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‘Repent or get out!’ Tennessee church targets family who campaigned for gay rights

RIDGEDALE Church of Christ in Tennessee got its godly knickers in a twist when it learned that one of its parishioners ­– Kat Cooper, a gay detective – had championed a lengthy (and successful) campaign to grant benefits to same-sex couples employed in Collegedale’s local government.

Cooper’s mother, Linda, stood by her side throughout the process. She held tight to her daughter’s hand at a July meeting over the issue. And the two embraced after the City Council’s 4-1 vote on August 5.

Detective Kat Cooper, right, and her wife, Krista, listen as Collegedale city commissioners discuss extending benefits to same-sex partners.  Cooper has been with the Collegedale Police Department for over 11 years, and she and Krista were married in Maryland in May. Photo by Doug Strickland.

Detective Kat Cooper, right, and her wife, Krista, listen as Collegedale city commissioners discuss extending benefits to same-sex partners. Cooper has been with the Collegedale Police Department for over 11 years, and she and Krista were married in Maryland in May. Photo by Doug Strickland.

Leaders at Ridgedale Church of Christ were outraged. They met in private with Kat Cooper’s mother, aunt and uncle on Sunday after the regular worship service. They were given an ultimatum: They could repent for their sins and ask forgiveness in front of the congregation or face exile.

Said Kat Cooper:

My mother was up here and she sat beside me. That’s it. Literally, they’re exiling members for unconditionally loving their children – and even extended family members.

But Ken Willis, minister at the church, insisted that the family’s support of Kat Cooper was as good as an endorsement of homosexuality.

The sin would be endorsing that lifestyle. The Bible speaks very plainly about that.

Willis, a father himself, said the church didn’t expect the Cooper family to disown their daughter.

But you certainly can’t condone that lifestyle, whether it’s any kind of sin – whether they’re shacked up with someone or living in a state of fornication or they’re guilty of crimes. You don’t condone it. You still love them as a parent.

Hunt Cooper, Kat’s father, said his wife is still too distraught over the church’s actions to comment.

She is just so traumatized and so upset. It has been days and she’s still crying. It’s almost like losing a family member.

Linda Cooper’s parents were practically founding members of the Dodds Avenue congregation, Hunt Cooper said. Her father was a church elder and his picture still hangs on the wall there. Kat Cooper grew up helping her grandfather clean the pews and helped her grandmother hang bulletin boards for Sunday school.

This is not just some casual church they dropped in on.

Hunt Cooper said his family rejects the notion that being gay is a lifestyle choice. And his wife, along with her brother and sister, believed repentance would be hypocritical. So the decision to leave, devastating as it was, was a simple one.

There’s no sin to repent for. And she’s not going to turn her back on her daughter.

 

19 Responses to “‘Repent or get out!’ Tennessee church targets family who campaigned for gay rights”

  1. Trevor Blake says:

    What’s it called when you do the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome?

    What’s it called when you sign on to an organization that forbids something, then you do it, then you are held accountable, then you get upset that you were held accountable?

    The answers are ‘mental illness’ and ‘religion.’ You have to decide which is which.

  2. Angelo Ventura says:

    Religion must be banned

  3. Broga says:

    There is a viciousness about these self righteous Christian bigots when they decide that someone has offended against their religious dictat. They take satisfaction in dishing out their punishment. They feel good about it. The more determined the opposition to them the weaker they become. To yield merely strengthens their satisfaction in their smug bigotry.

  4. T says:

    What’s all the fuss about? This is a totally predictable outcome. The pious cannot let normal people get on with their lives. The pious just have to inflict their wants on everyone else. They cannot rest until everyone is dragged down to the same joyless, retarded level. Religion binds its followers to be prejudicial and judgemental of those who do not abide with the covenants the pious imagine they have made with their god. Religion is the root of most of the hatred, bigotry, intolerance and conflict in the world. Religion will be the primary cause of WW3. There will not be a WW4 because mankind will not be around to cause or execute it.

  5. Daz says:

    Seems someone’s hacked the church facebook page…

    [Link]

  6. Matt+Westwood says:

    “Hunt Cooper said his family rejects the notion that being gay is a lifestyle choice.”

