Interracial Marriage


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    Quendi posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 14:03:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

    Post 402 of 1910
    Joined 1/13/2011

    Here is a question I want to pose because I do not know the correct answer. I have seen many interracial married couples among Jehovah's Witnesses--moreso than I have seen in other religions. However, I have been told that once upon a time, interracial marriage was frowned upon by the WTS hierarchy. I know of one couple in Alabama who had a civil ceremony when none of the local elders would perform it for them or allow the Kingdom Hall to be used for their wedding. One man told me he believed that decades ago not only were these marriages actively discouraged, but that persons entering into them could be disfellowshipped!

    I didn't want to believe this, but when I read some of the racist beliefs of Charles Taze Russell, I had to admit that it was a possibility. Disfellowshipping wasn't something Russell actively practiced, but his successors have with a vengeance. Is it possible that J.F. Rutherford could have issued such an edict, only to have it reversed by N.H. Knorr? Or is this simply a phony story made up by some malcontent? Is there anything in the literature that could shed some "old light" on this question?


    NewChapter posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 14:48:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

    Post 2329 of 11807
    Joined 1/25/2011

    Qendi, you may want to check I don't know if they address interracial marriage there, but there are interesting comments from old articles on how the society once viewed African Americans.

    Here is a little teaser:

    Watchtower 1901 Aug 15 p.266
    ? "'It too often happens that, while the negro rapidly masters the rules and regulations of the Christian religion, he still continues to be gross, immoral, and deceitful. They (missionaries) may have succeeded in turning their disciples into professing Catholics, Anglicans, or Baptists; but the impartial observer is surprised to find that adultery, drunkenness, and lying are more apparent among the converts than among their heathen brethren.' And again: 'I regret to say that, with a few - very rare - exceptions, those native African pastors, teachers, and catechists whom I have met have been all, more or less, bad men. They attempted to veil an unbridled immorality with an unblushing hypocrisy and a profane display of mouth-religion which, to an honest mind, seemed even more disgusting than the immorality itself. While it was apparent that not one particle of true religion had made its way into their gross minds, it was also evident that the spirit of sturdy manliness which was present in their savage forefathers found no place in their false, cowardly natures

    NewChapter posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 14:53:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

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    Here is another little gem from 1902.

    Pams girl posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 14:53:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

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    OMG that is some of the most hateful, racist, slanderous garbage Ive ever read. Disgraceful!

    NewChapter posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 14:59:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

    Post 2331 of 11807
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    Now now Pam---they were directed by god's spirit at this time too! I'm sure it's just human error. LET IT GO already!

    NewChapter posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 15:02:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

    Post 2332 of 11807
    Joined 1/25/2011

    How about this from 1929!

    "There is no servant in the world as good as a good Colored servant, and the joy that he gets from rendering faithful service is one of the purest joys there is in the world"

    God I hate this religion.

    still thinking posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 15:04:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

    Post 1011 of 7434
    Joined 3/11/2011

    New Chapter....why didn't you bring us this new/old light MUCH sooner? I am almost speachless!!!!

    What more would ANYONE need to see what a bunch of tossers they are?

    Quendi posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 15:13:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

    Post 405 of 1910
    Joined 1/13/2011

    I remember reading these passages and feeling absolutely disgusted that any professed Christian would think this way. Thank you, NewChapter, for sharing them with us. Thanks also for the suggestion to bring this question to jwfacts and see what our friends there can find. Pams girl, you're right to denounce this religion as "hateful, racist, and slanderous", at least in its past manifestations. Of course, some will defend Russell by saying he was simply a product of his times. But that flies in the face of the fact that many people of his times knew racism was wrong and would have nothing to do with it or those people who espoused it. How did Russell justify his thinking?


    F Snoozy posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 15:22:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

    Post 3450 of 3529
    Joined 11/3/2001

    It was still frowned on in the 60's..


    F Mary posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 15:36:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

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    Joined 6/26/2002

    In their defense (and god knows I don't like to defend the Borg), this was the view of society in general a hundred years ago, so the Watchtower was really no different than anyone else at the time. Of course, this begs the question as to why Jehovah didn't shine light on the subject decades before the days of Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr.

    NewChapter posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 15:49:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

    Post 2333 of 11807
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    Yes Mary---because society does things differently today and the org has no problem calling it depraved and wrong TODAY. Why didn't the good old holy spirit give them such wisdom back then?? They are supposed to be special.

    Still Thinking: I get no credit for that. Check out It's all there. and there is a LOT more.


    M BluesBrother posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 15:52:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

    Post 6759 of 8631
    Joined 10/29/2001

    Well said Mary .....

    One of thebetter things of the WTS is the lack of prejudice and nationalism among its followers.. Certainly in the really old days they had an attitude that can only be called, at best, patronising, but that was the times they lived in. I would guess that the example in the original post from Alabama (we do not know when) could have been a practical move, given the local attitudes?

