The Ridgedale Church of Christ in the Chattanooga area of Tennessee is drawing international attention after allegedly forcing the mother of a lesbian detective to choose between the church — which she has attended for roughly 60 years — and her daughter.

According to the Times Free Press, leaders of the church recently met privately with Linda Cooper and two of her family members after the usual Sunday service this week.

“They were given an ultimatum,” the Times Free Press reported. “They could repent for their sins and ask forgiveness in front of the congregation. Or leave the church.”

Tennessee Church Allegedly Asks Mother of Lesbian Detective to Repent or Leave

Linda Cooper was allegedly asked to leave her church of 60 years, or publicly repent for her daughter’s lifestyle. (Photo: WTVC-TV)

The sin was said to be the family’s support for Cooper’s daughter, Kat, who has successfully fought to make benefits available to same-sex spouses of government employees.

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

Kat’s father, Hunt Cooper, told CNN affiliate WTVC: “Her answer to them…is that she had committed no sin in her mind. Loving her daughter and supporting her family was not a sin.”

“There was nothing to repent about,” he added. “They certainly couldn’t judge her on that because that was between her and her God, and it was not their place to judge her for that.”

Tennessee Church Allegedly Asks Mother of Lesbian Detective to Repent or Leave

Ridgedale Church of Christ has garnered international attention over the Linda Cooper controversy. (Photo: WTVC-TV)

TheBlaze reached out to the Ridgedale Church of Christ but did not immediately receive a response.

But Ken Willis, a minister at the church, originally told the Free Press: “The sin would be endorsing that lifestyle…the Bible speaks very plainly about that.”

And since the story has garnered further controversy, he said in a statement: “This is an in-church private issue. Because emotions are so inflamed at this point, I choose not to comment any further.”

More on the story courtesy of WTVC/CNN below:

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