Mixed race wedding
Wait, the Bible prohibits interracial marriage? One wedding venue in Mississippi seems to think so.

After learning that her brother and his fiancée had been turned down by a wedding venue in their small Mississippi hometown, Lakambria Welch thought there must have been a mistake. She drove down to Boone’s Camp Event Hall in Booneville, MS to sort things out with the owner. But Welch couldn’t have been prepared for the conversation that followed.

Upon arriving, she learned the real reason they’d been turned away: her brother is black, and his fiancée is white.

Fortunately, she got the entire encounter on video. In the clip, Welch can be seen confronting the owner, and asking why her brother was denied.

“First of all, we don’t do gay weddings or mixed race, because of our Christian race — I mean, our Christian beliefs” the venue’s owner says.

To which Welch replies: “Ok, we’re Christians as well, so what in the Bible tells you that?”

“Well, I don’t want to argue my faith,” the owner insists. “We just don’t participate.”

The whole thing was posted online, where it soon went viral:

The Backtrack Begins

Well, as you might imagine, trying to enforce a Jim Crow-era discrimination policy under the guise of religious freedom didn’t go over so well – even in Mississippi. The story quickly caught fire and was soon being reported by national outlets.

Facing overwhelming backlash, Boone’s Camp Event Hall deleted its Facebook account the very next day, restoring it only so that owner could post a lengthy apology after her pastor informed her no passage in the Bible explicitly condemned interracial marriage.

The fact that the owner was somehow shocked to discover her Holy Book contradicted what she was taught as a child – that races should remain separate – is mind-blowing.

But it’s also a good reminder that American Christianity has a long history of supporting racial superiority theories and justifying racial segregation.

Christianity’s Dark Stain

Christians justifying slavery
Christians used the Bible to justify slavery and other mistreatment.

Critics point to Christianity’s endorsement of slavery as amongst its single greatest humiliations. When Northern and Southern Baptists split in 1845, some Southern Baptists began using an obscure reference to the “Mark of Cain” (which some interpreted as the curse of black skin) in Genesis 4 to justify owning slaves.

After the fall of slavery, the same argument was used to prevent blacks from becoming ordained in many Protestant clergies. Even worse, some of these policies were only discontinued after the Civil Rights movement won significant legislative victories in the 1960s.

But despite a change in the law, church congregations continued to be (and to some extent, remain to this day) highly segregated. Martin Luther King Jr. famously declared: “the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.”

And although things did improve in succeeding decades, certain religious groups held tightly onto their racist policies.

In the early 1970s, the IRS had to threaten the fundamentalist Bob Jones University with loss of its tax exemption to force it to integrate black students – to which it complied by admitting only married blacks in order to discourage racial mixing. “God never meant to have one race,” its founding president Bob Jones Sr. famously said. “God has a purpose for each race.” Somehow, this policy stayed in place until the year 2000.

A Silver Lining

With that context, perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us that someone in 2019 would attempt to use their Christian faith to shield racist beliefs. And yet, it’s hard not to be jarred by the reality that this is still happening in America.

But perhaps there is a small upside to an otherwise discouraging story. Booneville resident Khyla Shumpert, herself a person of mixed race, points out that at least the incident has helped raise awareness for what people of color endure in their encounters with close-minded zealots.

“I have great friends who are wonderful advocates for everyone no matter who they are, what they look like, or their sexual preference. This is what has gotten the world’s attention and rightfully so. I hate [that] it happened, but if it will bring real change and awareness that people of color are still being discriminated against in 2019, then so be it.”

Using Religion as Cover

“Sorry, that goes against my faith.” It’s a common refrain that’s been used to justify all sorts of questionable behavior in recent years. From a Christian baker who turned down a gay couple’s request for a wedding cake, to Kim Davis’s infamous refusal to grant a same-sex marriage license, the Boone’s Camp Event Hall owners are far from the first to be accused of hiding behind the Bible in order to discriminate.

And on the other hand, there certainly are plenty of legitimate religious exemptions. Nobody would accuse a Muslim of “hiding behind the Quran” if they refused to bring a dish that contained pork to a potluck, for example.

