It might be 2012 most places in the nation, but at the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs in Mississippi, it’s about 1950-something. There, the predominantly white congregation objected to marrying a couple this month not because they weren’t members or didn’t do premarital counseling–simply “Because of the fact that we were black,” Charles Wilson told CNN Sunday night.
“Some of the members of the congregation had got upset and decided that no black couple would ever be married at that church. All we wanted to do in the eyes of God was to be man and wife in a church that we thought we felt loved. What was wrong with that?”
Apparently a lot in the church members’ eyes. At the last minute, Pastor Stan Weatherford asked the couple to move their wedding location on behalf of the congregation. As a compromise, he married the couple elsewhere.
“This was — had not — had never been done here before so it was setting a new (precedent) and there were those who reacted to that,” Weatherford told CNN affiliate WLBT. ”I didn’t want to have a controversy within the church, and I didn’t want a controversy to affect the wedding of Charles and Te’ Andrea. I wanted to make sure their wedding day was a special day.”
The wedding was still clearly affected. The couple had already sent out invitations listing the church as the place of the wedding so they had to redirect everyone to a new spot. Not to mention taking in the fact that the church which Te’Andrea had bee a part of for over a year was somehow accepting of having a black member but not marrying them. Hindsight being 20/20, some members of the church have now come forward to express regret over the protest of a supposed minority of people. Attendee Bob Mack told WLBT:
“I would say, ‘I’m sorry this happened and would you forgive the people who caused it? Because we’re gonna try to.’”
Charles isn’t so sure he’s ready to forgive what was his new church home’s transgressions though.
“If it was such a minority of people [who didn't want us to get married there], why didn’t the majority stand up and say, ‘In God’s house we don’t do this?’”
An excellent question I’m sure the members don’t have an answer to.
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