Archive for February, 2010

Previous installments in this series:

Part One

Purported Examples of Interracial Marriage in Scripture and Basis for Biblical Norm of Intra-Racial Marriage

The Biblical exceptions to the norm of intra-racial marriage are murky depths to plumb, as the Bible does not have as a primary objective the communication of racial information about its subjects.  Many times people were referred to as a certain type based on a convenience of geography (the ancient world lacking last names as we use them, simply calling people by their first name and distinguishing based on place of origin, e.g. “Jesus of Nazareth”).

With a limited stock of first names, it is clear distinctions of geography might be made on very little pretense, even if someone had only spent a short time in the nominal place of origin.  Add to this historical uncertainty about what ethnic groups occupied which geographical areas (often with errors of several centuries) and it becomes almost impossible to determine the racial composition of many individuals in the Bible.

To give a modern example, say we referred to an individual as “the Mississippian”.   If future scholars don’t know precisely when what groups occupied the state of Mississippi, it is entirely unclear whether this person is a Native American, African American or American of European descent.

When someone is described as an “Ethiopian” or a “Hittite” we may in some cases know their geographic origins but little conclusively about their ethnic origins.  Given the strict assimilatory regulations for foreigners under the Old Testament Law (requiring some groups to wait ten generations before full acceptance into the covenant community), it is likely more often than not these individuals were ethnic Jews or closely kindred groups for whom the geographic moniker was a title of convenience.

Though I am by no means a professional theologian, over the past few years a number of possibly inappropriate Biblical examples of purported interracial marriage have entered the Christian consciousness as common knowledge.  This section will serve to look at these examples more closely for alternative explanations.

Moses’ “Ethiopian” Wife

The most popular example of purported interracial marriage in the Bible is based on Numbers 12, where a wife of Moses’ is referred to as an Ethiopian.

Christian and Jewish tradition both hold that Moses had only one wife, Zipporah.  Her entry from the Jewish Enclyclopedia is reproduced below:

Daughter of Jethro and wife of Moses. According to the Bible, Moses met the daughters of Jethro when they were being driven away from a well by shepherds; he assisted them, and was invited into the house of Jethro, who gave him Zipporah to be his wife (Ex. ii. 21). On his return to Egypt, Moses was accompanied by his wife, who saved him from great danger during their journey (ib. iv. 24-26). She appears to have returned with her children to her father’s house; for after the exodus from Egypt, Jethro brought Zipporah and her children out to Moses in the wilderness (ib. xviii. 2-5). Zipporah is mentioned only once more in the Bible; namely, in Numbers xii. 1, where she is referred to as “the Ethiopian woman,” for having married whom Moses is upbraided by Miriam and Aaron.

Exodus 2 explicitly states that Zipporah was a Midianite, not an Ethiopian.  Midian was a descendant of Abraham (see Genesis 25).  Now the Midianites lived near Ethiopia, but were racially distinct from the black Cushites, descendents of Ham.  Several mainstream Christian sources confirm that Miriam and Aaron called her an Ethiopian as an ethnic slur against her Midianite origins[1].  For example,  the 1599 Geneva Bible states:

Zipporah, Moses’ wife, was a Midianite, and because Midian bordered on Ethiopia, it is sometimes referred to in the scriptures by that name.

Matthew Henry explains also in his commentary on Numbers 12:

Zipporah, who on this occasion they called, in scorn, an Ethiopian woman, and who, they insinuated, had too great an influence upon Moses in the choice of these seventy elders

The mainstream of Christian and Jewish thought confirms that Moses was the husband of one wife, Zipporah, who was of Semitic, Abrahamic descent; alternative explanations of Numbers 12, implying that Moses was a polygamist who married a sub-Saharan African, are suspect because they have only been promoted as a sophistic device by those already committed to a pre-ordained agenda of interracial marriage.

Ruth As a Moabite

A less-used example of purported interracial marriage is the marriage of Ruth, described as a Moabite, to Boaz.  This is a very weak claim of interracial marriage.  The Moabites were the descendents of Moab, a son of Lot (Genesis 19:37), and thus a kindred Semitic group to the Israelites.

