After showing the coherence of strong kinism despite its permission of miscegenation in extraordinary circumstances and elaborating upon the distinction between strong and weak kinism, I will now continue to provide further observations on interracial marriage in the context of Christian ethical considerations. For many forthcoming articles, I will largely be providing a more in-depth analysis of weak kinism and strong kinism, aiming to give more conclusive reasons to accept the latter as biblical and true.
God’s Law and Utilitarianism
In part one, I summarized the difference between strong kinism and weak kinism as this: strong kinism views miscegenation as intrinsically wrong, or wrong by its nature, while weak kinism views it as wrong (unwise) merely due to the consequences which tend to accompany it. Agreeing that there is a moral presumption against miscegenation, strong and weak kinists disagree on what constitutes that presumption, the former believing it is the nature of the act and the latter believing it is merely the act’s consequences.
To a great extent, I myself framed the argument against miscegenation in “The Moral Status of Miscegenation” according to the thinking of the weak kinist. I stated many reasons to consider miscegenation to be wrong on the basis of consequences, although I also gave a few reasons to consider the act to be intrinsically wrong. I will clarify a stronger positive formulation of an argument for its intrinsic immorality later, but for now I want to elaborate more upon the idea that miscegenation is wrong only consequentially.
Immediately, that an act could be wrong solely due to its consequences should make a Christian mind suspicious. Utilitarianism is the ethical model that for any moral or immoral act, whatever constitutes that act’s moral value is the act’s consequences.1 Utilitarianism runs counter to the nature of God’s law, which assumes a duty-based or deontological character, such that certain acts are right or wrong intrinsically and not merely consequentially. Even the basis of God’s moral law, the Ten Commandments, presupposes this; the prohibitions on idolatry, Sabbath-breaking, murder, adultery, and the rest are all seen as commands marking out certain actions as inherently wrong. But if God’s law has this deontological character, then we should be suspicious of a moral position which holds that miscegenation is wrong only consequentially.
This observation does not necessarily settle the debate, however, for God’s law does not utterly disregard consequences. For example, sometimes we ought to “answer a fool according to his folly,” and sometimes we ought not to, depending upon the consequences we can predict (Prov. 26:4-5). The action of confronting or arguing with fools is not intrinsically right or wrong, but is morally dependent upon the result of such arguing: if we unduly lower ourselves to the level of the fool by engaging in debate with him, then the action is wrong in that circumstance (v. 4), but if we keep him from a haughty self-perception of puffed-up wisdom, then the action is proper in that circumstance (v. 5). The action of talking to the fool is morally neutral, and the act’s moral status in a particular circumstance is determined by the particular consequences. Consequences thus play a role in God’s law, for they help to provide guidance to the enlightened Christian mind on how to act amongst alternatives which are in themselves morally neutral. Many acts are right or wrong in themselves, but for those acts which do not have such moral weight, particular consequences are the primary determinants of moral consideration.
The weak kinist could therefore claim that it is not utilitarian and anti-Christian to say that miscegenation is unwise—it just so happens that race-mixing is intrinsically morally neutral and thus morally governed only by its attendant consequences. The weak kinist would claim that race-mixing is the type of action upon which God’s law does not directly comment, just like the act of talking to a fool.2 Both would be the types of actions which, in God’s providence, are moral or immoral due only to consequences. And if the strong kinist were to try to argue against this position, he would have to provide evidence that race-mixing is the type of action upon which God’s law directly comments. Now, given the weighty, momentous, and history-determining importance of race, I would contend that we have good preliminary grounds to suppose that race-mixing is that type of action. It seems highly unlikely to me, just from considering the immense importance and relevance of race, that miscegenation’s wrongness could be construed only in consequentialist terms. Nonetheless, I will provide further support for this claim by comparing miscegenation to a prominent sin of today.
Miscegenation and Sodomy
One of the easier tasks to perform in life is destroying the grossly uninformed arguments proffered by alienists, the crowning jewel of which is the bare citation of Galatians 3:28. Without much thought as to the gender-egalitarian implications of their argument, many race-deniers will argue that Christ abolishes any meaningfulness at all to both racial and sexual distinctions, and by implication they will permit sodomy. By arguing that opposition to miscegenation is racial discrimination through an appeal to the (alleged) distinction-destruction of Christ’s atoning work, they imply that opposition to sodomy is the grave sin of sexual discrimination. The premise of their anti-kinist argument thus entails the moral permissibility of sodomy.
Anti-kinists of greater intelligence tend to avoid this argument, simply holding the position that sodomy is wrong while miscegenation is not. Since it is merely the bad argument for anti-kinism, and not the standpoint of anti-kinism itself, which entails this pro-sodomy outlook, anti-kinists believe themselves to be justified in permitting race-mixing but not sodomy. But it is my contention that the pro-miscegenation standpoint itself leads to the permissibility of sodomy, and therefore that all consistent “homophobes” must likewise be “racists” in this respect. I will be making this argument for two objectives: to prove (against the anti-kinists) that miscegenation is wrong, and to prove (against the weak kinists) that race-mixing is an act to which God’s law would attribute intrinsic moral value—that is, as opposed to a moral value determined solely by consequences. I will develop this argument in ensuing articles.
