Kentucky Church Excludes Interracial Couples

Is there any evil at all that the alleged Christian God, who is allegedly love itself, can prevent those who worship him from committing? He cannot even make it so that in 2011, all his American churches have caught up with repudiating racism?

Before stepping down as pastor in August, Thompson told Harville that her fiance could not sing at the church again. Harville is white and Chikuni, a native of Zimbabwe, is black.

Last Sunday, church members voted 9-6 in favor of Thompson’s proposed ban. Others attending the church business meeting declined to take a stand on the issue.

“That the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church does not condone interracial marriage,” the resolution states, according to WKYT.

“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.”

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Hank Fox

    Greater unity among a small body of banjo-plucking halfwits, at the expense of larger social values such as equality and respect.

    • Joel Musser

      @Hank Fox

      Are you implying that “banjo plucking half-wits” are somehow more likely to be racist than smarter, more cultured people? The Germans had some of the best (if not simply the best) composers and philosophers in the West as the Nazis rose to power, for example. If anything, intelligence and “culture” just make bigots more tyrannical. (Plato may have been the first to articulate this.) Evil is evil, and I think we are ignoring the greater problem if we just brush off such atrocities as the foolish doings of less enlightened people.

    • laurentweppe

      You can also add the fact that the Protocol of the Elders of Zion was a smash hit first among university students and teachers. Of course it opens the question of belief and legitimizing myths: it is very likely that most of the pro-nazi intellectuals never believed their own racist and antisemitic rethoric but used it because they needed a boogeyman in order to justify their intent to create the tyrannic, rigid and exceptionally hierarchical social order they dreamed of.

  • jamessweet

    I’m sure the pastors has tons of black friends.

    • Dunc

      I’ll bet he even lets some of them use his bathroom.

  • NoYourGod

    “…is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve.”

    What an elegant way of saying “WHITE POWER! WHITE POWER!”

  • docsarvis

    Unity through exclusion. We hear you well George Orwell.

    • NoAstronomer

      Beat me to it.

      “…is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve.”

      Classic Newspeak. George would be proud. Or very very depressed.

  • Ƶ§œš¹

    I’m reminded of the anti-same-sex marriage concern that legally allowing gay couples to wed would potentially infringe on individual churches’ rights to discriminate against gays. It makes sense a certain amount of sense in that prohibitions against interracial couples like this are pretty rare nowadays and it’s easy to associate that with the Civil Rights Movement; it’s probably because of the way law impacts social thinking.

    If we as a society condemn this church’s action without it resorting to legal action, I think that says something about how the legal freedom of individual churches to continue to discriminate against gay couples could persist de jure after same-sex marriage is legalized but would probably whittle away de facto until it would be so out of the ordinary that instances would be newsworthy.

  • roggg

    Wow wow wow. What year is this? I think what bothers me most is just how brazen the bigoted segment of the right has become. That anti-gay, anti-Islam, and even racism are increasingly practiced and professed in the open. I shudder to think where it all leads.

  • Eric

    “All are welcome to our public worship services.”

    Except interracial couples. I’m betting gay couples wouldn’t be particularly welcome either. I wonder if, as long as they kept to themselves, if black couples would be welcome – after all, separate *is* equal…

    Do they understand the meaning of the word ‘welcome’?

    • Ƶ§œš¹

      In practice, churches are still pretty segregated in the South. My understanding is that a few crossovers can exist in a given congregation without it violating this tendency.

  • Marnie

    I’m sorry, honey, my all knowing, all loving, benevolent god of peace, has nothing but love and forgiveness and benevolence for me but he’s got a real hangup with the abundance of melanin he gave you. Don’t feel bad, he’d hate our marriage even more if we were the same gender. At least he makes my mother seem more reasonable. Speaking of which, she wants to know if we are trying to break her heart with our marriage or if we are just too selfish to know how much shame we’ve brought to the family.

  • Brandon

    The one good thing about incidents like this is knowing exactly where you stand with these people.