In addition, Ruth may have herself actually been an Israelite.  Biblical history shows that the Moabites were wiped out by the Amorites (Numbers 21:26-29) and the Amorites subsequently wiped out by the Israelites (Deuteronomy 2:23-43, Numbers 21:33-35), and the land occupied by the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manessah (Deuteronomy 3:12-16 and 29:8).  Thus it is likely that Ruth’s being known as a Moabite was a mere geographic term of convenience, much like Moses’ being referred to as an “Egyptian” in Exodus 2:19.  While much remains unexplained (for example, how Ruth was not religiously an Israelite until her marriage, though apostasy to foreign gods was not an uncommon state for racial Israelites in the Old Testament), it is clear Biblically that Ruth could not have been a racial Moabite, despite her residing in that territory.

Ezra and Nehemiah

Perhaps the strongest Old Testament example of interracial marriage is that of the Israelite congregation under Ezra and Nehemiah after their release from captivity in Babylon.  Ezra and Nehemiah, speaking for God, commanded the men of Israel to “put away” their foreign wives and children.

Most contemporary Biblical commentators spiritualize this passage, emphasizing that the separation was of a religious, not racial or ethnic, nature.  However, the verses make no exception for foreign wives or children who have converted.  For the absolute separation described in Scripture (“Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers” Nehemiah 9:2) to be purely spiritual, we would have to believe that not a single foreign wife or child converted to the Israelite faith.  In addition, surely some of the children would have been infants, incapable of belief, perhaps some of them circumcised; yet these too were ordered to be put away.

This spiritualizing interpretation also conflicts with Paul’s elucidation of the Law in 1 Corinthians 7:10-16, where he explicitly forbids divorce of unbelievers except in cases of abandonment.  Since God’s Law is the same at all times and places, how is it that a divorce of a non-believer is permitted in Nehemiah and cited as a righteous act of repentance but is then forbidden as a sin by Paul?

The only explanation that does not implicate a contradiction is that the “putting away” in Nehemiah was of a different kind with a different basis than the marriages referred to by Paul (all of which, in Corinth, were likely intra-racial intra-ethnic marriages among the Gentiles there).

We must be careful here theologically about proving too much.  All I seek to show is that God has at times protected and cared for Israel on a racial and not exclusively religious basis.  This can help show that racial concerns for our own children and people are not inherently sinful.

Ethnic Considerations in the Bible

Before proceeding to further discussion, let us look at one other Biblical episode: A strong positive example is that of Abraham’s seeking a wife for Isaac (Genesis 24:2-4):

And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:

And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:

But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.

This command of Abraham’s occurred before the Law of Moses, and to the extent any sort of religious boundary existed (i.e. Abraham’s faith, the covenant of circumcision), that boundary would have included Abraham’s circumcised servants.  But Abraham specifically commanded that Isaac have a wife of “my kindred”, despite the fact that his own Canaanite servants would have been more religiously similar to Abraham than his own pagan kindred in Ur.  Thus, we see Abraham making considerations of ethnicity and descent an important factor in selecting a mate for his son Isaac.

The theologian R. L. Dabney makes an important point in his essay Anti-Biblical Theories of Rights.  He says that ethnic considerations cannot be inherently sinful (i.e. always sinful) because God Himself makes ethnic distinctions between people in applying His Law:

[Speaking of distinctions among non-Israelites in admission to the Old Testament Church] “The descendants of Amalek were forever inhibited. The descendants of Ammon and Moab were debarred to the tenth generation. The Egyptians and Edomites could be admitted at the third generation; the one, because their patriarch Esau was brother to Jacob, the other, because the Israelites had once lived in Egypt.

