It’s 2013, the nation is on the verge of full marriage equality, possibly even as soon as this month, yet over on John Piper’s Desiring God blog, it seems that they’re still trying to convince readers that interracial marriage is not a sin. And not just in the abstract either, but because someone asked Piper the question and he devoted his podcast in response. However, that wasn’t enough, there is a followup with not one, but two posts on interracial marriage. The first from what has to be the world’s most gracious and conciliatory African American woman (I’d be like, “WTF are you even asking this question in 2013???”), and the second on dealing with disapproving family.
To comment on the first post, the very fact that in 2013 it’s apparently necessary for a woman to write an exceptionally conciliatory post to convince conservative Christians of the morality and rightness of her marriage to her husband is an exceedingly dark mark on the American church. I don’t care that Loving v. Virginia was in 1967–only 46 years ago–it is a great shame on this country that it took until 1967 for people to be free to marry no matter the race of the person they loved. It’s an even greater shame that it took until the 1990s for more than 50 percent of white Americans to drop moral opposition to interracial marriage. It is an exceedingly great shame that in 2013 the Evangelical church is still discussing this issue as if it is a matter that is up for debate. Can you imagine someone in 2013 feeling the need to convince people that slavery is morally wrong? It’s such a settled issue that we don’t even debate the question any more. Interracial marriage is not and should not be treated as a subject worthy of debate. By doing so, it is legitimizing those who hold the view that it’s wrong.
Moving on to the post on how to deal with a disapproving family, one of the first things that jumps out is how “interracial marriage” and “same-sex marriage” are pretty much interchangeable in these discussions. A good bit of the advice given on what to do if your family doesn’t approve of your interracial relationship wouldn’t be out of place in a Dan Savage column about how to deal with your fundamentalist family’s disapproval of your same-sex relationship. There is little evidence more convincing than that to show why the rest of the country thinks that the Evangelical church is simply being backward and bigoted on same-sex marriage. It’s 2013 and the same debate using the same language is still ongoing about interracial marriage in the church.
I’m not even going to go into passages like this one:
In other words, check your motives. Why are you fighting for this relationship? Is it because the two of you are spiritually compatible, or do you want to prove the family wrong?
One of the worst reasons to pursue a relationship is because the family is against it. To enter a marriage in order to prove someone wrong is selfish and unloving to everyone involved. The gospel calls us to a higher standard. The Christian is willing to forfeit battles for the love of all involved.
You’d never see something like that in an article about a relationship between two people of the same race. The very fact that they’re advising you to check your motives not only legitimizes the opposition to interracial marriage as something worthy of debate, it also conjures up the old racist stereotypes of the rebellious little white girl running off with the big scary black man to piss off her father. The Evangelical church needs to stop treating this as if it’s something that is a legitimate reason for debate.
The message that the Evangelical church is sending to the world with things like this (and I’m not going to discuss things like the fact that the PCA didn’t commence proceedings against Auburn Avenue and Steve Wilkins for being exceedingly racist and heavily tied to a neo-confederate hate group, it was only when they started reinterpreting Paul that the denomination got involved), is that we’re a bunch of backward bigots being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Anthony Bradley shouldn’t be the only one to routinely call out the Evangelical world for it’s racism from within Evangelicalism. All of the big Evangelical denominations that split off in support of slavery during the Civil War should stop trying to hide their past and openly acknowledge how sinful it was. And most importantly, they need to stop acting as though it’s a subject up for debate and Evangelical leaders need to stop patting themselves on the back over how non-racist they are. Not being a racist asshole should be the default setting. It’s not something worthy of pride, it’s something basic.
I’m tired of reading things on race from the Evangelical world and feeling like I’ve fallen through a time warp to the 1960s.