The wedding of Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson at First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs should have been a joyous occasion, instead it shows us how racism still has hold in the USA.
The BBC has an audio clip detailing matters.
The Guardian explains:
“God’s love is colour-blind. Not so, it seems, when it comes to the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs in Mississippi.
Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson, an African American couple from nearby Jackson, were all set for their big wedding day on Saturday at the 150-year-old church that they have been attending regularly for months. The sanctuary of the church had been arranged, the rehearsal was set for Friday, invitations had been sent out to friends extending a “special thank you to the First Baptist Church and members”.
Then, at about 5.10pm on Thursday evening Te’Andrea received a call. Some of the congregation of the church, which is largely white, had seen a group of black women setting up the sanctuary for the wedding and complained to the pastor.
“If the pastor married her, because they were black then they would vote him out,” Te’Andrea was told. The wedding was off.
“When I got the news I couldn’t believe it at first,” Charles Wilson told the Jackson Clarion-Leader. “This is not a matter of colour for me, it’s about God, and what better place to get married than God’s sanctuary. God’s love is colour blind.”
Wilson confronted the pastor, Stan Weatherford, and asked him what had happened. According to Wilson, he replied that he had “received all sorts of phone calls, text messages, and it was just not going to happen”.
Later, Weatherford told the local channel WLBT News that weddings of black couples had never happened before in the church, “so it was setting a precedent, and there were those who reacted to that”. He added: “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.”
This is the Church’s nonsensical no-apology (courtesy of Therese Apel of The Clarion-Ledger):
“Statement from the deacons of the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, as read before the congregation on July 29, 2012:
We have gathered here today to worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We want everyone to know it has never been our intention to diminish in any way, the work of God in our community or the world. Our many ministries here are open to everyone and have been for many years. We would never consider doing otherwise.
In the coming days and weeks our congregation will gather as a body of believers to pray and seek God’s blessing and direction as we move forward. We will ask for forgiveness where God reveals it is necessary and for His guidance as we look to the future of our congregation.
It is our hope and prayer that God will be glorified and our church will be better positioned to bring a gospel message of Jesus Christ to our community and the world. “
The Torygraph reminds us:
“The church in Crystal Springs, a 5,000-strong suburb of the state capital Jackson, was founded in 1883 and no black couple has ever been married there.
Mr Wilson, who had been a regular attendee at the church, said: “A wedding is a Christian ceremony. Where’s the Christianity in there? My nine-year-old daughter was going to the church with us. How would you say to your nine-year-old ‘We cannot get married here because, guess what sweetie, we’re black.’
“I blame the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, I blame those members who knew and call themselves Christians and didn’t stand up. I feel like it was blatant racial discrimination.”