The Houston Chronicle had an interesting article a week back comparing reactions to last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down bans on same-sex marriage and the high court’s 1967 ruling against bans on interracial marriage. In both cases, the article notes, opponents have used religion in criticizing the court’s decisions.
Indeed, supporters of racial segregation often used religion as a justification for their stance. The Chronicle quotes a lower court judge in Virginia who ruled in favor of that state’s interracial marriage ban in the case that later went to the Supreme Court:
“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”
The article also quotes Bob Jones, the extreme-right, segregationist evangelical preacher, from a radio broadcast in 1960:
“God Almighty did not make the human race one race. It was not His purpose at all…. God made one blood of all nations, but He also drew boundary lines between races. If you are against segregation and against racial separation, then you are against God almighty.”
The article notes that the preacher’s own Bob Jones University didn’t even permit interracial dating among its students until 2000.
Today, tragically, we hear religion used once again as a weapon to oppose equality, in this case the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples. Pointing this out, as the Houston Chronicle article does, really angers religious-righters. In a blog post last week, for example, Dave Welch of the far-right Texas Pastor Council denounces the Chronicle:
“This article is an example of the propaganda being waged by the liberal media to not only continue, but even to escalate their campaign of equating unnatural, immoral, sexual behavior with race, sex and religion. Comparing laws banning interracial marriage to laws defining marriage as a union only between one man and one woman is completely ‘apples and oranges.’ Even Justice Anthony Kennedy in his majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges admitted the weakness in the comparison – and used it anyway just as he based the opinion on the American Psychological Association’s recently changed position that homosexuality is ‘immutable’ (unchangeable). Both of these positions are fallacious and indefensible Biblically, morally, historically, biologically and Constitutionally. The Houston Chronicle continues to serve a marketing tool of the LGBTQIA movement without any pretense at journalism.”
It’s fascinating to watch Welch attack one form of bigotry while defending another. But it’s hardly surprising. Welch’s hatred of LGBT people has consumed him. After all, he has called Houston’s openly lesbian mayor a “sodomite” who is disappointed with men, viciously attacked her marriage, warned of a “gay takeover” of Houston, insisted that transgender people are a threat to children in public restrooms, and prayed for God to destroy supporters of same-sex marriage.
Fortunately, many people of faith have supported the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples, just as many religious folk have marched and fought for racial equality. TFN is proud to stand with them.
The full Houston Chronicle article is behind a paywall, but you can find it here.