    With Sam Herd on the G/Body I guess they are integrated now.

    paulnotsaul posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 15:53:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

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    It was illegal in the state of Virginia up till the early 1970's. peace All paulnotsaul

    Quendi posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 15:57:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

    Post 406 of 1910
    Joined 1/13/2011

    I appreciate your answer, Mary, because even though that was the prevailing view of the time, it certainly wasn't one a true Christian would espouse. The Society is fond of quoting Peter at Acts 10:34, 35: "For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him." The WTS says this indicates that it has always been a color-blind organization, but that clearly is not true. Those words are more than nineteen hundred years old, so there's really no excuse for either Russell or Rutherford to be racists. Still thinking, I bet both of us are glad that we have 'tossed' these people into the garbage bin they belong.

    And Snoozy, you're right to say this was the attitude still back in the 1960s, long after Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks had made their points about the injustice of racism. Yet the Society still had segregated circuits in the American South and did not encourage interracial marriages among its followers. As soon as I can get some real information about whether interracial couples were disfellowshipped, I'll let you all know.


    NewChapter posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 16:07:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

    Post 2334 of 11807
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    In the south, segregating the congregations was a matter of law. I'm not defending them---they probably didn't protest much. We had a CO that told us he worked in the south during those years. They even needed black CO's for the black congregations and white CO's for the white congregations. He was there when the civil rights battles were in full swing. He had many uncomfortable moments being a northern black man, wearing a tie, carrying a brief case, and knocking on doors. He had a few close brushes too.

    Still---the org would be the first to criticize another religion for this behavior. Maybe I should reword my last protest and simply say: I hate religion. Period. Oppression would not have a chance without it.


    Quendi posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 16:12:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

    Post 407 of 1910
    Joined 1/13/2011


    I personally knew the Alabama couple who was denied a ceremony and use of the Kingdom Hall. That was back in the late 1970s when they had this problem. Ironically enough, they went to Mississippi of all places (not far from their home in west Alabama) where a justice of the peace did the honors. The local brothers had no reason to deny this couple a ceremony. Even if they didn't want the Kingdom Hall to be used, the ceremony could have been held elsewhere, even a private home, to accommodate them. The refusal to perform the ceremony or allow the Hall to be used was due to simple racism.


    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all bans against interracial marriages in the United States were unconstitutional in the case of Loving v. Virginia. That decision was handed down in 1967.


    F mrsjones5 posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 16:14:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

    Post 16161 of 19479
    Joined 10/13/2004

    Back in the early 80's an elder once told my mother (and I know this happened because I was sitting at the kitchen table with the elder and my mother, we were having a short lived study) that the society had never officially condoned interracial marriage, it is something that was tolerated. My mother was not happy with this little gem of knowledge the elder laid on her.

    I don't know how high up the elder's contacts were or if he was the CO of the congregation (I never paid attention to all that) but most of his sons went to Bethel and he seemed well connected so I really didn't doubt what he said but my mother had a hard time with it.

    I'm not even sure why the subject came up. Maybe it had something to do with the book we were studying. Geez I don't even remember what the book was, the only thing that stood out was the elder's comment.

    Quendi posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 16:21:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

    Post 408 of 1910
    Joined 1/13/2011


    You're right to say that the law mandated segregated circuits and congregations in the American South, but those laws were ruled unconstitutional in a series of SCOTUS rulings. And long after they had been struck from the books, segregation prevailed in the organization in that part of the country. When I started studying with the Witnesses in Tuscaloosa, Alabama back in 1974, the congregations and circuits had only recently desegregated, and that happened only when Brooklyn ordered the local brothers to do so. The Civil Rights Bill of 1964 had effectively nullified segregation, but nearly ten years later Witnesses in the American South had done little or nothing to comply with its spirit. Real Christians wouldn't have had to wait on orders, but would have done so at the first opportunity which presented itself.


    M james_woods posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 16:26:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

    Post 5317 of 12264
    Joined 10/26/2005

    If Russell hated agricultural "crossing" so much, then why was he so hot on the miracle wheat?

    I can tell you from actual experience that in the 1960s, probably into the 1970s, inter-racial dating (and marriage) was privately shunned by most of the witness local leadership. They even had de-facto segregated congregations (while outwardly preaching equality of the races). At least that was the way things were in Oklahoma in those days.

    CuriousButterfly posted Mon, 22 Aug 2011 16:39:00 GMT(8/22/2011)

    Post 712 of 732
    Joined 3/2/2010

    I do not know if this the WTS rules....... I heard (from various sources) that the they will not appoint CO/DO who are in an interracial marriage. All my life I have never seen an interracial CO/DO. Is this just in the areas I lived or has a CO/DO served that was in an interracial marriage?


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