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Pastor leaves after church turns away biracial boy

SALTILLO - Twelve-year-old Joe recently asked Jesus to live in his heart.

Yet the church where Joe accepted his Savior not even two weeks before will no longer allow the biracial boy to enter.

On Aug. 6, during its scheduled Sunday night business meeting, Fellowship Baptist Church in Saltillo voted not to accept blacks within the church. More specifically, the congregation also voted Joe out and said he could not return.

That evening Fellowship Baptist did not just say goodbye to Joe and an entire race of humans. With that decision the church's pastor, the Rev. John Stevens, resigned, and at least one other family decided not to return to the Baptist Missionary Alliance congregation that averages 30 people.

The church was "afraid Joe might come with his people and have blacks in the church," Stevens said. "I could not go along with that. There would always be a wall between us, so I resigned that night."

Cliff Hardy, an officer with the Tupelo Police Department, left the church, too. He and his family had been going to Fellowship Baptist for about a year and had been praying about becoming members there.

"I was asking the Lord to lead us," Hardy said.

The police officer says there are good people at Fellowship Baptist, and the Bible was preached there.

However, "You see, my best friend is a black man," he said. "I wouldn't be comfortable going to a place where I couldn't ask my best friend to go to church with me."

Hardy says he knows there are still a lot of folks who are not comfortable with people from other races, there is still a lot of holdover from the past, there is still a lot of fear.

"But that's not what Christ died for," he said. Jesus' death and resurrection "is supposed to be a uniting force, not a separating thing."

We're all God's children

In July Joe moved in with his uncle and aunt, Saltillo residents Jason and Melinda Kirk. The Kirks, who had been attending Fellowship Baptist for almost five months, were Joe's temporary guardians until recently, when his stepmother moved here from Ohio.

During the week of July 23-26, Fellowship Baptist held revival services, and on July 26, Joe became a Christian.

The following Sunday, people at the church asked the Kirks if they would become members, and the family started praying about it.

The next Sunday morning, Aug. 6, the Kirks went to church. When company arrived at their house that afternoon, they decided not to go to the 143-year-old church that night.

Later that evening, the Kirks received a phone call from their pastor, Stevens, who said Joe had been voted out of the church and could not come back. The minister, 72, who has now retired, said he had resigned from the church over the decision.

Joe overheard the telephone conversation.

"We explained to him that everybody didn't feel like that," Melinda Kirk said. "But it really bothered him. He felt like our pastor had to quit his job because of him."

The Kirks reassured their nephew that Stevens was just standing up for what is right.

"People have got to realize we're all God's children," Jason Kirk said. "It's not God so loved the white people; it's God so loved the world."

Since Stevens' resignation, one church member who was not at the Aug. 6 meeting has called the former pastor and told him he was in favor of what he did. Stevens estimates 80 percent of the church is against having blacks in the congregation.

"It's between them and God," police officer Hardy said. "I love those folks, but I can't agree with them."

Fellowship Baptist Church members were contacted for this article but declined to comment.

Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
dartfaerie
Aug. 25th, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC)
... fuck. There are some really fucking stupid hateful people out there... pretending to be christian at that. Oi.
gwyndolyn
Aug. 25th, 2006 09:25 pm (UTC)
There are really fucking stupid hateful people everywhere, and most of them are religious. Just like prisons are something like 90% xtian.
gornac
Aug. 28th, 2006 04:50 pm (UTC)
Where'd that extra 't' come from? christ=x + ian, thus xian. It's not xtmas.

As for the body of this thread, I really don't need to post what's already been said. Xianity isn't bad, it's the followers.
gwyndolyn
Aug. 31st, 2006 08:18 am (UTC)
Bad habit from some illiterate fundies I keep getting rants from (which makes it funnier, IMO). I'm so used to seeing Xtian, I often end up typing that instead of Xian.

Any organized religion is bad, because they ALL work to subvert personal choice, and gain power for themselves. Try to tell the 'witches' of Salem Xianity isn't bad, or the people who suffered at the hands of the Inquisition, to name a few.

