Biblical Law Respects Boundaries of Race and Nation
by H. A. Scott Trask
The situation today is quite different. Whether Catholic or Protestant, conservative or liberal, all Western churches have embraced leftist dogmas on questions of nationality and race. The only difference appears to be that the more liberal churches openly support the multicultural and anti-white agenda, while the conservative churches ignore it. Of course, ignoring an agenda that pervades everything from politics to advertising is a form of tacit acceptance. The question is not whether Western churches are betraying their predominantly white congregations; they are. The question is whether they have doctrinal justification to do so.
It would be hard to overestimate the extent to which churches have surrendered to the leftist racial world view. Two years ago, the Pope said this about the inundation of Western countries by Third-World “refugees:” “These foreigners are above all our brothers, and no one should be excepted for reasons of race and religion.” Of course, one could argue that race and religion are the two most important reasons to prevent foreigners from settling in one’s homeland. A common race is the foundation of any true nation, while a common religion is the foundation of a common moral code.
Leaving aside the race question for a moment, what kind of insanity has gripped the Catholic hierarchy that it would maintain that a Christian country should not keep out non-Christians? Whatever the answer, Protestant churches in Northern Europe and North America suffer a similar affliction. While liberal Protestants prate about the endless benefits of “diversity,” conservative Protestants boast they will convert the newcomers. So lost have they become in the mists of political correctness, so effeminate has become their Christianity, they do not realize the erection of mosques, Hindu temples, and Buddhist shrines in the formerly Christian lands of the West is not a sign of progress in world evangelism but is terrible regress and defeat.
If the children of these pagan newcomers are, indeed, to be converted from the religions of their parents the contest will be between evangelicals and hedonistic liberals. Is there any doubt that the latter will sweep the field? These children’s parents came here to enjoy the good life and escape the challenges of building up their own nations. Their children will inherit this materialistic and self-seeking orientation. Christians can boast all they want about tolerance and love of foreigners, but immigration is only further marginalizing Christianity in our culture.
Some Christian leaders have been so bold as to call on the Western peoples to commit racial suicide so as to make the newcomers feel more welcome. Billy Graham himself recently told white Christians they had a moral duty to foster total racial integration “in our homes, in our worship services, even in our marriages.” Of course, if every young European in the world were to take a non-European wife or husband, the European people would cease to exist in just one generation.
It would be hard to overestimate the extent to which churches have surrendered to the leftist world view.
As far as I know, not a single Christian leader condemned, or even criticized, Billy Graham’s call for white extinction as a solution to the race problem. Billy Graham’s position is similar to that of the former Republican congressman from Southern California, Robert Dornan, who said before a USA Today editorial board meeting: “I want to see America stay a nation of immigrants, and if we lose our Northern European stock — your coloring and mine, blue eyes and fair hair — tough! So what if 5,000 years from now we’re all going to have a golden tan… We’re all going to be blended together because of travel, and because of the information highway.” On the race and nationality questions the churches are following the lead of the dominant secular culture, not the other way around.
While few evangelical leaders are as bold as Rev. Graham, many come close. The former director of the Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed, has been particularly eager for the “Christian Right” to support the racial agenda of the Secular Left. At the first Congress of Racial Justice and Reconciliation, held in Washington, DC, in May 1997, Mr. Reed agreed that racial “injustice” was widespread in bank loans, housing, inner-city funding, and in prison sentences. He also agreed there had been a white racist conspiracy to burn black churches. (Readers of AR know that this “conspiracy” was a hoax.) The Christian Coalition launched something called the Samaritan Project, to help rebuild black churches.
Nor should it be forgotten that Mr. Reed and the Christian Coalition are largely responsible for stopping Pat Buchanan’s insurgent drive for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996. After winning in New Hampshire, Mr. Buchanan had only to win in conservative South Carolina to establish himself as the front runner ahead of Bob Dole. Mr. Reed and other coalition members simply repeated the leftist media charges that Buchanan was a “racist” and an “extremist,” thus helping Mr. Dole win the primary and nomination.
