The First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, Mississippi refused to marry a Black couple who have attended regularly, because they are Black. The 129-year old Baptist church told Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson just one day before their wedding day that if the pastor, Dr. Stan Weatherford, married them they would fire him. Pastor Weatherford married the couple in another location.
“The church congregation had decided no black could be married at that church, and that if [the pastor] went on to marry her, then they would vote him out the church,” Charles Wilson told reporters, according to David Edwards at The Raw Story:
“He had people in the sanctuary that were pitching a fit about us being a black couple,” Te’Andrea Wilson added. “I didn’t like it at all, because I wasn’t brought up to be racist. I was brought up to love and care for everybody.”
Dr. Stan Weatherford, the church’s pastor, was forced to perform the marriage at another church after he was taken by surprise by his congregation’s outrage.
“This had never been done before here, so it was setting a new precedent, and there are those who reacted to that because of that,” Weatherford said. “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.”
Church officials said they would hold meetings to decide what to do if another non-white couple wanted to use their facility in the future. They insisted that all races were welcome at the church.
“I blame the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, I blame those members who knew and call themselves Christians and didn’t stand up,” Charles Wilson said.
“These are exciting times for Crystal Springs,” the church’s website says.
Last year, the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church in Pike County, Kentucky voted to ban interracial couples from becoming church members or to worship under their roof, after one interracial couple showed up. They later rescinded that vote after great media attention.