    So what if it is? I’m fed up to the ears with that sad old false apology for a way of life that goes: “Don’t blame Teh Gayz cos they *can’t help it*.”

    Sorry, you can’t blame the xtian fascists for being xtian fascists, they were brainwashed like it and it’s impossible to change them now.

    Excuse me, but I’m gay when I want to be and as I choose. I was *not* born gay, it’s a choice I make as and when I *decide* to be. And if anyone (gay, straight or fascist) has a problem with that, I’d be delighted to fight it out with your weapon of choice (including Oklahoma .22 rifle).

  7. gedediah says:

    Hopefully over time they’ll come to realise they’re better off out of that hateful congregation.

  8. jay says:

    I agree with Matt+Westwood.

    Whether it’s a lifestyle choice or not is immaterial. “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” should certainly include the right to make choices.

    I am uncomfortable when people advocate for gay rights because “people are born that way”. Sorry folks, rights go beyond biological determinism.

  9. Chad says:

    I agree with Gedediah, they’ll realise what a vile group of people that congregation really are.
    And yes, T, WW3 will be caused by religions. Religion is the scourge of the earth and mankind won’t realise that until it’s too late.

  10. L.Long says:

    I don’t see any problem here. That church is a wonderful organization! They clearly show how loving and caring your basic xtian bigot can be. You got disowned? well they never owned you in the 1st place and this is good as they have shown you how much they truly love you. So you are living a good life so tell them all to piss off and get on living. But they are my family! Don’t fool yourself! they love their imaginary friend MORE then they will ever love you! Make new friends, get a new family; it aint that hard to do!

  11. Daz says:

    Comment on the facebook page I linked earlier:

    Sometimes loving someone means telling them the truth even when it hurts. Church Elders are there to try and make sure you go to heaven, not make life on earth more comfortable.

    And that, in a perfectly formed nutshell, is why religion always harms. Any cruelty, any hardship, any sacrifice made in this life is justified by a better-tasting pie in the sky.

  12. Robster says:

    It’s good when I’m able to ask a religious “leader” whether they were born as a hate filled bigot or was it something they learnt from their religion. Jees that makes them squirm. Another goodie I’ve read about is asking when they chose to be straight. That always shuts them up.

  13. AgentCormac says:

    @ Daz

    I once met a devout xtian who had a penchant for stomping on any bugs she came across. When I pointed out that indiscriminately taking life seemed somewhat unchristian she replied that ‘they had gone to a better place’. With that kind of logic you can justify just about anything. Anything.

  14. Thoreau says:

    Some very predictable comments on their – but I welcome this. The Heil are intent on polarising debate along any axis you can measure. Although this is inherently problematic, as it directly contributes to a fractured society, there are some useful side-effects too.

    For example, all of the raving lunatics rushing forwards to proclaim their rampant paranoia, jingoism, bigotry, etc. are all unwittingly painting themselves into a corner. The loss of face involved in retreating from their stance is too much to countenance – so there they stand, outed as irrational, sadistic, selfish and bitter cretins, with nowhere to go.

    Meanwhile, the bulk of society will get on with everyday life and be that bit better placed to disregard the frothing loons, who now are now so much easier to identify from a safe distance.

    The more space we give them to define themselves the better.

  15. Thoreau says:

    ‘there’, not ‘their’!

    No edit button?

  16. Matt+Westwood says:

    “Religion will be the primary cause of WW3.”

    Sorry but I beg to differ.

    The primary cause of WW3 will be the squabble over limited resources, over which too few people have too much control, and over which a political system is in place which has dispossessed the remaining many of the little they have.

    Religion, of course, will be the primary excuse for WW3, but it will be caused by a select cabal whose aim is to reduce the population of those less fortunate than themselves. The best way to do this is to get them to kill each other over nothing.

  17. Peterat says:

    I suspect that Pastor Willis’face – or something very much like it – was the last thing a number of innocent people saw when they were torched for being heretics and witches years ago.
    No difference here, just the date!

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