Saturday, June 24, 2006

James Dobson on interracial marriage

In pursuit of my daily news habit this morning, I found myself following a link to the evangelical website Family.org. Apparent James Dobson has a position on interracial marriage. I thought it odd that anyone these days would have a position on this subject. Problems with interracial marriage are a thing of 20th century in America. Granted, people in interracial marriages face some difficulties with the attitudes of American’s ignorant racists. However, these problems are inconsequential in comparison to the legal and social problems of the mid 20th century. Why would Dobson have any other position than “it is none of my business?”

Dobson does not oppose interracial marriage. His position is subtle. He uses his power and vast influence to suggest that the path of those choosing interracial marriage is difficult and those considering a relationship should reconsider and pray for guidance. He is suggesting that couples think better of it. Which can be considered the same as suggesting one should not get involved in a interracial marriage in the first place. His position is morally wrong. Even worse, it is hateful. Why would a man in his position take a position like this?

I submitted a question to Family.com asking for clarification. I will post Family.org’s response when it arrives.

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42 comments:

brad said...

Though I am not a fan of Dobson at all and I think he is way wrong for getting involved in politics and though I think this "added stress" mention of his is pretty lame, I do not think you interpreted his words very accurately. He is not discouraging inter-racial marriage but just says it might add some stress and might be something to consider. (this view I think is nonsense - but not hateful as you say).

Mojoey said...

Hate comes in many forms. Sometimes it is masked in well-meaning language. When I was young, I heard the same kind of talk from my grandparents and my stepfather. They spoke in less eloquently terms than Dobson. Their meaning was just as clear. When an authority figures tells you to think about the stress an interracial relationship will cause your family, what he or she is really saying is “don’t do it”. It is racism. Racism is hateful.

I might also point out that you are not in a position of vast authority - Dobson is. What is he really saying? What is the meaning behind the obvious meaning? He is a racist.

Brian said...

I think this example shows that there are still racist undercurrents in society moreso than Dobson's being a racist.

Just like there is a societal expectation for Asians to be smart and blacks to speak in ebonics, there is a perception (among some) that interracial relationsips are too difficult to be worth it.

I guess that's my roundabout way to say that I agree that it's a racist position, but the evil lies more in society than Dobson as an individual. However, as an influential individual, he should have a responsibility to be more enlightened

Robert said...

Well, it's true that in past generations, "it will be difficult for you, so think about it" was code for "please don't bring a [person of X race] into our family". And it's true of people in present generations as well.

On the other hand, it is objectively true that there is still some social disapproval of interracial relationships, and objectively true that such a couple has some problems that same-race couples don't face.

So the flat declaration that it's racist to say this is problematic, because it labels being aware of objective reality as racist. And that ends up requiring that people who don't want to be racist reduce their ability to correctly describe and function in reality.

Mojoey said...

Robert,

If it looks like a duck, quacks like and duck, and floats like a duck - it is a duck.

Dobson is telling his flock to think twice because it might be hard. It is doublespeak for he is suggesting that they make the “right” choice. It sounds racists to me.

Is it hard to be in an interracial marriage today? Objective reality tells me it is hard to be in a marriage today – the interracial part just makes it interesting. Nobody I know would have the guts to mention an objection to my marriage today. That includes strangers in the mall; nobody is saying a thing these days. It just does not happen anymore. Times have changed – Dobson still represents the mindset of a previous generation, and it is a racist mindset.

And – how the hell do you “try not to be a racist?” you either are a racist or you or not. If you are struggling with it – go see Dobson, I’m sure he would have some good advice.

In fact… oh hell, I’m setting here in China while I write this. In perhaps the most racist county I have ever visited. When I walk down the street, people stop and stare. I am one in a million here and I feel it. But I am not a racist. I look around me a see people. The same applies at home. Part of not being a racist is doing what you must do without regard for the thoughts of those who might have an objection, people like Dobson. Because if people like me do it enough, then people like Dobson loose their voice. And people like you don’t have to play at being a non racist person.

Sheesh – “try not to be a racist” – what did Yoda say “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try”

senatortombstone said...

