Stella Harville brought her fiancé, Ticha Chikuni from Zimbabwe, to her church so that he could sing while she played the piano. Stella is white, and Ticha - you might have guessed - is black. This happy couple (just look at that picture!) had the opportunity to perform the song, I Surrender All before the church congregation.
As I'm sure you can imagine, this is a very tender moment for these two. And hats off to both Stella and Ticha for having the courage to present themselves to this congregation knowing full well there will be those who might disagree. Imagine how they must have felt, walking up to the front of the church counting on each other for support as they readied themselves for the performance. I mean, wow... That had to be tough. And even though I no longer accept the existence of god, I can certainly understand how this young woman wanted so much to show her community how happy, and lucky she was to have met Ticha.
But the racist members of congregation saw things a bit differently.
The Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church in Pike County, Kentucky immediately took a vote amongst their whopping 40 member congregation. The vote proposed three decrees: that the church publically oppose interracial marriage, that parties of such marriages will not be received as members, and that the parties will no longer be used in worship services. Nine racists voted to adopt the proposal and six voted against it. Six.
While it's true that only 9 out of the remaining 34 members voted for this utter nonsense, the depressing point to all of this is that by remaining silent, 25 members of this church allowed a foolish and racist minority to determine church policy.
There's nothing like the father of the bride to put things into perspective. I'll quote Dean Harville, Stella's father:
"It sure ain't Christian. It ain't nothing but the old devil working."
Sadly, Mr. Harville, human beings don't need the devil. There are those in our society that are perfectly capable of being racist pigs without the need for supernatural intervention.