About the same time, the Christian Coalition helped defeat proposed legislation in Congress that would have cut legal immigration by a modest one-third on the grounds that it would have prevented immigrants from bringing in relatives, thereby thwarting “family reunification.” Such an objection is sentimental nonsense, for it is immigrants who first chose to separate from their families and people. Americans are not obligated to end such freely chosen separations by throwing open their borders. [On this incident, see the remarks made by the president of the American Immigration Control Foundation, John Vinson, in his pamphlet “Immigration and Nation, a Biblical View” (AICF, 1997), p. 16.]
Most Christians never mention, much less oppose, policies that directly harm whites: racial quotas, affirmative action, anti-discrimination laws, forced busing, extortion-motivated “civil rights” lawsuits, black-on-white hate crimes, interracial marriage, and Third-World immigration. They believe Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American Christian hero who truly deserves to be the only American with a national holiday in his honor. They believe “racism” is a sin, but a sin only when it is white racial consciousness or loyalty, never non-white racial consciousness or identity. They believe whites have a moral and Christian obligation to “bridge the racial divide,” integrate their churches, reach out to people of color, etc. It therefore seems a bad joke to speak of Christian conservatives or the Christian Right, for there is nothing conservative about acquiescing in a demographic revolution to turn whites into a minority.
White Christians became racial liberals mainly because the Church has been besieged by the same forces that now dominate every other Western institution. The universalistic and egalitarian ideas of the Enlightenment have now fully penetrated Western culture. Feminist and socialist values have worked their way into Western culture and have overthrown traditional ideals of manhood, patriarchy, and chivalry. Biblical illiteracy, illogic, and historical ignorance have created an environment in which the Scriptures have been perverted into a religious justification for racial liberalism.There are many examples of such perversion. Christian ministers and writers love to cite the Apostle Paul, who wrote that “there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him” (Romans 10:12, New American Standard Bible; all quotations are from this translation, which is known for its accuracy.) They argue this means we should make no racial or ethnic distinctions or even think in racial terms. Paul is said to be conveying the same idea in another epistle: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). In context it is clear these two passages reveal God’s offer of salvation to all regardless of race, nationality, social standing, or sex. They do not mean — and as we will see Paul himself makes it clear he does not mean — that such distinctions should be ignored, that they are unimportant, that acting upon them is sinful, or that they should be overthrown.
If the liberal interpretation of these passages were correct, God would be not only a racial liberal but a socialist and a feminist as well. If these passages endorse the abolition of racial identity and distinctions based on them, they also endorse the obliteration of sex distinctions. And if the Bible supports racial liberalism, why has this fact come to light only in the past century, a century known for its secularism and declining moral and cultural standards?
The Old Testament
Contrary to what one has heard from the pulpit or on Christian radio, the Bible supports racial preservation and even separation. The Bible teaches that mankind is composed not of an amorphous mass of individuals but of nations. It also teaches that the basis of all genuine nations is a common ethnic stock, which is more important even than a common language, culture, political allegiance, or locale. The Bible praises homogeneity as a blessing, and posits it as the basis of love, friendship, social peace, and national harmony. The Bible also sanctions love of nation and fatherland, a virtue antagonistic to indiscriminate and large-scale immigration.
According to the famous “Table of Nations” in Genesis 10, God organized mankind into discrete nations in the aftermath of the Great Flood. He created three sets of nations, each set descending from one of the three sons of Noah: Fourteen nations from Japheth; 30 from Ham; and 26 from Shem. After listing the progenitors of each of the nations that sprang from Shem, Genesis uses a formula closely repeated for Ham and Japheth, “These are the sons of Shem, according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, according to their nations” (Gen. 10:31). The Genesis account of the dispersal of the nations concludes, “These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, by their nations; and out of these the nations were separated on the earth after the flood” (Gen. 10:32). These passages make clear that the essential constituent element of each nation is common ancestry, together with a “land” and a distinctive language. This is God’s creation, with no indication that it is anything other than entirely in accord with His will.
