16% of White Evangelical Christians Oppose Interracial Marriage June 24, 2011

16% of White Evangelical Christians Oppose Interracial Marriage

44 years after Loving v. Virginia ended interracial marriages bans across the country, there are still people who think marrying someone of a different race is a bad idea.

And you’ll *never* guess which group is most against it:

Christianity Today remarks on a Pew poll from February that shows White Evangelical Christians are the group most opposed to interracial marriage:

Evangelicals may have the most negative view of interracial marriage, but there is also opposition among white mainline Protestants (13 percent) and Catholics (10 percent). Statistically, the percentages in these traditions who saw interracial marriage as bad for society were about the same as for evangelicals.

The views of white Christians stand in stark contrast to two other groups: black Protestants and those with no religion. Only three percent of either group said interracial marriage was bad for society. Eight-in-ten respondents said the trend “doesn’t make much difference.” Those who are not religious were more optimistic, with 38 percent saying it was good for society.

Of course, it’s not surprising for evangelicals (as a whole) to be behind the curve when it comes to civil rights. (No doubt they’ll eventually be the last demographic against gay marriage, too.)

It’s things like this that make me proud to be free of religion. As a group, the religiously “unaffiliated” are always in front of the pack when it comes to letting people do whatever makes them happy (provided it’s not hurting others). It’s the religious groups that wrongly think they know what’s best for everybody else.

As the CT article notes, it wasn’t until 2000 that Bob Jones University finally removed its ban on interracial dating.

Side note: I’m trying to find the raw data for the graphic above, but the Pew report the CT article refers to (PDF) doesn’t mention this religious breakdown. Am I missing something?

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  • Steve

    I think there was a recent poll from Mississippi that put the number at 50% there

  • I’m from Mississippi. That would shock me. /sarcasm

  • Kristian

    40 years from now I suspect this will be about the same for gay marriage.

  • Beriaal

    I genuinely thought figures would be worse…

  • I think there was a recent poll from Mississippi that put the number at 50% there.

    According to this poll, 46% of Mississippi Republicans think interracial marriage should be illegal. No word on how many of them were evangelical Christians, but I think we can safely assume that Republicans in the Deep South are overwhelmingly religious.

  • Josh

    Am I the only one deeply disturbed by this?…It’s the 21st century can we please act like it

  • This kind of thing really pisses me off. It’s bad enough that there are so many just plain stupid people out there, believing in the big sky fairy. But their bigotry and intolerance (both of which they deny) is unbelievable. Why do so many live in the U.S.? Argh!!!!

  • Richard Wade

    No Josh, you’re not the only one who is deeply disturbed by this, in fact I’d assume that many people are downright alarmed and enraged by it, as am I. But we have to respond to this problem by somehow looking for solutions and remedies rather than just ranting and blaming. What to do, I’m not sure, but I’m trying to keep the blood flowing through my frontal lobe rather than the more primitive, agressive parts of my brain.

  • Michelle

    I agree that a much better break down of race/religion thing would be very interesting. Although, I’m not surprised that the ‘white’ vote is also the one that is heavily in the no mix category, the categories leave a bit out for me. Then there is the one other thing-why do we always seem to leave the brown/yellow folks out of this? I’m pretty white and my husband is brown (we have a lovely beige boy) and most people don’t think of us as a ‘mixed’ couple. That is odd to me, if he were a few shades darker it would be a whole different story. Not that I’m begging for trouble, but still, it’s weird.
    The tired babbling girl is exiting center stage.

  • Trace

    According to Wikipedia, and if I understood things correctly, Bob Jones University (in Bob Jones Univeristy vs United Stated) argued that the “school’s racial discrimination was based on sincerely held religious beliefs, that “God intended segregation of the races and that the Scriptures forbid interracial marriage.” [94]

    And yet, in the BJ apology link we find this:

    “We failed to accurately represent the Lord and to fulfill the commandment to love others as ourselves. For these failures we are profoundly sorry. Though no known antagonism toward minorities or expressions of racism on a personal level have ever been tolerated on our campus, we allowed institutional policies to remain in place that were racially hurtful,”


    Sorry for the long cutting and pasting 🙁

  • I’m… not surprised by this at all. Disappointed, saddened, and a bit angry, sure. But not surprised.

  • Bacopa

    Wasn’t Zipporah a pretty dark black woman from the upper Nile? The Bantu peoples had not expanded that far into eastern Africa in Biblical times, but I’m sure she was pretty dark. The Iliad describes African allies of the Trojans from Egypt and Libya as “burnt” and “wolly haired”.

    The Bible condemns powerful men who marry “strange” women who worship other gods and use their influence to introduce pagan rituals.

    Paul seems to say race is irrelevant.

    But do keep in mind that if Obama had a white wife, there’s no way he could have become a viable presidential candidate. Of course, that didn’t stop justice Thomas from getting on the court.

  • Josh

    Justice Thomas was apppointed though, not elected.

  • Miko

    The post title is misleading. Thinking something is bad for society is different from opposing it. I think smoking is bad for society, but I don’t oppose it.

    Those who think that interracial marriage is bad for society without opposing it are wrong, but they’re also not hurting anyone.

  • These are disturbing numbers. Even more disturbing is there are blacks that think it’s bad for society. Seriously?

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