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Friday, August 8, 2014

And They Will Know We Are Christians by Our...

Posted by on Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 9:15 AM

...appalling acts of cruelty:

Julie Atwood was standing at her son's casket when the phone rang. The church where her son's funeral was scheduled to be held the next day decided to abruptly cancel the service, after the pastor learned the deceased was gay and his obituary listed a surviving "husband." Atwood said she was told it would be "blasphemous" to hold the services at the church because her son, Julion Evans, 42, was gay. "It was devastating," she said. "I did feel like he was being denied the dignity of death." Evans' husband, Kendall Capers, says the pair were partners for 17 years and married last year in Maryland. Evans died at home after a 4-year battle with a rare illness called Amyloidosis, which destroys organs in the body.

The church—Tampa's New Hope Baptist—has a website. Phone and fax numbers and contact form at their contact page. Might be nice if some NALTs got in touch with New Hope. (Via JoeMyGod.)


Comments (38) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
While I strongly condemn New Hope Baptist's idiotic interpretation of Christianity and cruel withholding of their rites from a family of their own congregation, I would like to point out that they are operating well within their own domain. As lamentable as their attitudes and actions are, these come under their right of religious freedom.

They're not the only house of worship in town and they don't represent all of Christianity. No one needs to belong to that congregation, or for that matter, to any congregation. Those who do so are solely responsible for their own participation.

As a Quaker of the liberal wing of the Religious Society of Friends, I am more than happy to send Light to comfort the family of the deceased, and Light to their pastor and congregation that they may open their hearts and minds to enlightenment. But, that's about all I have to offer.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on August 8, 2014 at 9:39 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 2
Well at least they're "not trying to condemn anyone's lifestyle". They're just being colossal assholes to a grieving mother, because Jesus said to.
Posted by MacCrocodile on August 8, 2014 at 9:40 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 3
Jesus would never hang out with gays... I mean, if he had, what would be next? Hanging out with criminals and prostitutes and other outcasts?
Posted by Urgutha Forka on August 8, 2014 at 9:45 AM · Report this
@1, I think we all agree with you. No one here is demanding (or would even want) the government to intervene and force the Tampa New Hope Church to hold the funeral. We're just saying they, personally, are assholes. Being an asshole is fully protected by the Constitution and any notion of religious freedom, but still, we call them out.
Posted by statetheobvious on August 8, 2014 at 9:54 AM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 5
Since I'm not of their congregation or even of their faith, it would not be appropriate for me to interfere in an internal church matter. I assume the mother chose this church because she's a member of their congregation or at least of their faith. And if that's the case, then I support her efforts to agitate from within -- but my support will be quietly from the sidelines.

That said, I do hope this congregation releases the names of other funerals they've refused to permit for adulterers, divorcees, convicted criminals, parents of children born out of wedlock, and masturbators.
Posted by Kevin_BGFH on August 8, 2014 at 9:57 AM · Report this
AFinch 6
I have to agree with @1 - indeed, better not to attack them directly, but instead publicize their "theology". Let people shun them instead of trying to proscribe (not prescribe) their beliefs or force them to alter under public pressure. Declining butts in pews (and revenues) will settle this.

The great paranoia of bigoted christian-ists, fed by a steady diet of mis-information, is that "gay marriage" means their churches will be forced to do things against their religious convictions. The wall that separates church from state - separates private belief from public control - works both ways: they are and should remain free to engage in whatever kind of faith-based discrimination they please, inside their private institution. Including refusing a funeral/burial service for anyone they don't want to provide it for.

It's sad this mother is learning the truth of her chosen church's theology and "love" at this time, but she's the one that chose to follow them. She can choose not to anymore and to let others know why.
Posted by AFinch on August 8, 2014 at 10:06 AM · Report this
Call me Scott 7
When you say a church is well within its rights, I suggest remembering that a church has a special right beyond what's accorded you and me . . . the right of tax exemption. Which is to say, they enjoy a privileged place in our society afforded by our picking up their share of the load. Our collective funding helps every church survive and thrive.

When their surviving and thriving allows them to deny decent administrations to a deceased member of the collective, I believe I have every right--as a brother--to remind them of the moral obligations issuing from that privilege.

And I'm-a do it, right now.
Posted by Call me Scott on August 8, 2014 at 10:10 AM · Report this
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand they seem to have already taken down their contact us page. That'll fix it.
Posted by Sean on August 8, 2014 at 10:10 AM · Report this
They appear to have quickly taken the contact information off their website. They should be ashamed of themselves. Do they not know the meaning of compassion? Have they not bothered to read the words of Jesus in the Bible?
Posted by NotYourStrawMan on August 8, 2014 at 10:11 AM · Report this
Contact Information from their front page:
3005 E. Ellicott St.
Tampa, FL 33610
(813) 236-3611

I completely agree with @5

If they are refusing the funeral (the day before, nonetheless), they should also CONSISTENTLY refuse the funerals of others that violate the morals of their beliefs. Singling out someone based on their sexual orientation is along the same lines as racism in my book.

