I'm a light brown Latina woman and my hubby is a white/pink fella of German-Hungarian-Irish ancestry. We have a "mixed" marriage" according to some. Our union offends some. And we know that's how it goes. But that it should offend some Christians offends ME. And I have no doubt offends the God who created us.
Christians shouldn't have those bigoted ideas of race. We know one singular truth: God created us. He created us man and woman, and all the humans who exist are the result of God's initial creation into which he breathed eternal souls. Men can marry women. Women, men. We are all the offspring of that first pairing.
Men and women have one root. We really are one, whether we like it or not.
These thoughts are prompted by a discussion in the comments under a post by Carole McDonnell, author of the speculative fiction novel WIND FOLLOWER. Carole is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. And her novel has Christian elements. In the post, you can tell she's very miffed because a Christian reviewer declined reviewing her book because there is sex and violence in it (which she discovered by reading another reviewer's take on the book.) (To Carole's credit, she admits to being touchy on this subject.)
In the comments, she mentions that CBA publishers loved her writing--"best speculative novel I've read, etc"--but wouldn't publish it cause readers would hate it. The sex. The anti-imperialistic stance. The interracial marriage.
Okay, I know sex is a bugagoo in the CBA and with its audience. I even understand why, though I don't fully agree with the level of sex censorship that makes marriages seem sterile in so many books that deal with romance and relationships.
But interracial marriage?
Really. These are Carole's own words:
In fact, Wind Follower was rejected by several Christian publishers because of
A) six small-but-important-sex scenes (Honestly, we're not talking characters engaged in sixty-nine or in all-night orgies here, but Christian publishers balk at showing married couple even sitting on the same bed together.)
B) the book's obvious anti-imperialism anti-Manifest Destiny stance and
C) the interracial/intercultural relationship in the story.
The last one really got my attention. My father's mother was white. His dad was black. My mother's first husband was black. And assorted relatives have what are termed "mixed marriages." (I think that's a stupid term, but I'll use it.)
(I have no desire to discuss imperialism, but there is certainly a lot of bad--and good--that can come from it, and depicting the negative is necessary, even as depicting what may be positive is fair. The sex issue: Kinda sick of arguing that one.)
Yes, people. This last is where publishers are coddling sin. Sorry, but there you have it. If a % of your readership, editors and publishers, thinks that this is no-no, then that portion of the readership needs to be disempowered by decisions. Yeah, that's naive. But that's also, I think, RIGHT. You don't kowtow to people who are wrong, who are in error, who are sinning. Where would the world be if all righteous people refused to take a stand against evil? And that goes for publishers.
I understand publishing considerations. But some parts of what an audience wants IS WRONG. That last category in Carole's rejection list is a bad, bad thing and contrary to the Creation. (There may be an issue worth another rant about the imperialism, Manifest Destiny, although I don't know people who say, "Yeah, we should just take over everything and smash everyone in our way!" I have known people who are fixated on the mixed marriage thing. But one rant per day.)
As I mentioned in the comments, a "mixed marriage" is a woman marrying a kangaroo. Not a woman marrying a man, or a man marrying a woman. Any person (white or black or etc) who thinks these artificial racial classifications created by men long after the Creation fact have condemning power over this area of human interaction, that person is a bigot. That person is a racial snob. That person thinks that the color of skin or the width of nose or the texture of hair has somehow made the "not like me" person a lesser than "other."
Christians should know better: I only know one firm counsel about what persons not to marry in apostolic teaching, and that's to marry within the faith, to not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. And yet, there were Christians married to unbelievers, and Paul didn't say, "Just leave them right now!" I don't hear the apostles warnings like "Don't marry that Ethiopian or that Laplander." In fact, the Holy Spirit took Phillip out of his way, supernaturally, to specifically witness NOT only to an Ethiopian, but an Ethiopian EUNUCH. A dark-skinned dude without balls. Eunuchs were not allowed within the temple according the The Law. How clear a message, I think, from God. How valuable this "minority" was, that an apostle was whisked to offer him the gospel. That the Eunuch's profession was accepted, and his baptism put him smack in the body of Christ.
Similar ideas are reinforced in the book of ACTS, such as Peter's vision of the animals. What had been separated by OT dietary laws was now brought together. What had been separated by tribe or culture, was now included via grace. Color was never an issue in the O.T. Religion and diet and language (at Babel) and other things caused separation, but not color. Not width, heigth, curl, slant of eye, set of bones.
That person who sees race as making a particular human an outsider, an unmarriageable "other", is in sin, and may not know it. Or they're just plain stupid. Think: I guess Jesus couldn't have married a white woman, not being Euro-white with his Semitic, Middle-Eastern self.
Can we really believe that any man is superior to The Christ because of coloring and physical make-up? Please.
Okay, getting a headache.
As I defended in the comments, the reviewer who rejected WIND FOLLOWER, if they have a personal objection to reading sex and violence in novels, has the right to refuse to review any book they feel violates their principles. It's not bigotry. It's just their conviction. And that's okay. We can't all handle everything in fiction. Everyone has weak spots. Everyone has hedges of some sort.
Well, maybe not everyone, but certainly most folks who feel strongly about a matter, philosophical or political or personal. Some won't read books with child abuse. Some avoid stories where pets are killed (yes, this is a fact). Some refuse to read horror, because it turns their stomachs. Some refuse to read sex because their besetting sins relate to lust of the flesh. Some refuse to read sex because they think that's wrong.
But no Christian publisher should reject a story in order to coddle the sins and ignorance and deformed pride of their readership. Sorry. Racist readers shouldn't get to affect guidelines for acquisition.
EDITED TO ADD:
In the comments section, Nikki Arana left a comment about her books with intercultural relationship. (Hi, Nikki!) And Sharon Lavy asked where to get WIND FOLLOWER. Here are links to WF and two of Nikki's well-received, award-winning books: