Legalizing polygamy

The revolution in the institution of marriage continues, as the legalization of polygamy is now being taken up by the courts.

Tomorrow [July 13] in Salt Lake City, legal scholar and George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley will file suit to challenge Utah statutes criminalizing cohabitation and bigamy. The plaintiffs in the suit? Kody Brown and his four wives, stars of the reality show Sister Wives.

Turley is expected to argue for the decriminalization of polygamy by citing Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 US Supreme Court decision that decriminalized sodomy on the grounds that states should not interfere with the intimate behavior of consenting adults. The ultimate aim of the suit? Overturning the infamous Reynolds decision of 1878 which decried polygamy as a “despotic” “Oriental” practice unsuitable for American society.

via Sister Wives Stars File Suit to Legalize Polygamy | Religion Dispatches.

I suppose the case for polygamy is stronger than the case for gay marriage, since this is an established practice in many cultures and in many points in history.  I suspect the issue may become the religious rights of Muslims, not to mention certain Mormon groups.   But if gay marriage is legalized, how can polygamy not be legalized?  Or, from a more conservative angle, if marriage is a cultural and religious institution (as opponents of gay marriage argue), how can the state not allow it?

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    Initial thoughts.

    The primary argument I could make against plural marriage is social order and cohesion. Biologically, we generally have a one-to-one count of males to females, with a slight tip to females over time. This would tend to support monogamy as biologically and socially “equal.”

    If plural marriage is allowed, and here I’m assuming “one man, more than one wife,” it raises the possibility that some men will accumulate more wives over time to the exclusion of many younger men. So, how does a younger male get a wife or engage in sexual relations? Through increasing incest, adultery or outright violence. The violence would either be rape or simple murder to take out a male with multiple wives. We also have the Biblical case of David, who was willing to kill to take more wives. Societies that have such marriage laws as a common practice are generally more oppressive/repressive to attempt to address the spillover effects of this behavior, while also being less technologically or culturally advanced. Suffice it to say, the trade-offs to civil society for this long-term are not good, if the practice became widespread.

    I would note that my loose theory also applies to societies that abort females in overwhelming numbers to the exclusion of males (China and India) resulting in upcoming generations that are majority male with lowered marriage prospects for many young men.

  • SKPeterson

    Initial thoughts.

    The primary argument I could make against plural marriage is social order and cohesion. Biologically, we generally have a one-to-one count of males to females, with a slight tip to females over time. This would tend to support monogamy as biologically and socially “equal.”

    If plural marriage is allowed, and here I’m assuming “one man, more than one wife,” it raises the possibility that some men will accumulate more wives over time to the exclusion of many younger men. So, how does a younger male get a wife or engage in sexual relations? Through increasing incest, adultery or outright violence. The violence would either be rape or simple murder to take out a male with multiple wives. We also have the Biblical case of David, who was willing to kill to take more wives. Societies that have such marriage laws as a common practice are generally more oppressive/repressive to attempt to address the spillover effects of this behavior, while also being less technologically or culturally advanced. Suffice it to say, the trade-offs to civil society for this long-term are not good, if the practice became widespread.

    I would note that my loose theory also applies to societies that abort females in overwhelming numbers to the exclusion of males (China and India) resulting in upcoming generations that are majority male with lowered marriage prospects for many young men.

  • Jen

    It is really strange to see Mormons (who claim to be Christian) appealing to the decriminalization of sodomy (something they ought to reject) as a defense for polygamy.

  • Jen

    It is really strange to see Mormons (who claim to be Christian) appealing to the decriminalization of sodomy (something they ought to reject) as a defense for polygamy.

  • Alastair Roberts

    I really don’t see polygamy as have much cultural traction right now. Very few people are looking for such arrangements. The far greater threats to the norm of monogamy comes from polyamory and open marriages. The NYT magazine recently had a article arguing in favour of non-monogamy (Mark Oppenheimer, ‘Married, With Infidelities’). Salon has run a few major articles tackling monogamy in the last couple of weeks. This is an extremely live issue.

    Many of the people that I talk to on the subject are highly in favour of open marriage, as the most rational and honest approach to dealing with our libidos, and the constraints that unreasonable monogamy places upon them. This view is finding support among the Christian Left as well. Within the last week the emergent church pastor, Tony Jones wrote a cautiously appreciative blog post on the subject of Dan Savage, and suggesting a measure of receptivity to his idea of polyamory and open marriage (“What’s a Christian to Do with…Dan Savage?”). This openness is echoed within many of the comments that follow the post.

    Arguing from the basis of evolutionary psychology, and other such things, the argument is that men in particular are not fitted out for monogamy and that expecting men to be monogamous is often unreasonable. Our libidos are powerful things and denying them does bad things to us. Far better be honest and engage in some sort of consensual non-monogamy, pursuing some sexual partners apart from your spouse, as a sort of sexual outlet from the stifling effect of an exclusive relationship.

    The same-sex marriage movement has been overwhelmingly silent, vague, or critical when it comes to the issue of monogamy. In accepting same sex marriage we have taken a decisive step in defining marriage primarily around the needs of adults, sidelining our commitment to an institution that protects, strengthens, encourages, and celebrates children’s secure and lasting bonds with their biological parents. Once this move has been made monogamy starts to lose much of its rationale.

    This issue is only going to get bigger. Polygamy is just a small sideshow.

  • Alastair Roberts

    I really don’t see polygamy as have much cultural traction right now. Very few people are looking for such arrangements. The far greater threats to the norm of monogamy comes from polyamory and open marriages. The NYT magazine recently had a article arguing in favour of non-monogamy (Mark Oppenheimer, ‘Married, With Infidelities’). Salon has run a few major articles tackling monogamy in the last couple of weeks. This is an extremely live issue.

    Many of the people that I talk to on the subject are highly in favour of open marriage, as the most rational and honest approach to dealing with our libidos, and the constraints that unreasonable monogamy places upon them. This view is finding support among the Christian Left as well. Within the last week the emergent church pastor, Tony Jones wrote a cautiously appreciative blog post on the subject of Dan Savage, and suggesting a measure of receptivity to his idea of polyamory and open marriage (“What’s a Christian to Do with…Dan Savage?”). This openness is echoed within many of the comments that follow the post.

    Arguing from the basis of evolutionary psychology, and other such things, the argument is that men in particular are not fitted out for monogamy and that expecting men to be monogamous is often unreasonable. Our libidos are powerful things and denying them does bad things to us. Far better be honest and engage in some sort of consensual non-monogamy, pursuing some sexual partners apart from your spouse, as a sort of sexual outlet from the stifling effect of an exclusive relationship.

    The same-sex marriage movement has been overwhelmingly silent, vague, or critical when it comes to the issue of monogamy. In accepting same sex marriage we have taken a decisive step in defining marriage primarily around the needs of adults, sidelining our commitment to an institution that protects, strengthens, encourages, and celebrates children’s secure and lasting bonds with their biological parents. Once this move has been made monogamy starts to lose much of its rationale.

    This issue is only going to get bigger. Polygamy is just a small sideshow.

  • E.G.

    We are well down this road here in Canada, also via fundamentalist Mormons. Google Bountiful, British Columbia (the main polygamist community involved in the fight) to see where you’re headed.