Who gives this church the right to throw the first stone?
Posted by Zoob on August 8, 2014 at 10:24 AM · Report this
@4 That wasn't my main point. My main point, which I may not have made explicitly enough, is WHY did that family stay in that (in my opinion) God-forsaken shit hole of a church knowing its condemnatory attitude about people like their own son? WHY did they continue to support it?

I feel sorry for them. I really do. But, the outcome is their own fault. This is what happens when you actively support a church that hates people like your son. I only hope that other members of the congregation take a good long look at what their church has done and abandon it.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on August 8, 2014 at 10:25 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 12
they're the BAPTISTS, ppl. they're going to be the very last Christians to accommodate the new reality. you don't ask the Klan to host an NAACP picnic and act surprised when they refuse.
Posted by Max Solomon on August 8, 2014 at 10:38 AM · Report this
fletc3her 13
@11 I don't think we should be blaming the victim. What the church has done is cruel. Maybe they don't actually realize how cruel. A few phone calls from as far away as Seattle might let them know how their actions are perceived.

Hopefully somebody will work on a positive action so the funeral can go forward at a better venue.
Posted by fletc3her on August 8, 2014 at 10:55 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 14
Maybe the family should rethink the church that THEY chose to attend? Or better yet, rethink the entire belief in magical cloud beings.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on August 8, 2014 at 10:59 AM · Report this
Gotta second @12, at least partially. Baptists are usually pretty hardline.
Posted by unpaid reader on August 8, 2014 at 11:09 AM · Report this
nocutename 16
For those who don't read unregistered comments and notice that the church has taken down contact info, #10 gives the street address and phone number.
Posted by nocutename on August 8, 2014 at 11:27 AM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 17
@11.. because the family probably didn't know the extent of the church's beliefs and policies. many peopel attend churches ( and schools and jobs..etc. ) governed by people who hold different opinions or biblical interpretations than they but never see those opinions carry weight. a pastor says from the pulpit that god doesn't like gays, or more obscurely 'love the sinner, hate the sin', but hold full membership in an institution that tolerates them with no obvious repercussions. i doubt if the married couple were members of but the deceased mother was and, as the reports state, she was standing at the side of the coffin when she received the call from the pastor ( not that i would answer a call at the side of my deceased , but hey..cell phones ). but understanding asides and as a full NALT with the responsibilities therof. these people will be hearing from me.@
3005 E. Ellicott St.
Tampa, FL 33610
(813) 236-3611

Posted by reverend dr dj riz on August 8, 2014 at 12:06 PM · Report this
If your faith and principles tell you to be horrible to people, then your faith and principles are horrible. Full stop.
Posted by Avi on August 8, 2014 at 12:41 PM · Report this
The last minute cancellation must have been hell.
Posted by jeffy on August 8, 2014 at 12:51 PM · Report this
My guess would be that the dead guy and his husband weren't members of this church (who didn't know they were gay till they read it in the paper). I think the funeral was arranged by his mom, at her church. The husband isn't complaining, it's the mom who's heartbroken about not getting the funeral she wants for her son.
Posted by originalcinner on August 8, 2014 at 1:14 PM · Report this
Okay... I have to apologize. We're missing part of the story. Some or all of my comments were inappropriate. I'm sorry.…

Atwood isn't a member of that church. She has a different pastor at a different church, which I assume is also Baptist. That pastor was scheduled to and did indeed conduct the funeral, although not at New Hope. They had booked New Hope for the funeral because it was larger than their usual church. After that booking was cancelled, they went back to their own church for the funeral. The last minute venue change left insufficient time to notify everyone, and as a result some mourners showed up at the wrong church and missed the funeral.

So... I'd like to retract @11 and at least the second paragraph of @4. Again, sorry.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on August 8, 2014 at 1:20 PM · Report this
ANd by @4, I meant @1. Oops. Sorry again.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on August 8, 2014 at 1:22 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 23

