Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

“God Taught the Children of Israel Not to Intermarry”

Today’s New York Times package on race and the election included some horrifying anti-black quotes such as, “He’s going to tear up the rose bushes and plant a watermelon patch.” But more fascinating is that miscegenation – the fear of interracial marriage – was mentioned even more. And at least two of the interviewees offered Biblical justification for their views.


“He’s other. It’s in the Bible. Come as one. Don’t create other breeds.”
–Ricky Thompson, a pipe fitter who works at a factory north of Mobile, Al.
“I would think of him as I would of another of mixed race. God taught the children of Israel not to intermarry. You should be proud of what you are, and not intermarry.”
–Glenn Reynolds, 74, a retired textile worker in Martinsdale, Va.

When Obama first ran, my father, who’s in his 80s, predicted that Obama having a white mother might be comforting for some but would freak out others. He’s old enough to remember what I’d forgotten, that anti-black sentiment in the 1950s and 1960s was often just as much about purity and race mixing – and the threat to white women – as it was about anti-black stereotypes.
I admit to being surprised that people would still use Biblical justification for these things. It’s easy to forget that religion was used as a justification for slavery for more than a century.

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posted October 15, 2008 at 10:19 am

I admit to being surprised that people would still use Biblical justification for these things.

Daniel, would you like to take this one or should I? šŸ˜‰

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Mike Nardozzi

posted October 15, 2008 at 11:04 am

What chapter and verse are Mr. Thompson referring to exactly? My interest is for giving my children a balanced view of the bible and christianity in general. Barack Obama often quotes the more positive aspects of the bible, which has increased their interest in it. I would like to point to some of the things that have been misinterpreted or which are less constructive also however.

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Iris Alantiel

posted October 15, 2008 at 12:01 pm

Wow, this makes me very sad.
Choosing to marry someone of another race is about love, not about a lack of pride in one’s own heritage. I can’t believe I actually had to write that. I can’t believe that, in 2008, that’s something people don’t just know.

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posted October 15, 2008 at 3:52 pm

“It’s easy to forget that religion was used as a justification for slavery for more than a century.”
I live in Texas, and when I visit relatives in East Texas (which isn’t very often), I still hear the Bible used as a justification for slavery, and a tirade against the “North,” which robbed their great-great grandfathers of their slaves and their slaves of their happiness, “they all preferred the security of slavery, as we all know.” This in 2008.

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posted October 15, 2008 at 9:52 pm

The Bible can probably be used to justify just about anything, by looking in the right chapter and taking a quote out of context. It is only a book, written by men…nothing special…full of contradictions. Some nice poetry, and perhaps a bit of good advice. However not a book I use to guide my life. Unfortunately a lot of bad things have happened,done by those who using that books as a justifiable reason. It is out of date…

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posted October 16, 2008 at 10:05 am

Not a biblical scholar, far from it—but isn’t the prohibition against inter-marriage only against Jews marrying non-Jews. And isn’t there even one of the later prophets (and not a minor one) who encourage inter-marriage of a way of strengthing the Jews after the tragedy of the Babylonian Captivity? Ezra, is it, who talks only about inter-marriage with Canaanites, and Moabites and Ammonites, but mostly because they were so cruel to the Hebrews on their way to the Promised Land. I think that it was ok with others, as long as they became part of the covenant. And what about all those Kings who married non-Hebrews? What about Ruth?

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posted October 16, 2008 at 10:50 am

I can’t believe the Bible is used to justify this. The word miscegenation was only coined in 1863. Wonder who made that up?

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posted November 29, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Intermarriage is not outlawed in the laws contained in the Book of Leviticus.
The historical narratives in the Bible confirm that in the biblical period intermarriage was an accepted phenomenon. Moses’s wife was not a ‘Hebrew’ woman, nor was Ruth the grandmother of the famous king David.
Intermarriage was prohibited ONLY in the Fifth Century BCE by Ezra and Nehemiah, the babylonian-educated Jews who had returned to a devastated Jerusalem to rebuild the community. In such circumstances the openness and tolerance of the biblical period towards intermarriage was now unfortunately contributing to an errosion of the Jewish identity. The vassal state Yehud was not the mighty kingdom of Judah anymore- and the change in politics and religion led to the prohibition of intermarriage in an attempt to shore up Jewish identity. This prohibition is stipulated in Deuteronomy..but dates to this late period, not to the biblical period. It is THIS picture only that most people talk about…that intermarriage is a bad idea and “unbiblical”…thankfully it is a misinformed opinion.
As recently as 1983 the sting in the prohibition of intermarriage was taken out by the Jewish Reform community in the USA who acknowledge the Jewishness of offspring even if only one parent is a practicing Jew and the other is not (and provided the child is reared in the Jewish tradition).
to read the interesting part faith has in it go to

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posted May 1, 2012 at 6:55 am

what can you say when stupidity and an intentional ignorance is laid on “scripture and God” We are all human beings and the last i checked, God made all of us! Check the source of the states these comments comes from and you will have no doubt that racists comments like this are inbred at an early age instead of education and intelligence!

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Robert Brown

posted November 6, 2012 at 5:06 am

Can any racist justify why they should not go to Hell, as the Bible indicates all Haters, who are void of God’s Love in their hearts for their fellow man are doomed to a fiery eternal Hell and this includes our dead ancestors as well who died in this sin, regardless of their positions in society.

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