“Let the inference from these histories be clearly understood. It is not claimed that these caste distinctions established by God himself obligate us positively to establish similar distinctions in our day. But the fact that God once saw fit to establish them does prove that they cannot be essentially sinful. To assert that they are, impugns the righteousness of God. Whence it follows, in direct opposition to the Jacobin theory, that should suitable circumstances again arise such “caste distinctions” may be righteous. It will be exclaimed that the New Testament reversed all this. We shall be reminded of Paul’s famous declaration (Col. iii. 11): “Where there is neither Jew nor Greek, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all”; or this (Gal. iii. 28): “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” But before a literal and mechanical equality can be inferred from these, it must be settled what the Holy Spirit meant by being “one in Christ,” and whether the parts which are combined to construct a component unity are not always unequal instead of equal. The latter is certainly the apostle’s teaching when he compares the spiritual body to the animal body, with many members of dissimilar honor. The apostle himself demonstrates that he never designed the leveling sense to be put upon his words by proceeding after he had uttered them to subject women in one sense to an inequality by imposing upon them ecclesiastical subordination, and even a different dress, in the church. The Scriptures thus teach that all distinctions of caste are not unjust in the sense charged by the current theory.”

As Dabney points out, it would be an overstatement to say based on these Old Testament examples that the consideration of ethnicity in legal or marital contexts is always a positive good.  However, we can with certainty say that ethnic considerations are not always bad.

If God, at certain times in Biblical history, either ordains or commands ethnic consideration, then it follows that such considerations cannot be universally evil.  Such a conclusion invalidates at least some arguments of the sinfulness of such positions and removes the question to the realm of Christian liberty, conscience and practical wisdom.

Thus, our question: May a parent have the liberty to instruct children in the wisdom of making ethnic distinctions when choosing a mate?

Let us consider, then, not so much whether interracial marriage is legally permissible under God’s Law, but whether it is wise to reverse the historical norm of intra-racial marriage given the information available, or at least whether enough credible, rational evidence exists to make parental guidance towards intra-racial marriage a question of liberty and wisdom for families rather than universally condemned as a vestige of “hate” or “racism”.

Continue to Part Three…

1. This might be comparable to someone slurring an Italian-American as a “mafioso” or gangster because of the association of Italy with the mob.  However, the mafia is actually a Sicilian cultural artifact, not Italian, but the close geographical association of Sicily to Italy makes the slur both offensive and inappropriate towards Italian-Americans.

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My wife recently gave me a copy of Michael Farris’ What a Daughter Needs from Her Dad.  Overall, a good book encouraging fathers to do right by daughters, including working hard to build a relationship that meets her emotional needs.  Farris is a Virginian, lawyer, father of ten and founder of Patrick Henry College, the premier college for homeschooled students with significant academic ability.

When reading the book, I nearly fell off my chair when he mentioned that he’s read aloud Uncle Tom’s Cabin to his children, in his words to teach them both “history” and “compassion for other people” at the same time.

So here’s a Southern, Christian man reading aloud to his daughters third-rate melodramatic propaganda written by a Yankee Unitarian (with no direct experience with southern slavery) who maligns his daughters’ ancestors as savage rapists.  It could be argued that the false charges of rape in this novel led directly to the fervor of Northern citizens to support a civil war against their southern brethren. And he presents this to his daughters as “history”?  You’ve got to be kidding me.  I mean, this is like a Jewish family snuggling up to read aloud from Mein Kempf (the analogy is apt: both were books of propaganda that motivated violence towards their targets).  This ought to be obviously ridiculous, except to that curious American species, the conservative schizophrenic.

A friend of mine sent his daughter to Patrick Henry College and had a unique perspective on what was going on there.  Mostly, the kids receive an excellent education, pulling from original sources and assembling a comprehensive Christian worldview.  However, there’s a twist.  Farris used to (and may still) teach one of the history or constitutional law courses, and the course included his clever rationalization of Lincoln (I forget the specific argument Farris uses).  My friend related that most of the homeschool students, being marinated in the original sources, naturally bristled at Farris’ sophistry to justify Lincoln, but it’s clear to me in part where Farris’ motives lie.  The school routinely brags about how many of its students serve in the federal government, as Congressional interns and (under Bush II) at the White House.

So the school, named after the great anti-federalist prophet Patrick Henry, serves to take the cream of the homeschool community and turn them into brilliant, well-educated servants and apologists for the federal Beast.  The schizophrenia of this worldview is staggering: name a college after Henry, who warned against ratification of the Constitution because of the threat of a tyrant like Lincoln, then use it to propagandize homeschooled kids about why Lincoln was right.  Farris rehabilitates the legitimacy of a federal government that sanctions the murder of unborn children while making southern kids feel guilty because their ancestors caused black people to be slaves in America instead of slaves in Africa.

