Almighty God Created the Races: Christianity, Interracial by Fay Botham

By Fay Botham

During this interesting cultural historical past of interracial marriage and its criminal rules within the usa, Fay Botham argues that religion--specifically, Protestant and Catholic ideals approximately marriage and race--had an important impact on felony judgements bearing on miscegenation and marriage within the century following the Civil conflict. Botham argues that divergent Catholic and Protestant theologies of marriage and race, strengthened via local variations among the West and the South, formed the 2 pivotal situations that body this quantity, the 1948 California preferrred court docket case of Perez v. Lippold (which effectively challenged California's antimiscegenation statutes at the grounds of spiritual freedom) and the 1967 U.S. ultimate court docket case Loving v. Virginia (which declared felony bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional). Botham contends that the white southern Protestant thought that God "dispersed" the races, rather than the yank Catholic emphasis on human team spirit and customary origins, issues to ways in which faith stimulated the process litigation and illuminates the non secular bases for Christian racist and antiracist activities.

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15 Although residential patterns increasingly tended to segregate by 1950, during the 1940s when Andrea Perez and Sylvester Davis met, Los Angeles neighborhoods and their institutions were relatively integrated. One such institution was St. Patrick’s parish, where Perez and Davis sought to be married. During the 1940s St. Patrick’s exemplified the interracial, multicultural character of Los Angeles. 16 Founded in 1908 during the bishopric of Thomas J. Conaty, St. Patrick’s began as a largely Irish parish.

Part of the reason activism was so critical to him was that his activities were intimately bound up in his Catholic identity. He could not be a Catholic without being an activist, and vice versa. Even apart from the Perez case, Marshall’s work on the CIC indicates that he viewed his civil rights labors as efforts to implement his conception of Catholic theology, and his campaign to legalize interracial marriage represented the practical application of his beliefs. Andrea Perez and Sylvester Davis could not have asked for a more committed attorney to fight California’s antimiscegenation laws.

Within this broad context of multicultural community, interracial activism, and Catholic service on behalf of the oppressed, Andrea Perez and Sylvester Davis fortuitously acquired the legal talents of Daniel Marshall. In 1947 when the young couple decided to marry, they were unaware of California’s antimiscegenation law. ”38 But the church turned him away, refusing him “on grounds of the law” and insisting that it held no power against the state’s laws. Undeterred, the priest then turned to the CIC to see if it might be able to take legal action against the antimiscegenation statutes.

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