Julie Atwood was standing beside her son's casket when the call from New Hope Missionary Baptist Church came in. The pastor, T.W. Jenkins, was calling to say the service for Julie’s son, Julion Evans, scheduled for the very next day, was cancelled because Jenkins had learned, through other parishioners, that not only was Julion Evans a gay man but that his obituary had listed another man, Kendall Capers, as his husband; Jenkins told Atwood that it would be "blasphemous" to hold services for a gay man at his church.
Julion Evans was survived by his husband, his husband, Kendall Capers, his partner of seventeen years, and his legal spouse since the t married in Maryland last year.
“Pastor” Jenkins, left, claims he doesn’t condemn anyone’s, ahem, lifestyle, but since his church is anti-gay—he preaches against marriage equality—he could not, in good faith … sarcasm … perform the burial. At the same time, he didn’t mention if his church had buried any others who had lived a life in contradiction to his interpretation of the Bible.
The Evans family, because of Jenkins’ bigotry and homophobia and lack of Christian love, had just a day to make new funeral arrangements, and, with such short notice, some mourners showed up at New Hope and missed Julion’s funeral altogether.
For Kendall Capers said that was the worst part. He said he would have understood Jenkins and his position, but once they agreed to the funeral, to cancel at the last moment is, as he says, “disrespectful” and “wrong.”
And very un-Christ-like. As the story went viral — appearing on sites like The New Civil Rights Movement, Bilerico, the Huffington Post, Gawker, and other LGBT and progressive news sites — people took to social media to express their dismay and disgust for the way “Pastor” Jenkins and New Hope treated Julion Evans, his husband, and his family.
"Right-wing Christians like these kinds of 'Christians' claim there's a war on Christians in this country. There isn't a so-called war, but if there were it would be because of actions exhibited by these kinds of churches."
"Well, you are a shining example of why I no longer believe in God...if a loving God existed, He would not allow people like you to use His name to harm others."
"The pastor of this church isn't standing on principles he is standing on judgment and bigotry. I ask him to contemplate and meditate on this question... Would Jesus approve of this? Would this be the actions of the Savior? I think you need to bow in front of the Lord and pray... pray for true guidance from Jesus. This family chose this church for a reason so where is the compassion of community? If I were a member of this congregation I would find a new church."
"And this is the cancer within your religion. You teach only hate. And praise yourself for doing so."
"I think you may have forgotten Matthew 24:40. When did Jesus EVER turn his back on someone in need? The way you treated that bereaved family, you treated Jesus himself."
"Shame on you for cancelling that young gay man's funeral. I'm sure God would be so proud of you for being so judgmental. And organized religion wonders why so many people are slipping away?"
For its part, the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church took down most of their website, including their contact information because, you know, bigots hide.
I wonder how many funerals of people who ate shellfish were cancelled by Jenkins and New Hope? Or what about people with unkempt hair, or people who touched an unclean animal? People who ate fat? And what of women who went to church within 33 days after giving birth to a boy … or 66 days after giving birth to a girl?
People who steal? Lie? Mix fabrics in their clothing? Trimmed their beard? Had a tattoo?
Funny, I bet the good “pastor” performed the services at funerals for many people who’ve sinned, but he just picks and chooses which ones he thinks are okay and which ones he thinks are so wrong that he can turn his back on a family the day before they bury their child, brother, cousin … husband.