  • Stewart

    If you’d like a taste of what this looks like to the other side, take a peek (but not too long; there could be medical side-effects) at the comments following this (tip: commenter “Shylow” is especially good value for money):

  • Richard Wade

    Just another late Cretaceous dinosaur stumbling its last few steps through the sticky mixture of post-impact soot and snow. Keep it up, Gulnare Freewill Baptist Churchasaurus, and your extinction will be more mercifully quick. Good riddance.

    Christianity needs only to look to its own members to find its most devastating enemies, those who shelter their hatred and ignorance under its rooftops.

    I hope that Stella and Ticha can find happiness and acceptance, although it may have to be far from either of their birthplaces.

  • martalayton

    I’m as outraged as anyone at what this church is doing. Even Bob Jones University, that paradigm of enlightenment [/sarcasm], not only allows interracial couples but apologized for their past bans. IIRC, BJU went so far as to say they had misinterpreted the canon. When freaking Bob Jones has moved past you on an issue, it’s probably past time to reevaluate.

    That said:

    Is there any evil at all that the alleged Christian God, who is allegedly love itself, can prevent those who worship him from committing?

    That struck me as a bit of a straw-man. Most religious folk (certainly those who would never be caught dead among this particular group of “Christians”) don’t think God strong-arms people to stop them from acting badly. Free will being so valuable, etc. It’s not a sign of weakness when someone (hypothetical or actual) can’t do what’s logically impossible.

    • Camels With Hammers

      It’s not a strawman, if you’re claiming an omnipotent god of love and yet He cannot so much as get those who most ardently devote themselves to him to be even minimally good, even in ways that are socially encouraged to an extraordinary extent, then your claim is false on its face. What good is having “the Holy Spirit” which supposedly alone makes good works possible if it will not remove your bigotries? Where is the proof of any of the miraculous claims for this supernatural aid in being good, being holy, etc.? Supposedly these are not people using their free will to turn away from God, these are the people turning their wills to God—praying, worshipping, preaching, studying the Bible, etc. These are people making God central in their lives. If this omnipotent love being can’t pull THOSE people aside and say, “SERIOUSLY, people, UR DOING IT RONG”, then is there ANY falsification test we can put to the omnipotent love being? Or should we just, in perpetuity believe in something that has no evidence and which is counter-indicated by all evidence?

    • Joel Musser

      Christ’s parable of the tares is appropriate here:

      “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”
      (Matthew 13:24-30, King James Version)

      Christ is alluding to the phenomena that’s true in every organization, and maybe inherent in every kind of relationship, that there will always be people or things that are antithetical to the group or relationship, but to try to remove them would completely unravel the fabric of the group or relationship. I don’t think it’s fair to say that a some rotten Christians spoil the whole Church, therefore we should have no Church, anymore than it is to say that a few corrupt cops spoil law enforcement, therefore we should have no law enforcement.

      Obviously if you are against religion or government from the start (say based on materialist or libertarian presuppositions, respectively), then you would be against the Church or state implicitly. But that doesn’t rely on the logic of bad apples.

    • Camels With Hammers

      The Church does not claim to be just any institution. It claims to be the “called out ones” who God has specially saved and made holy by him. If it’s just another indistinguishably fallible institution of normal people, then where’s the evidence of this divine saving grace we need?

    • Joel Musser

      You’re right, the Church is special because of its claims of divine revelation, etc., but Christ’s specific point is that there will be those in the Church that aren’t Christians, even leaders (like this pastor) who are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

      Not everyone that’s “in” the Church are actually “in” the Church. St. Augustine put it this way: there is the the Church of this world, the City of Men, which is a mixture of souls that are turned towards God and souls that are turned towards themselves and the world, and there is the spiritual Church, the City of God, whose membership is only those of souls that are indeed turned towards God.

      I don’t think it’s a problem if the Church indistinguishable from other groups in this way. The fact is, it is a “fallible institution of normal people,” as you say! That’s why Christians need a Christ, because they’re fallible, fallen, etc.

  • peterh

    *Paraphrase follows:*

    “We don’t want you here, but we will bury you.”

    *Observation follows:*


  • Stewart

    If all the bad publicity is getting to them, maybe the church could replace the ban with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding skin colour.