  • E.G.

    We are well down this road here in Canada, also via fundamentalist Mormons. Google Bountiful, British Columbia (the main polygamist community involved in the fight) to see where you’re headed.

  • Dennis Peskey

    Once a society chooses to depart from the Divine order of Creation, there is no sand left to draw a line upon. This will pass leaving only the dispute between the sheep or the goats, i.e. which one shall I marry this week?
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Once a society chooses to depart from the Divine order of Creation, there is no sand left to draw a line upon. This will pass leaving only the dispute between the sheep or the goats, i.e. which one shall I marry this week?
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Robb

    Interesting that of the 1st world countries that “revolutionized” marriage long before the US, none of them have legalized polygamy.

    The lone exception would be the UK, which permitted welfare benefits to already existing immigrant polygamous unions, but at the same time imposed stricter controls on non-immigrant polygamous unions.

  • Robb

    Interesting that of the 1st world countries that “revolutionized” marriage long before the US, none of them have legalized polygamy.

    The lone exception would be the UK, which permitted welfare benefits to already existing immigrant polygamous unions, but at the same time imposed stricter controls on non-immigrant polygamous unions.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    What SK says. Let’s ask Uriah the Hittite what he thinks of polygamy, to put it mildly, or otherwise reflect upon the fact that all those eunuchs attending the harems of the world could have been the husbands of those women, and that the women just might have appreciated the chance of having a husband every day, instead of a sex partner once a month or so. Polygamy is barbarous because of what one must do to attain it.

    But like Dennis says, once you depart from God’s order, it’s hard to come up with reasons not to allow barbarism.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    What SK says. Let’s ask Uriah the Hittite what he thinks of polygamy, to put it mildly, or otherwise reflect upon the fact that all those eunuchs attending the harems of the world could have been the husbands of those women, and that the women just might have appreciated the chance of having a husband every day, instead of a sex partner once a month or so. Polygamy is barbarous because of what one must do to attain it.

    But like Dennis says, once you depart from God’s order, it’s hard to come up with reasons not to allow barbarism.

  • Michael Z.

    This is the logical next step. All of the arguments for Homosexual Marriage can be recycled for Polygamy.
    “it doesn’t hurt anyone”
    “we should have equal rights to marry the people we love”
    “what we do in the privacy of our homes is not your concern” (the Lawrence v. Texas one liner)

  • Michael Z.

    This is the logical next step. All of the arguments for Homosexual Marriage can be recycled for Polygamy.
    “it doesn’t hurt anyone”
    “we should have equal rights to marry the people we love”
    “what we do in the privacy of our homes is not your concern” (the Lawrence v. Texas one liner)

  • Joe

    Well we should be mindful of what this case is actually seeking. In Utah it is illegal to have more than one legal wife. This lawsuit is not challenging that law. This man is not asking for permission to legally marry more than one women. It is also illegal to engage in incest, sex with a minor and to force a women in a relationship she does not want to be in. This man is not challenging any of those laws. Nor is he asking the state to sanction his conduct.

    The law at issue, outlaws his ability to call his extramarital female consorts “spiritual wives” (i.e. consenting adult women who want to live in a household wherein they act as wives to a man who already has one legal wife).

    As it stands in Utah now, you could live in a household with one man and 1 women who are legally married and 3 other women, have children with all of the women and you have committed no crime. But if you represent to the world that these 3 “extra” women are your spiritual wives (even though you have not sought a marriage license for them) you have now committed a crime.

    I think there are several grounds upon which this man can win his case. He could most likely win an equal protection claim, a first amendment speech claim, and a first amendment free exercise of religion claim.

  • Joe

    Well we should be mindful of what this case is actually seeking. In Utah it is illegal to have more than one legal wife. This lawsuit is not challenging that law. This man is not asking for permission to legally marry more than one women. It is also illegal to engage in incest, sex with a minor and to force a women in a relationship she does not want to be in. This man is not challenging any of those laws. Nor is he asking the state to sanction his conduct.

    The law at issue, outlaws his ability to call his extramarital female consorts “spiritual wives” (i.e. consenting adult women who want to live in a household wherein they act as wives to a man who already has one legal wife).

    As it stands in Utah now, you could live in a household with one man and 1 women who are legally married and 3 other women, have children with all of the women and you have committed no crime. But if you represent to the world that these 3 “extra” women are your spiritual wives (even though you have not sought a marriage license for them) you have now committed a crime.

    I think there are several grounds upon which this man can win his case. He could most likely win an equal protection claim, a first amendment speech claim, and a first amendment free exercise of religion claim.

  • http://jamesbrett.wordpress.com JamesBrett

    this comment is slightly off-subject in that i’m speaking of an african culture. but i have to wonder if the mormon subculture doesn’t make some of these ideas applicable even to our situation.

    i’m a missionary and development worker in tanzania, where we have a lot of polygamy.  [or to be more exact, polygyny -- rarely are there multiple husbands involved.]

    and it’s good for us to remember that, in many cultures, taking more wives is done so out of love.  we often like to frown on the savages of the dark continent (or possibly the mormons of utah), because all they want is to rule a large household and harem with an iron fist and have sex with a different woman every night.  “don’t they understand what love is?!” we ask.

    and they (the africans, not the mormons) look at our american culture and ask how in the world all these men with so much money and such large houses could leave women in their society unprotected and uncared for — especially those women who have children to raise.  how dare we be so selfish as to not take care of these who are in need.  we don’t even have the decency to take our deceased brothers’ wives as our own.  “don’t we understand what love is?!” they question.

    we should consider that it’s at least possible other cultures are (like us) acting out of love.  and is it plausible that in a fallen world, polygamy might sometimes the best choice? how, how that might play out in utah, i’m not sure.

  • http://jamesbrett.wordpress.com JamesBrett

    this comment is slightly off-subject in that i’m speaking of an african culture. but i have to wonder if the mormon subculture doesn’t make some of these ideas applicable even to our situation.

    i’m a missionary and development worker in tanzania, where we have a lot of polygamy.  [or to be more exact, polygyny -- rarely are there multiple husbands involved.]

    and it’s good for us to remember that, in many cultures, taking more wives is done so out of love.  we often like to frown on the savages of the dark continent (or possibly the mormons of utah), because all they want is to rule a large household and harem with an iron fist and have sex with a different woman every night.  “don’t they understand what love is?!” we ask.

    and they (the africans, not the mormons) look at our american culture and ask how in the world all these men with so much money and such large houses could leave women in their society unprotected and uncared for — especially those women who have children to raise.  how dare we be so selfish as to not take care of these who are in need.  we don’t even have the decency to take our deceased brothers’ wives as our own.  “don’t we understand what love is?!” they question.

    we should consider that it’s at least possible other cultures are (like us) acting out of love.  and is it plausible that in a fallen world, polygamy might sometimes the best choice? how, how that might play out in utah, i’m not sure.

  • Robb

    Is it realistic to claim a slippery slope argument when the slippery slope to polygamy hasn’t occurred in more liberal countries that legalized gay marriage long ago?

