T.W. Jenkins, pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa, FL, has no regrets over his decision to cancel an LGBT congregant’s funeral the day before it was scheduled to happen.
“Based on our preaching of the scripture, we would have been in error to allow the service in our church,” Jenkins said. “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.”
After Jenkins was made aware that Julion Evans’ obituary listed a surviving husband. the pastor drew the conclusion that Evans did not deserve a burial in accordance with his faith. Jenkins abruptly canceled the funeral, leaving Evans’ family scrambling for a new venue. While one was found, many missed the opportunity to pay their respects to their loved one because the family was unable to notify all who would be attending on such short notice.
Apparently, Jenkins doesn’t believe news crews deserve to be in his church, either. 10 News was barred from entry for the first 40 minutes of Jenkins’ sermon on Sunday. A representative claimed that church announcements were being made. When they were finally allowed inside, Jenkins was thanking his congregation for supporting his disgusting decision to discriminate against the dead.
“My family is doing fine,” he said as congregants applauded his bigotry. “Church family please remain focused and prayerful … and we will continue to stand on the word of God.”
Jenkins’ family may be fine, but it is likely that his victims, the family of Julion Evans, are not fine. It’s not every day that a person loses a son, brother, husband, or other loved one–and it’s certainly not every day a church cancels a funeral because the pastor possesses an antiquated and backwards worldview.
The public has responded to the Church’s bigoted actions. Hundreds of negative reviews have popped up on New Hope’s Facebook page: