A Tampa mother was standing over her son’s casket recently when the phone rang with news that she called “devastating.”
New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, the church where the funeral was to be held, canceled the service after the pastor learned the dead son was gay, according to the NBC affiliate in Tampa, WFLA.
Julie Atwood said the pastor learned her son, Julion Evans, 42, was gay when his obituary listed a surviving husband. She claims she was told that it would be “blasphemous” to hold the services at the church.
Evans died at home after a four-year battle with an illness called Amyloidosis. The disease is rare and is caused by an abnormal protein produced in the bone marrow and can lead to organ failure, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Atwood said the church was large enough to accommodate hundreds of mourner and the church agreed to a service on July 26. But, the pastor of the church, T.W. Jenkins, said he wasn’t aware Evans was gay until members of the congregation saw the obituary and called to complain about the service, according to WFLA.
Jenkins told WFLA that it would have been an “error” to allow the service at the church.