  • Robb

    Is it realistic to claim a slippery slope argument when the slippery slope to polygamy hasn’t occurred in more liberal countries that legalized gay marriage long ago?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    From just a biological view, multiple partners increases sexual dimorphism. Some think that this is why notions of equality are so much stronger in areas where monogamy is more widespread.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    From just a biological view, multiple partners increases sexual dimorphism. Some think that this is why notions of equality are so much stronger in areas where monogamy is more widespread.

  • Cincinnatus

    Alastair’s comment @ 3 deserves further consideration. The real danger in the long term doesn’t seem to be that marriage will be corrupted (that proverbial ship sailed long, long ago) but that marriage will be altogether abandoned in favor of open marriages, cohabitation, polyamory, and other more short-term or more tenuous relational structures.

  • Cincinnatus

    Alastair’s comment @ 3 deserves further consideration. The real danger in the long term doesn’t seem to be that marriage will be corrupted (that proverbial ship sailed long, long ago) but that marriage will be altogether abandoned in favor of open marriages, cohabitation, polyamory, and other more short-term or more tenuous relational structures.

  • Booklover

    As per #10′s paragraph 4:

    The Christian response to all those women in need would be to give them a house to live in and food for their fatherless children, without expecting to bed them down.

  • Booklover

    As per #10′s paragraph 4:

    The Christian response to all those women in need would be to give them a house to live in and food for their fatherless children, without expecting to bed them down.

  • DonS

    As Joe points out @ 9, the man will win his case, sooner or later. A law that prohibits you from calling a co-habitant a “wife” is pretty clearly unconstitutional. And should be.

  • DonS

    As Joe points out @ 9, the man will win his case, sooner or later. A law that prohibits you from calling a co-habitant a “wife” is pretty clearly unconstitutional. And should be.

  • http://jamesbrett.wordpress.com JamesBrett

    @booklover, how are we so sure that’s the christian response?

    and what if to “give them a house to live in and food for their fatherless children, without expecting to bed them down” is indeed called marriage?

    what about when my older brother (a christian) dies and i’m supposed to take his wife as my own. and if i don’t our younger brother (a muslim) will be happy to take her and her children.

    and what if i already have three wives when i become a christian?

    it’s not that i want you necessarily to provide an answer in each of these situations. but i just don’t think it’s as cut and dry as many make it out to be. especially when the only call i know from scripture to have one wife is a requirement for shepherd/elders.

  • http://jamesbrett.wordpress.com JamesBrett

    @booklover, how are we so sure that’s the christian response?

    and what if to “give them a house to live in and food for their fatherless children, without expecting to bed them down” is indeed called marriage?

    what about when my older brother (a christian) dies and i’m supposed to take his wife as my own. and if i don’t our younger brother (a muslim) will be happy to take her and her children.

    and what if i already have three wives when i become a christian?

    it’s not that i want you necessarily to provide an answer in each of these situations. but i just don’t think it’s as cut and dry as many make it out to be. especially when the only call i know from scripture to have one wife is a requirement for shepherd/elders.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    “Sexual dimorphism is a phenotypic difference between males and females of the same species.”

    SG, how does having multiple sexual partners increase sexual dimorphinsm? OK maybe it is increased in one’s own children, but in the general population at large? Seems to me it would decrease, not increase, since people in the general population would be the product of fewer distinct parents.

    And DonS, I agree that what you call your co-habitant is none of the government’s business, but look at all the regulations about how we are allowed to refer to food items. “Organic” for example.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    “Sexual dimorphism is a phenotypic difference between males and females of the same species.”

    SG, how does having multiple sexual partners increase sexual dimorphinsm? OK maybe it is increased in one’s own children, but in the general population at large? Seems to me it would decrease, not increase, since people in the general population would be the product of fewer distinct parents.

    And DonS, I agree that what you call your co-habitant is none of the government’s business, but look at all the regulations about how we are allowed to refer to food items. “Organic” for example.

  • DonS

    Mike @ 17: First of all, my comment @ 15 assumed that Joe @ 9 is correct in asserting that Kody Brown is actually only legally married to one of his wives, and the remaining marriages are “spiritual” only. If he actually married more than one person under the civil laws of Utah, that is still illegal, and he would lose his case, absent some kind of nutty finding that a marriage law limiting a person to one civil marriage at a time was somehow unconstitutional. Of course, I have no doubt that we are headed there ultimately, and that people will eventually have a constitutional right to marry their canaries as well. We daily prove how true the Scripture is that identifies man’s wisdom as utter foolishness. But for right now…

    So, the food regulations, while clearly byzantine and over the top, in true modern U.S. fashion, are certainly constitutional, at least for food that is sold across state lines. Food sellers are engaged in interstate commerce, and the federal government has an interest in ensuring that consumers know what they are buying. One way to do that is to require commonly understood definitions for terms used in the food industry.

  • DonS

    Mike @ 17: First of all, my comment @ 15 assumed that Joe @ 9 is correct in asserting that Kody Brown is actually only legally married to one of his wives, and the remaining marriages are “spiritual” only. If he actually married more than one person under the civil laws of Utah, that is still illegal, and he would lose his case, absent some kind of nutty finding that a marriage law limiting a person to one civil marriage at a time was somehow unconstitutional. Of course, I have no doubt that we are headed there ultimately, and that people will eventually have a constitutional right to marry their canaries as well. We daily prove how true the Scripture is that identifies man’s wisdom as utter foolishness. But for right now…

    So, the food regulations, while clearly byzantine and over the top, in true modern U.S. fashion, are certainly constitutional, at least for food that is sold across state lines. Food sellers are engaged in interstate commerce, and the federal government has an interest in ensuring that consumers know what they are buying. One way to do that is to require commonly understood definitions for terms used in the food industry.

  • Pingback: Legalized polygamy « Strengthened by Grace

  • Pingback: Legalized polygamy « Strengthened by Grace

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    James, what booklover says. Does not the church take a stand per 1 Cor. 7:2 and tell members that levirate marriage resulting in polygamy violates Biblical teaching? Does she not tell young widows in the church to seek marriage with eligible (unmarried) young men? Does she not tell her members that the family has the responsibility to take care of the widow and orphan without bedding them?

    How is it that close to half of Tanzania is Christian without this teaching spreading to the country? If there are no young men for the widows to marry, why not? Is there something in the culture or politics of the nation that kills them off or impoverishes them? Again, if the culture of Tanzania is resulting in no eligible young men for young women/widows to marry, there is likely an issue to which the church ought to speak.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    James, what booklover says. Does not the church take a stand per 1 Cor. 7:2 and tell members that levirate marriage resulting in polygamy violates Biblical teaching? Does she not tell young widows in the church to seek marriage with eligible (unmarried) young men? Does she not tell her members that the family has the responsibility to take care of the widow and orphan without bedding them?

    How is it that close to half of Tanzania is Christian without this teaching spreading to the country? If there are no young men for the widows to marry, why not? Is there something in the culture or politics of the nation that kills them off or impoverishes them? Again, if the culture of Tanzania is resulting in no eligible young men for young women/widows to marry, there is likely an issue to which the church ought to speak.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 13, danger? or logical conclusion?

    @ 17 Sexual dimorphism increases because the sexes are being selected for different traits. Among humans, without a social structure that enforces monogamy, most males can’t mate, because the females go to the dominant males. Polygamy is just an institutionalized form that reflects such a mating pattern. It yields larger more aggressive males in addition to the visible characteristics like size or coloring that may be preferred by females of a given species. It is a matter of degree. So, in areas of more monogamy, there is also more equality because the sexes are more similar.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 13, danger? or logical conclusion?

