By Felicia Woodard
In the world we live in today, we have crossed social boundaries and norms when it comes to living, schooling, employment, and yes, dating. TLC’s All American Muslim 2011 reality series about a young Muslim woman marrying an Irish-Catholic man was highly talked about. Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former POTUS Bill Clinton, had a highly publicized interfaith marriage as she, raised Methodist, married fiancé Marc Mezvinsky, who was Jewish.
It is stated that within traditional Jewish beliefs, interfaith marriage can be an issue for some because of the sake of the children. (Torah\ Deut. 7:3-4). Within Christianity, interfaith marriage may be an issue for some because of Paul's warning about being “unequally yoked” (Bible\ 2 Corinth. 6:14).
However, there are trends within the contemporary generations challenging these traditional mores. So what is happening amongst younger generations?
With desegregation, the fusion of schools, neighborhoods, various job opportunities, travel opportunities, and technology allowing for an abundance of information to be shared, people’s lives are fusing. People are learning more about other groups, dialoging with other communities, and apparently…..falling in love.
Look at the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey here. (It gives great general information about this and other aspects of religion.) Being able to attend school with people of other races changed dating perceptions for many and encouraged (and still is) encouraging interracial dating. So has our “melting pot” we call home progressed to another phase of melting? First being interracial and now interfaith?
Hurdles? Absolutely. Just like in any relationship. However, there are many interfaith blogs and forums that cater to this growing population. You will see advice on how to create the perfect wedding ceremony for an Agnostic and a Christian, or advice on deciding how the children will be raised if a Muslim marries a Catholic. How to deal with very conservative or traditional in-laws and how important sharing ideals and beliefs are. Real people are sharing experiences and tips in order to help others have successful interfaith marriages.
I wonder what this change stands for. Some people think interfaith marriages are a progression towards something we perhaps need. Others don’t approve, thinking that couples are setting themselves up for divorce. It’ll be interesting to see where this trend goes in the future.
Felicia Woodard is a professional dancer from Houston, currently pursuing an M.A. in Cross Cultural Studies at University of Houston Clear Lake. The views expressed in this post are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Interfaith Houston.