By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
Notice to all Mississippi churches and public bodies: If you’d like to avoid bringing international embarrassment upon everybody from Walls to Pascagoula, do not block anybody from getting married in your facilities.
The State of Mississippi is already under the gun for banning same-sex commitment ceremonies from, of all places, the former Episcopal church it moved onto the grounds of the Agriculture & Forestry Museum in Jackson.
Now, the once-sleepy southwest Mississippi town of Crystal Springs is hosting unity rallies to bring residents and civic leaders together in support of a black couple’s desire to be married in mostly white First Baptist Church there.
The church’s pastor, Dr. Stan Weatherford, claims he was strong-armed into canceling the couple’s wedding by a small but vocal church minority.
They say the mostly white congregation decided no black couple could wed there.
That’s really turning one around, isn’t it?
Could it possibly be that some in this congregation are among people who suggest that folks like Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson lack family values and fail to take those sacred vows to cash in on federal generosity as the children arrive, one after another?
Could it possibly be that some in this congregation get flush with religious fervor and write those big checks for foreign missions while forgetting that the vulnerable and the poor of all colors and ages live just a few blocks from their sacred halls?
Maybe I’m wrong to rejoice that people want to commit to one another and follow a plan for their lives.
Maybe I’m wrong to think a House of God is for everybody, not just the ones who pay the light bill.
Oh, maybe the Wilsons were trying to start something? Obviously Pastor Weatherford didn’t think so.
Who are we to judge someone else’s motives for being married under the auspices of organized religion?
The good people of Crystal Springs turned out in force Monday to show another side of their town.
An FBC church member implored them, “It’s not the majority of the church. Give us a second chance,” he said. “That’s what Jesus is about. That’s what church is about: second chances.”
This attention comes as a warning to communities and congregations throughout our state, so steeped in the historical stain of racial and social prejudice.
Don’t tell me that stuff like this happens all over America. If it does, it shouldn’t.
But if it happens in Mississippi, it will be all over the news from New York and London to Berlin and Singapore.
So, why can’t we just get along?
If folks want to commit or get married, well I say, good luck and God speed.
I’ve tried it twice, and frankly, I could have used all the luck and blessings available.
Patsy R. Brumfield writes a Thursday column. Contact her at (662) 678-1596.