So, the question is: what is a justifiable use of religious exemption, and what crosses the line? How do we decide what is free exercise, and what is discrimination?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

72 comments

  1. Lionheart says:

    All religions appear to be just one big problem on this earth of ours.

    🦁❤️

    1. Rev Buzz says:

      Unfortunately you are correct

    2. jpmcdunn@gmail.com says:

      Lionheart, Here is a passage for you:

      Matt.7. [1] Judge not, that ye be not judged. [2] For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. [3] And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

      Don’t lump one all religions by viewing one lumphead minister.

      By the way, did you know that nowhere in the Bible does it say “ye”. Jus’ Sayin,!

      1. Lionheart says:

        Thanks jpmcdunn To be honest, I’m not really interested in quotes from an old book of tales of here-say and gossip, that were handed down and written by some cleric, that also includes a talking snake and a talking donkey, and a virgin that was impregnated by a mythical god, along with many other ridiculous claims. Know what I mean?

        So bottom line: I guess I will still continue to judge religions, and blame them for a great deal of death, mayhem and atrocities in this world, which one wouldn’t expect from a society of people claiming love and peace for everyone. Jus’ sayin’

        🦁♥️

        1. Rev. Buzz says:

          To Lionheart; I find myself frequently in agreement with your comments despite their often snarky nature. Sort of reminds me of many of our president’s actions of which I may approve, just not the manner in which he goes about relating their implementation. Sorry to mention political personages in this format; it’s just that it seemed like a fitting analogy. I meant it in the best possible way.

          1. Lionheart says:

            Thank you Rev. Buzz. I guess I do tend make a lot of tongue-in-cheek remarks that might be seen as a bit edgy, or snarky, as you mention.

            For those who often wonder, I do have a very good sense of humor and like to try and portray that in my remarks at pertinent times, which I can see does tend to upset a few.

            My apologies to anyone if any comments of mine are interpreted as beI guess rude. I merely attempt to state what I see as being factually obvious, based on science, logic and reason.

            Peace✌🏼

            🦁❤️

          2. Lionheart says:

            Oops! That last paragraph should read:

            My apologies to anyone if any comments of mine are interpreted as being rude…..

          3. tom b says:

            Lionheart…i have always liked your sense of humor, and i have never found your comments offensive…and a sense of humor is essential….Peace…Tom B

      2. Minister Ella says:

        You just made a mistake when you said nowhere in the Bible does the word “ye” show up well in the reference of Matthew 7 v.1& 2, it clearly says ye.

      3. SUSAN Rhodes says:

        It wasn’t the minister who was the lumphead in this story. It was the racist congregant. You apparently do not read with comprehension.

    3. ET says:

      Religion isn’t the problem, people who are fanatics are the problem.

      1. Lionheart says:

        Fanaticism is subjective, hence the problem we are having today with religious indoctrination. If it wasn’t for the tenets of each religion people wouldn’t have anything to become fanatical about.

        🦁❤️

        1. James P McDunn says:

          Therefore, if we didn’t have food, we wouldn’t have obesity! (???).

          1. Lionheart says:

            🤣🤣🤣. We need food to survive………but we don’t need religion…..at all!

            🦁♥️

          2. ET says:

            🦁❤️: some people do need religion. It takes all kinds to make the human race.

          3. Lionheart says:

            I guess they do. It’s pretty sad isn’t it?

            🦁❤️

        2. ET says:

          All things are subjective due to being seen through the eye of each beholder. One doesn’t need to be in an organized religion to be considered a fanatic (at least in the eye of this beholder).

      2. Loriane Ward says:

        I agree, that religion is not the problem, fanaticism is

      3. SUSAN Rhodes says:

        It’s people who made up all the religions. So religion is the problem. Fanatics are just the worst of them. Most are just ignorant like you.

        1. ET says:

          Susan, where is your need to personally denigrate coming from? I accept that we are on different paths, and it’s okay.

          1. Lionheart says:

            ET, I think you will find Susan is merely stating the obvious, so I am politely asking you what part of her comment are you seeing as denigrating? Just asking!

