I placed a call to New Olivet Baptist Church on Monday, as soon as I'd heard about the incident involving a lesbian couple ejected from pastor and Memphis mayoral candidate Kenneth Whalum's church (see my last post for details). I was told he was out, so I left a message.
Yesterday, I finally received a call from a member of Whalum's church staff. She informed me that Whalum would like me to check his Facebook page for his account of what happened in church service last Sunday that resulted in the ejection of the lesbian couple.
Unfortunately, that's not so easy. Since Whalum has privacy settings on his Facebook page, one must be "friends" with him to view the page. In order to see Whalum's response, I had to request to become his Facebook friend. Only after he approved me (which to his credit was rather quickly) was I able to view his response.
After some digging through comments from his page on Tuesday, I found a few vague responses Whalum had made to comments on his status update: "i'll answer any questions today about "the incident". to quote President Obama..."teachable moment" :-)" Here's the most comprehensive of his answers, given in response to questions posed by commenter Danielle Inez:
Candidate Whalum, do you mind sharing the following: When did you become aware of the incident involving the two women? What was the rest of the congregation doing? What were the women doing when you became aware; it's safe to assume you didn't see everything? What were the people in their immediate vicinity doing when you became aware? How did the ushers respond to the women? How did the security respond to the women? How did the congregation respond to the incident? How did you respond? That's all people need/want to know.
woohoo!!!!! sup d!? great questions: (1) when several members complained to me about the disruptive behavior; (2) the rest of the congregation was WORSHIPING, praying, praising, singing, dancing, crying, laughing, and other general stuff people do at our church; (3) when i became aware, they were shouting obscenities, and waving arms wildly while ... leaving sanctuary; (4) by asking them to quiet down or leave; (5) by asking them to leave because of their increasingly disruptive behavior; (6) by WORSHIPING, praying, praising, singing, dancing, crying, laughing, and other general stuff people do at our church :-) (7) as i always do, by moving forward with the liturgical sequence. Again, GREAT questions. I can't imagine that anyone would need more than that, so I'll hang around a few more minutes, then I'm out. Peace.
While I admire Whalum's embrace of social media, an old-fashioned phone call would have been nice. As a mayoral candidate, I believe he has a responsibility to be accessible to all media outlets, especially in relation to controversial incidents such as this one.