    @ 17 Sexual dimorphism increases because the sexes are being selected for different traits. Among humans, without a social structure that enforces monogamy, most males can’t mate, because the females go to the dominant males. Polygamy is just an institutionalized form that reflects such a mating pattern. It yields larger more aggressive males in addition to the visible characteristics like size or coloring that may be preferred by females of a given species. It is a matter of degree. So, in areas of more monogamy, there is also more equality because the sexes are more similar.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “How is it that close to half of Tanzania is Christian without this teaching spreading to the country? If there are no young men for the widows to marry, why not? Is there something in the culture or politics of the nation that kills them off or impoverishes them?”

    HIV

    According to the UN, there are more HIV infected young people in Tanzania than in the USA. In Tanzania, these are a higher percent heterosexuals than in the US. Their HIV rate is about 10x the US rate and could disproportionally affect men due to prostitution. That is just a guess.

    http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/tanzania_statistics.html#76

    http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/usa_statistics.html#76

    Despite the dismal situation, the average woman in Tanzania still has almost 7 children, so they won’t be dying off any time soon.

    “Again, if the culture of Tanzania is resulting in no eligible young men for young women/widows to marry, there is likely an issue to which the church ought to speak.”

    The Church probably is speaking on the commandment prohibiting adultery. Adultery is the obvious problem when a country has a sky high HIV rate.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “How is it that close to half of Tanzania is Christian without this teaching spreading to the country? If there are no young men for the widows to marry, why not? Is there something in the culture or politics of the nation that kills them off or impoverishes them?”

    HIV

    According to the UN, there are more HIV infected young people in Tanzania than in the USA. In Tanzania, these are a higher percent heterosexuals than in the US. Their HIV rate is about 10x the US rate and could disproportionally affect men due to prostitution. That is just a guess.

    http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/tanzania_statistics.html#76

    http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/usa_statistics.html#76

    Despite the dismal situation, the average woman in Tanzania still has almost 7 children, so they won’t be dying off any time soon.

    “Again, if the culture of Tanzania is resulting in no eligible young men for young women/widows to marry, there is likely an issue to which the church ought to speak.”

    The Church probably is speaking on the commandment prohibiting adultery. Adultery is the obvious problem when a country has a sky high HIV rate.

  • http://jamesbrett.wordpress.com JamesBrett

    @bubba, i certainly believe (just as paul states) that marriage between one man and one woman is a terrific 2nd option — to that of remaining single if one was single when coming to Christ. that seems to be paul’s goal in this passage: to give advice on what is best in regards to marriage and sexuality in relation to one’s status when becoming a christian.

    here in tanzania, among christians, it is indeed taught that marriage should be between one man and one woman. but when an individual becomes a christian having already entered into a polygamous relationship, the situation becomes much more difficult.

    and strict christian interpretations of scriptures and legalistic approaches to this monogamy issue have actually caused a lot of problems here. many churches are forcing men to divorce away “extra” wives (and children) in order to become christian. i understand there might be other options, but i’d also argue a good interpretation of scripture is for this man to stay in the situation he was in when called.

    i’m not arguing FOR polygyny. rather i’m arguing AGAINST dogmatic approaches which ignore cultural realities.

  • http://jamesbrett.wordpress.com JamesBrett

    @bubba, i certainly believe (just as paul states) that marriage between one man and one woman is a terrific 2nd option — to that of remaining single if one was single when coming to Christ. that seems to be paul’s goal in this passage: to give advice on what is best in regards to marriage and sexuality in relation to one’s status when becoming a christian.

    here in tanzania, among christians, it is indeed taught that marriage should be between one man and one woman. but when an individual becomes a christian having already entered into a polygamous relationship, the situation becomes much more difficult.

    and strict christian interpretations of scriptures and legalistic approaches to this monogamy issue have actually caused a lot of problems here. many churches are forcing men to divorce away “extra” wives (and children) in order to become christian. i understand there might be other options, but i’d also argue a good interpretation of scripture is for this man to stay in the situation he was in when called.

    i’m not arguing FOR polygyny. rather i’m arguing AGAINST dogmatic approaches which ignore cultural realities.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Is it realistic to claim a slippery slope argument when the slippery slope to polygamy hasn’t occurred in more liberal countries that legalized gay marriage long ago?”

    Long ago?

    To my knowledge, no country legalized gay marriage long ago.

    The Netherlands was the first.

    They legalized it April 1, 2001.

    Oh the irony.

    Anyway, yes, polygamy soon followed suit in the Netherlands in 2005 when the first civil union of a man and two women was registered.

    http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/301

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Is it realistic to claim a slippery slope argument when the slippery slope to polygamy hasn’t occurred in more liberal countries that legalized gay marriage long ago?”

    Long ago?

    To my knowledge, no country legalized gay marriage long ago.

    The Netherlands was the first.

    They legalized it April 1, 2001.

    Oh the irony.

    Anyway, yes, polygamy soon followed suit in the Netherlands in 2005 when the first civil union of a man and two women was registered.

    http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/301

  • http://jamesbrett.wordpress.com JamesBrett

    @sg, right you are. HIV infection rate is estimated to be at 50% in the town where i live. and 80% in the nearby fishing and mining villages. it kills a lot of people. not as many as diarrhea, though. [but most of those are children, and not married men.]

    and the church indeed does speak to adultery, though not many people seem to take seriously the warnings against. the idea of “sin” in africa is a hard sell. they think more in terms of allowed and disallowed, and less in terms of good and evil, right and wrong. that leads to lots of secrecy — almost like sin isn’t sin unless you get caught.

  • http://jamesbrett.wordpress.com JamesBrett

    @sg, right you are. HIV infection rate is estimated to be at 50% in the town where i live. and 80% in the nearby fishing and mining villages. it kills a lot of people. not as many as diarrhea, though. [but most of those are children, and not married men.]

    and the church indeed does speak to adultery, though not many people seem to take seriously the warnings against. the idea of “sin” in africa is a hard sell. they think more in terms of allowed and disallowed, and less in terms of good and evil, right and wrong. that leads to lots of secrecy — almost like sin isn’t sin unless you get caught.

  • Alastair Roberts

    @sg. Polygamy isn’t the same thing as a group marriage. Polygamy maintains the one man and one woman pattern of marriage, but permits men to enter into multiple marriages.

    I don’t think that either polygamy or group marriages are about to become popular or widespread in the West. I really don’t think that the ‘slippery slope’ towards polygamy argument actually stands up to close examination. There is a slippery slope, but it is heading in the direction of ‘monogamish’ marriage. Take, for instance, this recent article in the gay magazine, The Advocate – http://www.advocate.com/Print_Issue/Features/Monogamish/.

  • Alastair Roberts

    @sg. Polygamy isn’t the same thing as a group marriage. Polygamy maintains the one man and one woman pattern of marriage, but permits men to enter into multiple marriages.

