Kentucky church bans interracial dating men dating separated women
The National Association of Free Will Baptists in Antioch, Tenn., has no official position on interracial marriage for its 2,400 churches worldwide, executive secretary Keith Burden said.
The denomination believes in the Bible is inerrant and local churches have autonomy over decision-making.
"Thompson told me that Stella and her boyfriend were not allowed to sing in the church any more," said Mr Harville. ” He added that the ban was a “black eye to the church, a black eye to our community and a black eye to God”.
“The way I look at it, it's a slap in God's face to say something like this," he said.
A tiny all-white Appalachian church in rural Kentucky has voted to ban interracial couples from joining its flock, pitting members against each other in an argument over race.
Members at the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church voted Sunday on the resolution, which says the church "does not condone interracial marriage." The church member who crafted the resolution, Melvin Thompson, said he is not racist and called the matter an "internal affair." "I am not racist. 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.
"That's what this is being portrayed as, but it is not." Church secretary Dean Harville disagrees: He says the resolution came after his daughter visited the church this summer with her boyfriend from Africa. The vote by members last Sunday was 9-6, Harville said.
Miss Harville's father is the church secretary'I am not racist. 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.The church's pastor, Stacy Stepp, has opposed the ban and said the denomination's regional conference will begin working on resolving the issue this weekend.Interracial marriage was only been legal in all US states since 1967.Mr Thompson, who stepped down as pastor earlier this year citing health problems, denied that the ban was motivated by racism. That’s what this is being portrayed as, but it is not." He later told a local radio station: “I do not believe in interracial marriages, and I do not believe this will give our church a black eye at all." Zimbabwean Mr Chikuni has lived in the US for 11 years, having come to Kentucky to study, and now works as a student adviser at Georgetown College.Miss Harville, who is studying for a master's degree in Indiana, said she was “deeply hurt” as she has attended the church since childhood and knows those who voted for the ban personally.
Chikuni, 29, who works at Georgetown College, is black--and Harville, who was baptized at the church but is not an active member, is white.