Skip to comments.Clinton Wedding Raises Questions of Interfaith Marriage
Posted on 07/29/2010 8:43:14 AM PDT by Kaslin
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When asked about the significance of her daughter, Chelsea, marrying Marc Mezvinsky, who is Jewish, and thus being married in an interfaith union, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded, Over the years, so many of the barriers that prevented people from getting married, crossing lines of faith or color or ethnicity have just disappeared.
True, the barriers have disappeared, but serious difficulties remain.
While some scholars argue that mixed-faith unions serve as a refiners fire that make the relationships stronger, the statistical evidence indicates this is all too frequently not the outcome. The American Religious Identification Survey of 2001 noted that mixed marriages are three times more likely to end in divorce or separation than same-religion marriages. According to Tina Molly Lang in Associated Content, studies of marriages between Jews and Christians indicate that they face even higher risks, with a greater than 40 percent chance of divorce within five years. Even so, estimates are that up to 50 percent of those in the Jewish faith intermarry, which is viewed as a grave threat by many in the Jewish community who watch the continual shrinkage of their numbers with dismay. Catholic research indicates increases in interfaith marriages among those of the Catholic faith as well.
Observers have noted that both Clinton and Mezvinsky were raised in homes where religious faith was central to family life and questioned whether one or the other would convert and how they would reconcile the practice of their different faiths.
While intermarriage indicates a high degree of assimilation and tolerance, it also means the declining role of faith and religious identity in the minds of many young Americans, according to Allan Schwartz, in the Emotional Challenges of Interfaith Marriage. In her classic book, The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts, Judith Wallerstein reports that couples set the stage for conflict, bitterness, and misunderstanding as they make the emotional and psychological separation from their families religious heritage. Problems begin as early as the planning of the wedding ceremony, where different traditions are in conflict, especially when certain symbols of faith evoke powerful emotional responses.
Questions about intermarriage face an increasing number of couples today, as Mrs. Clinton rightly observed. According to the General Social Survey, a quarter of American households are now mixed-faith families an increase from only 15 percent in 1988. In their forum on the issue, The Washington Post published an essay by Janet Edwards, a Presbyterian minister from Pittsburgh, who said, The bonds of interfaith marriage strengthen the tolerant fabric of American life, and claimed, Society owes every couple the best possible chance at happiness, and that includes having the confidence and support of the community that surrounds them.
Mrs. Edwards comment misses the mark. In a landmark University of Illinois at Chicago study published in Social Science Research in 1993 and quoted in a recent article by the Reverend Albert Mohler, Evelyn L. Lehrer noted that the more conservative faith adherents were not intermarrying at rates anywhere near the more liberal groups. Dr. Mohler added, When the level of doctrinal commitment is low, the barriers to interfaith marriage are correspondingly far less significant. What this comes down to is that typically traditional practices and activities are simply adjusted and adapted this is a gentle way of saying they get watered down to the point of irrelevance; central beliefs of committed adherents pose a larger, more difficult challenge, since they are far less amenable to compromise. As noted by Dr. Mohler, theological differences matter, and decisions that are made by a couple over the course of a lifetime especially in raising children affect the marriage.
Worldview perspectives, it turns out, are important on a daily basis. The Christian worldview is rooted in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ making him the Lord over the Christians life. The Christian faith indeed, virtually all religious faith, if taken seriously is inherently exclusive because it is the lens through which all of life is viewed and shaped.
If doctrine is more than just cultural observances, there is no way it can merely be a casual, insignificant part of a believers life. For the true Christian believer, this means a life lived in light of Christs singular claim that He is the way, the truth, and the life. Taking His claim seriously, that He is the only way to the Father (John 14:6), means that all decisions are made in light of His teaching and commands. This includes His teaching that marriage is intended by God to be a life-long covenant not just between the couple, but sealed by God and witnessed by fellow believers in the couples church community. That said, real Christian marriage includes a commitment to follow Christ, both in lifestyle and in childrearing.
Religion that is not practiced is little more than a set of myths and of no more significance than the fairy tales told to toddlers at bedtime. Faith that does not make demands on behavior is not faith at all. Inevitably, a lack of unity in faith entails multiple problems on both the little and the large issues that couples continuously encounter as they face the task of building a strong, meaningful, harmonious marriage. How could it possibly be otherwise?
Social barriers have disappeared. But God still says we shouldn’t be unequally yoked.
“discussing” organized religion = shoveling SMOKE!
I bet their wedding didn’t over $3million and I predict that that Chelsie and her groom will head for the divorce court within 5 years at the most
Saudi Huma married Jewish Cong Weiner.
Billy J Clinton hisself performed the ceremony.
Their homeland visits will be interesting.
I give it no more than three.
That should have been didn’t cost over $3 million
I agree, but notice I said at the most
This isn’t interfaith. The dads are both famous felons, their religion is “The Grift”.
Wow. Too bad Jews don't read the "new testament." Then they'd "know" it too, right?
After all, G-d would never allow the Protestant bible to be adulterated by false "scriptures." If He did, Protestantism would be untenable and the whole world would make no sense!
Since religion is not really an issue here, it must be a political thing. Did Soros arrange this marriage?
We made it a point to expose our children to a number of different faiths. But all too often, parents take the easy route out and stop going at all.
Then the vacuum left in the value system which would have been filled by meaningful religious experience gets filled by secular humanist clap-trap.
“Observers have noted that both Clinton and Mezvinsky were raised in homes where religious faith was central to family life ...”
Chelsea was raised in a home where religious faith was central????
TO WHO - her serial philandering father??? Her cynical brass bottom mother???
Who wrote this piece of idiocy???
The fact is religions don’t marry - people do. The success or failure of a marriage is due to the commitment and maturity of the individuals involved and their abilities to accomodate their differing faiths.
I know of lots of Christian/Jewish marriages which are VERY successful. And marriages between different Christian religions are so commonplace as to not even be worthy of note anymore.
As for the FAILURES of marriages - that is endemic to our society at present and occurs irrespective of the religion or lack of same and can be attributed to the loss of self-control, self-respect and need for immediate gratification of the current generations of Americans.
Now we know why the President wasn’t invited. No way would a Muslim want to attend the wedding of a Jew.
HUMMMM no ribs for Bubba?
“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded, Over the years, so many of the barriers that prevented people from getting married, crossing lines of faith or color or ethnicity have just disappeared.
Did I give the correct response to advance my personal political career? Will it help me in 2012 to unseat that idiot I report to??
I can’t understand why this is even an issue.
You mean those 3 things were never barriers to marriage?
Why? Do you know them personally?