    I don’t think that either polygamy or group marriages are about to become popular or widespread in the West. I really don’t think that the ‘slippery slope’ towards polygamy argument actually stands up to close examination. There is a slippery slope, but it is heading in the direction of ‘monogamish’ marriage. Take, for instance, this recent article in the gay magazine, The Advocate – http://www.advocate.com/Print_Issue/Features/Monogamish/.

  • DonS

    JamesBrett @ 22: You make an excellent and important point. We come to Christ as we are, in our sin, and He redeems us through His grace. After redemption, we still bear the consequences of our sin, including, as you say, the case of a polygamist still having multiple wives.

    The way to deal with these sins is highly individualized, but it’s hard for me to see how divorcing all but one of the wives and throwing them onto the street is always the most loving and obedient response. The new Christian and his family need loving and thoughtful counsel, first to understand the meaning of sin and obedience to Christ, and second to understand what that will look like for their particular circumstances. Judgmentalism and legalism wouldn’t seem to be an appropriate part of the equation.

    A similar thing can happen even here in the states, when men are excluded from the pulpit under I Timothy 3 for not being the husband of one wife, because of a prior divorce before he was saved. I can’t see that Paul meant to include a man’s actions in his unregenerate state when describing the qualifications of a spiritual leader. If that man has repented of that divorce, and done everything reasonably possible to mend fences with his former wife and make things as right with her as possible, then he is a new man in Christ, and may well now be called to pastor.

  • DonS

    JamesBrett @ 22: You make an excellent and important point. We come to Christ as we are, in our sin, and He redeems us through His grace. After redemption, we still bear the consequences of our sin, including, as you say, the case of a polygamist still having multiple wives.

    The way to deal with these sins is highly individualized, but it’s hard for me to see how divorcing all but one of the wives and throwing them onto the street is always the most loving and obedient response. The new Christian and his family need loving and thoughtful counsel, first to understand the meaning of sin and obedience to Christ, and second to understand what that will look like for their particular circumstances. Judgmentalism and legalism wouldn’t seem to be an appropriate part of the equation.

    A similar thing can happen even here in the states, when men are excluded from the pulpit under I Timothy 3 for not being the husband of one wife, because of a prior divorce before he was saved. I can’t see that Paul meant to include a man’s actions in his unregenerate state when describing the qualifications of a spiritual leader. If that man has repented of that divorce, and done everything reasonably possible to mend fences with his former wife and make things as right with her as possible, then he is a new man in Christ, and may well now be called to pastor.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I really don’t think that the ‘slippery slope’ towards polygamy argument actually stands up to close examination.”

    It is not about the argument. It is about empirical observation.

    There is a difference between increased incidence of polygamy and increased acceptance/affirmation. One or the other or both could increase.

    The thing about traditional devoted natural monogamy is that mother nature selects for it. So, on average, those who are disposed to have only one partner for life and don’t use contraception have a huge biological advantage over others because they will have more children and their children will be more successful. This was the model of the Puritans. They had the most children and the lowest childhood mortality and the highest literacy of any group up until that time. Nature rewards certain traits. I am just reporting.

    Sin has empirically observable consequences. Men and women who report only one partner in their lifetime have more children. They pass on the disposition to their children and so it goes. It is dynamic. The mormons are the genetic descendants of Puritans and they demonstrate their durability.

    This is the difference between arguing theories and empirical observation.

    As for “monogamish” relationships, they look like the kind of relationships that nature selects against. In other words, they don’t produce many children.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I really don’t think that the ‘slippery slope’ towards polygamy argument actually stands up to close examination.”

    It is not about the argument. It is about empirical observation.

    There is a difference between increased incidence of polygamy and increased acceptance/affirmation. One or the other or both could increase.

    The thing about traditional devoted natural monogamy is that mother nature selects for it. So, on average, those who are disposed to have only one partner for life and don’t use contraception have a huge biological advantage over others because they will have more children and their children will be more successful. This was the model of the Puritans. They had the most children and the lowest childhood mortality and the highest literacy of any group up until that time. Nature rewards certain traits. I am just reporting.

    Sin has empirically observable consequences. Men and women who report only one partner in their lifetime have more children. They pass on the disposition to their children and so it goes. It is dynamic. The mormons are the genetic descendants of Puritans and they demonstrate their durability.

    This is the difference between arguing theories and empirical observation.

    As for “monogamish” relationships, they look like the kind of relationships that nature selects against. In other words, they don’t produce many children.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Until Joe chimed in (@9) with his informative comment, I was under the impression — as, seemingly, most here still are — that this was about, as Veith called it, “the legalization of polygamy”.

    But the lawyer prosecuting the case himself says:

    We are not demanding the recognition of polygamous marriage. We are only challenging the right of the state to prosecute people for their private relations and demanding equal treatment with other citizens in living their lives according to their own beliefs.

    In short, this appears to be more about cohabitation than it is polygamy.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Until Joe chimed in (@9) with his informative comment, I was under the impression — as, seemingly, most here still are — that this was about, as Veith called it, “the legalization of polygamy”.

    But the lawyer prosecuting the case himself says:

    We are not demanding the recognition of polygamous marriage. We are only challenging the right of the state to prosecute people for their private relations and demanding equal treatment with other citizens in living their lives according to their own beliefs.

    In short, this appears to be more about cohabitation than it is polygamy.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD: We actually caught on to this fact starting @3.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD: We actually caught on to this fact starting @3.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cin (@29), sorry, just reread that comment, and I don’t see what you’re talking about.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cin (@29), sorry, just reread that comment, and I don’t see what you’re talking about.

  • Pingback: Destinations « Luggaged

  • Pingback: Destinations « Luggaged

  • http://thingsfindothinks.com AndrewFinden

    That’s the problem with the argument of : “everyone has the right to marry who they love” – if you’re going to apply it, you have to apply it equally, which means polygamous and incestuous marriage must also be allowed, otherwise you betray the fact that there is much more to it than this glib ‘right’ which is actually in many case, for straight people also, rather fettered.

    It is no slippery slope argument – it’s the logical ramifications of a particuar, flawed line of rhetoric.

  • http://thingsfindothinks.com AndrewFinden

    That’s the problem with the argument of : “everyone has the right to marry who they love” – if you’re going to apply it, you have to apply it equally, which means polygamous and incestuous marriage must also be allowed, otherwise you betray the fact that there is much more to it than this glib ‘right’ which is actually in many case, for straight people also, rather fettered.

    It is no slippery slope argument – it’s the logical ramifications of a particuar, flawed line of rhetoric.

  • http://www.thinkpoint.wordpress.com Steve Cornell

    National focus on gay marriage has been based largely on a manipulation of words to promote radical redefinition of marriage and family. New Yorkers are the latest victims and I feel a need to expose this agenda – not to intentionally offend or hurt others – but to cause clearheaded thinking based on facts. In the seven points below, I expose deceptive distortions of truth used by promoters of gay marriage.

    1. Using the language of civil rights: For several decades we’ve heard increased association of gay rights with battles for racial and gender equality. We’ve been told that a desire for homosexual sex is an inborn condition, not a choice. Although a false comparison, the aim is to view gays and lesbians as Asians and African Americans or men and women. Intense efforts have been made to associate opposition to gay marriage with intolerance and prejudice.

