i need some help with a family situation. i have a sister-in-law who insist that the bible says the races can not mix in marriage. says it’s in leviticus. would anyone know what she’s talking about exactly. i know that races can mix because the catholic church dosen’t teach against it. i need everyone to put there head together and either give me some bible quotes that might say it’s o.k. or a book they can recommend. anything at all. thanks


Greetings Church
I don’t know of anything in the Bible to help you. %between%

However, I have 3 of the most beautiful bi-racial Christian grandchildren in the world.

Praise Be to God!!smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/8/8_8_10.gif


From the point of view of the Church teaching mixing race is not much different from mixing religions. If a person considers entering into a mixed Marriage of either kind. The Church warns that Marriage is already a difficult situation in which two people must come together to form a single union. To throw into the mix race or religion. It must be done with great thought and concern because it will only make the Marriage much more difficult and complicated. The Church does not prohibit either type of mixed Marriage.


The only thing I would say is that she is focusing on the Old Testament, and it has been my understanding through various homilies that Catholics focus on the New Testament while appreciating our history in Jewish tradition.

While Jesus doesn’t address which Jewish laws to keep and which to disregard, he told us He is the Way the Truth and the Life - to love one another as He has loved us. The way he embraced all peoples while on earth shows me it is ok to treat everyone with equal kindess and respect. There are no barriers since the New Testament for me.

I do not understand why, while Jesus adhered to Jewish tradition while on earth, that after he rose from the dead Christians no longer had to follow the kosher rules and other traditions - or when that changed.


It’s under my impression that if Jews were prohibited to marry Gentiles in Leviticus, that’s because back then, all Jews were of one religion, and everyone else was pagan.

If it were bad for races to intermarry, then pretty much everybody would be illegitimate because there’s so much interracial blood going around… even modern Jews. My races are so mixed that I would never be able to marry someone the same mix of races as myself.


Hi Dal11,

I am a partner in a bi-racial marriage (anglo/hispanic). My wife and I were married by a Roman Catholic priest over 27 years ago. Here in south Texas, there are many such marriages performed by the Church.

As far as Biblical references, your sister-in-law may be thinking of Nehemiah 13:23-31 or Ezra 9-10. I’m no expert, by my take is these references deal with marriages between the Jews of that era and “foreign wives” (the indigenous people of the promised land who were not Jews). Those marriages were forbidden by the law of Moses.

In the case of my wife and I, she was Catholic when we married, and I was a professed non-Catholic Christian (I have since converted). I don’t believe the priest would have married us unless I had received the sacrament of Baptism (which joins us to the body of Christ, of course). However, in reviewing CCC paragraphs 1633-7, it appears a “mixed” marriage (a Catholic to a non-Baptized person) is possible under some circumstances. You might want to review those paragraphs.

Hope this is helpful, peace and blessings.


I’m sorry but to say that race is the same thing as religion?!?!?!?

Brother, I’d like to see some official church documents on that one.

And I’d also think that mixing religions makes a relationship more stressful than mixing skin color.


If your sister-in-law thinks that Israelites were not allowed to marry outside the race (if by race she’s referring to the line of Isaac), ask her about Ruth, the Moab who married into Israel.


I’m unaware of ANY Church document that counsels again biracial marriages, but there frequently have been counsels against mixed marriage (two religions). The problems are quite different.

In a biracial marriage one spouse may end up suffering some sort of discrimination from people of the other spouse’s race. That’s about the extent of the matter. That kind of discrimination is a social thing and doesn’t affect one’s spiritual state.

With mixed marriages it often is different. The Catholic party often find himself under subtle or not so subtle pressure from his spouse to conform to the spouse’s religion. This can result in the Catholic either ceasing to be a Catholic at all (through apostasy) or becoming a lapsed Catholic–both bad news spiritually.


[quote=allthewhile]I’m sorry but to say that race is the same thing as religion?!?!?!?

Brother, I’d like to see some official church documents on that one.

And I’d also think that mixing religions makes a relationship more stressful than mixing skin color.

This reminds me of a conversation I had recently in which a co-worker was telling me about the ups and downs of having her son “courted” by different colleges for their athletic program (he’s a basketball H.S. superstar…ranked #13 nationwide. Full ride at UCONN). She told me that she didn’t want him to go to one particular school because there weren’t that many black people and she wanted him to date black girls only. I said that I didn’t have a problem with that because I feel the same way, except about religion. I have boys and I couldn’t care less what color the girl is just so long as she’s a devout Catholic. (No “cafeterias” please). Religion and race are two different things entirely. If you marry outside of your religion, you have to negotiate every step of the way, from birth control to church to holidays. If you’re lucky, the non-Catholic spouse will convert. If not, chances are strong that either or both will fall away from faith entirely because it’s just too much of a hassle. Or else, they will confuse the heck out of the kids with things like a Channukah bush.

I think that in this day and age, people don’t get worked up about race like they used to. For heaven’s sake, guys are marrying each other in MA so what is a little thing like race. With an interracial marriage, at least they have the right equipment for the job.


[quote=allthewhile]I’m sorry but to say that race is the same thing as religion?!?!?!?

Brother, I’d like to see some official church documents on that one.

And I’d also think that mixing religions makes a relationship more stressful than mixing skin color.

I really do not intend to debate here. Maybe I’m just off a bit today and am not using the right words to get my thoughts across.

I never said that Race and Religion were exactly the same thing or caused exactly the same problems in a Marraige. My point was that they both complicate a Marriage.

I never said that the Church counsels against mixed race marriage. I implied that the Church makes sure during the pre-marriage preparation that the couple is aware of the difficulities that it might cause and that they have considered this. Nor did I ever say that the Church prohibits mixed race Marriage. I said just the opposite.

