W. Armstrong: Racist
June-July 1981 issue of The Good News, there is an article titled
“After 50 Years – Christ’s Apostle Still Ahead of His Time!” Like
just about everything else published by the Worldwide Church of God about
Herbert W. Armstrong, this is a lie. Herbert W. Armstrong was a man whose
feet were firmly planted in the past. Within his church, Armstrong tried
to re-create the world of his youth.
We can see
the theme arise again and again in his writings. In Mystery of the Ages,
Armstrong wrote, “I have lived through the horse and buggy age, the
automobile and industrial age, the air age, the nuclear age and now into
the space age. I have seen America live through the agrarian age when
farmers walked behind their horse-drawn ploughs singing happily, and into
the urban age when Midwest American farmers are groaning and fighting for
more government subsidies to prevent the extinction of farm life. (page
vii).” For farmers at least, the past was better than the present.
love for the past surfaced again shortly after the murder of John Lennon.
“In disgust, I left TV, but at 10 p.m., I tuned in for the LOCAL news.
It was all eulogizing the ‘rock’ ‘musician.’ A local Tucson crowd
of 2,000 had flocked to Reid Park bandshell to leave roses, and mourn for
their dead idol. The local station had a lot about the ‘man and his “music.”’
(I had never thought of it as music, but a loud raucous SQUAWK and SCREAM
with a fast beat - just an irritating noise.)
me, please! Perhaps I never had any musical education, although I have
played the piano since 8 years old. I must have been terribly misled, for
I supposed that the singing of a Caruso or a Galli-Curci of my father's
time or a Pavarotti or Beverly Sills or an Arthur Rubinstein of our day
produced music. I guess I'm terribly out-of-date. I have heard roosters
make a loud raucous squawk when being captured for a Sunday dinner when I
was a boy, but I just never had been ‘educated’ to call that ‘music.’
“When as a
boy I worked one summer in a flour mill, to the constant ‘beat’ of the
machinery till it nearly drove me crazy, I somehow never realized that was
bear with me in my ignorance.” I'll try, but it isn't easy. At least
here he was being truthful. Armstrong was ignorant of popular music. A
strong beat has been a characteristic of popular music since the rise of
jazz, right after the first world war. Apparently, Armstrong was unaware
of anything that occurred outside of the opera house since Caruso's time.
remember, when I was in England at the college just before the mid-'60's,
the Beatles were breaking into public notice. The had a new ‘way-out’
style, with an idiotic mop-topped hairstyle, with hair covering the
forehead to the eyebrows, the ears and longer hair in the back of the
head. The forehead is the seat of intellect - the mark of intelligence
instead of animal nonintelligence. They started the style of male hairdo
to turn evolution into reverse - man was becoming a dumb brute animal.”
music was just “a loud raucous SQUAWK and SCREAM with a fast beat - just
an irritating noise.” The new hair style “turn[ed] evolution into
reverse - man was becoming a dumb brute animal (The Worldwide News,
“How The Beatles Changed The Culture of the Western World,”
December 22, 1980, page 1).” These were not the reasoned words of an
open-minded, enlightened man. They were the belittling comments of someone
who refused to accept the present. If Armstrong did not like the way a
person combed his hair, he resorted to name-calling and insults, even
equating him to an animal.
On page 158
of The Missing Dimension in Sex, Armstrong again belittles modern
popular music: “WHO determines what is ‘popular music’ today? The
‘teens.’ Even the radio stations who do not go to rock and disco
music, in the main, play what is called ‘popular’ music. But is it
MUSIC? Or is it a moan, a groan, a wail, a dirge, and a screech?”
