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Angela has a really interesting post up entitled Religion and Interracial Romance. I have an idea that using the word ‘romance’ is a bit of a misnomer though, seeing as her column seems to really be talking about religious influence on interracial relationships, period, rather than the bookish side of things.

She starts:

The black church has a history of being the pillar of the black community, and admittedly, most blacks–that is, blacks who consider themselves Christian–are pretty religious and/or spiritual. I have observed, however, in online conversations between black women and the issue of interracial dating, that a few of the black women conversation who are married or who date white men, have mentioned their lack of religion.

So basically, the more religious you are, the less likely you are to enter into an interracial relationship?

I think this is in keeping with the way I view most organised religions to be honest. No matter how many times I hear the varying equivalents of ‘love thy neighbour’, the fact is, religion is designed to be exclusive. I don’t see many religions telling their congregations to love the differences in people. To me, all the different bibles that I’ve come across seem to be more about loving people like yourself. So if it emerges that religious people are less likely to marry/date outside their race, then I’m afraid, I wouldn’t be surprised whatsoever. I think the Church of England are probably more inclusive than many churches out there, but I’m still sceptical about some of its teachings.

Angela concludes:

After hearing about some crazed pastor who told his mostly black female congregation to stay single rather than marry a white man, I’ve begun to think about the role religion plays in subtly prohibiting interracial relationships.

I know that the average romance reader isn’t really interested in reading IR romances, but at least there are a few of them out there. Angela’s post makes me wonder how many inspirational romances actually feature black/white interracial couples?

How many of you out there who are ardent church-goers are actually involved in an interracial relationship?

For the full post and comments, pop over to Angela’s blog.


  • sallahdog
    March 1
    1:42 pm

    I do think churches have been a factor in not dating or marrying interracially, at least in the US… Especially the more traditional churches..

    My Church is more progressive although mostly white (I live in a not very diverse area unfortunately) and I would say most of the black people attending our church are part of an interracial couple.

    Now the fundamentalist church that my parents tried to raise me in (it didnt stick with me) would not come out and say they were prejudiced, but there was a lot of talk of “Being equally yoked” in a marriage… The bible talks more of this in relation to Believers being better not to marry an unbeliever, but it got used a lot to discourage marrying anyone outside of your kind…

    I can’t help feeling, even in the way the church has been used to be more politically active (which I completely disagree with) that people can’t help but pervert what is a pretty clear message of love and tolerance and higher enlightenment in favor of forcing others to live as we do and do as we say…. I doubt Jesus would approve of the hate and intolerance preached in his name…


  • I know that the average romance reader isn’t really interested in reading IR romances, but at least there are a few of them out there.

    This is where I think that the epubs are miles ahead of “mainstream”. I’m thankful that my religion is pretty tolerant (Reform Judaism). There are a few interracial couples that belong to our temple, and they are accepted without question or even a raised eyebrow.


  • Marianne McA
    March 1
    7:17 pm

    Don’t know. I’d think it probable that most religions strongly encourage marrying within their own faith group. I don’t know about race: we’re not a very racially diverse part of the country, and it’s not something I’ve encountered.

    In general, my theory is that people find their prejudices confirmed in their reading of the Bible: if society is sectarian, a careful reading of the Bible will show that Catholics/Protestants aren’t ‘real’ Christians; if society is homophobic study will show that the church should reject gays. In these environmentally aware times the Bible is suddenly showing us that Christians have a particular responsibility to recycle.

    I suppose I would guess that a church’s attitude to interracial dating (within their faith group) would reflect the comfort or discomfort about interracial dating in society at large.
    In the end I think churches are just people: we don’t lose our prejudice at the door. We should – I agree with sallahdog that Jesus was all about not judging & being inclusive – but we fail all the time.


  • The 2 Corinthians verse mentioned reads “Be not diversely yoked with unbelievers; for what participation is there between righteousness and lawlessness? or what fellowship of light with darkness?” And some people take it VERY literally.

    There are plenty of people who still believe blacks are cursed, bearing the shame of Ham. And a fair few who believe Serpent Seed Theology, which teaches blacks are descendents of Cain, who is the son of Eve and the Serpent.

    While the Christian Identity movement is mostly older people, (younger white racists skew Heathen) the code of “Christian” = “White” is still very much honored in southern newspaper ads.

    I think one has to be willing to step outside of social norms and culture to even entertain the idea of an IR relationship. And those people are likely to be less religious, because most religions are all about enforcing the norms.


  • eggs
    March 1
    11:03 pm

    Interesting. In my own family, my white grandfather was a raving athiest and his first wife (UK 1930’s) was a black American woman. Their children, also athiest, both married white Brits. All of my white relatives who are religious are married to white people. Of my white atheist rellos, one is married to an Australian Aboriginal woman and his brother dates one of her rellos. Of her rellos that are religious, they married other Aboriginals. So, the theory holds true in my family – although I myself am a white christian married to a white athiest.

    I would say that very religious people tend to marry very young, which means that they tend to select their partners from the social grouping of their youth. So I would think it is fair to say that the younger you are when you marry, the more likely you are to marry within your own racial/economic/religious demographic. As you get older, you widen your social groupings and hence the pool of people you select your partner from is also wider. I think this older marriage age amongst the non-religious is more likely to account for partner diversity than being non-religious per se.


  • I grew up in the church and I have to say religion gets a bad rap because of some of the people in faith i.e. some people skewing teachings to fit their own means. So, yes, it’s easier to make people believe that marrying outside your color is a fast way to hell, especially if dissent is seen as some sort of rebellion against God. But I believe you can’t foster feelings that aren’t already there. So it’s not the religion it’s the people.


