By: Daniel Nardini
This is where the 19th Century meets the 21st Century, and what a mess! A young couple wanted to get married at a church they were going to. Sounds wonderful. They met and fell in love and wanted to tie the knot. This should have been straightforward enough. But when they got to the church to arrange the wedding, the pastor to the church told them bluntly that they could not get married at the church. Why? Because the marrying couple are African American. Because they are Black, they are not allowed to get married in the church. Apparently the First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, has a policy of not allowing African Americans to get married since the church was founded in 1883. Besides, the white parishioners objected to the couple getting married. Eventually, the couple booked their wedding at another church and they got married. The couple, Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson, are now happily together and I wish them all the best.
Sadly, this is not the first time that a couple was denied a wedding or a wedding permit because they are either a racially mixed couple or a racial or ethnic minority. Back in 2009, a justice of the peace in Louisiana, Keith Bardwell, refused to issue a marriage license for an interracial couple. Eventually Bardwell was forced from his office. In 2011, the Gulnare Free Baptist Church in Kentucky, refused to allow an interracial couple to be married. The church reversed its policy and the couple were married. In an opinion poll taken in 2011 in the State of Mississippi, 46 percent of all Republicans polled said they are against interracial marriage. The good news is that there are no laws, no legal basis to oppose interracial marriage in the present. All state laws that had banned interracial marriage were overturned in 1967 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Also, interracial marriages are widely accepted in most parts of the United States today. Among most Americans there is no problem of individuals marrying those of a different race or ethnic group.
Yet, sadly, there are still some holdouts. There are those individuals and families, and yes some communities, who still do not want interracial marriages, do not want people from minority races or ethnic groups in their neighborhoods, and do not want to deal with in any way others because of their race, ethnic group or religion. In this respect, we as a country still have a long way to go to rid ourselves of social prejudice.