Kentucky Church Bans Interracial Couples

December 1, 2011  |  

A white woman in Pike County, KY, and her Zimbabwean fiancé have been banned from the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church after members voted not to allow interracial couples to place membership or be used in worship services or church functions.

Stella Harville grew up in the Gulnare church and although she and her fiancé, Ticha Chikuni, no longer live in Pike County, they would visit the church whenever she returned home—until a 9-6 vote among members condemned interracial marriage.

The resolution states: “The Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church does not condone interracial marriage. Parties of such marriages will not be received as members, nor will they be used in worship services and other church functions, with the exception being funerals. All are welcome to our public worship services. This recommendation is not intended to judge the salvation of anyone, but is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve.”

The church’s pastor, Stacey Stepp told WYMT he is trying to resolve the issue and that everyone is welcome, meanwhile Harville’s parents are working to get members to change their minds or they’ll leave the congregation.

Even if the members change their public stance, who would still want to worship with people with such prejudiced mindsets? It’s clear from a statement made by Melvin Thompson, who drafted the resolution, that the members are in denial. “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. That’s what this is being portrayed as, but it is not.” Sure Melvin.

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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