Tennessee Church Gives Mother Choice: Denounce Lesbian Daughter Or Leave The Church

220px-Rembrandt_-_Moses_with_the_Ten_Commandments_-_Google_Art_ProjectElders at Ridgedale Church of Christ appear not to have read John 8:7: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Instead, the elders gathered themselves and their stones this week to ban a mother because she would not renounce her own child. The Tennessee church banned two relatives for good measure after they supported Kat Cooper, a lesbian detective with the Collegedale Police Department. Her mother, Linda Cooper, was given the choice: denounce your daughter or leave the church. It was not much of a Sophie’s Choice: she left the church and with her was any evidence of God’s grace that this church may have had.

Kat Cooper had been fighting publicly for for health benefits for her same-sex spouse, Krista. She eventually prevailed with the support of her family, friends, and the Board of Commissioners. The Church elders, however, went after her mother and relatives. Her father, Hunt Cooper, said that the choice was clear: “Loving her daughter and supporting her family was not a sin.”

Yet, Ken Willis, a minister at Ridgedale Church of Christ, stated that “[t]he sin would be endorsing that lifestyle.” However, he later declined interviews and said “[t]his is an in-church private issue. Because emotions are so inflamed at this point, I choose not to comment any further.” I guess being an “in-church private issue” is more controlling than an “in-family private issue.”

The Coopers have been members of the church for 60 years.

Linda Cooper can do better. After all, “if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8. I wonder what it says for those who seek to stop mothers from providing for and loving their children?

Source: CNN

45 thoughts on “Tennessee Church Gives Mother Choice: Denounce Lesbian Daughter Or Leave The Church”

  1. I recall when my father and I (atheists) were visiting a certain Mormon church in Iowa because it gave us the opportunity to see my nephews/niece and my father the opportunity to see his grandkids (long story about family alienation and all). Anyway, we were dressed up (me in a dress, and him in dress pants, a dress shirt, a tie and a jacket).

    Anyway, some grand poo-bah from some other congregation had come for a visit and was giving the sermon, on the subject of being prepared (i.e. being prepared for the afterlife). But then the grand poo-bah digressed. He looked at my father (whose dress shirt was not white, but, rather, light blue) and he stated that being prepared also meant having a clean white shirt ready for Sunday mornings (of course nobody had ever told my father that he wasn’t supposed to be wearing a light blue dress shirt with a multicolored necktie with his suit jacket to a Mormon church).

    My father’d had enough at that point. While he wanted to be able to see his grandkids, he wasn’t going to (as someone who had driven over 300 miles and was politely participating in the services) subject himself to future abuse. So that was the end of my father visiting that church.

    What a load of bollocks. Alienating people because their kids are gay. Alienating people because they are wearing the wrong color shirt while visiting a congregation.

    What if my father had been someone just visiting because he was thinking of converting? The grand poo-bah would likely have lost a convert right there.

    Religion sucks. It’s such a bloody hoax.

  2. The ridiculous deserve ridicule. That is reason enough to post on this story.

    Kat deserves to be congratulated for winning her’s and her spouses fight to be treated as equals in their town.

    And Kat’s mom has done their town a great service by revealing the loathsomeness and pettiness of yet another tax-exempt den-of-hate. (That last part may be a bit hyperbolic, but maybe not?)

  3. I’ve long said, let Religion prove its hatred…
    …Ridgedale Church of Christ just did.

    Jesus said that what ever you do to the least of your brother, so too you have done to me.

    It appears to me that the Elders of Ridgedale Church of Christ just threw Jesus out.

  4. Vestal Virgin: “Kat Cooper, Lesbian Detective. So cool!”

    “Kat Cooper, Lesbian Detective” a new collaboration by the award-winning team of Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson who brought you “Transmetropolitan”.

    Lol, I’d order the graphic novel based on the name alone.

  5. just my opinion for those who wonder why its a story.. i wonder why you bothered to read and post? now moving back to the topic at hand. a lot of churches possess this type of hypocrisy the latter day saints, jehovahs witnesses, lyingtology, the mormons and others. and their policies are just as bad. if the whole family refuses to follow the religion then they are all excommunicated.

    i agree with the poster who said organized religion is the biggest hoax around. no one needs a church to talk to, pray to, or believe in GOD. churches these days are all about fashion shows and tithes

    i recently read a story where a church was kicking out members who didnt tithe enough.

  6. This story was blogged on Daily Kos a little earlier. Interesting, and will get even more eyes on it, given it is one of the real heavyweight blogs. Some of the commenters are from that community and know these folks. Some of the opinions expressed about this “church” in the comments would definitely not make it through the WordPress filter.


  7. Kudos to the family for supporting their loved one. To paraphrase Ghandi, I do like your Christ, I just worry about your Christians.

  8. Notice also that Prof. Turley did put a “Constitutional Law” tag on this post which further contributes to the idea that this article comes across as something more than just a personal interest story.

  9. These so-called churches, are not houses of God…but its good business for the collection plates……

  10. Well, there’s different churches for different people. I don’t think the Church of Christ even allows pianos. Plus, I hear they are very proactive in their members lives and intervene if they think a member is screwing up.

    Other denominations, eh, not so much. Episcopalians and Catholics can drink, dance, and do other stuff, just not during the service. Baptists don’t like drink and dancing, but just raise hell about it during Sunday sermons. Other, play with snakes. The C of C has their approach, and it obviously suits their members. Personally, I wouldn’t toss out some parents for taking up for their kids, and I wouldn’t even toss out the gay kid. But, I am not a C of C preacher.

    Their approach may hurt this family, but it might help a thousand others who moderate their behavior lest they be shunned and excommunicated. That is their right.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  11. Neil,
    Your strawman is a mile off target and 180 degrees wrong. It is the so-called “church” that decided to behave like this, not the family, or the media. If they had followed the teachings of Jesus, as they profess to, this story would never have happened. It only became news because of the hypocrisy of the “church.” Calling BS when you smell it and see it is news.

  12. What Oxa, and others perhaps, are wondering is why is something like this a news story on a large national news network like CNN, and why is it given attention on a popular legal blog. Some little church in TN excommunicates someone because they don’t share certain beliefs held by the church. Yeah? So what? Happens all the time in churches everywhere.

    Remember that the right has always claimed that the gay rights movement would eventually come after the Church’s membership and ordination policies. The Left, however, has vehemently denied such motives. When stories like this are promoted in the media, one can’t help but wonder if perhaps they are in preparation to begin that next step toward prohibiting discrimination in Church membership and ordination requirements.

  13. The church is following its own internal rules. So what? Some claim they’re hypocritical. So what? Does this merit national attention? Only if toenail trimming does.

    Does that answer your question, orolee?

  14. I agree if I was this mother it would be an easy decision to leave this church. But I am sure I would have some really choice words for them also.

  15. Let’s take a positive approach to this. This “church” did this mom a big favor. She’s done w/ that unchristian church and hopefully will find one that truly does follow the very simple teaching of Jesus. All Jesus wants from us is to love one another, and help our fellow brothers and sisters through this often difficult journey on earth. He knows it cannot be a solo endeavor, that’s just too difficult. After that, much of what is preached in his name is just horseshit.

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