We have spent a significant portion of our time this semester discussing the Civil Rights Movement and the progress that was (or arguably was not) made during this period of our countries history in regards to race. We have discussed the election of Barrack Obama as president and what the election of a black president suggests about how far we have come as a nation since the times of lynching and separate but equal.
I have spent my life believing that although racism and race thinking undoubtedly still live within the current society of the United States, we have come a long way since the Civil Rights Movement and the racist occurrences that were common place in our country at one time are now far behind us. I was therefore shocked when I read about a black couple who was turned away from the church they had planned to be married at specifically because of their race this summer.
I have told this story many times since coming upon the article and one thing that I have noticed is that no one realizes that the event to which I am referring happened this year. It is always assumed that such an event must have happened decades ago. However, this summer, Charles and Te’ Andrea Wilson were going to be married in Crystal Springs Mississippi at First Baptist Church until a few members of the church’s congregation complained. The church had never before hosted the wedding ceremony of a black couple. Instead of welcoming the couple and being excited to celebrate the progression of our society, they said no, they were not comfortable with such a ceremony because of the church’s tradition in marrying white couples only.
Racism does still exist in our society. It is a well-known fact that it is present in the minds of some. However, it seems it is rarely able to surface into spoken words without being met without being met with contradictions and opposition from the rest of society. The Pastor of the church, who did end up marrying the couple at a different venue, tried to convince members of the congregation to allow the wedding of the couple, however they threatened to remove him from his position if he continue to push for the wedding. The occurrence at First Baptist Church seems so surprising because although it was only a small minority of the congregation that felt uncomfortable with the wedding, no one, other than the Pastor spoke out against that small minority. How do you think something like this might have happened and received almost no opposition?