Mojoey,

I just cannot understand why Dobson's position on IR offends you so much. There is nothing either blatantly or subtley racist about it.

It's a fact that marriage is tough even under the best of circumstances. It is also a fact that there are still many people, of all races, who are hostile to IR marriage (e.g. Muhammad Ali).

All Dobson is saying is that people need be aware of what they're getting themselves into when they make life altering decisions.

I just don't see what's wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

I came to see if anyone responded to my post. I checked out a little more of this blog and now I understand why mojoey hates Dobson so much.

Dobson is a man of God and it seems that mojoey hates God quite a bit.

A little food for thought, mojoey.

How can you judge Dobson or anyone for their opinions, actions, or thoughts, when all those things are nothing more than chance chemical reactions.

How can you as a creature of chance be sure that what you observe and think is even real, let alone right?

Mojoey said...

Anonymous -

well... I don't hate god. it is impossible to hate something that does not exist. I don’t believe in god, that makes me an atheist, not a hate monger. I focus my energy on those people of faith (or in some cases the faithless) who take positions that are questionable, like endorsing racism.

Chemical reactions? Whatever! Evil is as evil does. The same applies to racism. Take your ad hominem attacks elsewhere and try addressing the facts. (why do people do this? Mojoey can’t have an opinion on good or evil because he is an atheist. How absurd is that?)

If a man sticks me with a knife, I know it hurts. The knife can be made of steel or made of ideas. It does not matter.

Hate is such a strong word. I hate few things - I find fundies amusing and dangerous, so I post on them here. Along with anybody else who is irrational, stupid, or hateful, or likes to turn off their brain, take Larry Darby for example.

Mojoey said...

Brian - Brad - senatortombstone

I've had several people I respect tell me that I am wrong on this. I am willing to admit that i could be wrong, so please grant me some leeway on this while I gather more info

I have posted three different letters to Dobson asking for clarification. He has not responded. I am continuing to look into his other writing and speeches to seek additional evidence supporting my supposition, if I do not find anything else, then I will say so.

I would like to emphasis that my major beef is that he is in a position of authority and that his advices echoes the old school racism of my youth. I can hear the very same words coming for the mouth of my grandfather, father and stepfather. So I am skeptical – like I am with so many other things.

Sewere said...

My issue with Dobson is why he felt he had to say something on Interracial relationships? Did he suddenly notice that most of his white parishioners were marrying non-white folks?

Even if he had to say something, why did he start on the negative external influences "you might face a lot of opposition, pray about it," rather than counseling them on negative internal influences "Be sure that you are marrying each other has person of God, aware of your flaws as human beings and that you both have different experiences that might affect the way you approach each other, that you should NOT fetishize one another?"

J C said...

I consider myself a social conservative. Race should not be a social issue. We should all strive for a color blind society.

As a "once" supportor of James Dobson, I was very disappointed in his comments. I do consider it openly racist. In my opinion, he is moving forward with false teachings. I will no longer support him and urge others not to.

God doesn't care about the color of someone's skin. If we are to strive to be like Jesus Christ, we shouldn't either.

When will we move past race ?!

senatortombstone said...

MOJOEY WROTE: Anonymous -

well... I don't hate god. it is impossible to hate something that does not exist. I don’t believe in god, that makes me an atheist, not a hate monger. I focus my energy on those people of faith (or in some cases the faithless) who take positions that are questionable, like endorsing racism.END QUOTE.

You have some nerve. How can you mock Christians for what we believe, when you believe that you evolved from hydrogen and helium which you believe evolved from nothing (i.e. appeared out of nowhere).

Haven't you ever heard of statistics? Evolution is probablistic impossibility, as well as is everything else you believe in.



MOJOEY WROTE: Chemical reactions? Whatever! Evil is as evil does. The same applies to racism. Take your ad hominem attacks elsewhere and try addressing the facts. (why do people do this? Mojoey can’t have an opinion on good or evil because he is an atheist. How absurd is that?)END QUOTE.

According to your beliefs, evil does not exist, it is merely an abstract construct of the human mind.



