern hospitality, plus I thought congregations were in need of every member they can get.
But in case I was missing some subtle theological point, I called on an expert, my pastor brother, who quickly pronounced Weatherford a “chicken liver” and said that the story was old news, before hustling me off the phone to return to “Perception” on TV.
I agree with my brother. I question only his negative reference to those yummy little gray morsels, equally delicious chopped kosher-deli-style or breaded and fried in bacon fat, a la back on the farm.
So thanks, Mississippi, for this can of corn right in our ethical wheelhouse. If you ever want to try that secession thing again, don't let the door hit you on the backside on the way out.
Refugees, religious or not, who prefer fair treatment, rational behavior or even just good manners are welcome to resettle here.
Bring your chicken liver recipes.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, there is a standing rule that one person does not take another person's “inventory.” But at the risk of doing exactly that, here's what I think: First of all, racism is alive and well in the United States of America; today's issue points that out in an obvious way.
Secondly, I agree with the groom on this one: The pastor should have stood up to his board, or whoever didn't want “those people” in their church, and married Wilson and his bride anyway. True, he might have gotten fired, but now, by his backing down and not doing the wedding in his own church, as agreed upon by all when the wedding was booked, the minister is laying open his church to what could be a horrendous lawsuit. Contracts are contracts, even in Mississippi.
And I have to agree with the groom: God is colorblind.