Today in racism: black wedding shunned by mostly white church

This latest incident in post-racial racism may be shocking to those who are in denial about how far the good ol’ U.S. of A. is from this alleged colorblind euphoric state:

It was to be their big day, but a Jackson couple says the church where they were planning to wed turned them away because of their race.

Now, the couple wants answers, and the church’s pastor is questioning the mindset of some of members of his congregation who caused the problem in the first place.

They had set the date and printed and mailed out all the invitations, but the day before wedding bells were to ring for Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson, they say they got some bad news from the pastor.

“The church congregation had decided no black could be married at that church, and that if he went on to marry her, then they would vote him out the church,” said Charles Wilson.

The Wilsons were trying to get married at the predominantly white First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs — a church they attend regularly, but are not members of.

“He had people in the sanctuary that were pitching a fit about us being a black couple,” said Te’Andrea Wilson. “I didn’t like it at all, because I wasn’t brought up to be racist. I was brought up to love and care for everybody.”

The church’s pastor, Dr. Stan Weatherford, says he was taken by surprise by what he calls a small minority against the black marriage at the church.

“This had never been done before here, so it was setting a new precedent, and there are those who reacted to that because of that,” said Weatherford. 

Weatherford went on and performed the wedding at a nearby church.

“I didn’t want to have a controversy within the church, and I didn’t want a controversy to affect the wedding of Charles and Te’ Andrea. I wanted to make sure their wedding day was a special day,” said Weatherford.

So, the idea of seeing a black couple get married was so new and foreign that this “small minority” in the church was resisting to it? Hm…interesting. I didn’t know the idea of black folks getting married was so repulsive to people.

The Clarion Ledger had some more interesting tidbits about this story, namely that “five or six members” went to the pastor after they saw the Wilson’s wedding rehearsal two days before the wedding was set to take place.

Wilson said he understands Weatherford was caught in a difficult position and he still likes the pastor, but he also thinks the pastor should have stood up to the members who didn’t want the couple to marry in the church. “If you’re for Christ, you can’t straddle the fence,” Wilson said of Weatherford. “He knew it was wrong.”

The city of Crystal Springs, Miss., is pushing back against the racist image this “small minority” is presenting and plans to hold a unity rally 6 p.m. Monday night.

It should be noted this racist irony comes on the heels of the Southern Baptist Convention electing Fred Luter, its first black president.

What’s a bit peculiar is this couple had been attending the church for some time and it’s not known if this same “small minority” had a problem with their presence. Also, it would be interesting to see if how the Southern Baptist Convention will handle this news. Now that it’s president is black, I am anxious to see if Luter will even address the issue or cave to political pressure and decide to withhold any official statement.

What I also find troubling is if this was a small minority, why would this pastor feel threatened that they would vote him out of power at the church? If this was a small minority, wouldn’t he have enough support to remain the leader of the Baptist church?

Considering that, I find it hard to believe that this was just some small minority unveiling its racist ideology. Me thinks the majority of this congregation at least had some reservation about seeing people of color utilize the heterosexist institution of marriage to make their union official in the eyes of Mississippi’s legal realm of society.

One can’t deny the latent racist feeling among this congregation that marriage can and should only be reserved for white, heterosexual couples and marginalized individuals should have no access to a state-sanctioned institution, set up to protect whiteness, to validate their love.

Wilson’s statements about the pastor’s decision is on point. If this pastor was serious about making a statement that his church doesn’t tolerate hate, he would have shunned this so-called small minority and stand up for racial equality. Instead, he bowed to what’s obviously an overarching racist atmosphere bubbling within his congregation, and forever tainted the Wilson’s wedding with bigotry.