Multicultural Interfaith Marriages

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[Multicultural Interfaith Marriages]


Chapter One: Differences in Religion

I. Differences in Culture and Religion

Interfaith marriage, traditionally called mixed marriage, is marriage (either religious or civil) between partners professing different religions. Some religious doctrines prohibit interfaith marriage, and while others do allow it, most restrict it. An ethno-religious group's resistance to interfaith marriage can constitute a form of self-segregation.

Interfaith marriage typically connotes a marriage in which both partners remain adherents to their distinct religion, and as such it is distinct from concepts of religious conversion, religious assimilation, cultural assimilation, religious disaffiliation, and apostasy. Nevertheless, despite the distinction, these issues typically are raised and need to be dealt with in the context of planning an interfaith marriage.

Some religious groups forbid all inter-faith marriage. Others, like Islam, typically enforce a limited form of endogamy - Muslim men can take chaste wives from neighbouring non-Muslim populations but Muslim women are normally forbidden to marry outside of the Muslim community.

The institution of marriage is the cornerstone of American culture. Generations after generations people have married and carried on family traditions and cultural beliefs. The occurrence of interfaith marriages leads some to believe their family heritage and cultural identity is in jeopardy of disappearing. It is the misunderstanding of interfaith marriages that causes many misconceptions and myths about its existence. Social scientists cannot examine interfaith marriages without taking into account both races involved. An objective study of interfaith marriages should involve a large variety of factors in order to gain a better understanding of the subject. 1. Participation

The number of black-white interfaith marriages has been increasingly steadily. The number of black-white married couples rose from 65,000 to 281,000 in 1988 MacPherson and Stewart (1997). Cultural diversity is one factor that should be studied when examining interfaith marriage. Oftentimes a researcher will look at the phenomena without looking at all of the aspects involved in the phenomena. That is, study will examine how the lives of one part of the interfaith marriage have changed with only a passing assumption given to the counterpart.

Caucasians are different from African Americans and Chinese people are different from Japanese people. Making blanket assumptions about a culture based solely on human nature is erroneous. Each year there are more and more people of different backgrounds and culture sentering the United States. Besides the formal penalties of harsh jail terms, police intimidation and harassment for contravening the Prohibition of mixed marriages and immorality acts, mixed couples faced rejection by their families, friends and community. Over the past few generations America has lost its European domination and began to reveal itself as the true pot it has always purported. Different cultures have different and valid viewpoints.

In the case of black-white interfaith marriages, the lack of social support can be expected to range from open hostility or disdain to slight suspicion about the validity or appropriateness of the marital union Davidson (1992). Cultural background is another factor to study when examining interfaith marriages. Cultures vary on how to relate to a person that you are ...