This reminds me of why we badly need a real American history curriculum.  On the one side are the liberals who portray America as an evil, racist country.  On the other side are largely the conservative schizophrenics, like Michael Farris and David Barton, who share the egalitarian premises of the liberals but try to rehabilitate our history by portraying it as a progressive revelation of salvation through equality, with God’s Providence working all the way from Thomas Jefferson’s Abrahamic promise in the Declaration, to Moses Lincoln leading us out of the wilderness and to the Promised Land and finally culminating in the legacy of the true King of kings, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior.  Think I’m kidding? Ask Barton or Farris if they support a federal holiday for MLKJ.  The only other holy-day we celebrate for a man is Jesus Christ.

Here’s an idea: how about we teach our children to love our land and ancestors as it and they really were?  We’re not perfect, but nor is any other race of fallen human beings.  I’m tired of white guilt, and I’m determined to liberate my children from it.

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Thinking About Haiti

One of my well-meaning Christian friends just sent me an invite on Facebook to become a fan of Doug Phillips’ “Rescuing Haiti’s Children” page.  A few thoughts:

1. God’s Providence is a deep, dark thing.  The people of Haiti have fundamental limitations that preclude them from properly preparing for such an event.  It is hard to understand why God would have allowed this to happen to Haiti, possibly the most vulnerable population on Earth to such an event.  These are people created in the image of God, and it’s hard to see the suffering of the people and orphans.  Those going to Haiti to help meet urgent needs while spreading the Gospel to those who will hear are doing God’s work.  However, it’s important that we not romanticize the narrative of Haiti, as unrealistic notions will lead to bad strategies.

2. Haiti’s history can be identified as a root cause of the scale of the tragedy.  The island, once with a GDP exceeding that of the entire US in colonial times, suffered a slave revolt.  The slaves viciously and without mercy murdered virtually every white person on the island.  Later, subsequent revolutions resulted in the murder of most of the mulattoes and quadroons, for the black masses could not tolerate their natural advantages and the resultant divergence of outcomes for the two groups.

3. Many of Haiti’s problems, exacerbated by this crisis, are related to problems of IQ.  Any functioning society requires a certain number of individuals with IQ’s exceeding 115 (the average IQ of a college graduate from a real school with a somewhat selective admissions policy) or so to function.  Long-term planning and delaying gratification are essential for any society, and high-IQ individuals facilitate this (for example, by following well-known building techniques so structures can survive earthquakes without killing everyone inside). Among whites, about 16% of people fall into this vital high-IQ category.  Among blacks, only about 2%.  By killing off its white population in envy-driven rage, Haiti planted the seeds for its current sorry state.

4. Phillips rightly believes that Haiti must have its culture reformed before any permanent change can come to the nation.  In another post he talks about the need for jobs for Haitian men.  That, however, Mr. Phillips, is going to require foreign investment.  This means white people getting rich from the natural forces of the free market while helping to rebuild Haiti (a win-win, as free market transactions are).  Is there any indication that the racist attitudes of Haitians towards the property rights of white people can be reformed?  If it is true, as I believe it is, that whites have certain natural advantages in wealth creation (higher IQ), then the Haitian blacks are going to notice the difference in outcomes between the groups.  The natural, fallen human instinct is to respond with envy and accuse the more successful group of exploitation, much like many blacks here in the US whine about their lack of success and blame it on racism.  The only way to square this circle is either to A) talk openly about the reality of white advantages and hope that this explanation assuages blacks’ envy and hatred or B) pursue racial separation as a means of preventing the opportunity for conflict.  Haiti has in its history chosen B), through murderous means, with horrible consequences for her people.

