If you're planning on visiting The New Olivet Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee you better be prepared to obey the commands of Pastor Kenneth T. Whalum Jr. or you may find yourself leaving with bruises and scratches according to lesbian couple Monique Stephens and Yas Meen.
Stephens, said she and her partner were attending the 11 a.m. service at New Olivet Baptist Church because they wanted to meet the Rev. Kenneth Whalum Jr., who they intended to support in the Oct. 15 mayoral election.
An hour into service, Whalum told the congregation to bow to the ground and blow kisses to God, Stephens said, but she and her partner, who are agnostic, did not move.
She said Whalum and church members began calling them “devil worshippers” and “gay,” among other derogatory names. Security guards surrounded and pushed them out of the sanctuary. Stephens said her glasses were broken and both she and her partner of three years have bruises and scratches from the altercation.
In a post on Grand Divisions: News and Comment on TN Politics, Meen goes into further detail on the events that led up to she and her partner being physically removed from the service.
"A security guard asked us to leave because we were disturbing God's House. I asked what had we done to disturb God's House. He could not give me an answer. He just said you two need to leave. He informed us that he had called the police. I told him because I did not clearly understand what was going on, we will just wait for the police. That's when the herd of men gathered around to physically remove us from God's House! While this was going on, the church's photographer was taking pictures of Monique and I. We begged them to stop taking pictures of us. She continued and when she finished, she blew us a kiss and said God Bless You!"
And allegedly all of this occured while Rev. Whalum stood silent from the pulpit. "The women were “being disruptive, boisterous and speaking loud, Whalum said in a statement issued to commercial appeal.com "They had to have some kind of agenda to come in church like that. If I put every lesbian out of church, we’d be putting people out of church all day long,' said Whalum."