Over the weekend, we learned that Boone’s Camp Event Hall in Booneville, Mississippi had refused to host a wedding that involved a mixed race couple. When the groom’s sister, LaKambria Welch, wanted a personal explanation, she got a staffer at the location saying on camera that, because the owners were Christian, they didn’t allow interracial weddings there.
It’s hardly the first time Christians have cited the Bible in defense of their racism. Remember that Bob Jones University, a Christian school, only lifted its ban on interracial dating in 2000. And, of course, white evangelicals are among Donald Trump‘s most vociferous defenders despite his racism.
But now the owners appear to be apologizing for their bigotry… or at least trying to save their own asses.
According to the Washington Post, a now-deleted Facebook post written by the venue’s owner includes an apology and an admission that the Bible doesn’t say anything about mixed-race marriages.
The owners of the place are Donna and David Russell, though it appears Donna wrote the post.
To all who have been following the video posted of not allowing biracial marriages in our business please read the content of this message it is very important… as a child growing up in Mississippi our racial boundaries that were unstated were that of staying with your own race. This was never verbally spoke, but it was an understood subject. On Saturday my husband asked me to show him in the Bible where it was located as to the content concerning biracial relationships. I studied for a minute and began to think about the history of my learning this and where it came from. I was unable to recall instances where the Bible was used giving a verse that would support my decision… after searching Saturday evening, Saturday night, most of the day Sunday and sitting down with my pastor Sunday night after church I have come to the conclusion my decision which was based on what I had thought was correct to be supported by The Bible was incorrect! I have, for many years, stood firm on my Christian faith not knowing that biracial relationships were NEVER mentioned in The Bible! I know there are verses whom we claim to support this, but to my finding it is not supported at all! As my Bible reads, there are 2 requirements for marriage and race has nothing to do with either! All of the years I had “assumed” in my mind that I was correct, but have never taken the opportunity to research and find whether this was correct or incorrect until now. There may be some that stand the same on this situation, but I ask you to take the time get your study Bible, a Greek and Hebrew lexicon and download the blue letter Bible on your phone to do a deep steady only this. You will find the same as I did… IT’S NOT THERE! If marriage is between a husband and a wife whom are equally yoked, who am I to say it is wrong because God does not condemn that relationship! To all of those offended, hurt or felt condemn by my statement I truly apologize to you for my ignorance in not knowing the truth about this. My intent was never of racism, but to stand firm on what I “assumed” was right concerning marriage. When the Bible tells us “study to show ourselves approved”, I have failed to do that on this subject. If I have learned anything from this it would be to know what you’re talking about before you open your mouth! Again… my sincerest apologies to all!”
In short, she wasn’t being a good Christian, everyone. She’s just a standard Mississippi Christian racist who assumed the Bible justified her bigotry. But she sat down for several days, placing verses on a cork board like an obsessive detective hunting down a serial killer, and realized that being an assclown wasn’t commanded by Jesus at all.
Therefore we should all accept her revised interpretation of the Bible that says interracial marriage is okay by default because God doesn’t explicitly say it’s wrong. And that’s the only reason it’s acceptable. By the way, she’d like everyone to know she’s still very very homophobic.
Bless her heart.
Here’s a better idea: Don’t use the Bible as a guidebook to life. Don’t assume it contains wisdom. If you need a holy book, a pastor, and two days of intensive “reading” to remind you not to be a racist, the problem is you.
For now the venue’s Facebook page is still offline and the Russells aren’t responding to reporters seeking comment.
Meanwhile, the city of Booneville is already doing damage control saying discrimination is not acceptable. Several politicians have also said as much publicly. But remember that many of those lawmakers have supported legislation permitting Christian business owners to discriminate if their faith calls for it.
If this controversy helps people understand why religion shouldn’t be an acceptable excuse for business owners to discriminate against customers, nothing will. This is just as appalling as a baker who won’t sell a wedding cake to a gay couple. We’re just so used to that anti-LGBTQ hate by now that openly racist Christians only seem much more shocking. But it’s all under the same umbrella of faith-based hate.
(Featured image via Shutterstock)