A lot of the headlines coming out of Mississippi over the weekend were about racism and religion after the owner of a wedding venue denied an interracial couple access to her space, citing her “Christian belief” that such a union is counter-biblical. But the untold story here is one of forgiveness, humility, and understanding.
The exchange between the operator of Boone’s Camp Event Hall in Booneville and LaKambria Welch, the sister of the groom-to-be, who is black, went viral over the weekend after footage of their conversation was posted to Twitter.
The crux of the cordial conversation was this comment from the venue staffer: “We don’t do gay weddings or mixed race, because of our Christian race — I mean, our Christian belief.” Welch simply listened politely.
Welch’s brother and his fiancée, who is white, had been considering the event space as a possible venue for their wedding and had been in communication with the owner of the space for about a week, according to NBC News. It wasn’t until the venue owner discovered the couple’s skin colors through Facebook that she attempted to talk with them in person.
All of those details have been widely reported. But here’s what hasn’t been shared very much: it’s harder to hate up close, and the owner of the Mississippi wedding space learned that over the weekend.
Welch, who is also a Christian, was kind and forgiving.
“I’ve stated that I am a Christian as well,” she told NBC News. “So, growing up, my grandmother would always tell me to forgive, even without an apology. I’ve always lived by that with everything.”
But the venue owner did apologize. In fact, she went home and took out her Bible to research the issue herself — to reexamine the perspectives she had, to determine if they were really biblical or actually just the racist remnants of a bygone culture.
She discussed the issue with her husband and her pastor.
She then shared her shifted beliefs in a transparent and thoughtful Facebook post to the wedding venue’s fan page:
As a child growing up in Mississippi, our racial boundaries that were unstated were that of staying with your own race. This was never verbally spoken, but it was an understood subject. On Saturday, my husband asked me to show him in the Bible where it was located as to the content concerning biracial relationships.
I studied for a minute and began to think about the history of my learning this and where it came from. I was unable to recall instances where the Bible was used, giving a verse that would support my decision.
After searching Saturday evening, Saturday night, most of the day Sunday and sitting down with my pastor Sunday night after church, I have come to the conclusion my decision, which was based on what I had thought was correct to be supported by the Bible, was incorrect! I have, for many years, stood firm on my Christian faith not knowing that biracial relationships were NEVER mentioned in the Bible! […]
As my Bible reads, there are 2 requirements for a marriage and race has nothing to do with either! All of the years I had “assumed” in my mind that I was correct, but have never taken the opportunity to research and find whether this was correct or incorrect until now.
As for the engaged couple, they have decided they won’t be getting married at the Booneville location, but the interaction certainly sparked a positive change in the owner of the venue.
This is not the first time in recent weeks this issue has come up.
In late August, a former candidate for city council in Marysville, Michigan, said marriages between couples with mixed ethnicities is in violation of Scripture.
Jean Cramer claimed she was not “against blacks,” but said she wanted to keep her small town white “as much as possible.”
Jarrid Wilson, a pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, and the founder of Anthem of Hope, apologized for Cramer’s contents, which she made in the name of Christianity.
“On behalf of Jesus,” he wrote in a tweet, “let me apologize to all people of color for these disgusting remarks made in the name of Christianity and The Bible.”