They already know how their actions are perceived. This brand of Christian loves to see themselves as the victims.
Posted by keshmeshi on August 8, 2014 at 1:40 PM · Report this
Oh, they'll end up loving our response. "We were VICIOUSLY attacked by those evil gays from around the country, all for taking a moral stand!" Don't worry, they're already the victims here, in their own minds anyway.
Posted by Pope Buck I on August 8, 2014 at 1:54 PM · Report this
Dear Julie; fuck em. Your beautiful boy didn't need their contaminated church anyway.
Posted by LavaGirl on August 8, 2014 at 2:11 PM · Report this
The sooner this superstitious nonsense about an invisible friend dies off, the better the world will be. Like all woo, it attracts crackpots. As for the NALTs, sorry, but you do something to help these people. We, the rational, wash our hands.
Posted by JJinAus on August 8, 2014 at 2:32 PM · Report this
I'm going to write to congratulate them on taking a stand and not allowing sinners in their church.
Posted by beef rallard on August 8, 2014 at 3:30 PM · Report this
Isn't it interesting that the two men were married and had been together for seventeen years -- longer than the majority of marriages in that part of the country last on average. Not only that, but the surviving spouse had stuck with his love for years of sickness and pain. That's love and dedication of the sort Jesus encouraged (viz. the Centurion and his "servant"). Yet the Missionary Baptist preacher there, who's supposed to be teaching his flock how to live a Christ-like life, couldn't make that connection. Maybe he just needs to GO BACK TO DIVINITY SCHOOL. Sorry. People like that infuriate me. I'm not even Christian and I know that Bible story. Sheesh.
Posted by Calpete on August 8, 2014 at 3:50 PM · Report this
SoUt 29
13 years ago, the pastor of First Baptist in Page, AZ wouldn't christen my baby, because his dad and I weren't married. I was very young, and the wind was knocked right out of me. I was stunned and shocked and so hurt. Then I left, never to return. The church didn't help me welcome my son into this world, and it didnt help this woman say good bye. Christians? Ha! Christ would've hated this shit.
Posted by SoUt on August 8, 2014 at 4:00 PM · Report this
I'm finding it really hard to get upset about this. This is exactly the sort of thing the Jesus Goblins use against us: "Look, the gays DON'T just want civil marriage, they want to force churches to marry them and bury them and let them take communion." Yeah, it's sad and shitty, but what do you expect from Baptists?

but of course the gays always want to find a hill to die on.
Posted by DeanP on August 8, 2014 at 4:50 PM · Report this
Their Facebook page is still up. And you can give them a negative review. I sure did.
Posted by NotYourStrawMan on August 8, 2014 at 4:57 PM · Report this
Once upon a time when I was 8 yrs old I burst into the living room all sweaty and dirty from being outside being an 8 yr. old boy. Only to be stopped dead in my tracks, finding the room full of people and my dad performing a baptism. (Given that Dad had a Doctorate in Divinity and was an Ordained Minister, seeing him do a baptism wasn't unusual, having it happen in the living room of our home well....) I was very embarrassed.

Later Dad explained to me the family was Catholic, he knew them from the neighborhood we lived in when I was born. One of the daughters was raped and got pregnant, their Catholic Priest refused to baptize the infant because it was a BASTARD. The family hadn't seen my father in years, they tracked him down because it wasn't the child fault he was the result of a rape.

My father of course could not baptize the child into the Catholic church but he could and did baptize the child. It wasn't about doctrine it was about faith.

Posted by Machiavelli was framed on August 8, 2014 at 7:56 PM · Report this
Why make excuses for these neanderthals? They are fucking assholes, probably republican and despite their hereditary ancestral stupidity this is 2014! Good screaming Jesus! Just when I thought the Mars Hill lemmings were questioning their prophet, this comes up. I give up on the human race, I'm moving back to Norway where men are mostly men,( a lot of transvestites) and the women would like to have more men that aren't cross dressers.
Posted by longwayhome on August 8, 2014 at 8:57 PM · Report this
@29 - I never met the minister at First Baptist, but I knew three ministers at St. David's Episcopal in Page, between 1991 and 2004, who all would have been glad to christen your child. What a difference a church culture makes, eh?
Posted by Calpete on August 8, 2014 at 9:22 PM · Report this
Probably not much point in calling out the church--they (at least some of them) feel righteous about what they're doing, and being unpopular for it only makes it seem more righteous.

From what I've seen, the family has found another option, but I would think the most Christian (and just plain decent) response would have been for other churches to have offered the family a place to hold the funeral.
Posted by s.n.c. on August 8, 2014 at 11:40 PM · Report this

what a creepy mishmash of ignorance and superstition.

how is your Doctorate in Divinity dad any different from a witchdoctor?
Posted by The Whore of Babylon and Her Minions on August 9, 2014 at 4:56 AM · Report this
That's right, all you NALTs get busy!

The HomoFascist Thought Police are watching you....

in the Qunited States of Gaymerica people of religion are Guilty! unless they PROVE themselves innocent.

Just like we must assume Danny is a Filthy Evil Pedophile until he PROVES he is not Just Like Frank Lombard.

In the meantime state child protective authorities will take custody of his adopted son. While things are sorted out.

Don't worry, Danny. If you are not Guilty you have Nothing to Fear.....
Posted by Death to Tyrants on August 9, 2014 at 5:03 AM · Report this
Gou Tongzhi 38
I think #1 has this right. I just can't get worked up about this type of discrimination. I mean, it is discrimination, but, well... there is a thing called religious freedom. If you don't like being loathed, don't fucking go to church. Don't tithe. Don't support the church in any way.
Posted by Gou Tongzhi on August 10, 2014 at 2:33 PM · Report this

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