(Article first published as Kentucky Church Overturns Ban on Interracial Couples
On Sunday, the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church, a small congregation in Kentucky, voted to overturn its recent ban
on allowing interracial couples to be members of the church. This latest action came on the heels of much criticism following the congregation’s recent ban.
So let me guess; Gulnare is not the last holdout. That is, just because the Kentucky church has overturned its ban does not mean there aren’t other congregations that classify themselves as Christian, and that oppose interracial couples. But in this case, a white girl and her African boyfriend visited Gulnare Free Will Baptist last summer and sang for the congregation. A serious line had been crossed, and the members of the congregation were forced to assert their position on interracial couples.
Of course, we already knew that racism in America is still a significant problem. Also, we know that not everybody is open to interracial dating. Why did I make two separate statements that appear to be the same? Because they are not necessarily the same. In other words, I don’t believe that just because a person opposes interracial dating that it automatically makes the person a racist.
On the other hand, I do believe that the Christian church must take the lead in seeing beyond the color of a person’s skin. “You are the light of the world,” Jesus said to His disciples (Matthew 5:14). That means we the Christian community should be showing the way to those outside of the Christian community. This recent incident suggests, however, that the Christian church has a long ways to go in the way of interracial relations.
I do commend Gulnare for overturning its recent ban. Let’s face it; there are no perfect congregations. The question is, when we acknowledge the error of our ways, what will we do? In this case, the church took the right corrective action. According to news reports, Sunday’s resolution to welcome all believers passed with a unanimous vote.
But this is but the first step. Merely agreeing to do the right thing—or even legislating the same—does not guarantee success. It’s reasonable to assume that in a church that has held the position that Gulnare has over the years, embracing interracial couples will be much easier said than done for some members of the congregation. But they don’t have to do it in their own strength. Christians can do all things through Christ who strengthens them.
Copyright ©2011 by Frank King. All rights reserved.