When a mother grieving over her dead son got a phone call from the pastor of the church canceling her son’s funeral, her world, which was already in the pits of despair, got even more devastating. The pastor not only canceled the funeral, but he added insult to injury claiming that holding the funeral would be “blasphemous” because her son was gay, reported by NBC Local on Aug. 8.
The Tampa mother was standing over her son’s casket when she got the call from T.W. Jenkins, the pastor of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. He was unaware that her son was gay when first agreeing to the funeral, he explained. It wasn't until the obituary in the newspaper listed her late son Julion Evans, 42, as having a husband, who was listed as a survivor in the obituary.
Julie Atwood's son died of a rare illness called Amyloidosis, an illness that causes abnormal protein produced in the bone marrow. The disease can lead to organ failure, according to the Mayo Clinic. Mourning a son is something no parent should ever have to do, but Julie Atwood was going through the process when she received the devastating blow from the pastor.
Jenkins told the local media that “it would have been an error to allow the service at the church.” This was a man, who had a mother, husband and a family who loved him. This pastor is talking about this man as if he was somehow below the standards of his church.
Wfla News reports that Jenkins said that his church preaches against gay marriage. The pastor gave the family little notice, he canceled the funeral during the wake.
The word “church” doesn’t seem to fit the organization that this man is running. The word “pastor” doesn’t fit the attitude of somebody that your grandmother might have referred to as “a man of the cloth,” a saying often heard decades ago when talking about a church pastor, preacher or priest.
What might be considered “blasphemous” is the action and behavior of a church that is filled with people and a pastor who claim to follow the teachings of the Bible. The Bible claims that no one should be turned away, especially in a time of need. This is probably the same Bible that this pastor quotes and reads from on Sunday and that the congregation holds as sacred.
It is sad that in today’s world there are still people who think that they are better than others, but this time they are doing it under the umbrella of a religion. The church had originally agreed to hold this man’s funeral, but apparently the deceased did not meet the criteria. How awful this sounds and it seems to go against any real religion that is meant to promote peace and love on Earth.
It looks as if Julie Atwood was in need of some kindness and understanding, it sounds as if she didn’t get it from this group. Jenkins said:
"Based on our preaching of the scripture, we would have been in error to allow the service in our church," Jenkins said. "I'm not trying to condemn anyone's lifestyle, but at the same time, I am a man of God, and I have to stand up for my principles."
He is not “trying” to condemn anyone’s lifestyle? No, he went beyond that, he succeeded at condemning a lifestyle when he canceled the funeral. The funeral was changed, but because it was last minute many of the mourners did not know where to go once showing up at the church that canceled the funeral, so they missed it.