Tennessee Church Kicks Out Family For Supporting Lesbian Daughter

Kat Cooper

The Coopers of Collegedale, TN had been members of the Ridgedale Church of Christ for over three generations. That all changed when they were photographed at a city council meeting that voted 4-1 to approve same-sex benefits to government employees. The Coopers' daughter, Kat, is a lesbian and a detective with the Collegedale Police Department and had been leading the cause to have those benefits extended to gay couples. Because they showed up to support her, the church met privately with Kat's parents, aunt, and uncle and gave them an ultimatum: repent for their sins and ask forgiveness in front of the congregation, or leave the church, the Times Free Press reports.

The sin of Kat's relatives, according to minister Ken Willis, is that of endorsing her 'lifestyle', which he says the Bible is explicit about. While Willis doesn't expect the Coopers to disown Kat, he says that while parents should still love their children they shouldn't support their sin; love the sinner, hate the sin. But it would also seem that loving a sinner is itself a sin, judging from the actions of Willis and the church authorities.

Willis insists that since Kat's actions and support from her family were made so public, they had no choice but to take action. The implication evidently is that if Kat had stayed in the closet or kept quiet about her lack of rights then the church wouldn't have had to punish her family for loving her.  After 60 years, the Coopers chose to leave the church rather than repent for a sin they did not commit. Kat's mother is still driven to tears by the events, but the family remains resolute in the support of their daughter. 

Related: as of this writing, it appears that the Ridgedale Church of Christ's Facebook page has been hacked and filled with gay-positive posts and pictures.

Comments

  1. Hey Darlin' says

    It’s very scary the extent some churches will go, to CONTROL the private lives of their members extended family and situations outside their understanding. Taking it to the point of decreasing an entire family’s humanity. Sounds like someone has a bit of a God complex.

    Some can no longer think of actual Christianity but only of their own self interest and promotion, to the detriment of members. It’s okay though because their are PLENTY of other churches that do not put power and control ahead of humanity.

  2. 1♥ says

    Christian hatred knows no borders.

    The head of this church wouldn’t be able to keep his congregation if he taught the congregation to love one another.

    L♥VE is what their false god despises the most.

  3. Jack M says

    The church did them a favor by kicking them out. Maybe the more we are directly exposed to this so-called Christian behavior, the more we will learn how damaging it really is.

  4. says

    Good. That church is a hellhole, now they aren’t unknowingly supporting a horrible place. I hope this mom doesn’t shy away and does something bitchy, like a full page ad in a local paper explaining how unchristian that church and all it’s followers are.

  5. says

    Good. That church is a hellhole, now they aren’t unknowingly supporting a horrible place. I hope this mom doesn’t shy away and does something bitchy, like a full page ad in a local paper explaining how unchristian that church and all it’s followers are.

  6. northalabama says

    where’s the part where the coopers were showered with love? where’s the loving god that forgives all? and what was the purpose for a public shaming in front of the church – were other church memebers forced to “prove” they asked for forgiveness?

    this is wrong from so many directions, it’s tough to pick a starting point, but leaving this “church” and it’s “love” is the best outcome for the coopers either way.

  7. Rob says

    Shine the light of day on this abhorrent and abusive behavior by this church’s pastor and elders. These people are not qualified to lead. Do people really want to be a member of a group or cult like this??? Move on to a place where you are wanted.

  8. says

    Good. The family should have left that church on their own, but since they wouldn’t the church did them a favor. They can either find a church that isn’t so bigoted or perhaps embrace reality and stop believing in stone-age superstitions. Their choice.

  9. Rees Cramer says

    I lived in southeast Tennessee for many years and I have heard of Detective Cooper during that time. she is an outstanding person and public servant. She and her family deserve to be treated better than this. You call yourselves Christians?

  10. Sam says

    Sad, but not entirely surprising. Churches of Christ are typically very conservative – although I’ve never heard of a church trying to hold someone accountable for other people’s perceived sins. This family, while they may be saddened to learn that people they thought were their “family” do not really care for them, are better off in the end. There are plenty of churches that welcome gay people, and even among churches that are not necessarily pro-gay, this type of behavior would not be tolerated.

  11. thom says

    ..oh it is so disheartening to see how hate still spews out of “church’s”. The “hate the sin, love the sinner” axiom is so twisted and self-serving and trite and tired to boot..it gives “Christians” the right to hate and boy do they!…They cherry-pick” the passages of the bible to suit their own viciousness…they eat pork (Leviticus)they wear clothing made of 2 different fibers (Leviticus again)..they probably eat shrimp (yep, Leviticus)Some of them work on Sundays..(zzz Leviticus)…and I recall there is something in one of the books that tells the father it’s okay to slay his disobedient son….Oh my! the list is endless. That church needs to clean house! These women don’t deserve the treatment they received and the church certainly doesn’t deserve them as members…move on ladies.

  12. Bernie says

    this is such a sad story that a church would “punish” a family for having a gay child…….What does that really say about this church and any other church that would do this? I give kudos to the parents for supporting their daughter and not that church…….

  13. Bernie says

    this is such a sad story that a church would “punish” a family for having a gay child…….What does that really say about this church and any other church that would do this? I give kudos to the parents for supporting their daughter and not that church…….

