Race row erupts as couple told they can't marry
A race row has broken out in Mississippi after a black couple were turned away from the church in which they planned to get married.
Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson had set the date and posted the invitations but the day before the wedding, the pastor of the predominantly white First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs said the ceremony would not go ahead.
He told them a small number of church members had virulently opposed holding the event at the church, and he faced being sacked if he went ahead with it.
The church in Crystal Springs was founded in 1883 and no black couple has ever been married there.
Ms Wilson, who regularly attended the church, said: "A wedding is a Christian ceremony. Where's the Christianity in there? My nine-year-old daughter was going to the church with us. How would you say to your nine-year-old, 'We cannot get married here because, guess what sweetie, we're black'.
"I blame those members who knew and call themselves Christians and didn't stand up."
Pastor Stan Weatherford, who is white, said he wanted to go ahead with the wedding but decided to carry it out elsewhere as a compromise. He moved it to a mostly black church nearby, where he married the couple on July 21.
Casey Kitchens (37), who is a member of the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, said she and most of the congregation were "ashamed" at the refusal, and that they had known nothing about it. She said: "I can't fathom why. How unfair. How unjust." (© Daily Telegraph, London)