I guess the degree to which mixed race marriage is more stressful than mixed religion would depend on where in the country you live.


I have read and studied the relevant OT passages in detail, and the bottom line is that Israelites’ marrying pagans was prohibited in order to prevent the Israelites’ religious beliefs and practices from becoming polluted.

However, if the pagan was or became a believer in Israel’s God, then there was no problem (viz. Rahab and Ruth, for starters).

One can frequently ascertain God’s general will in these circumstances by what happens when the circumstances come to their logical conclusions. For example, sex between full siblings leads to offspring with problems, which is why God prohibited it. However, when I was in the Air Force I was exposed to a lot of inter-racial marriages, and my observation was that the children of such marriages were better in several different ways than their parents. I asked my sociology professor about that, and he said the explanation is “hybrid vigor.” In other words, if the two parents are taken from completely different gene pools, statistically the offspring will be better than if the two parents are taken from similar gene pools.

Bottom line–I welcome mixed (= inter-racial) marriages. I totally oppose mixed (= inter-religious) marriages.



Ok, Im going to put my Bachelor’s in History to work here…Before the ideal of “Nationalism” came into play, there was really not much emphasis on race and nationality.(except in the US since we used race to classify slavery) People long ago identified themselves by their religion. If you asked someone who lived in France before the French Revolution, “What are you?” They would say “I’m a Christian.” They would not say “I’m French.” The same goes for people who lived in the Middle East before WWI. While living under the Ottoman empire all Middle Easterners identified who they were by Islam. No one would say, “Im a Turk.” Or “I’m Egyptian.” Following WWI and the insurgence of Nationalism and Secularism is when people began identifying themselves by their country. Thus making nationality and race not important when it comes to marriage. Byzantine Kings married Bulgarian Princesses, but it did not matter because both parties were of the same religion.

My personal opinion is if God did not want the races to mix, then he would have made each race different so that mating would not be possible. A person from China is perfectly capable of impregnating a person from Greenland. We are ALL God’s people and he sees us in the same light as we should see one another.


[quote=dal11] i have a sister-in-law who insist that the bible says the races can not mix in marriage

I absolutely agree. No one should marry outside of the human race. After all there is only one race, and it’s the human race. Never, Never marry a goat for instance, only humans.


My opinion is that some people who have a personal problem with race mixing will often use scripture to justify their position. They will usually use Old Testament scripture often ignoring the fact that Jesus came to give us the new law otherwise known as the New Testament. There are a lot of organizations, usually bad ones, who do this as well. Thats not to say that an individual with these beliefs agree with those organizations. But they do exist.


stats I found:
A Washington Post poll conducted last summer (2002) revealed that 1 in 4 Americans still found marriages between blacks and whites ‘‘unacceptable.’’ That disapproval helps explain why only 1 percent of marriages nationwide are between whites and blacks - even as other ‘‘mixes’’ (between, say, Jews and non-Jews) account for about 4 percent of marriages. Measured another way, the pattern continues: The marriages of blacks to whites equaled 9 percent of all intermarried couples in 1998, while the marriages of Asians to whites equaled 19 percent, and Hispanics to whites, 52 percent. In 1960, racially mixed marriages represented less than one-half of one percent. By 2000, interracial marriages made up about three percent of all marriages.

It is sad to see in this day and age that many people still think the different colors should be separated. :>( I would give your sister in law this verse and ask her to meditate on it, and to sincerely seek the Heart of God. Has she examined her own heart for racial prejudice?

Colossians 3:11 Where there is neither Gentile nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free. But Christ is all and in all.


I’m also married to someone of another race (me white, wife Filipino). We’re both Catholic, too, and the race doesn’t mean a thing to us…our family has grown to accept it, too.

You can’t choose how you will look when you’re born, but you CAN choose the truth of God when you grow up. We both did that and we are as happy as can be.


There are verses in Leviticus about not mixing ANIMAL species … and people used to take that to refer to their own racist tendencies. There are also verses in Leviticus that instruct women to stay outside of the camp for a week during their ‘time of uncleanliness’ and to consider everything they sit upon to be unclean … There are verses that recommend taking back talking children to the town square to be stoned … etc. etc.

There’s a few things there that are more about the time they were were living in, no?

Anyhow, proof positive that God doesn’t give a hoot – Moses married an Ethopian. And when Miriam and Aaron spoke out against him God called Aaron and Miriam out and told them off. Then he gave Miriam leprosy for speaking against her brother’s choice in a wife. Aaron begged Moses to ask God’s mercy for Miriam, which he did and God healed her … I bet she never talked bad about her sister in law again …

See: Numbers chapter 12 –


Oh and also, I married my husband when he was a rather poor example of a cradle Catholic and I was a rather wandering Southern Baptist – I wanted to try out Catholic church and was more than happy to raise my kids in the church but wasn’t going to convert myself – that’s how we got married.

It took me a long time to decide to convert, I needed a lot of questions answered and in the asking and finding of the answers I became convinced that I should convert and my husband became a very wonderful example of a cradle Catholic. Everyone wins.


[quote=Tom]I absolutely agree. No one should marry outside of the human race. After all there is only one race, and it’s the human race. Never, Never marry a goat for instance, only humans.

LOL, you said it the best here. This thread reminds me of the Pastoral letter of Cardinal Francis George of Chicago back in 2000: It was titled: THE SIN OF RACISM. Someone actually told me that many catholics,(I am Roman catholic) are racists, compared to evangelicals, or other religions.
MIXING IS EXCELLENT, as long as (in my opinion) the couple are BOTH Catholic. After all, we are in the year 2004, not the 1940’s and 1950’s in the USA.

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