Friday, August 7, 2009

Thoughts on HWA's Interracial Marriage Ban

After being spurred on by seeing the Dateline report on the Robidoux cult I soon found a copy of HWA's anti-Christmas booklet, The Plain Truth about Christmas. It absolutely dazzled me with its Hyslopian (and false) vision of the evil Nimrod who started Christmas. I wanted to find out more.

Eventually I realized this booklet was on an unofficial web page that contained many of HWA's writings. I saw that HWA's last book was a book that was highly spoken of, namely, Mystery of the Ages.

When I read it it said many things. (If you want to truly understand it you need to read this review.) But one thing that surprised me was how it condemned interracial marriage. I was somewhat put off by it, but I believed HWA so I just accepted what he said.

I did not realize at the time that other groups, racist in nature, also share this belief, and also how this doctrine is not supported in the Bible.

Consider how this doctrine is also taught among the extremist Identity movement. Similar to HWA Identity believes that White Americans are descended from the allegedly lost Ten Tribes of Israel. This extremist movement also forbids interracial marriage. Their approach to this topic is somewhat different as they follow the racist doctrine that only Whites are descended from Adam, while the other races are descended from "inferior" "pre-Adamites."

"Because Identity teachers hold that the other races are of a different creation, they consider interracial marriage a sin. Identity teachers insist that interracial marriage was the cause of God's judgment on the people of Noah's time." (Viola Larson, Christian Research Institute (CRI), Identity, p. 2.)

This is eerily similar to what HWA wrote in Mystery of the Ages as part of his rationale for this ban on interracial marriage, as may be seen here.

"Marrying, to be evil, had to be as in Genesis 6:2, when men "took them wives of all which they chose." There was rampant and universal interracial marriage--so exceedingly universal that Noah, only, was unblemished or perfect in his generations--his ancestry. He was of the original white strain....God originally set the bounds of national borders, intending nations to be SEPARATED to prevent interracial marriage." (Chapter 4, "End of the Antediluvian World.")

Interracial marriage was held to be a cause of the Great Flood. Also a verse in the Song of Moses was cited, and interpreted as saying God wanted the races to be separated.

But a) the assertion that interracial marriage was the cause for the Great Flood is not Biblically supportable, and b) the verse in the Song of Moses was referring to the Twelve Tribes of Israel. That verse is not a decree for all time that interracial marriage is forbidden. These points may be seen here.

However he is wrong to suggest that the Bible bans interracial marriage.

HWA has plucked out one or two lines from the Song of Moses, which was made for Israel, and used it improperly justify his peculiar belief in the racial segregation of marriage.

He also cited Ezra, in which some of the Jews were ordered to put away their Canaanite wives. However, as is shown here, this measure was taken to prevent the Israelites from falling into idolatry, not to maintain some imaginary racial purity as HWA imagined. Racial purity does not exist anywhere in the whole wide world. We all have mixed ancestry.

Furthermore interracial marriage did occur early in the ancestry of the Israelite nation. Judah married a Canaanite, the daughter of Shuah (Genesis 38:2). Simeon had a son with a Canaanite. "The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman" (Genesis 46:10). So HWA's confused assertion that Israel was of pure or nearly pure racial stock is not true. Clearly there was intermarriage.

This does not dilute or lessen the identity of the Jewish people in any way, unlike what some anti-Semites, including Identity, would have us believe. It is the same as an African American with some White ancestry. Such mixed ancestry, which we all ultimately have, does not in any way compromise one's ethnic identity.

The ideal of racial purity is an anachronistic concept that HWA read into the Bible. He had no right or legitimate claim to ban interracial marriage.

Furthermore those commands were given to Israel, not the church. The Anglo-Saxons and Celts are not descended from ancient Israel. So any attempt to say we should follow that law today is a complete misuse of those laws.

Despite my disquiet at this particular doctrine it did not change my belief that God worked through HWA. Because I never joined any COG it never really affected me. However, for personal reasons, I was never a huge fan of this belief. But there was so much else to this religion I thought this did not really matter. I thought God was worked through HWA so I accepted it. It did not cause me to make any sacrifices, it did not have a significant impact on my life. So I was blind to the evil and impropriety of this doctrine.

[Update: August 1, 2013. More on this topic can be read at this post: The Unjust Nature of the Interracial Marriage Ban.]

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