Genesis describes the areas in which these different nations settled in terms of migration patterns that conform to a broad division of races. For centuries there was universal agreement in Christendom that the Europeans were descended from Japheth, the Semites (Jews, Persians, Syrians, Arabs, and Asians) from Shem, and the Africans (including Egyptians and Canaanites) from Ham. However literally or figuratively one chooses to interpret this account, Genesis clearly divides the peoples of the earth into groups of related but racially distinct peoples.
Modern Biblical commentators and Christian leaders have tried to deny the obvious by insisting that the division of nations is not providential but accidental. They believe God intended the nations to be all as one (i.e. to cease being distinct nations). Therefore, they urge Christians to do all they can to restore mankind’s lost unity by tearing down national boundaries, promoting mass immigration, teaching English as a universal language, and intermarrying freely with members of other racial families.
This interpretation suffers from several flaws. First, if God intended mankind to be as one, why did He create many nations in the first place? Second, it is contradicted by the order of the Genesis narrative. The Table of Nations comes before the story of the Tower of Babel, indicating that God’s ordering and separating of the nations was part of His plan from the beginning. The sons of Noah refused to follow God’s clear mandate to separate and fill the earth. Instead, they gathered together, founded a city, and built a huge tower as a symbol of their power and independence. However, God’s sovereign purpose cannot be frustrated by the designs of men: “The Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth” (Gen. 11:9).
The scattering was neither arbitrary nor chaotic. According to the Biblical account, people moved with their nations in an orderly exodus that fulfilled God’s purpose. As we learn in Deuteronomy, God gave each nation or people its own lands and separated these lands by territorial boundaries: “When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the people” (Deuteronomy 32:8).
The third flaw of the modernist interpretation of Genesis 10 and 11 — and from a Christian perspective the most dangerous — is that it repeats the sin of the people who built the Tower of Babel. The modern desire for global unity, amalgamation of peoples, destruction of territorial boundaries, English as a universal language, and construction of a world government is difficult to see as anything other than a sinful desire to rebuild the Tower of Babel and create an autonomous humanistic order independent of God. It is a rebellious project that defies God’s plan for world order based on discrete nations each residing within its own lands.
Fourth, the project for global unity sullies the beauty and diversity of God’s human creation, in that it suggests that the existence of different races, which vary markedly in physical appearance, is a mistake that man is to remedy by racial intermarriage. In this warped version of creation, God is the bungler and man the redeemer.Throughout the Old Testament, Biblical writers consistently refer to mankind as composed of distinct peoples and nations, and not as an undifferentiated mass of individuals. In fact, Hebrew has no equivalent for the English word “people,” meaning mankind in general. The psalmist is therefore talking about separate peoples when he declares that all the non-Jewish nations are in rebellion against God, and asks “why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1 NASB). When the psalmist speaks of the day when all mankind shall acknowledge the one true God, he shouts “Praise the Lord, all nations; laud Him all peoples” (Psalm 117:1). Likewise, “All the nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord” (Psalm 86:9). Although the nations join in praising God, they by no means lose their national identities.
The New Testament
The New Testament reaffirms the national and ethnic distinctions of the Old Testament, if anything, in stronger and clearer terms. Unlike Hebrew, the Greek in which the New Testament was written does have a word for mankind, anthropon; however, it is used infrequently and never suggests the elimination of the national or racial divisions of mankind. Luke wrote that God “made from one [Adam] every nation [ethnos] of mankind [anthropon] to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation” (Acts 17:26). Christ himself commanded his disciples to go and “make disciples of all the nations [ethna]” (Matthew 28:19).
Paul — though often cited in Christian attacks on race and nationality — both in his writings and personal loyalties clearly supports the view that nationality is based on a common ethnic origin. To begin with, one can well ask to what nation did Paul belong, and on what basis? He was born a Roman citizen in the province of Cilicia in Asia Minor. He spoke both Hebrew and Greek fluently. Religiously, he was not only Jewish but a Pharisee. He converted to Christianity. In answer to our questions about his nationality, the modern Christian could offer four possible answers: Paul was a Cilician (place of birth); he was a Roman (citizenship); he was a Greek (language); he was a Jew but became a Christian (religion).
