Kat Cooper and her wife, Krista

Kat Cooper and her wife, Krista

Here is some fundamentalist Christian love in action! Several weeks back, the town of Collegedale, Tennessee, became the first city in the state to offer equal benefits to municipal employees in same sex marriages. Progress!

Of course, no advance in LGBT equality is complete without fundamentalist Christian people having a conniption and doing something so contrary to the teachings of the figure after which their religion is named that it’ll make your head spin. The response came from the Ridgedale Church of Christ, who essentially kicked the Cooper family, who were longtime members, out of the congregation for the crime of supporting their daughter Kat, a police officer who fought for the ordinance to pass:

Cooper’s mother, Linda, stood by her side throughout the process. She held tight to her daughter’s hand at a July meeting over the issue. And the two embraced after the City Council’s 4-1 vote on Aug. 5.

But those small acts of support translated into collateral damage that left Linda Cooper and other relatives separated from their church family of more than 60 years. And one local advocate for gay families says the church’s stance was the most extreme he’s heard of in years.

Leaders at Ridgedale Church of Christ met in private with Kat Cooper’s mother, aunt and uncle on Sunday after the regular worship service. They were given an ultimatum: They could repent for their sins and ask forgiveness in front of the congregation. Or leave the church.

Even the aunt and uncle!

Their sins?

“My mother was up here and she sat beside me. That’s it,” said Kat Cooper. “Literally, they’re exiling members for unconditionally loving their children — and even extended family members.”

Thou shalt not sit next to a homosexual without informing her that she is going to hell, saith the Bible that this church apparently uses.

But the family’s support of Kat Cooper was as good as an endorsement of homosexuality, said Ken Willis, minister at Ridgedale Church of Christ.

“The sin would be endorsing that lifestyle,” Willis said. “The Bible speaks very plainly about that.”

Willis, a father himself, said the church didn’t expect the Cooper family to disown their daughter.

“But you certainly can’t condone that lifestyle, whether it’s any kind of sin — whether they’re shacked up with someone or living in a state of fornication or they’re guilty of crimes,” he said. “You don’t condone it. You still love them as a parent.”

Hunt Cooper, Kat’s father, said his wife is still too distraught over the church’s actions to comment.

“She is just so traumatized and so upset,” he said. “It has been days and she’s still crying. It’s almost like losing a family member.”

Linda Cooper’s parents were practically founding members of the Dodds Avenue congregation, Hunt Cooper said. Her father was a church elder and his picture still hangs on the wall there. Kat Cooper grew up helping her grandfather clean the pews and helped her grandmother hang bulletin boards for Sunday school.

“This is not just some casual church they dropped in on,” he said.

Hunt Cooper said his family rejects the notion that being gay is a lifestyle choice. And his wife, along with her brother and sister, believed repentance would be hypocritical. So the decision to leave, devastating as it was, was a simple one.

“There’s no sin to repent for,” he said. “And she’s not going to turn her back on her daughter.”

As Wonkette replied:

Wonkette extends its congratulations to the Cooper family on their decision to remain human. They’ll be a lot happier that way.

Indeed. It’s unfortunate that the same can’t be said for that church.