Church Cancels Man’s Funeral After Finding Out He Was Gay

August 10, 2014  |  

A Tampa church canceled a man’s funeral—the night before the ceremony—after finding out he was gay.

Julie Atwood was told that holding her son’s funeral was considered blasphemous and was completely saddened by the church’s decision. “It was devastating,” she said. “I did feel like he was being denied the dignity of death,” she told a local news station.

She was told the news at her son’s wake after attendees read literature stating the deceased, Julion Evans, left behind a husband, Kendall Capers. Many became furious by the news and expressed such to T.W. Jenkins, the pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, who revoked the family’s ability to hold Evans funeral at the church.

Capers said he thought it would be a great idea to hold his husband’s funeral at New Hope given that his family is longtime members of the church, “I thought it probably would have been best. His family grew up in the church. It just made sense.”

But the leadership at New Hope disagreed with that notion, “Based on our preaching of the scripture, we would have been in error to allow the service in our church,” Jenkins told CNN. He continued, “I’m not trying to condemn anyone’s lifestyle, but at the same time, I am a man of God, and I have to stand up for my principles.”

Atwood, still mourning the death of her son, stood at his casket when she received the call that would drastically alter her son’s funeral services. She and her family scrambled, successfully, to find an alternate venue to hold Evans’ service.

Capers expressed his disdain and confusion surrounding Pastor Jenkins’ decision, “Regardless of our background and sexual orientation, how can you wait that long to put someone in a bind when they’re gone through a loss,” he said.

Evans died after a tough battle with amyloidosis, a rare, incurable disease, which destroys organs, the nervous system and digestive track. He and Capers married in 2013.

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