            🦁❤️

          2. ET says:

            Lionheart, I took Susan’s reference of, “ignorant like you “ to be denigrating. How would you describe it?

          3. Lionheart says:

            I see where you are coming from ET. I was basically referencing her statements in her first two sentences.

            However, with that thought, the word “ignorant” can indeed sound to be extremely rude and harsh, but how does one politely state that a person is ignorant, if indeed they are ignorant of accepting factual evidence backed up by logic and reason? Just asking!

            Be well my friend. ✌🏼

            🦁❤️

    4. sam fisher says:

      To lionheart just asking, how said it’s our earth?

      1. Lionheart says:

        Sam, I mention “our earth” as we are the ones living on this planet, we are it’s inhabitants, which is demonstrated by us being here. Just saying!

        🦁❤️

    5. David says:

      Lionheart the Anonymous Troll has to post a disrespectful comment. He hates all religion and lives only to post stupid anti-religion comments. He needs to find a life. And maybe an atheist website.

      1. ET says:

        David, I believe your name-calling of Lionheart (Anonymous Troll) shows a lack of acceptance of a fellow ULC minister. Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhist, Christians, Islamists, and any other path chosen are all “children of the same universe” and deserve to be accepted on this site. I believe it works best for all if the opinions shared are treated with respect. I accept that you may not wish to do this. Be well.

      2. Lionheart says:

        I’m merely stating the obvious David, and It’s totally okay for you to disagree, seriously. I’ve been where you are David, “spiritually”, so I understand your frustration and your need to be rude when someone doesn’t quite agree with you. It’s what a lot of religionists tend to do when their faith is questioned. That’s of course if you are indeed into religion. Just saying!

        🦁❤️

        1. ET says:

          Lionheart, well said. 👍

      3. Don says:

        David, perhaps YOU need to find another website, as you are defecating all over the tenets inherent in using this site. Take your petty, cowardly insults and shove them where the sun doesn’t shine. Thanks.

  2. J. Patrick McDunn says:

    Send them to me! I will marry them!

    1. Lionheart says:

      Yep! That’s what we’re here for. We can fill the gap and take care of their needs with no guile, or prejudices. Love is all they need, and we can truly be there for them. No wonder organized religion is growing smaller!

      🦁❤️

  3. Don says:

    Everyone keeps acting shocked at the inherent racism in Christianity.
    It’s been there for centuries.
    Even Jesus condoned the beating of slaves.
    Why won’t these idiots read their own holy book?

    1. Gerardo says:

      Until 1962 slavery was legal in Saudi Arabia, which is not a Christian country.

      1. SUSAN Rhodes says:

        What does that have to do with the price of eggs in China? There is still slavery other places in the world as I write this. We are discussing the USA. What about… is a distraction and a cop out.

    2. Rev. Matt says:

      Jesus condoned the beating of slaves? Can you give me a reference for that? Doesn’t sound like him…

      1. Don says:

        Read Luke. in Chapter 12 he condones the beating of slaves. and in Chapter 19 he condones the murder of non believers. In parables no less.

        Doesn’t sound like him? It sounds EXACTLY like him. What it DOESN’T sound like is the happy-hippy Jesus you’ve been brainwashed into believing as a child.

      2. Lionheart says:

        How do you really know what he sounds like? He never wrote anything, and all we are left with are stories upon stories of what he possibly said many years later. In fact, we don’t really know if he ever existed at all, though he possibly did.

        🦁❤️

        1. Don says:

          The same way we know what Gandalf would sound like – through the authors’ descriptions.

          “He never wrote anything” – quite the claim there, Lion! No one can even prove whether or not he actually existed. but YOU know for a FACT he never wrote anything down. Amazing!
          I would love to see the verifiable, empirical evidence for said claim.
          But since it does not exist…

          1. Lionheart says:

            You are quite right Don, it was a bad assumption on my part. If he did really exist he might indeed have written something, assuming he could write of course.

