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Vile pastor sabotages gay man’s funeral

Vile pastor sabotages gay man’s funeral

Baptist pastor T W Jenkins refused to conduct a planned service after discovering that the dead man was homosexual.

Jenkins, who heads the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida, canceled the service for Julion Evans, pictured above left with his husband Kendall Capers, after several members members of his congregation complained.

Capers said they had seen his obituary in newspapers which identified Capers as his husband.

Capers said the pastor told the family that to conduct a funeral for a gay man would be “blasphemous”. The grieving spouse asked:

We can’t even have a dignified service like the next person could? This is 2014, and we’re still going through this.

The pastor said in an interview:

Based on our preaching of the Scripture, we would have been in error to allow the service in our church. 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.

Pastor and Sister Jenkins

Pastor and Sister Jenkins

Jenkins has been the head pastor of the Tampa church since 1995, according to the church website. In March, he delivered the opening invocation at Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s annual state of the city address.

The church is described on its website as a “Christ centered” and “biblically based” place of worship. It offers ministries:

Open to visitors searching for a spirit-filled place to call home.

Evans, 42, died July 26 after a four-year battle with amyloidosis, an illness that claimed the lives of his father and brother.

He and Capers had been together for 17 years. They married last year in Maryland. Capers said his partner was kind, generous and supportive.

According to his obituary, Julion Evans was a Tampa native. He graduated from Hillsborough High School, where he was editor of the school paper, a member of the drama club and the school mascot.

His family arranged to have the funeral at New Hope Missionary Baptist to accommodate the sizable crowd expected.

The church agreed, Capers said. Then the obituary hit the papers. Then came the calls to the pastor.

Jenkins notified the family of the cancellation as they were attending Evans’ wake at Blount & Curry Funeral Home in Oldsmar. Capers said:

Immediately I jumped out of grieving husband mode and launched into disaster recovery mode.

Capers got in touch with Blount & Curry managers and requested space for a funeral the next day.

Said Debra Blanchette, a funeral director for Blount & Curry.

We were more than glad to accommodate them. The service went real well.

Last Saturday, more than 200 people attended the service.

Capers said he is thankful to have celebrated Evans’ life in a place with people who accepted them. He said he plans to start a foundation in Evans’ name to fund research for amyloidosis, an incurable disease that attacks bodily organs.

Hat tip: Canada Dave

18 responses to “Vile pastor sabotages gay man’s funeral”

  1. CharlyO says:

    Makes me ashamed that I was once a Baptist.
    Now a good solid atheist – much better understanding of life!

  2. Trevor Blake says:

    When one Christian does a civil act and another a barbarous act, you can be sure the former twisted and distorted the Bible to his or her own ends and the later can quote chapter and verse as to why he or she is the true Christian.

    Religion is a private affair and I support no legal challenge to Pastor Jenkins’ decisions. I do, however, support cruel mockery and scorn and spitting hated dog his heels from this day forward.

  3. Stonyground says:

    Outside of the USA, hatch, match or despatch ceremonies are the only occasions when most of us ever set foot in a church. Stories like this must surely encourage more and more people everywhere to opt for secular ceremonies. If I was involved in providing such services, my advertising would be targeted around reports of stories like this one.

  4. Broga says:

    @Stonyground: My mum had a secular funeral. I thought I might be asking for something unusual. On the contrary, I was told that they are popular and the numbers are growing. We chose music she liked and all her immediate family each spoke for a few minutes. Someone commented on the difference between hearing from people who knew and loved her and recalled shared experiences from the past and listening to some high flown bullshit from a vicar who didn’t know her.

    The Undertaker, who was an excellent guide, commented rather drily, as an aside, on how much we had saved by not hiring a church and vicar. He told me the cost of these can come as a shock. They are not cheap. There was no “sacred” music and no mention of God or the deceased having “gone to a better place.” I can’t say it was a happy occasion, although she had secretly left me a bottle of whisky, but it was a satisfying one.

  5. Angela_K says:

    Broga, I am encouraged that one of my close friends is a Celebrant and finds himself increasingly in demand for those who wish a wedding or funeral without the superstitious nonsense. He says people who have not experienced a non-religious ceremony before make a point of thanking him for an occasion that celebrates the people rather than droning on about some non-existent deity. We can only hope that people like him make others reconsider their alliance to religion.

  6. Angela_K says:

    Bugger, I meant allegiance not alliance! Edit button please!

  7. Norman Paterson says:

    What an inhuman being Jenkins is, with a congregation of similarly inhuman types. What a dismal creed he sells.

  8. L.Long says:

    Don’t feel bad CharlyO, that is how dogmatic aholes are like, their dogmatic fairy tale and imaginary friend is MANY times more important than their families, kids, or anyone else. Their bigoted rules say phuck the gay so that’s what they do. There are a few that ignore their holey book of bigotry but that’s just cuz their hypocrisy makes them better than their imaginary friend.
    One should always get a secular funeral because even if you are one of the chosen bigots the funeral will be about their imaginary friend and not about the dead.