  • SamG
    March 2
    1:47 am


    I know this will sound silly. But, what is the shame of Ham? I’ve never heard this. I’ve heard the original sin thing about women…but never this one.

    I am not religious at all. I don’t know a lot of the stories.



  • jmc
    March 2
    2:14 am

    Growing up in a fairly rural and mostly white area, the black and white churches were *very* separate. And the few interracial couples (rare) I saw were not active in any of the local churches. The IR couples I know today are not religious, and the same for the black men I’ve dated (and me).

    TBH, while I have read interracial romances, I would not be interested in an inspirational one — I run far and fast away from them because I’m not interested in being proselytized as I read, which is how they come across generally.


  • I’m an ‘ardent church-goer’. I don’t like to use the word ‘religious’ though, because ‘religion’ is something that is something too many have used to describe the masses and that doesn’t describe the relationship I have with my God.

    I’m a person of a faith-a phrase I found thanks to SL Viehl.

    I go to the same church I’ve attended since I was a child, the same church I married my husband in, and I’m involved in an interracial relationship-my husband isn’t black, he’s native, but he’s definitely not white, and I don’t think I could look any whiter. I’m about as pale as they come, until I forget the sunscreen.

    My husband is a deacon at the church.

    My brother is married to a black woman and they attend sporadically-she’s actually there more often than he is and i think if her work schedule permitted, she’d be there regularly. Their kids are there with my mom almost every week.

    There are actually several interracial couples at our church.

    This makes me rather sad-as Melissa Blue said, people very often skew faith, but that’s at the fault of the people-people make up the church. People, sadly, ruin a lot of things.



  • This makes me rather sad-as Melissa Blue said, people very often skew faith, but that’s at the fault of the people-people make up the church. People, sadly, ruin a lot of things.

    I find it sad too. I’ve met a great lot of people in church, but once they start talking about their beliefs that makes them intolerant–and what I believe is actually against God–it turns me off. It makes me sick because they are hiding behind horrible HUMAN beliefs in His name. People do ruin things, but at the same time I keep finding people who make me believe in human kind again.


  • Bonnie L.
    March 2
    7:59 pm

    I’m with Shiloh and Melissa. The best churches that I’ve been a part of in my life have all welcomed anyone and everyone who is willing to attend. The church I attend currently is a start-up church and has a small congregation, yet even so, there are three or four interracial families that are regular attendees.


  • @SamG

    After the flood, Noah planted a vineyard. He made wine and got plastered. (logical enough)

    Anyway, Noah’s lying around his tent, starkers, and Ham sees him and goes and tells his brothers. Shem and Japeth back into the tent with a blanket and cover him up. When Noah sobers up, he curses Ham for seeing him naked. (there is some speculation among scholars that Ham molested him) Ham is cursed to be a hewer of wood and drawer of water, a servant to his brothers.

    In this theology, Shem is the father of the Semetic peoples and Japeth the father of the Europeans, Ham is generally considered the ancestor of the African peoples. It’s a neatly nasty way of creating a Biblical justification for black servitude.


  • SamG
    March 5
    4:15 am

    Thank you. I googled and and couldn’t find any references (I just googled shame of ham). I got a lot of things about fat in ham.

    I really had never heard this.



  • Heh, as I said, I grew up attending mostly white Protestant churches and boy oh boy was it a bit of a blow to the ego as a teenager to watch my all-white youth group hook up with one another while I was just a “cool friend.” :/

    This topic tickled my brain because I am a person of faith (good phrase) and the whole “black women need to date out” advice spewed by CNN or whoever is the latest to deliver doom and woe to us, neglects to mention the importance of faith as a part of the “perfect man” equation. This, and comments heard here and there, have skewed my perception of bw/other ethnicity pairings as made between a black woman and a non-black man who aren’t heavily involved in the church. But funny enough, in my experience, when black men date/marry non-black women, both tend to be believers…things that make you go Hmmm


  • Chantal
    March 5
    4:24 pm

    I’m an Atheist, and I’m in an interracial marriage. Heh.


  • sula
    March 6
    10:43 pm

    Interesting. As one half of an interracial couple, I know I would definitely be interested in seeing more IR romance novels. As it is, none of the books I read reflect my reality. Re: religion…hmmm. Well, I was raised by pretty conservative Christian parents but I myself am something of an agnostic. My husband is a black African Muslim who is personally quite devout (prays 5 times a day) but socially quite liberal. He has no problem coming with me to church on the rare occasion I feel like going. Not sure how we fit into this matrix. 🙂


  • Terry
    August 23
    10:34 pm

    I am currently seeing a interracial woman (her father was White, and her mother is 3/4 Black/1/4 Native American) but she was raised “Black” (for lack of a better description.)
    While I know she is a believer, I am not sure of her Church attendance. However I have never believed that attendance is proportional to belief (especially in this age). Church is more than a building.

    I am white (but Cajun so there is a good chance I have some African chromosomes in my genes, as many of the Black Cajuns have the exact same last name. And last time I checked I don’t think Historically speaking there were any Cajun slave owners.) I too also am a firm believer in God.

    When I met Desiree, I have to be honest I was not interested in her at first. But as we talked I noticed a lot of the same values and beliefs (still tainted to this day by ethnic viewpoints and racism…makes me sad. But I just see that as being a product of our environments, and not unchangeable.) And now only 3 weeks later we are somewhat exclusive. She is concentrating on School at the moment, and I am being supportive of her in this.

    I think the bigger hurdle is the fact that I am 44 and she is 22.


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