            🦁❤️

        2. The Rev. J. Patrick McDunn says:

          That is where you stand corrected. Even the former Soviet Union, an entity who would have preferred He didn’t exist, recognize their was a man named Jesus. I could make the argument that if He wasn’t the Son of God, would we still be talking about Him this long after His death, but I won’t. Lion, what you need to do is to set aside all of the Miracles, set aside all of the Bible School stories and examine what Jesus said. He told us to love one another. Paul wrote that “Love is Patient, Love is Kind”. The very word “Gospel” MEANS “Good News”. Whether or not Jesus ever really walked on water or turned water into wine, He taught us a better way to live. If you want to be mad as something (which it sounds like you do) be mad at the Bible when it maintains that Methuselah lived to be 969 years old, which modern day scientists say is impossible. If you don’t want to let Jesus into you heart, don’t. But look at how He recommended we live and conduct outselves with one another. I guarantee, you will be a better man for it.

          1. Lionheart says:

            Thank you Patrick. I notice you said “He recommended we live and conduct ourselves with one another”

            Luke 12:47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

            Luke 19:27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’ ”

            Are you referring to this Jesus mentioned in Luke?

            I actually don’t want to be mad at anything Patrick. That’s an assumption on your part.

            Guaranteeing I will be better for letting Jesus into my heart is very presumptions of you. I’ve witnessed Christian behavior, many have died as a result of it throughout history, and I’ve even witnessed extremely rude comments on this blog that supposedly have your Jesus in their heart, so no thank you.

            This is not me being angry or mad Patrick, it’s me being honest and practical.

            Pease ✌🏼

            🦁❤️

          2. Don says:

            “Even the former Soviet Union, an entity who would have preferred He didn’t exist, recognize their was a man named Jesus.”
            Strange, as I could not find any evidence to support this claim.
            Mind posting it here?

            “I could make the argument that if He wasn’t the Son of God, would we still be talking about Him this long after His death, but I won’t.”
            It’s a good thing you did not make that silly argument, as there are a plethora of mythical beings we still talk about today. Surely you’re not going to claim they all exist just because we talk about them, that would be silly.

            “He told us to”
            Let’s stick with whether he actually existed or not before pretending to know what he did or didn’t say, okay?

  4. Alicia says:

    So much for love one another…..

  5. Mark Parkhurst says:

    Well you all took the words right out of my mouth what more can I add to that heavenly father created us in his image, perfect, beautiful, loving, considerate, just filled with joy, and compassion for another.
    We are not the judge, but we judge in right ruling!

  6. Rev. Brien says:

    Organized religion is just organized brainwashing. I have said this a million times before and I will repeat it: : Faith is something you keep in your heart.. It helps to shape you, ground you, and teach you through experience. It gives you a guidepost to be the best that you can be. Hate, bigotry, and ignorance are not faith but instead are human weakness. These things will not help but hurt you and EVERYONE around you. Organized religion is BASED on fear and bigotry. Faith, real faith does not require you to belong to any club. The only church that real faith needs is your own heart. It is very simple as well. If your thoughts, actions will harm you or another, then stop and rethink what it is that you are trying to do. Real faith will help to guide you to a better solution. How does it work? It just does. That is faith. People like the ones described in this story do not have faith. They have ignorance, bigotry, and hate. They need a club to belong to because they live with fear every day. I cannot think of a more appropriate punishment than living in fear every day. That is what you see in organized religion. Let your own heart be your church. Pity those that chose to live in fear.

    1. Rev. Matt says:

      I don’t entirely agree with everything you say here but our Church doesn’t require me to does it? What I would like to say is that what you have written is beautiful and YOUR faith shines through from it.

    2. tom b says:

      Rev. Brien…Respectfully…I agree with what you wrote, except for the punishment concept of fear…love, compassion and foregiveness should be the bases for all of our actions…religions should just fade away…Peace…Tom B

  7. Minister Paul says:

    IT’S TIME TO CREATE A CONSERVATIVE ECOSYSTEM THAT DOESN’T WELCOME RACISTS. This is christianity being missused to justify racism and bigotry. This is why I AM NOT a christian. This no longer resembles christianity or what Jesus came to teach us 2000 years ago and I will repeat: 1 Love God 2. Treat others well. Those 2 things got him killed.

