Why Do People Believe the Bible is Against Interracial Marriage? #157 #Redux
Hello friends and happy Wednesday! We are living in a crazy world right now, right? Today’s topic is not exactly precipitated by the current protests in the United States, but is a topic that is important to go over, even though we have already touched on it about 147 episodes ago in episode #10: Does the Bible Forbid Interracial Marriage? I think it is worth covering again, because we have many new listeners and we just so happen to get to a very pertinent to the discussion Scripture today, and this episode has been written from scratch today, so there should be very little repetition.
That said, the issue of race, racism and the Bible is a very close subject to my heart. I’m a child of the south, growing up in Birmingham, Alabama in the 70s and 80s. My dad was a lawyer (he actually handled a lot of civil rights cases) and we lived in an affluent area of Birmingham. One day, when I was in second grade, I had a friend from school over to play with me. We didn’t call it a play date back then, and we still don’t, because that is a weird phrase. But we were playing in the front of our house and my parents actually received calls from neighbors complaining and warning them that I was playing with a black kid. Can you imagine?!
About 3 years ago, I wrote a book called The Bible and Racism, which is, of course, available on Amazon. Though I haven’t mentioned it or posted about it in months, if not years, the current controversy has it selling pretty briskly, which is kind of weird. You can check it out, if you’d like, but there is a certain sense where I believe white people should do more listening on race issues these days than talking and writing, and I am sure that there are some sections or paragraphs of that book that are tone deaf to what my brothers and sisters of color have to live through on a daily basis.
Today’s Bible readings include Deuteronomy 7, Psalms 90, Isaiah 35 and Revelation 5. Our focus is in Deuteronomy, because it contains instructions to the Israelites before they enter the Promised Land, including the prohibition on marrying any of the Canaanites. Does this mean that interracial marriage is forbidden by God? ABSOLUTELY NOT, and people who think that way are either being ignorant of what the Bible says, or much worse than that. The below is an excerpt from my book, and details a run-in I had online with a group of white supremacists that were attempting to twist Deuteronomy 7 to justify their abominable and evil beliefs:
In 2017, I posted a mock up of the cover for this book on my Facebook page. I included a two word description of the picture that said “current project,” and nothing else. That post has become one of the most controversial posts I’ve ever made on Facebook. It generated lots of likes and nearly 150 comments, which is a fairly high number for one of my posts. The reason for that many comments is that within about 15 minutes of posting the picture, one of my Facebook ‘friends,’ I lady I’ve never met before and actually don’t even know in real life, posted an excerpt from the book of Deuteronomy in response to my picture.
I read the excerpt with some degree of curiosity trying to discern what her comment meant, it had no context other than the verse itself, Deuteronomy 7:3, which is a prohibition that was aimed at the Israelites commanding them to not marry foreign wives in the promised land. For years, racists and people who have utterly misunderstood the Bible, have used that passage (and others like it) to decry interracial marriage, interracial relationships and those sorts of things. Reading Deuteronomy 7 as a current prohibition against Christians marrying somebody of a different nationality or skin color is a tragic misunderstanding of Scripture that completely disregards who the Old Testament was written to and the context of those commandments in Deuteronomy. Let’s read it and then discuss:
Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, 4 because they will turn your sons away from Me to worship other gods. Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and He will swiftly destroy you. 5 Instead, this is what you are to do to them: tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, cut down their Asherah poles, and burn up their carved images. 6 For you are a holy people belonging to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be His own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.
Does this passage forbid interracial marriage? Beyond question, it does not. We know this from what the passage said, but also from the fact that MOSES WAS MARRIED TO A BLACK AFRICAN WOMAN FROM CUSH!
The Jews were not allowed to intermarry with the Canaanites not because of the color of their skin but very clearly because of their religion. By this command, God sought to keep the hearts of the Israelites pure and their worship focused solely on Him, in keeping with the first commandment, “Do not have other gods besides Me.” It had nothing to do with keeping their blood pure.
Suspicious of the post, and wondering why she chose to post that particular Scripture, I went to check out my “‘friend’s’ Facebook page and discovered a trove of highly racist memes, racist comments and claims, and other horribly offensive and inaccurate material including a ridiculous picture that alleged that the Bible is only about white people , that Adam was a white person and that any attempt to describe the Bible as a book about mixed races is completely false.
It was utter racist claptrap. I was incensed, disgusted and deeply troubled at the level of false teaching she was promulgating and therefore I challenged her comment on my Facebook page with some degree of firmness. This, as you might imagine, ignited one of those comment wars that are becoming more and more common on social media, as she apparently tagged in several of her white nationalist racist friends and without any effort on my part several of my friends joined in and for a while it was a free-for-all. Her primary henchman, and I think that is an appropriate word for the situation, was a German Nazi white supremacist that claimed to love the Jews. (Yes, it was a very strange conversation.) In fact the first commenter herself claimed to be a Jewish person despite the fact that she was quite clearly a southern American.
This was a new flavor of racism for me and upon a little bit of research I discovered that there was quite a few people who make the claim that the Israelites were white, Adam was white, Jesus was white, and that the only race that is eligible for salvation is the white race. According to these white supremacists’ abominable teachings, no other race is eligible for salvation. The Bible is about white people and was only written to white people. Thus according to my ‘friend’s’ henchman, racism is actually a kindness and displays love, because it’s communicating the will of God. What a disgusting, horrific and ignorant idea! As we have discussed before, Jesus was a middle-eastern man. Olive-skinned, and really neither white, nor black. Given that reality – any sort of Christian racism or white supremacy is disgusting, evil, the opposite of what the Bible teaches, small-minded, selfish and worthy of the harshest condemnation. It is also worthy of ridicule due to the simple fact that Jesus was NOT WHITE. Yes, the King of Kings was not white – He was middle-eastern, so I think that white supremacy is a logical farce for anybody that claims to be a follower of Jesus, not to mention the fact that it is completely ruled out by Scripture.
Okay – back to the main question. Does the Bible forbid interracial marriage? Answer: Not in the least. Oh, by the way: There were a couple of people in the Bible who had a hard time with interracial marriage. These were Moses’ siblings Miriam and Aaron, who spoke out against Moses’ marriage to the black Cushite woman. How did that go for them? Well, God disciplined them strongly and struck Miriam with leprosy! It would seem, as R.C. Sproul has said, that God has a much greater problem with racists than He does with interracial marriage! The Bible does NOT forbid interracial marriage; but it does – in every way possible – forbid racism of any kind towards any race.