On NBC Nightly News last night, Andrea Mitchell interviewed Hillary Clinton and (at minute 16 or so) vaguely described Chelsea's imminent marriage as a "very interesting experience" for the Clintons, because Hillary is a "Methodist" and Chelsea is marrying "in an interfaith context." Note that Mitchell (who is Jewish, married to a Jew) has no trouble spitting out Methodist, but cannot inform her viewers that the lucky man, Marc Mezvinsky, is Jewish.
Mitchell asked what this means to Hillary. And hat's off to Hillary Clinton, she hit the question out of the park. Beautiful statement about American freedom.
I think it says a lot about not only the two young people involved and their strong love but also their deep faith, both of them. But it says a lot about the United States, it says a lot about this wonderful experiment known as America, where we recognize the right that every single person has to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And 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. Because what's important is, Are you making a responsible decision, have you thought it through, do you understand the consequences? And I think that in the world we're living in today, we need more of that...
The other night a friend said that I urge Jews to marry non-Jews. I guess I feel the same way Hillary does, that intermarriage is a good thing, and a reflection of real integration and freedom in the U.S., and why should anyone limit their potential partner pool to a tiny percentage of the population? But people choose their partners for a lot of reasons, cultural factors are significant; and I think people who want to marry along ethnic/religious lines should do so. Heck, marriage is hard enough, without more social prescriptions of any variety, including mine. Though some of the barriers Hillary describes are erected by Jews. Elliott Abrams wrote in his book Faith or Fear that Jews who marry non-Jews should be shunned. Even powerful Jews have valorized such social coercion. Shame.