Not because the young lovers were gay—they weren’t—but because they were black.
The day before Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson were to tie the knot at the First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Pastor Stan Weatherford broke the news that he’d have to marry them at a predominately African-American church down the road. Apparently there hasn’t been a black wedding at First Baptist since its founding in 1883, and some church members were objecting vociferously to breaking that streak. Weatherford told WAPT-TV in Jackson he wanted to perform the ceremony but he was also concerned with “addressing a need within our congregation.”
When did church become a mob-rule situation? This is a horrible scenario—one that we would hope would underscore the common struggle of oppressed minorities.
The Wilsons, of course, were devastated: “My 9-year-old was going to the church with us,” said Charles Wilson. “How would you say to your 9-year-old daughter, ‘We cannot get married here because, guess what sweetie, we’re black.'”
Media reports say the town is up in arms over the minister’s decision but, since plenty of those residents sit in the pews at First Baptist, we have to question their sincerity.
“What would Jesus have done? He would have married them, without a doubt, because it’s the right thing to do,” said lifelong Crystal Springs resident Theresa Norwood, who is black. “We’re all God’s children.”
Any legal experts want to tell us if First Baptist has opened itself up to nasty lawsuit? Or do the same exemptions that allow religious institutions to discriminate against LGBT people protect them in cases of clear-cut racism?