The Associated Press reports that a Justice of the Peace in Hammond, Louisiana has denied a marriage license to an interracial couple. The Judge says that he is not a racist, but that he has good reason for withholding the license:
“I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my houseâ€¦ My main concern is for the childrenâ€¦ I don’t do interracial marriages because I don’t want to put children in a situation they didn’t bring on themselvesâ€¦ In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer… I try to treat everyone equally.”
The ACLU is already all over this case, and I think it’s fair to say that there will be legal ramifications for this judge’s stupid decision. What interests me, however, is not so much the law but the morality of the whole affair. There is much that could be said, but let me offer here just a couple of quick thoughts.
The Bible teaches that Christ is reconciling into one body every tribe, tongue, people, and nation (Matt 28:19-20; Acts 10:34-35; 1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:28; Eph 2:16; Col 3:11; Rev 5:9). That means that all the old racial differences that divide the rest of humanity are not supposed to divide Christians. In other words, the Christian gospel obliterates racism of every form. In the current case, the judge’s decision is at best an accommodation to the very racism that the gospel forbids. [See John Piper’s 2005 sermon on interracial marriage for a fuller treatment of this topic.]
One final thing. A prediction, actually. If this story has legs, then you can expect for some people to draw comparisons between it and current debates over the definition of marriage. Critics will argue that the same bigotry driving the case in Louisiana is what motivates people to oppose same-sex “marriage.” The comparison, however, does not hold up. The Bible celebrates the diversity of human races. It does not, however, celebrate homosexual behavior. In fact, it emphatically condemns it (Lev 18:22; Rom 1:26-27; 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10).
I’m certain that we haven’t heard the end of the story in Louisiana. We’ll be paying close attention to this one.