A minority in the congregation of the First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Mississippi forced the minister, Stan Weatherford, to deny the right to Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson to get married in their church. Charles Wilson said, “Because of the fact that we were black, some of the members of the congregation had got upset and decided that no black couple would ever be married at that church.” Weatherford performed the ceremony at another church.
|Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson|
On a following Sunday, some members of the Crystal Springs Baptist Church reacted with surprise, which is interesting because it means that Pastor Weatherford only communicated with the racist group before denying the Wilsons a wedding at the church. One member, Bob Mack, commented, “We hope we can straighten them out, you know, get them to understand what Christianity is all about because they have some misconceptions about it.” Too late, Bob.
I have done articles about racism in the South and Mississippi in the past, one resulting in a radio interview a couple years ago with a network of stations from Jackson, Miss. I was blind-sided by vitriol from the show’s host who was bent on protecting the reputation of his state. He argued over and over, this sort of thing doesn’t happen in Mississippi anymore. Not so, according to Ryan Ebersole who wrote about the 2011 killing of James Craig Anderson in Jackson, Mississippi.
Video of Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson:
This pathetic church that shunned the Wilsons decided to apologize, which was no doubt due to the majority of the congregation finally waking up to realize they had a gang of bigots in their midst. Why Pastor Weatherford didn’t realize this in the beginning is hard to understand. Nor have I ever been able to understand how any professed Christian can justify being racist, unless, of course, they are just “Backdoor Baptists.”
In the South where I grew up, there were stories about Baptists drinking in a bar until the local minister walked in to see if any of his flock was there. When he looked around, all the Baptists had left through the back door. Thus the name “Backdoor Baptists.” Any way you interpret this, they are simply hypocrites.
|Crystal Springs First Baptist Church|
When the Crystal Springs Baptists finally got religion and apologized to the Wilsons, they basically said…shove it. They called the apology “an insult” and “misleading to the public.” Charles Wilson commented, “The pastor has not spoken to us since a couple days after the incident. We have not heard from the pastor or any church official since the incident.” Actually, at a rally following the incident, Pastor Weatherford purposely avoided the couple.
To say that racism is no longer prevalent in the South is pure bunk. But this problem isn’t confined to the Southeast region. I now live in Arizona and can attest to the fact that this state is one the most racist I have ever been in. The modern take on racism has moved into the 21st Century to include Hispanics, and racial fanatics like former Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce who authored anti-immigration bill SB-1070, signed by his partner in prejudice, Gov. Jan Brewer.
Arizona was also home to acknowledged racist J.T. Ready, who was also a neo-Nazi. That is until he went berserk and killed 5 in his family, including a toddler and himself.
Hate could eventually bring this country down if Americans don’t find some way to get along and live with each other. Hate is now so ingrained in politics that nothing has been accomplished by Congress in the last two years. We can thank the Tea Party for its influence on Washington and their ruthless philosophy of abhorrence to anything that doesn’t agree with their beliefs. And yes, there have been several incidents of racism attributed to the Tea Party.
Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson are happily married now and probably attending another church. But wherever they decide to worship, there will always be the stigma from the Crystal Springs First Baptist Church. And progressives like myself will continue to wonder how the state of Mississippi, and all other states that condone similar incidents, continue to survive in the 21st Century.
Read more of my posts on racism here.