(NEW YORK) — The relationship between Bishop Noel Jones and his “lady friend,” Loretta, has been the center of the second season of Oxygen’s Preachers of LA as fellow castmember Bishop Ron Gibson raises a question that many viewers have — why don’t the two just get married after being together for 16 years?
Bishop Jones tells ABC News Radio that Loretta has known from the start that they weren’t ever going to marry because he had just ended a marriage when they began their relationship.
“When you marry young — I was 20 years old, 20, 21, something like that — and of course my ex-wife is older than I am and so she was probably more mature. I was forming and budding and becoming and we grew apart. So I wasn’t in any mood for marriage [when I met Loretta],” he explains. “And Loretta didn’t sign up in a relationship, in a friendship, with marriage in mind.”
Bishop Jones adds that viewers falsely assume that Loretta has a desire to walk down the aisle.
“I think people are assuming that this woman is an inanimate object, who has no real choice as to whether or not she wants to be with me or not. If she’s at the point where marriage is that critical to her and she knows my position, then it would seem to me that she would go find somebody to marry,” he says.
Castmember Pastor Jay Haizlip defends Bishop Jones’ reasoning for not wanting to walk down the aisle. “In my reading the Bible, I’ve never seen anything that would tell a guy, even if he’s in ministry, that he can’t have a girlfriend,” he says.
Bishop Gibson, and his wife LaVette, have a different stance. On Wednesday’s episode of Preachers of LA, the two sit down with Bishop Jones and Loretta to tell them they won’t do community outreach with the two if they aren’t married.
Oxygen’s Preachers of LA airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
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