miscegenation laws

We are not suggesting that all US Christians today are racist.  In our view the majority are not.  However, it is a sorry fact that racism has been a key part of Christianity in US history.  The overwhelming majority of US evangelicals supported the slave trade and strongly opposed marriage between black and white people.   Many of these same evangelists looked the other way when black women were repeatedly used as sex slaves by many of their white masters.

A white Christian patriarchy saw women as inferior and black women as even more inferior. 

Until 1967, laws banning interracial marriage - known as anti-miscegenation laws - were a prominent part of United States legislation. Anti-miscegenation laws were passed individually by states specifically to prohibit interracial sex and/or marriage. In most cases, these laws considered relationships between people of different races as a felony, and though they were mainly targeted at relations between blacks and whites, they included relationships between whites, Asians and Native Americans as well. This was these case until these laws were deemed unconstitutional in 1967 by the Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia (Wikipedia).


"You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly." (Deuteronomy 7:3-4)

"You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, lest the whole yield be forfeited, the crop that you have sown and the yield of the vineyard. You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. You shall not wear cloth of wool and linen mixed together." (Deuteronomy 22:9-11)

"Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever." (Ezra 9:12)

"As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay." (Daniel 2:43)

"Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats." (Matthew 25:32)

"That I may make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac." (Genesis 24:3-4)

"The moral and physical development of both races require that they should be kept distinct and separate that connections and alliance so unnatural that God and nature seem to forbid them, should be prohibited by positive law, and subject to no evasion" (Kinney v. Commonwealth, Virginia, 1878)


See our report: Christianity and Slavery

"Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property." (Leviticus 25:44-45)

"Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers. He also said, 'Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem and may Canaan be his slave'. " (Genesis 9:25-27)

"However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you.  You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land.  You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.  You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way."  (Leviticus 25:44-46

"When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.  If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.  But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her.  And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter.  If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment (Exodus 21:7-11)


"A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 7:39

"Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)


Christianity and Slavery

Racist Roots of Religious Right in America

Troubling Quotes from the Bible

Troubling Bible Quotes about Women

Bible and Sex