  9. Barry Duke says:

    Angela, back in 1997 I found myself in the position of having to organise the funeral of my partner of 22 years after he died aged 47 from cancer.

    A secular service for Brian opened with the song “Summertime” by Peter Gabriel and ended with “Don’t Fence Me In” by Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters.In between was “Mood Indigo” from the Cotton Club movie score. These were among his favourite numbers.

    The proceedings were brilliantly conducted by the then President of the National Secular Society, Denis Cobell.

    Afterwards, just about everyone in the packed crematorium congratulated me on one of the most uplifting funerals they had ever attended; only one person in attendance buttonholed me afterwards and said: “I am appalled. There wasn’t a single hymn and God was not mentioned once!”

    I joked that, if Brian had heard a hymn, or the word “god”, and had the power to do so, he would have blown up Golders Green crematorium and everyone in it!

  10. Robster says:

    Churches are losing the Wedding game big time. Where I am, less than 20% of weddings are held in a church, a drop of two thirds in forty years. Now, with this kind of behaviour, they’ll lose the funeral business too. Soon no one will have any need to set foot in a church ever, the world will be a better place.

  11. 1859 says:

    May the Lord praise Pastor Jenkins! He’s a man of god! And the more he shows his true xtian colours, the more people are gonna be headin’ for the secular hills! Now where’s my goddam hoss!

  12. barriejohn says:

    1859: I heartily agree. He’s a Christian; he lives by his faith; the Bible says that homosexuality is an abomination; if only more believers were like him!

  13. AgentCormac says:

    My father-in-law passed away earlier this year and his funeral was conducted by a BHA Celebrant. It was an absolutely brilliant ceremony with as much laughter as there were tears. Afterwards, the family was approached by a devout catholic friend who told them it was the best funeral she had ever been to. Many others who were there expressed their surprise that it was possible to have a non-religious send-off and asked the Celebrant for his card, which he happily handed out to this concerned. Hopefully that day will have caused a few more people out there to question the legitimacy of religion to ‘own’ the important events in life – the ‘hatch, match or despatch’ events, as Stonyground called them earlier. Little by little, I like to think we’re getting there.

    One other point to relate regarding my father-in-law’s funeral – it was held up by almost an hour because the priest who was supposed to be conducting the funeral prior to Sam’s had gone to the wrong crematorium. How empty the claims of an all-knowing, all-seeing god must have sounded as he finally delivered them to the bereaved family and friends.

  14. Broga says:

    Angela_K/Barry/AgentCormac/Robster: I’m pleased we have shared a similar experience. I conducted the service myself. Our children spoke (choking a few times but they kept going) about great times they had enjoyed with Nana, two of my cousins also spoke similarly, and great grandchildren were there. We also brought our Labrador as she loved him and he spent lots of time keeping her company in her bedroom when she was terminally ill.

    The coffin was made from some plant material. The music was so easy to arrange as we just named it and they arranged to have it played at the appropriate times. The memories we all shared were written up later and sent to members of the family who could not be there. We had a buffet at home in the evening.

    Two points I recall which are similar to Barry’s experience. An elderly Christian relative said she wanted a similar funeral for herself. As my mother was approaching death, a subject she discussed with an interest and curiosity that often shook me, I lost my nerve a bit and thought I had perhaps pushed her towards a secular funeral. I said that if she wanted I could arrange for a Presbyterian Minister to conduct the service.

    “If you do that I’ll come back and haunt you,” she said with typical wit. Her attitude to death was that she was returning to the material and energy that she was formed from.

    I would encourage anyone to be confident about arranging a secular funeral. I was surprised how simple it was and how appreciative were all those who attended.

  15. Norman Paterson says:

    My wife had left her body to science (as I have) so we had no body for a funeral. Instead I arranged a sort of garden party on a nearby common with a marquee and quiet live music and food and space for her friends and relatives to share memories and photos. I spoke only to say that I was not going to give an oration. A friend took a book round for anyone to write a farewell. All in all, it was a moving, sad, but pleasant time for all.

  16. L.Long says:

    I’ve discussed my dead with the wife and kids and told them flat out…
    A casket is a silly waste of money and resources.
    dressing my dead body in a fancy suit is a silly waste of money and effort.
    Throwing my dead body into anything more elaborate then a hole in the ground is a silly waste of any monies you inherit so anything you spend is what you don’t have for your own journey to your end.
    I’ve been to 4 funerals and do not understand all the silliness??

  17. Such a sad story that the humanity and feelings of gay people are so lightly dismissed by this crass pastor. Has he ever stopped for one moment to consider that his vile treatment of the dead man’s grieving partner is just as outrageous as the way people of his skin colour were once treated in the southern states of the USA? Obviously not.

  18. Har Davids says:

    My parents were soft-core RC and my dad’s funeral was, as our mother wanted, a church do, with most attendants non-religious, which made it all rather akward. When our mother died, we saw her off the way we wanted it, with the music she liked, a continious show of pictures of her and andecdotes that described her as the person she was. I don’t think she would have minded us forgetting the god she never really had time for.