The Norman Transcript

Opinion

March 10, 2014

Religion shouldn’t run policy

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

Religion has always been an excuse for bigotry, despite Christine Flowers’ bold and inaccurate claims that religion was not to blame for prohibitions against interracial marriage in her opinion piece in Monday’s Transcript. In my house, growing up in Oklahoma and Missouri, the only arguments about interracial marriage were religious ones.

Ideals of a pure race (which obviously should be interpreted metaphorically) of chosen people start in Genesis and continue right on through the Book of Revelation, with grave punishments for violators and fantastic rewards for the pure. These scriptures have been abused extensively by racist oppressors for thousands of years and are the bedrock arguments against the intermingling of the races. 

According to what I was taught at Oklahoma Baptist University while I was earning my degree in religion, the church goes wrong, regularly, when it reflects societal norms, or appeases governments, rather than sticking to timeless truths. Most biblical heroes were not perfect and practiced many sins, including racism.

Yet divine truth can be heard speaking through their ancient lives, though ancient texts and stories, as if to say, “Did it work for them?” The message of sacred texts is that love, life and truth is what really works and endures.

Many denominations, such as our Southern Baptists, have repented of their active participation in slavery and in continuing oppression through use of Jim Crow laws and in forbidding interracial marriages, all the while claiming scriptural justification. Now, the modern versions of these churches provide some of our best and strongest interracial leaders and work against racism and other forms of oppression.

Marriage equality was not against scripture until sacred tests were translated into King James English. The word “homosexual” was mistranslated from Greek words for underage sex slaves serving in temples to Greek gods.

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