5. Phillips is also encouraging Americans to adopt Haitian orphans.  I have discussed international adoption previously, but I’ll say a bit more about Haiti.  One relative advantage of adopting out of China is a normal Chinese child is going to have an IQ at or above the white average.  The Chinese also have natural personality traits (self-control, conformity, etc) that will tend to make Chinese children comfortably successful in America.  Blacks, on the other hand, have certain natural disadvantages in our society except in very specific areas with limited employment opportunities (sports, entertainment, etc).  A family of Christian homeschoolers, likely with IQ’s exceeding 115, who adopts a black orphan with an IQ of 80 is going to have serious problems with integrating this child.  The child will feel alien in its family, and always have a sense of resentment towards the natural-born children who will be more naturally successful.  It seems to me that not many people have considered that these cute little orphans grow up into adult blacks; as orphans, they will long for a sense of identity, and black American culture is more than happy to provide it (it provides a sense of cultural identity for many white kids sporting backwards baseball caps and baggy pants).

Yet many Christians are getting caught up in the emotion of the thing, not considering the long-term consequences of an unalterable decision.  Better in my view to use the same resources (adoptions can cost thousands) to build up the true church in Haiti and fully fund Christian orphanages there.  A quote from Rushdoony brings perspective, as he discusses a strategy the statists use to displace the private sphere:

First, make men feel guilty for all things and for everyone. Whatever happens on any continent or country is their responsibility and their burden. All the starving, needy, oppressed, and all the indigents, criminals, and diseased of the world are their burden, and they are guilty of evading their responsibilities if they do nothing about them.

If American Christians help Haiti, it is an act of charity.  But we are not responsible now or ever for suffering of people not in our own sphere of influence.  Haiti, in committing genocide of its white population, effectively severed itself from our influence and responsibility long ago.

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“I want to be the white man’s brother, not his brother-in-law” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

The question of the relevance of race to marriage, for those seeking the truth with no preordained conclusions, is observed to be a one-sided exercise in rhetorical prejudice.

The issue is usually addressed in a negative manner, such as “Does the Bible forbid interracial marriage?”  The answer likewise is given in a negative manner, assuring the questioner that the only requirement of a believer is that their spouse be Christian, and that those, presumably parents, who oppose such a union must necessarily care only about racial heritage rather than the more important spiritual qualifications of potential mates for their children.  With the “straw man” thus established, the answerer proceeds to invoke the politically correct shibboleths of our age, complete with the usual slippery slope logical fallacies leading inevitably to a passing reference to Hitler[1] and condemnations of racism[2].

But these answers, while helping pastors and teachers ingratiate themselves with the multicultural, globalist zeitgeist of the world, do little to answer the real question.  While all honest Christians must acknowledge a minimum Biblical requirement for Christians to marry Christians, in addition to, not instead of that requirement, can the Bible or practical wisdom offer lessons on the question of interracial marriage?

I am convinced after careful study of the question that the weight of Scripture and empirical evidence favors a norm of intra-racial marriage, that is, marriage within the same race.  Furthermore, the question of whether interracial marriage is forbidden carries with it the baggage of an extra-Biblical and decadent Western individualism.  This extreme individualism, born of the atheistic influence of the Enlightenment and coming of age among the devils of the French Revolution, vainly seeks to transcend the limits God has placed on us as creatures.  In His Providence, He has created and ordained our lot not as merely spiritual abstractions but as members of a particular family, tribe, nation and race with concentric levels of responsibilities toward each.

Before proceeding, I wish to make a general disclaimer regarding the purpose of this document.  There are a small but slowly growing number of individuals in the Church who have married interracially.  This document is not addressed to those individuals or meant as a condemnation of their decisions.  My audience, frankly, consists of my own children and my future grandchildren, Lord willing.  I am not here to offend or condemn, but to pass along wisdom to my descendents and to others who may agree with my reasoning and profit from it.  For any who are offended, I humbly ask for your forgiveness and forbearance as an imperfect brother in Christ[3].

This subject is important because many families feel an instinctual preference that their children marry within their race.  However, due to the politically correct pressures of our time, these preferences are either repressed or uttered in secret.  This issue, like any other, must fly or fail in the face of Scripture.  Silencing or censoring our feelings on this issue for the sake of political correctness gives the appearance that there is something wrong with such a preference, when in fact this may not be the case.