    2. Using accusations of hate and irrational fear: The goal has been to convince the public that opponents of gay marriage are racist haters with irrational phobias. They are homophobic and hateful bigots. They are portrayed as irrational religious fanatics who destroy civility. Supporters of traditional marriage are presented as dangerous people who cling to bigoted ancient laws of a by-gone era.

    3. Exposing heterosexual hypocrisy: Attention is drawn to marriage as a failing institution among heterosexuals. This is partly done to make Christians appear to be hypocritical for opposing gay marriage when they have their own marriage crisis. It is an effort to silence them on opposition to gay marriage.

    4. Using the language of justice: In a twisted way, radicals paint opponents of gay marriage as perpetrators of injustice. They’re accused of inequity for denying loving people the opportunities to have the same rights and freedoms others enjoy.

    5. Using the language of religion: Connecting gay rights to religious freedom and claiming God’s approval of gay relationships is another emphasis. They scold us for failing to see that religion is about love and tolerance. Although every major faith for most of history denounced homosexual behavior, they suggest that it’s the view of a fringe group of fundamentalists.

    6. Playing the victim card: Every crime or death that can be connected in any measure to homosexuality is used to demand special laws for homosexuals to protect them from violence. They want us to believe that all opposition to gay marriage incites hate and violence. This has played on the gullibility of Christians and silenced too many of them.

    7. Using judicial coercion: State after State has approved constitutional amendments protecting traditional marriage but radicals courts continue to bully Americans into acceptance of gay marriage by judicial force. When handfuls of justices unilaterally force their views on entire states, more trouble is in the forecast!

    Homosexuals use to say that all they wanted is to be left alone to live as desired. This is not the case any more. A deliberate strategy of deception and manipulative terminology has been used to pressure the public to accept and celebrate homosexual lifestyles as normal. Our country is being coerced to create special status for the sexual choices of a small percentage of citizens.

    We need a vigorous return to facts and truth lest we allow a radical group to force their agenda on the rest of the country. We must not fall for the unproven hypothesis that being gay is something comparable to race and gender. The truth is that homosexuality is about the sex people are choosing, not unalterable conditions of birth.

    In our nation, those who prefer homosexuality are free as consenting adults to engage in this behavior. If treated wrongfully for their choices, they have the same laws to protect them that cover the rest of society. Do we really think that the kind of sex people should be a basis for a new civil rights issue? This is not about discrimination—unless we want to extend civil rights status to every sexual lifestyle people choose. Discrimination of the civil rights kind injures people for what they are by nature not for the sex they desire.

    Steve Cornell
    Senior pastor
    Millersville Bible Church
    Millersville, PA.

  • http://www.thinkpoint.wordpress.com Steve Cornell

    National focus on gay marriage has been based largely on a manipulation of words to promote radical redefinition of marriage and family. New Yorkers are the latest victims and I feel a need to expose this agenda – not to intentionally offend or hurt others – but to cause clearheaded thinking based on facts. In the seven points below, I expose deceptive distortions of truth used by promoters of gay marriage.

    1. Using the language of civil rights: For several decades we’ve heard increased association of gay rights with battles for racial and gender equality. We’ve been told that a desire for homosexual sex is an inborn condition, not a choice. Although a false comparison, the aim is to view gays and lesbians as Asians and African Americans or men and women. Intense efforts have been made to associate opposition to gay marriage with intolerance and prejudice.

    2. Using accusations of hate and irrational fear: The goal has been to convince the public that opponents of gay marriage are racist haters with irrational phobias. They are homophobic and hateful bigots. They are portrayed as irrational religious fanatics who destroy civility. Supporters of traditional marriage are presented as dangerous people who cling to bigoted ancient laws of a by-gone era.

    3. Exposing heterosexual hypocrisy: Attention is drawn to marriage as a failing institution among heterosexuals. This is partly done to make Christians appear to be hypocritical for opposing gay marriage when they have their own marriage crisis. It is an effort to silence them on opposition to gay marriage.

    4. Using the language of justice: In a twisted way, radicals paint opponents of gay marriage as perpetrators of injustice. They’re accused of inequity for denying loving people the opportunities to have the same rights and freedoms others enjoy.

    5. Using the language of religion: Connecting gay rights to religious freedom and claiming God’s approval of gay relationships is another emphasis. They scold us for failing to see that religion is about love and tolerance. Although every major faith for most of history denounced homosexual behavior, they suggest that it’s the view of a fringe group of fundamentalists.

    6. Playing the victim card: Every crime or death that can be connected in any measure to homosexuality is used to demand special laws for homosexuals to protect them from violence. They want us to believe that all opposition to gay marriage incites hate and violence. This has played on the gullibility of Christians and silenced too many of them.

    7. Using judicial coercion: State after State has approved constitutional amendments protecting traditional marriage but radicals courts continue to bully Americans into acceptance of gay marriage by judicial force. When handfuls of justices unilaterally force their views on entire states, more trouble is in the forecast!

    Homosexuals use to say that all they wanted is to be left alone to live as desired. This is not the case any more. A deliberate strategy of deception and manipulative terminology has been used to pressure the public to accept and celebrate homosexual lifestyles as normal. Our country is being coerced to create special status for the sexual choices of a small percentage of citizens.

    We need a vigorous return to facts and truth lest we allow a radical group to force their agenda on the rest of the country. We must not fall for the unproven hypothesis that being gay is something comparable to race and gender. The truth is that homosexuality is about the sex people are choosing, not unalterable conditions of birth.

    In our nation, those who prefer homosexuality are free as consenting adults to engage in this behavior. If treated wrongfully for their choices, they have the same laws to protect them that cover the rest of society. Do we really think that the kind of sex people should be a basis for a new civil rights issue? This is not about discrimination—unless we want to extend civil rights status to every sexual lifestyle people choose. Discrimination of the civil rights kind injures people for what they are by nature not for the sex they desire.

    Steve Cornell
    Senior pastor
    Millersville Bible Church
    Millersville, PA.

  • fws

    alastair roberts @ 3 writes:

    “The same-sex marriage movement has been overwhelmingly silent, vague, or critical when it comes to the issue of monogamy.”

    Gays and Lesbians can pair off without legal marriage. So why are they pushing for marriage? Is it to redefine it as being about non-monogamy? Nope.

    I suggest it is because of this biblical fact: The Divine Law of God is written in their Reason and Conscience. Their conscience accuses them when they do not aim for sexual fidelity to one person only. And their reason excuses them (rom 2:15) when they define love as caring about the needs of another in the form of monogamy and forgo the “easier” path that is hedonism. After all, society discourages monogamy for gays and encourages shame which results in apparent celebacy, and fleeting sexual encounters.

    Is it optimal for men and women to pair off? For a host of biological and social reasons, I would suggest not. But to do so is to do mercy in a fallen world. the point of Gods law is not to do the sacrifice of perfection but rather the mercy that salves the pain experienced by our inperfections. and mercy is, by definition , always undeserved. it comes not because we can keep the Law of God but happens precisely in the full brunt of the fact that we cannot.

    Sexual encounters in this attitude, that are more than fleeting also threaten the risk of having to chose between the social acceptance that results from a double life, vs the honesty and extreme social risk that would look like pairing off. How does one explain a “roommate” of 10 years etc. ? What to do about church and family get togethers on holidays?

