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Lesbian Couple Say They Were Assaulted At Baptist Church

Jim Burroway

August 24th, 2009

Rev. Kenneth Whalum, Jr., of New Olivet Baptist Church is running for Memphis mayor this fall. Monique Stephens and her partner were interested in supporting the Reverend in his mayoral run, and decided to attend the 11 a.m. service to get an up-close look at the man. That’s when things went awry:

An hour into service, Whalum told the congregation to bow to the ground and blow kisses to God, Stephens said, but she and her partner, who are agnostic, did not move. She said Whalum and church members began calling them “devil worshippers” and “gay,” among other derogatory names. Security guards surrounded and pushed them out of the sanctuary. Stephens said her glasses were broken and both she and her partner of three years have bruises and scratches from the altercation. No arrests were made, police said.

Rev. Whalum says the couiple were removed because they were being disruptive, not because they were lesbian. “If I put every lesbian out of church, we\’d be putting people out of church all day long,” he said.



David C.
August 24th, 2009 | LINK

Take your portable recording devices with you whenever you enter the lions den.

August 24th, 2009 | LINK

Yeah without something recorded it’s just a he said she said thing..

August 24th, 2009 | LINK

Evangelicals have such an…interesting…way of making outsiders feel welcome.

Leonard Drake
August 24th, 2009 | LINK

Alex, VERY interesting, indeed. It was quite shocking reading some of the comments referenced in the primary article Jim referenced to [above]. The comments from some of the church members “blowing kisses to god” and justifying/debating GLBT members as worthy of attndance, presence and/or membership in their church.

August 25th, 2009 | LINK

Just more reaffirmation that religion is itself evil. And I quote myself:
“Religion is the root/route of all evil.”

August 25th, 2009 | LINK

Having found a slightly more detailed account of this incident, I’m inclined to think this is a more complicated situation than two women being kicked out for being gay. Listening to the women’s description of the worship activities and the pastor’s alleged response to their decision to remain seated, it sounds to me like NOBC may be a particular kind of charismatic church that can be both frightening and controlling. I’m reminded of a Pentecostal church that I attended one Sunday evening with the rest of the short term missions group I was a part of at the time. The experience was quite traumatic for the entire team, which was composed of serious, devout, and life-long Christians. (And some of us were even from charismatic/Pentecostal backgrounds.)

So yeah, it looks like the issue of NOBC might be more than NOBC not liking gay people in their service. It could be that they demand a specific style of worship and ostracize anyone — even newcomers — that don’t jump into line.

As an aside, does anyone besides me find it annoying that you have to navigate through three different pages on the NOBC website to get to their statement of faith?

August 26th, 2009 | LINK

I checked the pastor out on Youtube, and he seems to be a very liberal pastor, not conservative at all.

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