was single in the Worldwide Church of God would be aware of the courtship
rituals enforced by the ministry. These were based on the dating “procedures”
(See The Missing Dimension in Sex, page 154) Herbert Armstrong
practiced in his youth. After all, if God’s Apostle followed certain “procedures,”
they were God ordained and all should follow them. We’ve all heard them:
date in groups, date in order to develop friendships, don’t date for the
purpose of finding a mate, don’t be alone with a person of the opposite
sex, don’t date outside the church, date widely. In theory, these
practices would prevent one from marrying the wrong person or committing
fornication. They would expose you to a wide variety of people, and
develop your interpersonal skills. In practice, they made dating
unnecessarily difficult, and made it much harder to find a mate by
erecting all sorts of artificial obstacles. It also put you under a
microscope because if you followed the prohibition against being alone
with a member of the opposite sex, you had no privacy. In addition, the
church was full of people who refused to mind their own business, and
asked prying questions. If you were seen together at church services,
rumors would sweep through the congregation. Last, but not least, you had
ministers watching you, enforcing Herbert’s will on the dating question.
Ministerial meddling was common. All of those I know who were single
in the church had at least one serious relationship ended by ministerial
Armstrong was a child, back in eighteen-ninety-whatever, women didn't wear
make-up. Naturally, it follows that he wouldn't let women wear make-up in
his church. To Armstrong, make-up was “physical colored dirt” that
deceitful women wore. In his classic booklet The Truth About Make-Up,
Armstrong wrote, “Its modern, popular and almost universal use today
originated with the harlots of Paris. From there it traveled to the old
redlight districts of San Francisco, Denver, New Orleans, Chicago, New
York and other American cities. Then it was used by the streetwalker
prostitutes to attract and seduce men.
remembered an incident that occurred when she was a little girl nine years
old. Her father ran a small town general store. In the store she found two
small packages of face powder, one white, the other red. She began to
apply some of the colored powder to her face. Her mother saw her, and
quickly took the powder away from her.
no! Loma,’ said her mother. ‘You mustn't ever put that on your face.
Only the bad women use that!’”
Loma found this incident so traumatic that years later, she was
psychologically unable to confront her husband about his incestuous
relationship with their daughter.
- before she died - remembered that she used to apply a little powder on
her cheeks but didn't seem to remember at what time this custom started.
But she did distinctly remember that her mother never once applied powder,
paint, or any kind of cosmetics whatsoever to her face. She was a very
virtuous and religious woman, and in her time "only the bad
women" put paint or powder on their faces. My own mother very
emphatically declared that no lipstick ever touched her lips - a fact in
which she took great satisfaction.” Yes, only harlots wore make-up,
while the spiritually pure kept their faces free of the colored dirt. If
it was true, as Armstrong claimed, that in his youth only prostitutes wore
make-up, it was true of all times and places.
adoration for the past, it is no surprise that Armstrong’s views on race
relations remained unchanged from his youth. Segregation, bans on
interracial dating and marriage, and the inferiority of the “Negro”
race were things he took for granted. As his article in the October, 1963 Plain
Truth demonstrated, Armstrong cloaked the racial prejudice practiced
in the Jim Crow south with Biblical garb. His attempt to make racism
Biblical is truly astonishing.
went to his grave without changing his opinions on race. In Mystery of
the Ages, Armstrong lays out his racial theories in a book published
just a few months before his death. Support for segregation, a distaste
for interracial marriage, and a belief in black inferiority are all on
display in his final book:
subject matter of the chapter [Genesis 6] is the generations ancestry of
Noah. Exceeding wickedness had developed through those generations, by
Noah's generation reaching a climactic crisis that ended that world.
this universal evil and corruption? Jesus described that universal,
corrupt evil as ‘eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage’
(Matt. 24:38). Eating food and drinking is not evil. Marrying is not evil
in itself. There had to be wrong use and excess in eating,
drinking and marrying - the evil was in the manner, and in the
extent of eating, drinking and marrying.
only be eating improper food, drinking excessively of alcoholic drinks,
revelings (Gal. 5:21), rioting, violence. Marrying, to be evil, had to be
as in Genesis 6:2, when men ‘took them wives of all which they chose.’