God’s Design of Gender and Sexual Ethics
The primary liberal “Christian” arguments for sodomy’s permissibility try to undermine the traditional interpretation of the explicit biblical prohibitions against it (e.g., Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9). Usually these twisters of Scripture will say that the Levitical laws also prohibit eating shellfish and that the New Testament laws have to do with homosexual rape, or acting contrary to one’s sexual orientation, or something besides “loving,” “monogamous” sodomite unions.3 While it is important for Christians to defend the plain sense and meaning of these anti-sodomite passages, it is also noteworthy that the pro-sodomites fail to realize the broader basis upon which sexual perversions like sodomy are prohibited: God’s design of mankind.
The way God has constituted human nature, including our physiological, psychological, biological, and sociological impulses and tendencies, certain institutions are normal and certain roles are normative. Specifically, the family, comprised of a man and his wife and children, is the most natural and recurring institution in human history, and males and females ought to behave in accordance with masculine and feminine gender roles. The reason that these are natural and normative is, simply, because God designed us this way, and the reason we ought to act in accord with His design is (primarily) because we adore and reverence Him. Part of acting in accord with His design involves the acknowledgement of sexual perversions, which revolve around the institution of the family and the constitution of the sexes. Due to the way God made us, such acts as sodomy, fornication, adultery, bestiality, and incest are all intrinsically immoral. His design of mankind includes the attribution of immorality to those acts, and our physical and spiritual well-being is related to these acts and their moral value.4 Such acts are wrong by their very nature, and even “against nature” (cf. Rom. 1:26). Yet, the sinfulness of these sins is contingent upon God’s design of mankind. Should He have constituted us in some other way, e.g. asexually, sexual ethics would be entirely different. But as we are constituted, acting in accordance with a number of particular sexual norms tends toward human flourishing and brings glory to God. The Old Princeton theologian Charles Hodge agrees:
A second class of laws includes those which are founded on the permanent relations of men in their present state of existence. Such are the moral, as opposed to mere statute laws, concerning property, marriage, and the duties of parents and children, or superiors and inferiors. . . . They are founded on the nature of things, as it is called; that is, upon the constitution which God has seen fit to ordain. This constitution might have been different, and then these laws would have had no place. . . . Men might have been as angels, neither marrying nor giving in marriage. Under such a constitution there would be no room for a multitude of laws which are now of universal and necessary obligation.5
Thus, the grounds upon which we know sodomy to be wrong include more than a number of Bible passages that tell us so. The entire natural and moral order which God has ordained should lead us to that conclusion. Sodomy is wrong not merely because it violates the clear teaching of certain Bible verses, but also because it obliterates the meaningfulness of gender distinctions and subverts the sacred institution of the family. Its permission runs afoul of God’s design and leads to societal and personal destruction. It is “against nature”! In addition, when pro-sodomites merely attempt to undermine the explicit biblical passages forbidding sodomy, as if those passages alone constitute the moral reasons against sodomy, they show a total, unnerving, unconscionable disrespect for God’s law and the nature of sexual morality as He has designed it. They evidence themselves to be misotheists—God-haters. And as we will see, it takes an analogous disrespect for God’s created natural and moral order to permit miscegenation. Conscience, properly interpreted, evidences both to be against nature, not merely sodomy.
Since weak kinists disagree with strong kinists by formulating the immorality of miscegenation in terms of its consequences, there is an initial suspicion that weak kinism promotes a form of utilitarianism; but this requires further evidence that race-mixing is the type of act which would have intrinsic moral (dis)value. In support of the view that miscegenation is intrinsically immoral—contra the anti-kinists who deny its immorality and the weak kinists who affirm it merely consequentially—is the consideration of the sinfulness of sodomy. Sodomy is wrong not merely because God says so, but also because He has designed mankind to operate in accord with familial and sexual obligations which are grounded in our human nature and our flourishing as image-bearers. Just as God is glorified when men reverence the divine design to oppose sexual sins like sodomy, we will see that He is likewise glorified when the unnatural sin of miscegenation is opposed on the same grounds.
- More technically, utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism which emphasizes the particular consequence of utility. ↩
- Obviously, Proverbs 26:4-5 could be construed as a “direct commenting” of God’s law upon the act of talking to a fool, since it explicitly mentions the act. But what I mean is that God’s law does not mark out the act as intrinsically right or wrong: it comments on the act indirectly by construing the act’s propriety in terms of its consequences. The weak kinist would likewise say that God’s law deals with miscegenation indirectly. ↩
- For instance, the site Religious Tolerance has a section devoted to explaining the “clobber passages” which Christians use against sodomy. That’s right: for being explicit, the passages are derided, and these tolerant liberals poison the well by insinuating that Christians love to use them for the “clobbering” of sodomites. See http://www.religioustolerance.org/hombiblot.htm. ↩
- Though I will flesh out this idea more in the future, consider the fact that sodomites suffer misery from a great number of sexually transmitted diseases and earlier deaths. The painful consequences of their sexually immoral lifestyle point us to the immorality of the act of sodomy itself; it is not simply that sodomy is immoral due to its harmful consequences, but rather that its harmful consequences provide evidence that the act is intrinsically immoral. ↩
- Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. 3, p. 267f. ↩