Finally, it is important to limit the scope of our discussion.  Many Christians have had the displeasure of attempting to discuss some moral issue on a Biblical basis, perhaps in a political context, and someone takes issue by making fallacious arguments that such positions lead directly to a Religious Right theocracy and from thence to the Inquisition.

Let us reason together on this most controversial of subjects with humility and self-control.  The question of preserving the historical norm of intra-racial marriage is not about denying any person their civil rights.  It is not about denying the beautiful diversity that God has created among the human race (to the contrary, as we shall see, it is about preserving it), or denying that all men and women, of every race, are made in the image of God.  It is not about unlawfully and unjustly segregating people on the basis of race.  It is not about hating anyone or denying the fundamental multiracial nature of Christ’s Church.

This is simply my attempt as a father to come to terms with the realities of our multicultural society and set a course for my family to navigate this new era without losing our sense of identity, place and purpose.

The History of Race and Marriage

“It has become fashionable in recent times to talk of the leveling of nations, and of various peoples disappearing into the melting pot of contemporary civilization. I disagree with this, but that is another matter; all that should be said here is that the disappearance of whole nations would impoverish us no less than if all people were to become identical, with the same character and the same face. Nations are the wealth of humanity, its generalized personalities. The least among them has its own special colors, and harbors within itself a special aspect of God’s design.”

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

In the Bible, we see a human grouping quite alien to the contemporary Western perspective, that of tribe.  One way to define the tribe is that of a sufficiently distantly related group of individuals for whom intra-marriage would not result in the competitive disadvantages of incest.  In the bare-bones scarcity of the ancient world, tribes were the smallest coherent group competing with other groups for land, dominance and resources.

From nearly the beginning of history, men have surely noticed that marriages of close relatives result in both moral and physical degeneracy.  We now understand the problems with incest scientifically, but it is a testament to Biblical inerrancy that what must have seemed, to the unregenerate, arbitrary and capricious restrictions in the Law of Moses also coincide with empirically validated practices in our best interest.

We now know that many human deformities are prevented due to our having two copies of each of our chromosomes, one from our father and one from our mother.  In most cases, deformities never occur because the body will mostly or totally ignore the “bad copy” on one chromosome and use the “good copy” instead.  Incest results in too many of the same copies of chromosomes, which means a higher incidence of observed deformities, since the body has no “good copy” in the case of identical chromosomes. [4]

Thus, the tribe is a practical grouping for marriage.  Of course, it is not merely that, for as I will remind the reader in the coming pages, God uses means.[5] The tribe is God’s ordained basic human grouping.  The tribe’s integrity is maintained even after the formation of the nation of Israel, as God, through the practice of the Jubilee, restored to each family its ancestral tribal land.

Similarly, the nation is a combination of tribes sharing a common lineage.  The nation of Israel is formed of the seed of Jacob and the twelve tribes correspond to those descended from Jacob’s respective children.  The word nation itself literally means of common birth, sharing a Latin root with words like neo-natal (meaning newborn) or the Nativity.

As we look at Old Testament history, an important observation is that once Israel had conquered the Promised Land, God nowhere sanctions further expansion.  Israel, of course, fought defensive wars to protect its territory, but God never ordained that Israel become an empire like her neighbors in the Middle East such as the Egyptians, Medes, Babylonians and Persians.

When Solomon attempted to build an empire, God judged him for, among other things, taking to himself foreign wives[6], a common diplomatic practice among would-be empire builders.

A reasonable conclusion from both the Bible and secular history is that the nation is the upper limit of human organization ordained by God.  All multinational empires eventually die, even mighty Greece and Rome.

Thus, God has organized men into three primary spheres of identity: family, tribe and nation.  For 99.99% of people throughout human history, one’s tribe and perhaps one’s nation contained the total universe of potential spouses[7].  When we ponder the wisdom of the previously unprecedented possibility of mass interracial marriage, it is not appropriate to justify such a position as normative based on what may be a few Biblical exceptions to a widely established historical norm.

Even these purported exceptions, such as the “Ethiopian” wife of Moses, may not be as they seem.  Let us examine a few Biblical case studies.