  8. John A Anderson, CD, CIF Mons ON says:

    I think the line gets crossed when you attempt to force someone to follow your path rather than their own. We might walk a similar path, but they are not identical. Keep your spirituality to yourself, and there are no problems. Imposition leads to ISIL, and the WBC.

    1. Carolyn Chaperon says:

      We’re quickly evolving right now. Some are very frightened that there won’t be enough love for them. Which is what All these lessons are about. Remarkably we all have an individualized lesson plan to help us become more inclusive with others/ourselves/this planet and universe(s). Its All connected…That in itself could be a very overwhelming reality and what you do to another you do to yourself.
      Existence is frequency driven.

  9. Dorothy says:

    There is nothing Christian about being racist bigots

  10. John Terpenimg says:

    AmenDorothy

  11. Duckin Acup says:

    Jesus was a liberal Jew and not a Christian. Yet those who profess to follow his teachings use things he never said or supported to deny others their rights. Go figure.

    1. SUSAN Rhodes says:

      True. It would make more sense to convert to Judaism and believe Jesus was the predicted Messiah than to be a Christian. Most don’t realize it but originally, you had to convert to Judaism to become a follower of the Nazarene. It was only later on they were not required to do so because non Jewish converts didn’t want to be circumsized or follow Jewish dietary laws. They dropped those requirements to recruit more followers because most Jews didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah. Pagan influence is also why we have a trinity. It appealed to pagans who were used to multiple godheads.

  12. Lori Lassiter says:

    Reason #4658 of why I left Mississippi many years ago

  13. Minister Ella says:

    I read my KJV Bible and I do not find anywhere in there that say mixed races can not be married. Moses was not allowed to cross the river Jordon because he smite the rock in which the tablets were made not because of his wife. It does say that we should keep with our own kind but the text was referring to religion and not the color of skin. For example Christian man and Jewish woman should not marry due to religious conflicts. To me I do not care who marries who. What I do care about is how the scriptures are being twisted to suit someone agenda at the time. May we all find peace and love in this world .

  14. SUSAN Rhodes says:

    Ditch all the religious books and find your own path… Religions are the source of most of the evil in the world. Note: if you want to get real literal here and you believe a metaphysical God created everything, then you must also accept that this same God also created all that is evil in the world as well. God created Satan (evil) according to all the holy books. The Book of Job has God destroying a man’s property, family, home, reputation and health over a frivolous bet with Satan. Then that same God thinks that is ok because he replaces everything he took. What BS to treat a wife, children, livestock etc… as if they can easily be replace. God does not return the originals. The biblical god is a capricious, violent, vindictive, jealous God who only rewards you as long as you are a sycophant. Sounds a lot like Donald Trump. Interestingly, Trump recently said he is God returned. Hmmm….

    1. John says:

      Susan, sadly everything you wrote is much like that of a young child lacking wisdom and experience, a completely misguided assessment which illustrating how much you really don’t know nor understand regarding God let alone anything going on in any of what you just described and more importantly “why” which most churches also remain aware, a matter which if you did know, you would absolutely be saying the exact opposite of everything that you so very ignorantly wrote for God is indeed the exact opposite of literally everything you stated. This matter has absolutely nothing to do with a “bet with Satan” and there is so very much more going on in the entire picture than your very limited perception comprehends unfortunately leaving you making the all too common mistake of trying to apply an Earth based context where you should not attempt to do so as it only would lead you to even more fail to understand, sadly so very typical of mortals. Also for the record and contrary to your written statement, God didn’t create everything that is “evil in the world” directly nor indirectly and in fact He actually did the exact opposite. A big factor you also don’t realize is that He was not the only one creating things at the time contrary to many misconceptions and much of what you erroneously perceive of God is actually misplaced. His intervening to undo and eliminate what was not actually created nor done by Him is what you have quite well confused! Most churches don’t want to hear the truth in this either as it is difficult for them to also understand or consider that there is in fact parts of the history that is still well documented across archaeology that have subsequently been removed in the 19th century, unauthorized incidentally. Here is a little piece of wisdom that you should really take to heart which very well may answer the questions you have not thought to ask or why it is that I am talking to you — Hebrews 13:2, Amos 3:7, Revelation 10:6-11, Revelation 1:9, and John 21:18-24

      1. Lionheart says:

        John, I think you will find that Susan is entitled to her opinion, just as you are, without labeling her as “writing like a child” because you disagree with her statements.