MOJOEY WROTE: If a man sticks me with a knife, I know it hurts. The knife can be made of steel or made of ideas. It does not matter.END QUOTE.

Pain also does not exist, it is merely a figment of the human mind. Can you bottle pain up and sell it? How much does it weigh? At which temperatures is pain solid, liquid, and gas?

Mojoey said...

senatortombstone

There are clinics that can help with your crack addiction. Peddle your metaphysical nonsense someplace else.

Oh – I bet you believe Intelligent Design is a real “scientific theory” too.

Such nonsense.

senatortombstone said...

Mojoey said...
senatortombstone

There are clinics that can help with your crack addiction. Peddle your metaphysical nonsense someplace else.

Oh – I bet you believe Intelligent Design is a real “scientific theory” too.

Such nonsense.

9:21 PM

Do you believe that evolution is a scientific theory? If so show me the proof?

Your insults mean nothing to me, because I can't take anyone who believe in hydrogen to human evolution seriously.

Aside from it being statistically impossible and never once observed, the biggest evidence against evolution is the inability of evolutionists to discuss opposing beliefs without resorting to threats or ridicule. Why can't you just present your "science" and be nice about it?

Anonymous said...

"Dr. Dobson knows of no theological or moral considerations that would prohibit interracial marriages and he disagrees with those who use the Bible to condemn it. As a matter of fact, he believes that all of us, as representatives of a variety of races and cultures, are of equal value and worth in the eyes of God, and that people of all races can fall in love and get married."

Yeah, look at that hate filled speech. You only found something hate-filled because of your own biases.

Anonymous said...

Interesting weblog, keep up the good job Mojoey.

Anonymous said...

I am a Christian who clearly questions many of Dobson's positions. Although he probably won't admit it, I believe his son was married to an African american woman and later divorced (big taboos for Dobson either way around). My question is how did Dobson show his love for his daughter in law? Did he welcome her into the family fold? I have two beautiful biracial children of God and am fortunate not to have to expose them to men like Dobson. People in general do not jump up and down shouting "I am a racist." However, a number of other issues make me sense he is a "wolf in sheep's clothing". He is sooner or later going to have to confront whether he worships Pres. Bush et al. or God.

chooseDoubt said...

Senatortombstone,

If people are terse with you when you mention that evolution is a statistical impossibility it's probably because they are a little tired of the fact that you don't read outside of your own closed circle of baseless nonsense. If you did you would see that the assertions you throw around have thrown out long ago because observable reality shows them to be utter nonsense.

I'd suggest that you save yourself an others some time by reading on the subject of evolution before you use its "failures" (of which there are absolutely none). Evolution is supported by absolutely every living thing and every remnant of everything we have found that was living. Not one single piece of evidence contradicting evolution has ever been found. The ID arguments against evolution are disproven, but the literature you read probably doesn't mention that since it is intended to promote dogma not expose truth.

I'd recommend starting here:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000D4FEC-7D5B-1D07-8E49809EC588EEDF

chooseDoubt said...

Posting the link again.

Sharon Wasuli said...

As a child of an interracial marriage, I have a different perspective. I am the fruit of two parents who hated their own races and cultures. What am I left with? I am the product of racism because both of my parents were racist - against their own races. What a heritage. Now I have to somehow figure out my own way in life. James Dobson is right - it is a very difficult thing for the kids.

Chelsea said...

I'm glad you brough attention to this comment and I believe Dobson was very wrong to say what he did. As a minister he should be encouraging paritioners not to let evil influence affect their decisions. However, I think Robert is right. The statement itself is not inherently racist. In certain areas of the states there may in fact be greater difficulties that arise from interracial marriage. That statement may simply be factual. As for your question "how can you try not to be a racist?" The answer is very easily. Look, I've never, ever understood why anyone would care if two people form different races married. I never understood the concept of race untill I saw it in american movies. Heck, the word "race" still feels foreign to me... but for all that I know exactly what it is like to fear that if you don't say something exactly right and qualify every observance of human behaviour your opinions will be misconstrued as prejudiced in a way that you never intended. It is the desire to believe that the other person really is being predjudiced that makes us all have to do verbal tapdances to even discuss a contraversial opinion. It's exahsting and just another form of preduidice.

