Kentucky church bans interracial couples

Stella Harville and her fiancé, Ticha Chikuni caused a ruckus at a small Kentucky church that led the place of worship to ban interracial couples (Photo credit: Associated Press)

A rural Kentucky church earlier this week voted to ban interracial couples (the couple at the center of this farce pictured above) from joining its ministry, according to news reports: 

“It’s not the spirit of the community in any way, shape or form,” Randy Johnson, president of the Pike County Ministerial Association, said of the vote.

The issue came up at the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, said Dean Harville, a longtime member who serves as church secretary and clerk. Attendance is usually around 40 people for a Sunday service at the church in the Johns Creek area, Harville said.

Harville said his daughter Stella Harville, who is pursuing a master’s degree in optical engineering at a school in Indiana, brought her fiancé, Ticha Chikuni, to church in June and played the piano as he sang.

The couple performed I Surrender All, said Stella Harville, who is 24. Chikuni, 29, who works at Georgetown College, is black. He is a native of Zimbabwe. Stella Harville grew up in the church and was baptized there, but she is not a member, Dean Harville said. 

Dean Harville said Melvin Thompson, who had been pastor for many years, told him in August that his daughter and her fiancé couldn’t sing at the church again. Thompson stepped down as pastor in August, citing health issues, but he refused Harville’s requests to drop the issue, Harville said. The new pastor, Stacy Stepp, said the couple could sing at the church if they wanted, Harville said.

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.

The article goes on to state that at a church business meeting, nine members voted in favor of the ban while six voted against the ban. Quotes in the article makes one believe that the vote has divided the small congregation.

Members of this church who voted in favor of this sham should be ashamed of themselves. I can’t wrap my head around why so-called Christians, supposedly following the teachings of Jesus Christ, would choose bigotry and hate over love, acceptance and tolerance.

As a woman in an interracial relationship, any church that votes to excludes me and my boyfriend from attending wouldn’t be worthy of my tithes and my volunteerism. And any member of that church who voted to exclude me and my boyfriend from attending wouldn’t be worth my time or my friendship.

I can’t say I’m surprised or shocked by this news. Interracial couples continue to face glares, resentment, passive-aggressive reactions and downright nastiness from people who’ve bought into the belief that people should date, marry and reproduce with people of their own race.

It also doesn’t surprise me as I’ve heard quite a few so-called Christians refer to a Bible verse they claim is proof that God does not approve of interracial marriages. Like the Leviticus verse taken out of context with regards to homosexuality, these backwards Christians once again have proudly put on display their warped view of the Bible and are hiding behind their religion to actively discriminate against interracial couples.

Welcome to 21st century post-racial America.