        Before you castigate someone as “writing like a child”, you have to be very sure about your own writings.

        You imply that you know and understand your god. In reality John, you actually have no proof your god, nor any god, really exists, even though you perhaps will say that you know it, or feel it, in your heart. Your knowing and feeling is no different to anyone else that says they know their god, or gods, exist, or even no god exists, because of what they know or feel in their heart.

        A Nobel prize is waiting for you John, or anyone, that can prove/demonstrate that any god that they claim is real, really exists. So far, no one has done that John. You can quote as many passages you like from an old book, and others can quote passages from even newer books from other religions, but that doesn’t mean those statements are true.

        I would suggest John, that you try and find love in your heart for those that you disagree with, and, as a secular humanist, I’ll do my best to do the same. Does that sound like a good plan to you John?

        🦁❤️

        1. Pastor Marc says:

          Wow! Has this conversation strayed from the original topic. Personally, I’ve been color blind my entire life.

          But no one has listed King David and Bathsheba. Inter-racial marriages stem back to the OT. My people go back and were in hard bondage for 400 years of slavery in Egypt. Up until this feller named Moses was led by God to free my people. Thus came 40 years of roaming the desert before they were allowed into Canaan, but took it in a bloody mess. The OT is full of excellent military strategy, and the worst forms of killing and maiming.

          Hence comes Jesus. And the majority of Jews will acknowledge his existence. And they will tell you he was an excellent carpenter. Then as Morgan Freeman stated we were given free-will. We all believe in something, even if some people say they believe in nothing. Well, there it is, they even said, “We Believe”. whether it be something or nothing.

          So I leave you all with peace and love, and as I stated above, I’m not in here to debate. Just trying to get the topic back to what it was initially suppose to be.

          1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom says:

            One thing leads to another. Things aren’t supposed to stay the same. That’s called stagnation, and stifled development. Nothing ever gets accomplished like that. We must debate. We must move on. Carry on my wayward son. There will be peace when you are done… and not before then.

          2. tom b says:

            Carl…nice quote from the song…Peace…Tom B

      2. Don says:

        “God didn’t create everything that is “evil in the world” directly nor indirectly and in fact He actually did the exact opposite.”

        I see you like to quote Scripture. Here’s one you seem to have missed:
        Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

  15. JG says:

    It never fails to astonish just how many “christians” conveniently forget the very simple fact that Jesus wasn’t white, blonde or blue eyed. He was a Jewish man of middle eastern descent, and therefore most likely brown skinned, possibly even black. I keep hoping rasism will finally become the sad footnote of history it should be.

  16. Secretary3rd says:

    Does that mean if the guy falls into a pond and can not swim and I have a rope that could pull him and I do nothing and he drowns is it because I see his falling into the pond as an act of God. Or I see him as another bigot who is better off as a floater than as a human.

  17. David M says:

    Based upon what is described in this article, the venue managed to openly embarrass themselves not only demonstrating their immense ignorance of all that is written in the Bible itself but by their own words confirming that they are also not Christian and therefore hold no actual Christian beliefs whatsoever!

    They were instead showing their own personal bias and ironically both “anti-Biblical” and “Anti-Christian” ideas and God does not take lightly anyone who uses !

    While the Bible does indeed have a few comments within concerning “gay marriage” that could potentially be cited, there is absolutely nothing written in the Bible whatsoever directly establishing any kind of “Christian Belief” objecting to any “mixed race” marriages and in fact the Bible’s direct position on the matter is in fact the exact opposite where upon the very few places written that might be construed to address that particular topic as those particular areas cite that people are people — no races as far as God is concerned — unless you are saying that the wife is a fish and the husband is a bird or otherwise completely different species of a named “different flesh”!

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