Some Magnolia Mennonites seem to have taken a rhetorical leap from separation from the world to the separation of races. Yoder hinted at this possibility in the Missionary Bulletin: ?I have heard some ?nonconformed? people declare and practically swear that Negroes are inferior physically and mentally, that they are ?all right in their place.?? For Christian segregationists (including some Mennonites), Scripture prescribed racial separation. The logic, roughly sketched in a letter written to Guy Hershberger, went like this: ?For God gave some more talents than others, and never under heaven has he claimed that all are equal. . . . And to prove that Christ is the most profound and strict nationalist and segregator the world ever beheld, he later took twelve sons of one man of one of those races (or bloods) and made twelve nations of them (tribes) and segregated them severely forbidding the crossing [of] those national lines and mixing and marrying with their own kind and kin in an adjoining nation.? Likely confusing the conservative-looking Magnolia Amish Mennonites with the Amish, a Mennonite Central Committee administrator, J. Harold Sherk, wrote, ?It seemed that our Amish brethren were sharing the usual idea of the deep South that the Negro is good only ?in his place? and that it is dangerous to tamper with his status.? The theology of separation and the language of segregation were close enough that Magnolia Mennonites could easily borrow from the rhetoric of separation to justify segregation. While Anabaptist antecedents may not have directly caused Magnolia?s toleration of segregation, the similarity in language at the very least made racial segregationist thought palatable.
I found it interesting because of the way Christians have /wrongly/ previously used Scripture to justify segregation... I may return to this at a later point.