New York Times get close, oh so close, to doctrinal discussion in story on interracial wedding refusal

Close.

Oh so close.

The New York Times reported this week on the case of a Mississippi event hall initially declining to host an interracial wedding.

And yes, there is a strong religion angle up top — so strong that I was hopeful the Times would actually delve into the doctrinal question involved. Care to hazard a guess whether that happened?

Let’s start at the top:

The owners of an event hall in northeastern Mississippi apologized on Tuesday for refusing to host a wedding for an interracial couple — an exchange captured in a widely viewed video — saying that they incorrectly believed that interracial marriage went against their Christian beliefs.

The sister of the groom, LaKambria Welch, said her brother, who is black, and his fiancée, who is white, had been in touch for about a week with Boone’s Camp Event Hall in Booneville, Miss., about having their wedding there. But then the couple received a message, according to Ms. Welch, that said that they could not proceed because of the owners’ personal beliefs.

Keep reading, and the story notes that Welch, 24, went to the venue with her mother and filmed an exchange over the refusal.

This is key:

“We don’t do gay weddings or mixed race, because of our Christian race, I mean our Christian belief,” the woman told Ms. Welch in the video. “I don’t want to argue my faith, we just don’t participate.”

Interestingly, that quote leaves out what Welch said in the middle of that conversation.

“OK, we’re Christians as well. So what, what in the Bible tells you that?” she said.

I’m not sure why the Times left that part out. Unless, of course, the paper was trying to avoid religious talk, as opposed to the social justice issue.

But then comes a change of heart and an apology from the venue:

Boone’s Camp Event Hall said in a statement on Tuesday that the owners had previously been taught to believe that “interracial marriage was against the teachings of the Bible.” The owners realized they were wrong after they consulted with their pastor and others, the statement said.

“Boone’s Camp is sorry for the pain and inconvenience they have caused this couple and have invited them to use the facility,” the statement said.

OK, what is the owners’ religious background? Who is the pastor? On a broader scale, what is the history of Christian theology on this issue? And how has it changed, if at all, in recent decades?

The Times seems wholly uninterested in such compelling questions.

But the paper does include a religion-related quote from the Human Rights Campaign later in the story:

“Religion should never be exploited as a license to discriminate,” Alphonso David, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement Tuesday. “This incident is yet another glaring example of how white supremacy and anti-LGBTQ bigotry are not merely things of the past. We must take action against these blatantly illegal practices.”

This is a story where a little — OK, a whole lot — more curiosity on the part of the Times related to the religion angle would have made for a better, more complete story.

Alas, it didn’t happen. What else is new?

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