According to Paul himself, all four answers would be wrong, for Paul on numerous occasions, after he became a Christian, identified himself as belonging to the Jewish nation on the basis of birth and heritage — not merely a Jew but of a particular tribe. He was, he claimed, “of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews” (Philippians 3:5). When he wrote to the Romans in the city of Rome, he did not claim to be Roman (except by citizenship) but Jewish: “I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin” (Romans 11:1). He referred to the Israelites as his “brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites” (Romans 9:3, 4). He also referred to the Roman Christians as his “brethren” (Romans 11:25), but he is clearly speaking in a spiritual sense.
Thus, Paul made a distinction between his ethnic nation (Israel) and his spiritual nation (the Christians). Far from the latter superseding or abolishing the former, as most modern Christian leaders would claim, Paul affirms and honors both as an integral part of his identity. He hoped that more of his ethnic kinsmen would come to accept Christ as the Son of God: “Brethren [Roman Christians], my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them [Israel] is for their salvation” (Romans 10:1 NKJV). He also expressed confidence that God will not “reject His people,” meaning the Jews (Romans 11:1).
Paul uses the Greek word laos (a people) to refer to both an ethnic people, as in the people of Israel, and a spiritual people, as in the people of God. Paul’s use of that word in both contexts proves that ethnicity is not rendered obsolete or illegitimate by coming to Christ.
Paul’s ethnic identification is consistent with everything we know about the ancients, whether Greek, Roman, German, Celt, or Semite. They understood a nation to be a people of a common ancestry or race. The Roman Empire was not a nation, nor did any ancient author consider it to be a nation. They understood it to be an empire made up of many nations.
Differences between English and the Greek of the New Testament can cause misunderstanding. Christ’s commandment that Christians should “love their enemies” sounds in English like a radical, all-embracing injunction that would do away with ethnic or national differences. Greek, however, distinguishes between personal enemies and foreign enemies. It has three words for enemy: polemios (a foreign enemy), agonistes (a competitor or rival), and echthros (a private enemy; literally, one whom you hate). When Christ commands Christians to “love their enemies” (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27,35), he uses the word for one’s private enemy, that is to say someone with whom a Christian has quarreled. Never is this injunction applied to foreign enemies, the enemies of one’s people.
The Bible endorses ethnic homogeneity as a positive good that contributes to peace, harmony, and happiness, whether it be in marriage, friendship, or society. The Hebrews were forbidden, first by their patriarchs and later by God Himself, to marry the sons and daughters of the peoples of the land God had promised them. Abraham made his chief servant swear not to search for a wife for his son Isaac “from the daughters of the Canaanites [Hamites], among whom I live; but you will go to my country and to my relatives [descendants of Shem], and take a wife for my son Isaac” (Gen. 24:3,4).
When Jacob and his family (sons, daughters, and grandchildren), 70 persons in all, went to Egypt to dwell in the land of Goshen under the protection of Pharaoh, only one son, Simeon, had a Canaanite wife in addition to a Hebrew wife (Genesis 46:8-26). Thus, out of all the grandchildren of Jacob, only one was part Hamitic. Upon their return to the Promised Land some 400 years later, Moses forbade the children of Israel to intermarry with the Canaanites, whose land they were preparing to invade and occupy (Exodus 34:12-16; Deuteronomy 7:3).Modern theologians, Bible commentators, and pastors are quick to insist that God’s prohibition of such marriages was based on religion rather than race or ethnicity. Their shocking conclusion is that while white Christians are forbidden to marry non-Christian whites they are free to marry non-whites so long as they are Christians. They fail to see that God’s prohibition was based on both religious and racial considerations. God does not condemn interethnic or interracial marriage per se, but He does lay down a principle that would forbid it as a common or widespread practice. The late Rousas J. Rushdoony points out that Biblical law and example is against all kinds of unequal yoking: “The burden of the law is thus against inter-religious, interracial, and inter-cultural marriages, in that they normally go against the very community which marriage is designed to establish” (The Institutes of Biblical Law, 1973). Many scriptural examples support this interpretation, as we shall see.
