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Small Kentucky church votes to bar interracial couples from membership

by Brad A. Greenberg

December 1, 2011 | 1:23 pm

In 2011, how is it possible that a church could vote to not accept interracial couples as members?

Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, a small church in rural Pike County, Ky., reportedly did just that.

The issue began this summer, after the daughter of the longtime church secretary and clerk, who is white, led a worship song at the church with her fiancee, who is from Zimbabwe. The pastor at the time, Melvin Thompson, said the two couldn’t lead worship again.

Thompson later stepped down, citing health reasons. But that wasn’t the end of it.

The Kentucky Herald-Leader reports:

In early November, Thompson proposed the church go on record saying that while all people were welcome to attend public worship services there, the church did not condone interracial marriage, according to a copy of the recommendation supplied by the Harvilles.

The proposal also said “parties of such marriages will not be received as members, nor will they be used in worship services” or other church functions, with the exception of funerals.

The 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 copy supplied to the Herald-Leader read.

Truly shocking and indefensible.

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