Volume 90, Issue 102

Wednesday, April 09, 1997



Should inter-faith marriages be restricted by religion

Re: Religious faith off found principle parallels, March 27

To the Editor:

We wish to commend the members of the Jewish Students' Union and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on the initiative they took in discussing their faith traditions and in seeking common ground. As Christians on campus, we share with the organizers a desire to cultivate respect and openness for others' ways.

In our view, however, the principles of respect and openness can also be extended to the marriage relationship and the raising of children. For this reason, we are concerned by the article's assertion that "the Christian faith can not support the issue of inter-faith marriage." We would suggest that inter-faith marriage is an option for Christians.

Christian faith is not inherited. It is nurtured and learned from a variety of sources including parents, friends, teachers, relatives and other significant people. As young people grow, they must each come to a place where they make their own choice about the Christian faith. For many, this often involves a process of moving beyond parental belief systems and attempting to integrate life experiences into a religious framework.

Inter-faith marriages, we acknowledge, are not easy. The struggle, however, holds the possibility of encouraging dialogue and freedom for children to critically think through issues of faith.

We present this view as Christians and in no way wish to diminish the position of the Jewish tradition on this issue. Rather, we recognize the need for the Jewish community, as a minority group with a long history of persecution (for which we shamefully bear some burden of blame), to protect their own culture and faith tradition.

In addition, we wish to express our hope that inter-faith dialogue on campus will also address much broader issues which many Christians and Jews (and others from different faiths or no faith at all) hold as common ground. These might include valuing persons not according to wealth, status or intelligence but as equals fashioned in the image of the Creator, acting with compassion and justice toward those most marginalized in our society, being faithful stewards of creation, and working towards peace or shalom. Indeed, our many commonalties can contribute to the healing and transformation of the world.

Shelley Steele, Music IV
John Fraser, Arts III
Anne Gedcke, Chaplain

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Copyright The Gazette 1997