Questions From Readers
● What is the view of Jehovah’s witnesses toward interracial marriage?—France.
Jehovah’s witnesses at all times seek to reflect the Biblical view of matters. The Bible does not specifically discuss interracial marriage. It does, however, show how Jehovah God views humankind and it provides guiding principles for those considering marriage.
Superiority of race is nowhere taught or implied in the Bible. Jehovah God accepts as his approved servants people out of all races, without discrimination. The Bible tells us “[God] made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth, and he decreed the appointed times and the set limits of the dwelling of men, for them to seek God, if they might grope for him and really find him.” (Acts 17:26, 27) “God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”—Acts 10:34, 35.
So, the Bible nowhere implies that racial differences in themselves have anything to do with the properness of marriage. Of the remarriage of widows, the apostle Paul wrote: “A wife is bound during all the time her husband is alive. But if her husband should fall asleep in death, she is free to be married to whom she wants, only in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 7:39) Thus the Christian is free to marry anyone who is Scripturally and legally free to do so, as long as that one is truly a fellow believer.
Are there any other factors, then, worth considering? Yes, for Christians seek to exercise good judgment and wisdom in all they do. Among other things, they are encouraged to “go on walking in wisdom toward those on the outside,” those outside the Christian congregation.—Col. 4:5.
In many areas interracial marriages are becoming increasingly common. People are traveling more, and often find the ways and customs of people of other lands attractive. War, too, has played a part, and many European and North American soldiers have married Asiatic wives. There is, then, a somewhat broadened viewpoint on the part of many toward interracial marriage.
Nevertheless, not all persons share this broadened viewpoint, nor do all appreciate Bible standards. Many deep-seated prejudices remain in the world of mankind. A Christian, being realistic, must face life as it is—not as he wishes it might be.
In a few places, there are even laws making interracial marriages illegal. When that is the case, Christians are under Scriptural obligation to obey them, as such laws do not make it impossible for them to worship God with “spirit and truth.” (John 4:24; Rom. 13:1) Of course, if a Christian would prefer to move to a locality where such laws are not enforced, he is certainly free to do so.
In other communities, local prejudices produce discrimination and unkind treatment toward those of certain races of mankind. These prejudices do not make interracial marriage wrong. For the discerning Christian, nonetheless, they may give cause for thought as to the advisability of such marriage. No matter what the racial backgrounds of the mates, marriage of itself requires much adjustment on the part of both persons to be successful and to bring happiness. Human imperfection causes all marriages to bring some measure of ‘tribulation in the flesh,’ as the apostle Paul wisely points out. (1 Cor. 7:28) In certain localities, where racial prejudices are strong, this could put added strain on the marital relationship and could be especially trying for any children resulting. So the Christian should give thoughtful consideration to the probable consequences before entertaining the prospect of interracial marriage.
Persons of different races may have very similar backgrounds, culturally, socially and as to education. Or their backgrounds may be very different. Sometimes the varied habits, attitudes and customs that go with different backgrounds seem to add interest to the marriage union. Yet widely differing backgrounds, even among marriage mates of the same race, can and sometimes do give rise to problems, making marital adjustment more difficult. In making his decision, the Christian should also rightly weigh these factors—for the other person’s happiness as well as his own.
The Christian is under obligation to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom to others. (Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20) As a factor, then, he may consider whether or not interracial marriage is likely to create a seriously adverse effect on the attitude of the people in his community toward this Kingdom-announcement work. The examples of Christ Jesus and his apostles show that they were willing to forgo things to which they had a right rather than severely hinder persons from being receptive to the truth of God’s Word.—Rom. 15:3; 1 Cor. 10:32, 33.
However, after weighing all these factors thoughtfully, each Christian must make his own decision—in good conscience and motivated by love for God and for his neighbor.