September 08, 2003

More anti-interracial marriage proof-texting

Here are another few texts often cited to make the case that God forbids the races to intermarry.

Please note that many of these references are often "spoof-texts" rather than proof-texts - that is, they are presented as nothing but a bare reference with no further commentary, often without quoting the verse itself, and frequently as one of a long list of such references. The idea of spoof-texting is to bury your opponent in a mound of Bible verses in the hope that one of them will "stick," your opponent looks like a fool because he can't respond adequately to each one, and he looks like he is arguing against God. It's a form of debating sleight-of-hand that has the appearance of being "Biblical." Nonetheless, here is a sample of lesser proofs.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:24-25)

Assertion: God made all creation after its kind and intended for it to reproduce after its kind. Therefore, it is wrong to cross those boundaries; therefore, interracial marriages are wrong.

Response: Yes, this verse says that God created all things after their kind. Big dogs make little dogs. Big horses make little horses. Big oak trees make little oak trees. And big people make little people. The anti-interracial-marriage advocate assumes that black people and white people, for example, are different "kinds." However, it is their ability to reproduce after their kind that proves they are the same kind.

When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. (Deut. 32:8)

Assertion: God has set the boundaries of the nations, and it is not man's place to cross those boundaries; therefore, interracial marriages are wrong.

Response: The exact meaning of this poetic passage is not entirely clear, but it appears to be referring to the specific allotments of land which God gave to the twelve tribes of Israel when they occupied the Promised Land.

Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. (Ezra 9:1-2)

Assertion: The Israelites had intermarried with the neighbouring nations, and according to Ezra, this was one of the gravest sins that they could have fallen into; therefore, interracial marriages are wrong.

Response: This passage is actually about mixed marriage. But unfortunately for the segregationists, it doesn't make their case. The real issue is that the women these Israelites were marrying were not only foreigners, but pagans. The text itself says that they were "doing according to their abominations": in other words, the women were drawing the children of Israel into pagan practices. This, not skin colour, was the real issue behind God's commands not to intermarry with the surrounding nations. In fact, it was possible for Gentiles to enter into the covenant and receive all the benefits thereof, if they subjected themselves to the Law (see Exod. 12:48-49, for example).

Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? (Jeremiah 13:23)

Assertion: The answer to this question is no. When an "Ethiopian" (a black person) marries a white person, his children have lighter skin than him. This makes God a liar; therefore, interracial marriages are wrong.

Response: The point of Jer. 13:23 is not the colour of skin, but the very nature of man. The verse goes on to say, "then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." Man is by nature fundamentally wicked. Just as a man's skin colour is part of his fundamental makeup and cannot be changed at a whim, so is his sinfulness. Furthermore, the progeny of a mixed-race marriage does not have a changed skin colour; he has his own skin colour which is part of his fundamental makeup.

The case against interracial marriage is looking weaker all the time. It looks like there is no specific Biblical prohibition against such unions. My next step will be to make a positive case that there is, in fact, Scriptural reason not to forbid them.