John said...

Dobson is answering the question probably because he is asked it over and over. I think his answer is very straightforward...christianity is not against it, but there are added pressures and prejudices that you will face from others so be aware of it. Seems like a simple thing to me.

Fr. John Whiteford said...

As someone in an interracial marriage, I am not offended by what Dobson says at all. It is true that this is one more strain on a marriage. But he says that this is a matter for each couple to decide. The question they must ask themselves is "Is it worth the extra work and struggle we may have to face?" My answer was and is, "Yes." But pretending that it is not an issue just sets people up to be blind sided by a problem they weren't prepared to deal with.

Anonymous said...

Okay so I found his page while doing some "research" on interracial relationships and which kind of difficulties interracial couples face. I am currently in a interracial relation and I plan on marrying my half-Korean, half-African American boyfriend. I'm not having doubts about whether I should marry him based on the color of his skin, I myself am of mixed decent, white and native american, with some other cajun stuff. I'm from Louisiana so I know there is opposition to interracial relationships. I read Dr. Dobson's article and I see nothing racist about it. He's just saying that interracial couples have to be prepared for what may happen and how people may treat them. I guess non-Christians, no offence to anyone, just don't see where Dobson's coming from.

I think anyone who says Dr. Dobson's article is racist, has something against anything that has to do with Christianity. If Dr. Dobson really was racist, he would have argued that interracial marriage is unbiblical.

Also mojoey, just for the record, it doesn't matter what you believe in you ARE entitled to your opinion. Opinion is not about atheism versus Christianity. But people have to realize that they can't force their opinion on someone who doesn't agree with them. That also goes for atheism as well as Christianity. I could go on a whole "rant" about that one, but I'll save you the time.

As far as evolution and intelligent design go. There is more evidence disputing evolution than there is proving it. If you disagree that's fine. I belive in creation by faith just as you believe in evolution by faith. But in the mean time if you want a good reason on why evolution makes no sence, or you just want another reason to make fun of creation read Tornado in a Junkyard. If you want I can return the favor and read a book on evolution if you recommend, then we could compare notes. I've grown up in the creation by intelligent design belief, so I think evolution is completely silly. But you probably think the same of what I believe.

The Activist said...

I think you need to reread the first paragraph of the answer:

"Dr. Dobson knows of no theological or moral considerations that would prohibit interracial marriages and he disagrees with those who use the Bible to condemn it. As a matter of fact, he believes that all of us, as representatives of a variety of races and cultures, are of equal value and worth in the eyes of God, and that people of all races can fall in love and get married."

I don't know how you can get much more supportive than that! The fact that he also outlines the challenges they face is a loving thing to do. I suppose you would just tell an interracial couple that everything will be rosy and they won't face any challenges. That sounds pretty hateful to me!

It is obvious to me that no matter what Dr. Dobson says, you will find a way to twist it to try to demonize him. Everything I have heard and read from Dr. Dobson has been very loving, even though you might not agree with everything he says. Your posts about him, however, have been false and hateful.

Anonymous said...

I'm half of an interracial couple (I am Native American; my husband is Irish) and I am happy to say that we've never had any problems or "added stress" due to our races. We fit together like hand in glove, and neither we nor our family members even NOTICE the differences in skin color.

Our children are happy, healthy, and well-adjusted. They have participate in Irish step dancing, and Native American dancing at powwows. They partake of both cultures (and sometimes, neither- we make up our own new traditions!). I honestly don't understand couples and parents who have a hard time with this???

My kids are VERY secure in who they absolutely are: they are half Irish, half Native American, and fully members of *both* cultures.

Sharon Wasuli, it sounds like your family problems ran deeper than race, and shouldn't be blamed on race. My husband's and my "races" have not inflicted any kind of special problems on our kids (not even those who have reached the often-difficult teenage/young adult years). Nor does my hubby's younger sister (my sister in law), who is half white and half filipina, have any such problems.

