Kentucky Church Interracial Couples – A Kentucky Church has placed a ban on all interracial friends and couples.
The tiny Appalachian religious institution in Pike County has voted – anonymously.
They voted for the ban because they didn’t want racially mixed couples to join its flock, pitting members against each other in an argument over race.
Members at the Gulnare Free Will Baptist religious institution in Kentucky voted Sunday on the resolution, which says the church “does not condone interracial marriage.”
Member Melvin Thompson crafted the resolution but said Wednesday that he is not racist. The religious institution secretary, Dean Harville, disagrees. The resolution followed a visit to the religious institution by Harville’s daughter, who is white, and her African boyfriend.
“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,” said Thompson, the church’s former pastor who stepped down earlier this year. “That’s what this is being portrayed as, but it is not.”
He called the matter an “internal affair” of the religious institution.
The National Association of Free Will Baptists in Antioch, Tenn., has no official position on racially mixed marriage, said its executive secretary, Keith Burden.
“It’s been a non-issue with us,” Burden said, adding that many interracial couples attend Free Will Baptist religious institutions. He said the Pike County religious institution in Kentucky acted on its own.
“Hopefully it is corrected quickly,” Burden said.
Stella Harville, and Ticha Chikuni — now her fiance — visited the religious institution in June and Chikuni sang a song for the congregation. The two had visited the religious institution before.
Stella Harville, a 24-year-old graduate student at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana, called the vote “hurtful.”
“I think part of me is still in shock and trying to process what’s been going on the past few days,” she said. “I really hope they overturn this.”
The vote by members on Sunday was 9-6, Harville said. It was taken after the service, which about 35 to 40 people attended. Harville said many people left or declined to vote.
The resolution says anyone is welcome to attend services, but the interracial couples could not become members or be “used in worship services or other church functions.”