Liberal Christians repeatedly point out that God blessed certain interethnic marriages. The examples they cite are always between Israelites and members of other Semitic peoples who were their ethnic kin (descendants of Shem). When Joseph was serving the Pharaoh of Egypt as his chief adviser and servant, he married a member of the ruling class of Egypt and had sons by her, including Manasseh and Ephraim, both of whom would become the patriarchs of two of the twelve tribes of Israel (Genesis 41:8,50-52). However, his wife, as well as the entire ruling class of Egypt of that time, were Hyksos (a Semitic people who were ruling Egypt at the time). They were thus the cousins, or racial kin, of the Hebrews. Undoubtedly, this ethnic and cultural kinship had something to do with the favor with which the Pharaoh and his people viewed the Hebrews during this period.
When Moses fled Egypt some 400 hundred years later, he sought refuge among the Semitic Midianites, a people descended from Abraham and Keturah, and he took a wife from among them. He thus did not violate God’s prohibition against intermarrying with the cursed Hamitic peoples. (After Ham showed disrespect to his father Noah, God cursed him and all his descendants — Gen. 9:20-25.) Nor does the famous marriage between Boaz (an Israelite) and Ruth (a Moabite) violate the principle of ethnic consanguinity, for the Moabites too were Semites, being descendants of Abraham’s nephew Lot.
Foreign marriages in the Bible are almost always portrayed as acts of unfaithfulness, disobedience, or lust. God promised Abraham many descendants and to make of them a great nation. Abraham believed the Lord, but his wife Sarah was too old to bear children. She therefore permitted Abraham to have intercourse with their Egyptian maid, Hagar. As God intended miraculously to open Sarah’s womb, the result was that Abraham soon had two sons, Ishmael by Hagar (a Hamite) and Isaac by Sarah (a Semite). The result of this mixed lineage was a divided and unhappy household. Eventually, Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away. As Hagar chose an Egyptian wife for Ishmael, the Ishmaelites gradually merged into the surrounding Hamitic peoples and soon ceased to exist as a separate people.
Later, Esau (Isaac and Rebekah’s eldest son) demonstrated his unfaithfulness to God and his people, as well as his lack of sexual restraint, by marrying two Canaanite women who became a “grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah” (Gen. 26:34, 35). The descendants of Esau’s marriage (the Edomites) became persistent enemies of the Hebrews.
The great Israelite hero Samson had a weakness for foreign women. Against the wishes of his parents, he took a wife from among the Philistines, and he afterward frequented Philistine harlots. It was this lack of sexual restraint and his unwillingness to abide by God’s laws that led to his blindness and death at the hands of his enemies (Judges 16).
Centuries later, when a remnant of the Hebrews returned from their long captivity in Babylon, they repented of their fathers’ propensity to intermarry with foreigners: “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands … , for they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, so that the holy race is intermingled with the people of the lands” (Ezra 9:1, 2). This is an unmistakable condemnation of ethnic mixture.
Prophecy in both the Old and the New Testament gives strong evidence that God considers his division of mankind into various national or racial families not as an obstacle to be overcome but as an integral, praiseworthy, and permanent part of His creation. In some passages, prophecy points to the eternal significance of these distinctions. David prophesied that “all the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before Thee” (Psalm 22:27 NASB); and that “all the nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee” (Psalm 86:9 NASB). James, the half-brother of Jesus, declared before the Jerusalem Church Council that the Father had revealed through the prophet Amos that He would send his Son (Jesus Christ) “so that the rest of mankind [anthropon] may seek the Lord, even all the nations [ethne] who are called by My name” (Acts 15: 17). Election does not destroy national identity.