Interracial marriages only cause stress for its members if they let it. It only gives the kids problems if the parents don't firmly teach, and show, that it is no big deal to marry who you love- regardless of what color he or she is.

Also, James Dobson is an idiot. Why does he not advise couples who, say, have different tastes or desires to "pray on it" before they marry? IMO personality clashes and differing future plans make for a lot more divorces than being of different races!!

Brittany said...

Inter-relationships should be accepted by everyone. Just because someone has a different heritage, skin color, belief, or race, doesn't mean they aren't a person, they should be accept for who they are rather than who they are not.

Anonymous said...

Being in an interracial marriage myself. I think Dobson and those that agree with his words need to take a step back. If a couple is seeking to get married...They are already in love and commited to eachother. They don't need to take a step back and look at it. I don't think it is right of him to place judgement on the couple by saying think about it. He would not tell a white couple that. Face it.

He is just like my white catholic parents. My dad said the same thing to me when I called to tell him I had great news and found the love of my life. The fact that it was a black Catholic man disappointed him. He told me the same thing. He played it off that he was scared for my safety, that people would talk that it would not be easy. Things I should think about. Then when he got no reaction he stooped lower...he said I could shoot higher.

My parents are followers of Dobson. What does that tell you about the type of influence he has on people.

All I know is it is going to be fun to see what God does to these people on Judgement day.... Do you really think Jesus is White? He wasn't born in the US folks...think about it. The rulers write history and choose what things go into our bible...people like Dobson are the ones that trusting good people like my parents follow. And my parents are good church going people....but they need a leader that will be open minded and non judgemental like Jesus. Then my parents minds and hearts would not be poisoned like this.

But I hold my parents responsible too for not being more open minded. I came from them so they have no excuse if I can think differently why can't they.

Look at Obama...perfect example. You can be in a religion or faith and practice without condoning all thethings they teach and say.

What bugs me the most is Dobson has some of you snowed into thinking that he meant this sincerely as a reflective thing and it is not racial. There is no black and white to a racist statement...you either are you aren't...there is no grey in racism.

My parents try to take the grey area all the time because they think they are rightious good people and there opinoin could not be hurtful or wrong because they are good Catholics in ever aspect of there life...except when it comes to my marriage. An example of a grey area to them. My sister is getting married and is not having my husband in the wedding when all the other family members and spoused are in the wedding. Their Dobson reply...it is her wedding it should be her choice and who she is close to. Grey area people. Yes it is only one day...don't ruin her precious day. But it is black or white you either are or your not. If he is family as they say he should be in the wedding. They just don't want to admit and think bad of themselves because they secretly do not want the black guy in the pictures. ...That is pretty racist to me....but I am supposed to understand she does not feel close to him and it is an age thing and not a race thing.

Trouble is if you are not black or not in an mixed marriage you will take their side too. White people can't see the racism...simply because they have never felt it. They say they have but not untill you have adopted a child of another race or married a person of another race can a white person say they understand it.

Live with someone black or of another race day in and day out. See and feel their pain. Then you will have a fraction of understanding what racism is.

Saidah said...

I think Dobson knows what he's talking about. As one half of an interracial marriage, take it from me; the man is right. Marriage is HARD. These days, it's nearly impossible. And throw in the fact that my mother-in-law is probably concocting ways to get rid of me; it's a battle. Anyone who tells you otherwise is in la-la-land. I love my husband dearly, but trust me when I say we prayed and prayed and prayed about it. I think Dobson gives sound advice. Don't jump to your guns, friends.

Anonymous said...

I think dobson is a racist radical nut case he is the leader of a cult that the willbrainwash uneducated poeple into his sick beliefs who is he to tell poeple who the can and cant wed please he probably lust over women of all races.

Daniel B said...

None of us are mind readers. All of us (I hope) understand that some people say what they mean while others hint at it and use pretense. None of us know which group Dobson falls into.

Therefore, while it is possible that he's really racist, it is also possible that he meant only exactly what he said. I don't know which is true, so I won't assume either. Assuming he really means "Don't do it at all" when he said "It might be hard" isn't fair and nobody would want their own words targeted in such a way.