Continue to Part Two…

[1] Among the early Internet enthusiasts of Usenet, the first online forums, it was observed that, given the combustible cyber-combination of anonymity and instant distribution, all arguments would inevitably degenerate into some sort of reference to Hitler or the Nazis.  Eventually, such a reference became shorthand to indicate that a discussion had exceeded its productive shelf life, as both sides had produced whatever actual arguments might support their position and proceeded to the ultimate ad hominum.

[2] Racism is notoriously hard to define in contemporary America.  Leftists decry anything short of absolute equality of outcome as racist, while conservatives point to examples like Jesse Jackson and Jeremiah Wright as those truly motivated by hate.  There are, of course, many reasons other than hate why a parent may or may not approve of a particular mate for their child.   We should not judge others’ motives in their proper sphere of parental authority.  The Apostle Paul’s warnings against being busybodies and gossips seem particularly appropriate here.

[3] St. Paul again offers much wisdom.  For those who believe Scripture supports interracial marriage, I believe the Biblical position regarding those who do not is one of tolerance, not condemnation.  As the early brothers did regarding differing opinions on meat and drink, let us avoid being stumbling blocks for each other despite our honest disagreement on this issue.

[4] This also explains the higher incidence of birth defects among males (who have only one copy each of the X and Y chromosomes) and among relatively isolated populations like Ashkenazi Jews and the Acadians of Louisiana.

[5] This phrase is simply shorthand for a particular theological understanding of Divine Providence, in that the normative work of God is done through observable, ordinary causes.  We should not, of course, commit one of the errors of Deism and restrict God to merely ordinary causes, but when seeking to interpret Divine Intent, ordinary causes are not dismissed simply because they are ordinary.

[6] See Nehemiah 13:26.

[7] This is almost a tautology.  For example, in Mitchell’s Daily Life in Victorian England it is reported that most people never traveled more than ten or twenty miles from home before the development of railways.

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A recent post on The Thinking Housewife asks what can be done for Christians who are infertile but wish to have their own children, but may have ethical problems with in-vitro procedures.  A not-so-obvious alternative for many women is a new form of adoption called embryo adoption.  This is a process where “leftover” embryos from other couples’ in-vitro procedures can be implanted into an adoptive mother.  There are several advantages to this alternative:

1. Since you carry and give birth to the child, the child is your natural-born child under the law.  The rights of the genetic parents to come and harass your claim to the child is limited.  I know this is a major factor in many international / transracial adoptions, as it’s harder for a birth mother in a Third World country to change her mind and sue you.

2. The child is better prepared psychologically for the reality of their adoption.  The birth mother is their mother in every way except genetics.

3. It is easy, almost trivial, to adopt Caucasian embryos, unlike live Caucasian babies.  In fact, you can even select a donor family that resembles your own as much as possible.  If this is done, the child may care little about their genetic origins given they were carried to term by their actual birth mother, since they look like their family.  Most of the trauma of adoption is related to feelings of rejection from the birth mother, and this is totally avoided with embryo adoption.

4. Embryo adoption is half the price of IVF, and carries none of the ethical concerns.  You are giving life to embryos that would otherwise be discarded or frozen indefinitely.

5. The genetic traits of the children, their intelligence, health and personalities, will be similar to those of the genetic parents, who tend to come from stable middle class homes.  People who undergo IVF have to spend $10,000 cash per try, so that generally means the genetics of the child come from responsible, functional middle class adults.  Many Christians are naive to the influences of genetics on child behavior, and the limitations of even the best parents to improve a child with genetic limitations.  Blood always tells, as Southerners used to say.

For women who cannot give birth to an adopted embryo, it is also still possible to find Caucasian children available for care in the foster home system.  While I would never bring a foster child in to live with my natural born children, such an outreach ministry to a child could make sense to an infertile couple without their own children.  While the adoption process is more painful (with more opportunities for birth parents to change their minds and such), the benefits to a child thrown away by the system could be immeasurable.  And as a foster parent you can kind of “try out” the child, at no harm to them (they’re already in the system anyway), to see if they might be a good fit as an adopted child.

There are many reasonable alternatives to trotting halfway around the world at great expense to adopt a child; there are many children of our own people and country who need adoptive parents.

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