There was rampant and universal interracial marriage - so exceedingly
universal that Noah, only, was unblemished or perfect in his
generations - his ancestry. He was of the original white strain.
amply evident that by the time of Noah there were at least the three
primary or major racial strains on earth, the white, yellow and black,
although interracial marriage produced many racial mixtures.
not reveal in the Bible the precise origin of the different races. It is
evident that Adam and Eve were created white. God's chosen nation Israel
was white. Jesus was white. But it is a fair conjecture that in mother Eve
were created ovaries containing the yellow and black genes, as well as
white, so that some of the children of Adam and Eve gave rise to black,
yellow, as well as white.
man God chose to PRESERVE the human race alive after the Flood was perfect
in his generations - all his ancestry back to Adam was of the one
strain, and undoubtedly that happened to be white - not that white
is in any sense superior.” So Armstrong says. But you’ll notice that
he believes that Adam and Eve were white, and so was Noah and Jesus and
the twelve apostles. Armstrong tries to convince us that the white race is
not superior in his eyes, but he strongly implies that it is preferred in
are a livestock breeder, planning to enter your prize animals in a
livestock show - perhaps at a state or county fair - you will be sure to
enter only thoroughbred or pedigreed stock! Mixing the breed alters the
originally set the bounds of national borders, intending nations to
be SEPARATED to prevent interracial marriage. Notice, "When the most
High divided to the nations their inheritance [speaking of land or
geographical boundaries], when he separated, [notice - he
separated] the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people..."
people wanted to intermarry - until there would be only ONE RACE!
desire seems still inherent in human nature today!
of perfect lineage in his generations. His wife and three sons were of
that same white strain. But Japheth evidently had married an Oriental
woman, and Ham a black.
little more than stated above about civilized development prior to the
Flood. (Pages 147-149, emphasis his throughout.)”
developed this theory, I don’t know. There is no Biblical support for
this point of view. One can only conclude that these were the opinions
with which Armstrong started, and he interpreted the Bible to conform to
Armstrong predicted that the Kingdom of God would be segregated. God would
appoint the resurrected Noah as his Minister of Racial Purity to supervise
the separation of the races.
Noah lived first, we now take a look at Noah. In Noah's day, the chief
cause of the violence and chaos of world conditions was racial hatreds,
interracial marriages, and racial violence caused by man's efforts toward
integration and amalgamation of races, contrary to God's laws. God had set
the boundary lines for the nations and the races at the beginning (Deut.
32:8-9; Acts 17:26). But men had refused to remain in the lands to which
God had assigned them. That was the cause of the corruption and violence
that ended that world. For 120 years Noah had preached God's ways to the
people - but they didn't heed.
time, even as today, that world faced a population explosion. It was when
‘men began to multiply on the face of the earth’ (Gen. 6:1). Jesus
said, of our time, right now, ‘But as the days of Noe [Noah] were, so
shall also the coming of the Son of man be’ (Matt. 24:37) - or, as in
Luke 17:26, ‘And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in
the days of the Son of man.’ That is, the days just before Christ
returns. Today race wars, race hatreds, race riots and race problems are
among the world's greatest social troubles.
merely preached to people in his human lifetime. But Noah, in the
resurrection, immortal, in power and glory, will be given the power to
enforce God's ways in regard to race.
evident that the resurrected Noah will head a vast project of the
relocation of the races and nations, within the boundaries God has set for
their own best good, happiness and richest blessings. This will be a
tremendous operation. It will require great and vast organization,
reinforced with power to move whole nations and races. This time, peoples
and nations will move where God has planned for them, and no defiance will
paradox. People are going to be forced to be happy, to have peace, to find
abundant and joyful living! (Pages 341-342.)”
they be made happy? By not having to associate with those of other races.
Armstrong blamed many of the world’s problems on the integration of the
races. The cure would be the re-institution of segregation. The world’s
problems would be solved by apartheid. In this and many other areas,
Herbert was a man behind the times. He either couldn’t or wouldn’t
change. Although he claimed to be God’s Apostle, when it came to race he
was more like the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan.