I’ve heard horror stories over the years of churches that have made incredibly stupid decisions, but this one even shocked me.

On November 27th the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church (as a side note, I grew up Freewill Baptist and I never encountered this) voted 9 to 6 to ban interracial couples from church services or functions, with the exception of funerals.

According to ABC News…

Stella Harville, 24, and her fiance Ticha Chikuni, 28, are the couple that prompted the church’s actions. Harville is white and Chikuni is black. The couple met at Georgetown College in Kentucky, where both were students, and they plan to marry in July 2012.

Harville is in graduate school in Indiana and Chikuni is working at Georgetown College, but when the couple visits Harville’s parents in Pike County, Ky., they usually go to church with her parents.

Harville’s parents Cathy and Dean Harville have been church members for decades. Cathy Harville has taught Sunday school at the church and Dean Harville was a deacon there and is currently the church’s secretary. They consider the church’s 42 congregants their family.

But after a service in June where Stella Harville and Chikuni participated by singing and playing the piano for a hymn, the family was shocked when then-pastor Melvin Thompson approached them after the service.

“There seemed to not be a problem and then all of a sudden the pastor at the time came up to [Chikuni] and told him he could not sing anymore,” Harville said. “That floored us. We wanted to know why.”

The next week, Cathy and Dean Harville met with Thompson and were shocked to hear their pastor say that members of the congregation had said they would walk out if Chikuni sang again. The parents wanted to know exactly who had a problem with their future son-in-law.

“‘Me, for one,'” Cathy Harville said that Thompson replied. She said he added, “‘The best thing [Stella] can do is take him back where she found him.'”

There’s a part of me that so wants this all to be one BIG mistake. Surely this church can’t be for real.

But as far fetched and as radically misguided as this story is I think it’s important for us to remember how easy it is to miss the mark when we start putting our own personal preferences ahead of God’s Word. Nothing destroys a church quicker than a self seeking agenda that isn’t committed to the truth of the Gospel.

Every time an individual makes laws requiring more of us than what God requires, human pride and the desire to control others enters the equation. It continuously amazes me how we can complicate what God made so simple.

Praying you and I never become so blinded (don’t think it can’t happen).