I was recently asked this question: “Do you believe that disapproval of interracial relationships is indicative of hatred or bigotry? Interracial relationships like homosexual relationships are freely chosen.”
What my interlocutor was really asking is, “Isn’t disapproval of homosexual relationships analogous to disapproval of interracial relationships,” to which I would offer a hearty “Are you kidding?”
Disapproval of interracial relationships makes as much sense intellectually and morally as disapproval of relationships between people who have different eye colors. Race is a non-behavioral condition. It is as meaningless in terms of morality as eye color. It would make no more moral sense to disapprove of interracial relationships than it would to disapprove of relationships between brown-eyed people and blue-eyed people.
Yes, interracial relationships are as freely chosen as same-sex relationships, but it is not the act of choosing that determines the moral status of a relationship. It is the nature of the choice being made that determines its morality or the irrelevance of moral considerations. My frequent reference to volition in discussions of homoeroticism is not to argue that the presence of volition renders an act immoral. Rather, it’s to say that conditions that have no behavioral implications whatsoever—like race or eye color—are, unlike homoerotic activity, devoid of moral implications. It is not the mere fact that someone chooses to engage in sexual activity that renders their sexual activity licit or illicit. Rather, it is the nature of the sexual activity they choose that determines its moral status.
Were laws that prohibited blacks and whites from marrying equivalent to laws that prohibit two people of the same sex from “marrying”?
As I have written earlier, anti-miscegenation laws were based on a deeply flawed understanding of both race and human nature. They were based on a false belief that different races possessed fundamentally different natures. As Dennis Prager explains:
There are enormous differences between men and women, but there are no differences between people of different races. Men and women are inherently different, but blacks and whites (and yellows and browns) are inherently the same. Therefore, any imposed separation by race can never be moral or even rational; on the other hand, separation by sex can be both morally desirable and rational. Separate bathrooms for men and women is (sic) moral and rational; separate bathrooms for blacks and whites is (sic) not. . . . a black man’s nature is not different from that of a white man, an Asian man, an Hispanic man. The same is not true of sex differences. Males and females are inherently different from one another.
Laws banning interracial marriages were based on the erroneous belief that whites and blacks are by nature different (and the false and pernicious idea that whites are inherently superior), when, in fact, whites and blacks are not by nature different. Laws that recognize only sexually complementary unions as marriages are based on the true belief that men and women are by nature different—a truth that even homosexuals acknowledge.
Whereas a correct definition of marriage emerges from and depends on a proper understanding of the natures of and real differences between men and women, anti-miscegenation laws emerged from and depended upon erroneous understandings of the natures of different races. Marriage is the primary cultural institution that recognizes and is centrally concerned with the ontological differences between men and women, differences that result in children whose rights and proper development are best served by being raised by their biological parents.
Thomas Sowell explains that “The argument that current marriage laws ‘discriminate’ against homosexuals confuses discrimination against people with making distinctions among different kinds of behavior. All laws distinguish among different kinds of behavior.”
A black man who wants to marry a white woman is seeking to do the same action that a white man who wants to marry a white woman seeks to do. A law that prohibits an interracial marriage is wrong because it is based on who the person is, not on what he seeks to do. But, if a man wants to marry a man, he is seeking to do an entirely different action from that which a man who wants to marry a woman seeks to do. A law that prohibits homosexual marriage is legitimate because it is based not on who the person is but rather on what he seeks to do.
The reason homosexual activists and their ideological allies continue to compare homoeroticism to race is not because homoeroticism and race are identical or even substantively similar in nature. Homosexuality is constituted by subjective feelings and freely chosen behaviors. Whatever contributive role biochemistry may one day be found to play in the development of same-sex attraction is wholly unlike the contributive role biochemistry plays in determining, for example, skin color.
Further, the role of biochemistry tells us precisely nothing about the moral status of freely chosen behaviors. Just as angry outbursts are not justified by the presence of biochemical factors that may contribute to aggressive feelings, neither are homosexual acts rendered inherently moral because biochemical factors may contribute to the development of same-sex attraction.
The reason “progressives” continue to compare homoerotic attraction to race is that such a comparison is strategically effective. They want to imply—without providing evidence—that the two conditions are alike in order to suggest that disapproval of homoerotic relationships is identical or similar to disapproval of interracial relationships. The Left is desperately trying to analogize homosexual relationships to interracial relationships in order to render homosexuality as morally neutral as race.
But since race is an absurd, non-rational analogue for homosexuality, interracial relationships are equally absurd, non-rational analogues for homosexual relationships. Disapproval of interracial relationships is wholly different from and unrelated to disapproval of homoerotic relationships in which morally dubious sexual activity is central.
Is Christian opposition to same-sex “marriage” equivalent to Christian opposition to interracial marriage?
Many “progressives” argue fallaciously that since Christians used Scripture to defend opposition to interracial marriage and were wrong, then Christians who use Scripture to defend opposition to same-sex “marriage” must be equally wrong. By that fallacious reasoning, opposition to plural and incestuous unions must be wrong too for Christians use Scripture to defend their opposition to the legalization of those forms of marriage.
When Christians used Scripture to oppose interracial marriage, they were twisting Scripture rather than adhering to scriptural truth. When Christians use Scripture to support same-sex “marriage,” they are twisting Scripture rather than adhering to scriptural truth. God has made abundantly clear how he views homoerotic activity. It is only the most convoluted and strained exegesis within the last 50 years that has led those, often with a vested personal interest, to arrive at the conclusion that homoerotic activity and relationships please God.
“Progressives” seem to believe that the fact that some Christians were wrong on one issue (i.e., race) is proof positive that they’re wrong on another (i.e., homoerotic activity). And/or they believe that the only point of correspondence between homoeroticism and African-American descent is the fact that some Christians disapproved of both, which, of course, says nothing about either condition per se.
The grievous failure of Christians to follow the clear teachings of Scripture on one issue (i.e., race) does not justify their abandonment of Scripture on other issues, in this case sexuality and marriage. The current twisting of Scripture on sexuality and marriage by the heterodox and by those who don’t even claim to be Christians but seek to use Scripture for their own selfish ends represents the same kind of destructive exploitation of Scripture that racists engaged in to promote their self-generated beliefs. Condemnation of racism and all its institutional manifestations grows out of a right understanding of Scripture. And so too do condemnation of volitional homoerotic activity and opposition to the legal recognition of same-sex unions as “marriages” grow out of a right understanding of Scripture.
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