The Book of Revelations provides clear evidence for the eternal destiny and indestructibility of the nations. In the New Jerusalem (Heaven), “the nations [ethne] shall walk by its light, … and they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations [ethnon] into it” (Rev. 21:24, 26). Furthermore, John revealed that the leaves of the Tree of Life in the midst of Paradise “were for the healing of the nations [ethnon]” (Rev. 22:2). These passages are impossible to understand without recourse to a doctrine of Christian ethnic nationalism.
Moreover, it is only recently that the churches of the West have claimed that ethnic and racial nationalism are in conflict with Christianity. The great Protestant reformer John Calvin affirmed the necessity and goodness of the national division of mankind: “Just as there are in a military camp separate lines for each platoon and section, men are placed on the earth so that each nation may be content with its own boundaries.” In this manner, “God, by his providence reduces to order that which is confused” (Quoted in William J. Bouwsma, John Calvin: A Sixteenth Century Portrait; New York: Oxford University Press, 1988, p. 35).
Of the major Christian churches, only the Eastern Orthodox Church seems to have retained an understanding of the legitimate and necessary place of the nation in the life of the individual Christian. In a recent document, the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church affirm both the universality and particularity of every Christian: “The universal nature of the Church, however, does not mean that Christians should have no right to national identity and national self-expressions.” Rather, they urge Christians to develop “national Christian cultures.”The bishops also challenge the leftist dogma that nationalism is acceptable only when it is based on non-ethnic factors: “Christian patriotism may be expressed at the same time with regard to a nation as an ethnic community and as a community of its citizens. The Orthodox Christian is called to love his fatherland, which has a territorial dimension, and his brothers by blood who live everywhere in the world.” In addition, “the patriotism of the Orthodox Christian should be active. It is manifested when he defends his fatherland against an enemy, works for the good of the motherland, cares for the good order of [a] people’s life through, among other things, participation in the affairs of government. The Christian is called to preserve and develop national culture and people’s self-awareness” (“Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church,” Jubilee Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, 13-16 August 2000, pp. 4-7).
One cannot imagine the Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, or Presbyterian churches issuing a document of such wisdom. It is no coincidence that the one prominent Christian writer who understands that nationalism and Christianity are not in conflict is an Eastern Orthodox Christian, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Upon returning to his homeland in 1993, the Russian patriot explained why he had left a comfortable existence in the United States: “In Vermont I had wonderful conditions, better than anything Tolstoy ever had… I could have stayed there peacefully and in great happiness. But it would have been running away from my duty not to have come back. I could not escape our people’s pain.” His words stand as a rebuke to all Third-World Christians living in America who refuse to return to their homelands to build their own nations and help evangelize their own people.
For centuries Christians have had no difficulty accepting the important teaching of Scripture about the legitimacy of nations. That they now ignore this teaching or misinterpret it points to the poisonous infiltration of Enlightenment and socialist modes of thought. Socialism, whether of the Eastern Communist or Western Social Democratic variety, has been consistently hostile not only to Biblical Christianity but to the national division of mankind. The Russian Christian writer Vadim Borisov described socialism almost thirty years ago as “a well-thought out plan for the destruction of the Christian cosmos, a plan to turn mankind into an amorphous mass.”
The fall of Communism ten years ago did not discredit socialism. The Social Democratic variant is stronger than ever, and continues its work of national destruction. Borisov warned that the socialist promise of happiness through liberation from the past and the imposition of equality was false, for “an impersonal, unstructured, formless existence is impossible.”
The Apostle Paul warned believers to beware of “false prophets and deceitful workers,” for “Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13, 14). The medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas warned Christians that Satan and his angels disguise themselves sub species boni (under the appearance of good). European Christians should be on their guard against socialists posing as Christians, for the socialistic dream of racial reconciliation and world unity leads to nothing less than the extinction of Europeans as a separate people and the destruction of their civilization. Christians must stand in defense against those who would — in the name of Christ — have us abandon our lands and our people.
Dr. H. A. Scott Trask is an American historian, a writer, a Protestant, and an Anglo-Celt.