Alamy
Alamy

A Tennessee church is in the news after a former white employee said she was fired once they found out about her marriage to a black man.

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Debra Dodd, the former secretary at the all-white Cumberland Presbyterian Church, filed a lawsuit against the Fayetteville house of worship for back wages and $500,000 in punitive damages.

During her two years at the church, Dodd said that she loved her job but noticed a shift in treatment when three church leaders saw her out with her then-fiance, Michael Hampton, who is black.

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"Then suddenly it went downhill. All of the sudden my clothes were not appropriate, I was not doing my job right. People stopped looking at me. They would turn their faces away from me," Dodd told the Religion News Service. "When my husband and a friend of his visited one week when I sang, there were comments about the 'colored boys in the back.' "

The Rev. Tim Smith, the pastor of the church, disputes Dodd's claims of racism. "In this congregation, I work with some of the most loving people in the city," Smith said. "I can't comment on the lawsuit, but there is more to this story."

So this is an all-white church in the middle of Tennessee, and Smith expects us to believe that the change in treatment weren't because of the color of her husband's skin? We can surely expect this church to cough up some money if this ever goes to trial.

Read more at the Religious News Service.

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