Cosmic Runt said...

While I'm not a huge fan of Dobson's answer, I think it is filled with tripe of an arbitrary nature (come on, anyone with an inkling of common sense in this country knows that dating interracially carries with it certain stigmas and baggage), I can't say that he is trying to discourage people from dating inter-racially. However, it still does discourage people by its very nature rather than attempting to uplift them and show them how important it is to try and set new standards and not crumble to the will of the outside. It mentions this idea so briefly that it almost does suggest some amount of ingrown racism.

Anonymous said...

I am a Christian and intellectually understand that there is nothing wrong with interracial relationships, but my heart and soul ache when I see interracial couples with mixed children. My mind says its okay, but heart and soul scream out with teary eyes, "does the preservation of your own race mean nothing to you! Your people, your heritage, your family they will no longer be an identifiable group!"

Lori Elaine said...

As a product of an interracial marriage, and one half of one now, I have to say that I agree with Dr. Dobson's opinion. I think many people would be surprised by the amount of racism still directed towards interracial couples. Just like finances, whether you want to have children, etc., it should be discussed before marriage. A couple must decide whether their relationship can handle the stress of adverse public opinion. And if they feel it is, then they need to have a game plan for how they will face it together. So many marriages fail because they are naive about the real life stresses involved in marriage.

Cosmic Runt said...

It's one thing to tell people to discuss the very real problems of racism that affect an inter-racial person's life, but it's something else to say to not do it at all. Discouraging people from doing it does not make for good progress.

Anonymous said...

Haha. I think that your view on Dobson's perspective of interracial marriage goes from neutral to extreme from the beginning to the end of your post.
Saying that a couple should seek guidance and that the relationship could be difficult because of others' comments and attitudes is NOT the same as saying it is wrong. As a matter of fact, "it could be hard" and "it is wrong" are very different. To infer "hatred" out of what he sees as difficulty is to infer incorrectly.

It would be a gracious thing to do to look over what you perceive as hatred on his part, and instead, see impartiality.
He's just a man, and all men (and women) need grace. Harsh judgment is not the way of the cross.

Anonymous said...

While interracial marriages may not be wrong or 'sinful', it would seem unwise to enter into such a relationship while knowing the DISDAIN that you would be facing from a large segment of the population. The truth of the matter is that MANY are offended by such couples. I am not saying that is RIGHT..but it IS the TRUTH.

Cosmic Runt said...

Holy crap how is this not dead yet?
Inter-racial marriage will only face scrutiny so long as folks discourage couples from having inter-racial marriages. The less they have people trying to discourage them for whatever reason, the faster they'll become an accepted part of society.

Now then, I can't even remember the reply I made to this post to spark this. Wasn't it like a year ago??

DaveG said...

I don't know what Dobson's personal viewpoint on this topic truly is but noone reading this article can know either. I don't think he would be truthful if he didn't admit that it is a challenging road. I wish that he had suggested prayer and following the path of a nurturing relationship, whatever colors that relationship may include.

Anonymous said...

if you give in to other peoples racism how will any ones mindset change? where in the bible did God tell us (the gentiles ) to not marry outside our "race" last i checked we were told dont be unequally yoked...that means spiritually ...im sry leader or not you have to make sure your mindset is one of God standards and not of the worlds ...generational ideals are not an excuse... i saw one post from this thread that i must address from a young woman who said she was the product of interracial relationship and her parents hated there race so what is she left with ??? sounds like you dont love yourself but i hope thats not the case ... if your a Christian your left with Jesus and he dose not care what race you are or what you were taught about yourself from the world see your selves the way he sees you he loves you for you let him be your legacy...we as humans run into problems when we define our self worth by worldly measure..

coachrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The only reason interracial marriage would be difficult would be because of the hostility of racists. How about addressing the issue of those who are hostile towards interracial couples? Why do we always have to address the targets of hate and not the haters? Yes, you make a choice to marry but you also make the choice to be a bigot!