    It is the easier path to get “married” legally to a female and have kids, fantasize about male/male sex to get it up for the wifey, and then have sordid encounters in public restrooms or rent a prostitute. But to do this means that the Law will always accuse. It will grind one down. and finally, at age 55, that person will fess up to his wife and family often, because the pain of the alternative path is simply too great to bear.

  • fws

    alastair roberts @ 3 writes:

    “The same-sex marriage movement has been overwhelmingly silent, vague, or critical when it comes to the issue of monogamy.”

    Gays and Lesbians can pair off without legal marriage. So why are they pushing for marriage? Is it to redefine it as being about non-monogamy? Nope.

    I suggest it is because of this biblical fact: The Divine Law of God is written in their Reason and Conscience. Their conscience accuses them when they do not aim for sexual fidelity to one person only. And their reason excuses them (rom 2:15) when they define love as caring about the needs of another in the form of monogamy and forgo the “easier” path that is hedonism. After all, society discourages monogamy for gays and encourages shame which results in apparent celebacy, and fleeting sexual encounters.

    Is it optimal for men and women to pair off? For a host of biological and social reasons, I would suggest not. But to do so is to do mercy in a fallen world. the point of Gods law is not to do the sacrifice of perfection but rather the mercy that salves the pain experienced by our inperfections. and mercy is, by definition , always undeserved. it comes not because we can keep the Law of God but happens precisely in the full brunt of the fact that we cannot.

    Sexual encounters in this attitude, that are more than fleeting also threaten the risk of having to chose between the social acceptance that results from a double life, vs the honesty and extreme social risk that would look like pairing off. How does one explain a “roommate” of 10 years etc. ? What to do about church and family get togethers on holidays?

    It is the easier path to get “married” legally to a female and have kids, fantasize about male/male sex to get it up for the wifey, and then have sordid encounters in public restrooms or rent a prostitute. But to do this means that the Law will always accuse. It will grind one down. and finally, at age 55, that person will fess up to his wife and family often, because the pain of the alternative path is simply too great to bear.

  • fws

    sg I think I actually maybe agree with you. But I disagree that this is just about natural selection that is “weeding by breeding”. I would ask you to consider, based upon holy scriptures, that there is alot more involved:

    Consider that IF Romans 2:15 is true, which it is, that the Law of God is Divinely revealed in man’s Reason. This is why Reason agrees with the Decalog. It is the SAME Law. And it is why Reason cannot see the Gospel as anything but foolishness. The Law is of the opinion that the Law of God is kept just as you say. It looks like “natural selection”.

    Everyone knows what natural selection looks like. It does not look like the Puritans SG.

    “natural” selectiont looks like the law of the jungle. It looks like might makes right. It looks like NO mercy. It looks like the film clips on animal kingdom of a bunch of jackals ripping into a cute pregnant mama gizelle, over and over and over and over, until the gizelle is reduced to what is for dinner that day.

    Now you are right that Reason will at the end might conclude that this is the natural way, and so Reason might not reach, as you do for the Puritans as an example of that. Puritanism has mostly died out eh? Instead they will reach for the conclusion of one Marquis de Sade, who proposed the reasonable and “natural” idea that since men are more powerful than women, it is only right for men to dominate women in a rather “sadistic” fashion. This is justice with no mercy actually. Or….

    Reason will tilt also in the opposite direction. It will start with the true statement that the entire purpose of the Law is to do Love for others. But then they imagine that Love can happen here on earth withhout also having the rules and discipline and death to ego that sin requires and demands for Love to happen. This idea that you think your view opposes, does not really result in hedonism or “doing what feels good”. It results instead in the same cruelty that “natural law ” looks like. It results in “mercy killing” and abortion and eugenics that put to sleep grandma and gays and the mentally ill because “it would be less painful for them and kinder”.

    I am suggesting that Reason as theoretical idealism, and uninformed by the need to improve the creaturely happiness of others, is going to always end up in the same dehumanizing place.

    Morality is about what we do.
    Morality always requires more than one person to happen.
    It is not about right thinking or even right motives.
    By the fruit you will know it.

  • fws

    sg I think I actually maybe agree with you. But I disagree that this is just about natural selection that is “weeding by breeding”. I would ask you to consider, based upon holy scriptures, that there is alot more involved:

    Consider that IF Romans 2:15 is true, which it is, that the Law of God is Divinely revealed in man’s Reason. This is why Reason agrees with the Decalog. It is the SAME Law. And it is why Reason cannot see the Gospel as anything but foolishness. The Law is of the opinion that the Law of God is kept just as you say. It looks like “natural selection”.

    Everyone knows what natural selection looks like. It does not look like the Puritans SG.

    “natural” selectiont looks like the law of the jungle. It looks like might makes right. It looks like NO mercy. It looks like the film clips on animal kingdom of a bunch of jackals ripping into a cute pregnant mama gizelle, over and over and over and over, until the gizelle is reduced to what is for dinner that day.

    Now you are right that Reason will at the end might conclude that this is the natural way, and so Reason might not reach, as you do for the Puritans as an example of that. Puritanism has mostly died out eh? Instead they will reach for the conclusion of one Marquis de Sade, who proposed the reasonable and “natural” idea that since men are more powerful than women, it is only right for men to dominate women in a rather “sadistic” fashion. This is justice with no mercy actually. Or….

    Reason will tilt also in the opposite direction. It will start with the true statement that the entire purpose of the Law is to do Love for others. But then they imagine that Love can happen here on earth withhout also having the rules and discipline and death to ego that sin requires and demands for Love to happen. This idea that you think your view opposes, does not really result in hedonism or “doing what feels good”. It results instead in the same cruelty that “natural law ” looks like. It results in “mercy killing” and abortion and eugenics that put to sleep grandma and gays and the mentally ill because “it would be less painful for them and kinder”.

    I am suggesting that Reason as theoretical idealism, and uninformed by the need to improve the creaturely happiness of others, is going to always end up in the same dehumanizing place.

    Morality is about what we do.
    Morality always requires more than one person to happen.
    It is not about right thinking or even right motives.
    By the fruit you will know it.

  • fws

    Our Lord Jesus teaches a Lawyer steeped in the Decalog what real morality looks like. He does this by telling the story of the Good Samaritan.

    True morality reduces down to 1) Identifying who one’s neighbor is, and 2) treating them as one would want to be treated. 3) one’s neighbor is whoever needs your help and it is given to you to help (note that the Levite was doing righteousness in passing to the other side! It was not given to him to help it would have made him ritually impure).

    it is that simple. As Luther says in the small catechism to determin your sins 1) what are the relationships God has placed you into “consider your station in life…” and 2) what is it that we have done with these relationships according to God’s Law “…according to the 10 commandments.”

    To just individually keep God’s Law is not biblical righteousness this means. Righteousness is always about actions towards others that are to result in creaturely betterment of life for others.

    Most moralists make morality about being what happens between them and God. This is NOT biblical morality. What happens between sinner and God MUST pass always through the Works of Christ to be moral.

    So polygamy. moral? Maybe in the ot, for the protection of women, when there were lots more women than men… polygamy was actually moral. But then at the same time, the OT is full of cautionary tales of where polygamy was full of pain for everyone. This is how the Law works. it aims for the best result . It is not to aim for perfection. That alone is found in the Works of Christ.

