Life partners Yas Meen and Monique Stevens went to New Olivet Baptist Church to get a look at Reverend Kenneth T. Whalum, Jr. who is running for mayor of Memphis, Tennessee. But when the couple declined to participate in the congregation's bizarre rituals, they were forcibly ejected from the house of worship.
Meen said in a statement: "I had been having political debates with my partner about who to vote for mayor. I said Whalum was the man to vote for, and she was going for Herenton. We decided to go to church to see what he was all about."
From Memphis Flyer: Meen says many in the congregation were giving them dirty looks as soon as they sat down. But she says the real trouble started when the women - who are both agnostic - opted out of a "sanctified dance" that supposedly involved congregants dancing in the aisles, laying on the floor to pray and blowing kisses to God. (What sort of Deity expects his followers to grovel on the ground and kiss the air? Oh wait, that would the evangelical Deity.) "People were telling us we needed to blow kisses, and I said, I don't communicate with my higher power like that," says Meen, who admitted to feeling uncomfortable with New Olivet's unique style of worship. She said Whalum directly called them out for not participating.
The pastor/air kisser/mayoral hopeful reportedly made this loud declaration to his flock of sheeple: "This is my house and everybody does what I say! But two people won’t do what I say!" And that's when things turned ugly. Jonathan Cole at Grand Divisions writes: After Whalum’s plea, Yas and Monique remained seated. When Monique extended her arm along the pew behind Yas, the congregation’s focus on the couple intensified. ("Look, Brother Jones, that woman's arm is... Oh, Lawd have mercy!") Under the watchful eyes of Pastor Whalum, children taunted the two ladies and women began to throw oil on them. A group of men gathered around them, calling them “bitches”, “Satanic,” and “devil worshipers.” They were told that they were dishonoring God’s House. Finally, a group of 25 young men began physically and violently pushing the two ladies out of the church. Monique’s glasses were broken and both suffered scratches and bruises.
Reverand Whalum, who claims that the women were being disruptive and boisterous, denies any wrongdoing by his congregation. He said Meen and Stevens "had to have some kind of agenda to come in church like that" and hastily added: "If I put every lesbian out of church, we’d be putting people out of church all day long." (Such a high sapphic fellowship? What, does k.d. Lang sing in the choir?)
Chances are the two women were not ejected solely because they're lesbians - but if you're gay AND you refuse to prostrate yourself and blow kisses to God... well, there's only so much these poor Christians can be expected to endure.