  14. Bernie says

    this is such a sad story that a church would “punish” a family for having a gay child…….What does that really say about this church and any other church that would do this? I give kudos to the parents for supporting their daughter and not that church…….

  15. Bernie says

    this is such a sad story that a church would “punish” a family for having a gay child…….What does that really say about this church and any other church that would do this? I give kudos to the parents for supporting their daughter and not that church…….

  16. KijoSiren says

    I find it sad (speaking from my non-Christian point of view) that people like the leader of that church act the way they do in the name of their God. It makes all of the good-hearted and decent Christians look bad as a whole. I know some Christians that, even though they don’t agree with my spiritual decisions, are the nicest and most loving and caring people I know.

    This family needs to find a different church. One that will love them the way they should and not judge. It’s not a human’s place to judge.

  17. Dumb says

    When will people realize that churches are no different from fraternities and sororities? It’s like paying for friends and looking to be accepted only to get demeaned whenever you do something they don’t like.

  18. anon says

    As every good patriarch knows, there is no biblical proscription against lesbianism. If clauses against gay men are scant, then clauses against gay women are certainly non-existent.

  19. terry says

    I posted earlier on this but that post seems to have been taken down. Was it because I had no sympathy for this family that joined a cult and probably listened to hate sermons for years while nodding approval? Their cult turned on them, so what. They loved their cult so long as the hate was directed elsewhere. I can’t imagine that these loving Christians suddenly turned into assholes.

  20. Kyle says

    How many daily stories of church corruption, religious hatred toward others, religious wars, pastors cheating, preachers lying do we have to hear on a daily basis to realize ORGANIZED RELIGION IS A CRIMINAL CULT!

    Step away from organized religion. It kills our souls!

  21. GregV says

    The same church denomination (which pretends not to be a denomination at all but rather the one “true” church) used to kick out those who supported equal rights for black people, and banned blacks from their church-run colleges until the 1960’s.
    All of these fundamentalist religions essentially train their flock not to question and think too much (lest they realize how much that they are told just doesn’t add up).

  22. northalabama says

    @mmike1969

    please don’t blanket an entire state, or part of the country, with the shameful and idiotic actions of a few. dig long enough, you’ll find there are crazies everywhere, no part of the world is immune.

    the problem is not with tennessee – it’s with the “church”, and their followers. they’re better off far away from these fools.

  23. andrew says

    Maybe now they will have time to read the bible on their own, using the brain nature gave them. They might just discover the truth about the bible. It is a totally flawed human creation. It is filled with myths, mostly made up history and moral teachings more horrific than those of Draco and Hammurabi.

  24. Christopher Fowler says

    This is another reason that I am glad to be Wiccan. We don’t make these sorts of judgements about people and a person’s sexuality is what it is, a part of nature and the natural order.

  25. Dana Chilton says

    I grew up in the Church of Christ. These kinds of stories are very rare..most members probably don’t care. It’s a very conservative church that values tradition (from 1830s). They’re generally nice people. There are members who support gay people. Unfortunately, there are lots and lots of older members and the church is mostly southern. ON a positive note, most of the churches stay away from “the religious right” and shun any religious event/show/preacher that isn’t CoC so most of the religious right crap doesn’t filter into their churches

  26. Elizabeth Johnson says

    What!? The Bible talks of “TWO MEN Laying together as a Man and Woman as an ABOMINATION”. It clearly describes that act as being against God or at least his displeasure.

    NOWHERE does it say that TWO Women living together or anything else is a sin. Probably for a good reason. Biologically Two MEN can lay together as a man and a woman. IT IS PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for two WOMEN to lay together as a MAN and a WOMAN

  27. says

    This shouldn’t surprise anyone, because christians get their ideology from their god’s bible — his so-called “holy” word. And in the bible, the christian god makes it perfectly clear that gays are unacceptable human beings. Gee… I wonder where all the bigotry comes from.

    Besides, I don’t understand why any gay person (or anyone who loves a gay person) would even WANT to be a christian. The christian god HATES them, considers them “detestable,” ordered them killed, and has made it clear (even in the new testament) that they will NOT go to heaven. So, WTF?!

  28. Francois says

    This Judge Club gave this woman, her family, and spouse, the blessing of placing them in a lifeboat where they will be found by loving, accepting, Progressive Christians. The Fundamentalists who need their world view in black and white, who avoid real Spiritual discernment because it’s easier to believe the magical fairy tales of Biblical Literalism has already been eclipsedm so try not to feed the pai they’ve caused you or the ebarrassment they cause Christianity in general.Sis you know just tqwnty years ago there were already over 400 known Christian denominatios?

    Fundamentalism is its own self-generating cancer and fatal demise, needing no one’s help to shout itself into delusional irrelevance. Just observe the product of their hijacking of a sizable political party. Not much different than the frothing Muslim fanatics that are an embarrasment to most Muslims.

    For a breath of Fresh Air that may give you a little hope and seems to be a quiet Reformation, Googke Bishop John Shelby Spong at Amazom books. He been acused a heretict and has had death threats so you know the old guard is losing its abiliyu to control through Spiritual Blackmail. Just a thought.Peace to All…..

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