While I don't believe in any gods, I have no problem with spirituality. It's when you get the OR involved that it gets (more) insanely political and about money and power.
gornac
Aug. 31st, 2006 03:16 pm (UTC)
Obviously you don't remember, but we've talked about this at length in the past. (either that or you just like to see your words appear on the screen ;) )
gwyndolyn
Aug. 31st, 2006 06:51 pm (UTC)
I'm far too lazy to care enough about seeing my words on the screen. But
1. I don't remember, considering it's been more than a year (appx) since I talked to you at any length about anything, and
2. I still would have answered your statements how I did, because since I was responding, how else would I have responded? LOL
gornac
Aug. 31st, 2006 10:01 pm (UTC)
1. You're getting old.
2. You could've responded with the response you responded with, true; but you could've just acknowledged with the response that acknowledged the acknowledgment that I responded to the response with.
gornac
Aug. 31st, 2006 10:02 pm (UTC)
3. Sorrow's probably getting sick of the fact that I respond to everything.
gwyndolyn
Sep. 1st, 2006 02:02 am (UTC)
Good, irritate him! :P
gwyndolyn
Sep. 1st, 2006 02:03 am (UTC)
Or that.


and yeah, I'm getting old. But aren't you still older? :P

If not, at least I can console myself with the fact that Sorrow is, muahahah
gornac
Sep. 1st, 2006 02:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but my memory is...um.. what was I gonna say?

And yes, Sorrow has years on me too :)
xmissdemeanorx
Aug. 26th, 2006 02:18 am (UTC)
oh mah gawd
gwyndolyn
Aug. 26th, 2006 02:36 am (UTC)
That's pretty much what I said, only there was a lot more profanity in my version.
tearsthatsear
Aug. 26th, 2006 03:00 am (UTC)
"Twelve-year-old Joe recently asked Jesus to live in his heart."

... that is kind of seriously creepy sounding.

The last thing guy that I invited into me never called me the next morning. DAMN YOU, JESUS. Men are all alike.
gwyndolyn
Aug. 26th, 2006 03:06 am (UTC)
All that religion stuff is creepy.

Speaking of Jesus calling the next morning:
Who would Jesus do?
gwyndolyn
Aug. 26th, 2006 03:07 am (UTC)
Well shit, that didn't work. Here's the Who would Jesus do link:

http://www.cracksmokingshirts.com/html/Who_Would_Jesus_Do_T-shirt.html
tearsthatsear
Aug. 26th, 2006 03:02 am (UTC)
...but after fully reading this, I find it horrifying. When was this published, 1927? I hope..
gwyndolyn
Aug. 26th, 2006 03:08 am (UTC)
Sadly, it's from August 19th of this year :(
tearsthatsear
Aug. 26th, 2006 03:13 am (UTC)
Ah, blessed ignorance. Who doesn't love a crazy, racist preacher every now and then? Glad they're furthering the loving message of Christ!
gwyndolyn
Aug. 26th, 2006 03:14 am (UTC)
You know, peopel always say that how xtians are supposed ot be all loving, this and that. I've never seen it. what i see from xtians is bigotry and hate and all sorts of other bs. I need my own planet!
tearsthatsear
Aug. 26th, 2006 03:22 am (UTC)
We can start our own. Call it "Bitchitron" or something. We'd need to set ground rules, parameters, import atttractive/dumb men to do our bidding...

We could pilot Pluto now that it's no longer an "official" planet! A little cold, but such is a world devoid of religion, no? As it should be. (haha.)

...it could be crazy enough to work.

gwyndolyn
Aug. 26th, 2006 03:25 am (UTC)
Pluto is my ruling planet, so that fits. We'll change it to Bichitron and it will be bitchtastic!

Now all we need to do is overcome the whole terraforming problem and we'll be set. I think the penalty for coming to Bichitron and proselytizing should be a toss out the nearest airlock.
tearsthatsear
Aug. 26th, 2006 03:28 am (UTC)
I like the way you think, sister. Together we shall rule the lesser-important cosmos...

First the "dwarf" planets, then the GALAXY!

-Joanna.
gwyndolyn
Aug. 26th, 2006 04:16 am (UTC)
All shall bow to our power!

You know, though, I was thinking about this article- maybe that church did that kid a favor. Maybe it will get him to step back from evils of religion by exposing him to one. If that makes any sense. Favor's probably not the right word, since it's no favor to be treated like that....but hopefully you know what I mean
tearsthatsear
Aug. 26th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
I do. And if the shitty way he's treated by "Men of God" can make him see what a crock it all is.. you're right.. maybe it IS doing him a favor in the long run.
gornac
Sep. 1st, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC)
Yall need to come Oralasmian and rule there. Prior to making decesions, you must first consult the Test Sceptre through insertion.
mynthe
Aug. 26th, 2006 02:47 pm (UTC)
This is just using God as an excuse for their own racism. Grr. Fucking stupid people. I am glad at least the pastor knew to do the right thing.
gwyndolyn
Aug. 31st, 2006 08:19 am (UTC)
Yeah, at least that preacher did the right thing.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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