A Baptist church’s decision to cancel a funeral for a homosexual is coming under strong scrutiny this week. The New Hope Missionary Baptist congregation in Tampa, Florida was set to hold services for 42-year-old Julion Evans, even hosting a wake for the decedent, until it was pointed out to them by rankled parishioners that the man practiced a gay lifestyle.
Reports NBC News: “A Tampa mother was standing over her son’s casket recently when the phone rang with news that she called ‘devastating.’ Julie Atwood said the pastor learned her son, Julion Evans, was gay when his obituary listed a surviving husband. She claims she was told that it would be ‘blasphemous’ to hold the services at the church.”
Kendall Capers, who married Julion 17 years ago in Maryland, is speaking out against the actions of the church.
“This is 2014, this is not the 60s or the 70s,” Capers said. “So at the end of the day I just want his wrongdoing to be exposed.”
According to the Daily Mail, “Mourners were already at Evans-Capers' wake when leaders at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa started receiving calls from parishioners, who were angered when a local newspaper ran an obituary listing Capers and Evans as married.”
Atwood said she was baptized at the New Hope church and stressed that several of her family members regularly attend. The service for her son was scheduled for July 26. Atwood says she was “devastated,” and felt that her son was being “denied the dignity of his death,”
“Regardless of our background, our sexual orientation, how can you wait that long and put someone in a bind when they're going through a loss?” asked Capers. “It's not like we woke up and said, 'let's be gay.' It’s something we were born with and we've dealt with it for me, 40 years, him 42 years, and we make the best possible choices.”
The pastor of New Hope, T.W. Jenkins, spoke about the decision, and said it was the right thing to so.
“I try not to condemn anyone's lifestyle, but at the same time, I am a man of God and have to stand upon my principles,” Pastor Jenkins said, adding that their decision was “based on our preaching of the scripture; we would have been in error to allow the service in our church.”
The Bible’s view on gay unions and a homosexual lifestyle is clear.
The Bible condemns acts of homosexuality, speaking of the practice as being “detestable” in God’s eyes. (Leviticus 18:22)
“God gave them up to disgraceful sexual appetites, for both their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature; and likewise even the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene.”—Romans 1:26, 27.
At 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, the Bible clearly states that “men who lie with men” are included in those who “will not inherit God’s kingdom.”
Of course, God’s word also preaches such things as tolerance, impartiality and love of neighbor. Yet while no one should express outright hatred of such ones or violence against them, these moralities cannot be used to validate actions that are sordid and sinful in God’s eyes. The scripture above at 1 Corinthians includes homosexuality among other gross sins, such as “those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers… thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners.”
In his writings to Timothy, the Apostle Paul even included homosexuality on a par with murder.
Now we know that the Law is fine if one applies it properly, recognizing that law is made, not for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, ungodly and sinners, disloyal and profane, murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, manslayers, sexually immoral people, men who practice homosexuality, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and everything else that is in opposition to the wholesome teaching according to the glorious good news of the happy God, with which I was entrusted.” –1 Timothy 1:8-11
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