The youth minister of an Arkansas Baptist church has resigned after parents sought help from a key neo-Nazi group.
The youth minister of an Arkansas Baptist church who ministered to both black and white children and said the Bible does not forbid interracial dating has resigned — apparently after parents sought the help of a key neo-Nazi group.
Brandon Carter, youth minister of the First Baptist Church of Smackover, Ark., said that he left the church in late June after confrontations with parents, the senior pastor, and a personnel committee that he says told him they would have to demand his resignation if the issue of miscegenation came up again.
A church secretary initially denied that any youth minister had left. But after Smackover police said that they had heard of the controversy, a church official agreed that Carter was leaving. The Intelligence Report left several messages asking for comment from Pastor Vaughn Blue. None were returned.
Carter said that several youths had asked him about interracial dating. After telling them he could find nothing scripturally wrong with it, Carter said parents began to complain about that and the growing presence of black children at church.
"When I talked to the personnel committee," he added, "they basically told me I have no opinion, and not to talk to the kids about it if they asked me again. ... They were like, 'Well, if this discussion comes up again, we're going to have to ask for your resignation.' ... It's just really sad to see people that don't want to move on."
Smackover, population 3,554, is a conservative town in a conservative state. It is also home to at least one Ku Klux Klan group, the South Arkansas Knights.
The parents who opposed Carter may have had some help. According to an E-mail message in a private discussion group of the National Alliance, someone at the church wrote to an Alliance member whom he had roomed with in college.
"My friend E-mailed me and requested biblical verses or books opposing race mixing," the Alliance member wrote his colleagues. "You guys flooded my E-mails with stuff. I forwarded it to the parents in question and I'm pleased to say the race traitor minister in question has resigned and fled town in disgrace!"