    Polygamy today? depends. discuss.

  • fws

    Our Lord Jesus teaches a Lawyer steeped in the Decalog what real morality looks like. He does this by telling the story of the Good Samaritan.

    True morality reduces down to 1) Identifying who one’s neighbor is, and 2) treating them as one would want to be treated. 3) one’s neighbor is whoever needs your help and it is given to you to help (note that the Levite was doing righteousness in passing to the other side! It was not given to him to help it would have made him ritually impure).

    it is that simple. As Luther says in the small catechism to determin your sins 1) what are the relationships God has placed you into “consider your station in life…” and 2) what is it that we have done with these relationships according to God’s Law “…according to the 10 commandments.”

    To just individually keep God’s Law is not biblical righteousness this means. Righteousness is always about actions towards others that are to result in creaturely betterment of life for others.

    Most moralists make morality about being what happens between them and God. This is NOT biblical morality. What happens between sinner and God MUST pass always through the Works of Christ to be moral.

    So polygamy. moral? Maybe in the ot, for the protection of women, when there were lots more women than men… polygamy was actually moral. But then at the same time, the OT is full of cautionary tales of where polygamy was full of pain for everyone. This is how the Law works. it aims for the best result . It is not to aim for perfection. That alone is found in the Works of Christ.

    Polygamy today? depends. discuss.

  • fws

    sg @ 20

    comedy central shares your logic.

    key phrase ” either we will find a way to fight obesity, or we will stop reproducing because we can no longer find our genitals.”

    watch this:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-july-13-2011/national-french-fry-day

  • fws

    sg @ 20

    comedy central shares your logic.

    key phrase ” either we will find a way to fight obesity, or we will stop reproducing because we can no longer find our genitals.”

    watch this:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-july-13-2011/national-french-fry-day

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 35

    LOL

    “we’ve weaponized our food”

    very funny

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 35

    LOL

    “we’ve weaponized our food”

    very funny

  • helen

    fws @ 32
    Or a man will marry, have a couple of kids, and later have a “friend” he sees regularly, which the wife knows.
    Next thing after polygamy is accepted, will the “friend” will be moving in with the family?

    fws, you think the increasing din about homosexuality does not complicate life for “straights.”
    It does. Time was, a couple of old maids could share an apt/house to make their salaries/pensions go a little further, unremarked. Now they aren’t safe from speculation, even if they are sisters!

    If two single men (or women) go out to dinner, assumptions are likely to be made.
    It’s annoying, uncomfortable and it doesn’t only happen to people who really are “gay”.
    That’s what the noisy 2% have done for us. Is resentment illogical/surprising?

    Time was, I wouldn’t have known or cared who you lived/didn’t live with; now it’s “in my face” constantly.
    What good has been accomplished by that?

  • helen

    fws @ 32
    Or a man will marry, have a couple of kids, and later have a “friend” he sees regularly, which the wife knows.
    Next thing after polygamy is accepted, will the “friend” will be moving in with the family?

    fws, you think the increasing din about homosexuality does not complicate life for “straights.”
    It does. Time was, a couple of old maids could share an apt/house to make their salaries/pensions go a little further, unremarked. Now they aren’t safe from speculation, even if they are sisters!

    If two single men (or women) go out to dinner, assumptions are likely to be made.
    It’s annoying, uncomfortable and it doesn’t only happen to people who really are “gay”.
    That’s what the noisy 2% have done for us. Is resentment illogical/surprising?

    Time was, I wouldn’t have known or cared who you lived/didn’t live with; now it’s “in my face” constantly.
    What good has been accomplished by that?

  • fws

    dear helen @ 37

    for you this is an “inconvenience”. I am fairly certain, and so are you that men and women who are gay consider it to be far more than that. Why the “constant din”? is it because of gays or because of those saying that gay marriage presents an even bigger threat to your marriage Helen, than either divorce, or serial polygamy! This is what they are claiming. Is that true?

    And you already have to explain to your children that little susie’s mommy isn’t really her mommy! And I don’t mean the susie that is the daughter of the Lesbian couple in your church. Of course they would not be in your church would they be Helen?

    I mean that little susie that is part of a “blended family” of a man and woman who are fully accepted members of your church who have each married and divorced and remarried at least once. Often more. But narry a “din”, let alone a “constant din” is being dinned at you from either those for this sort of thing or against it.

    My sincere question to you sister helen, why is the homosexual marriage deal treated so very um…. “dinfully”?

    Please ask yourself that. Is it really the fault of a few gay activists seeking to have their sinful lifestyle recognized? There are lots and lots of hetero sinful lifestyles that , wouldn’t you agree, are a far far greater threat to children and heterosexual marriage?

    Why is the “din ” you are hearing then, not at all about that?

  • fws

    dear helen @ 37

    for you this is an “inconvenience”. I am fairly certain, and so are you that men and women who are gay consider it to be far more than that. Why the “constant din”? is it because of gays or because of those saying that gay marriage presents an even bigger threat to your marriage Helen, than either divorce, or serial polygamy! This is what they are claiming. Is that true?

    And you already have to explain to your children that little susie’s mommy isn’t really her mommy! And I don’t mean the susie that is the daughter of the Lesbian couple in your church. Of course they would not be in your church would they be Helen?

    I mean that little susie that is part of a “blended family” of a man and woman who are fully accepted members of your church who have each married and divorced and remarried at least once. Often more. But narry a “din”, let alone a “constant din” is being dinned at you from either those for this sort of thing or against it.

    My sincere question to you sister helen, why is the homosexual marriage deal treated so very um…. “dinfully”?

    Please ask yourself that. Is it really the fault of a few gay activists seeking to have their sinful lifestyle recognized? There are lots and lots of hetero sinful lifestyles that , wouldn’t you agree, are a far far greater threat to children and heterosexual marriage?

    Why is the “din ” you are hearing then, not at all about that?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I mean that little susie that is part of a “blended family” of a man and woman who are fully accepted members of your church who have each married and divorced and remarried at least once.

    This is the real meat here.

    Divorce, promiscuity, etc., have become such quiet issues, we don’t have to really confront or discuss them. I think many issues are like this. As long as we can ignore them, we will. We want to ignore them. Considering that divorce, promiscuity etc., really do hurt people is this really honorable?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I mean that little susie that is part of a “blended family” of a man and woman who are fully accepted members of your church who have each married and divorced and remarried at least once.

    This is the real meat here.

    Divorce, promiscuity, etc., have become such quiet issues, we don’t have to really confront or discuss them. I think many issues are like this. As long as we can ignore them, we will. We want to ignore them. Considering that divorce, promiscuity etc., really do hurt people is this really honorable?

  • fws

    sg @ 39

    Indeed sg. Might I suggest that the “din” over homosexuals, that really and practically don’t directly affect the rest of us , represents , at least to some important extent, an effort to focus on the sins of others so that we do not have to focus on our own mess of sin within the group we identify with as “us”?

  • fws

    sg @ 39

    Indeed sg. Might I suggest that the “din” over homosexuals, that really and practically don’t directly affect the rest of us , represents , at least to some important extent, an effort to focus on the sins of others so that we do not have to focus on our own mess of sin within the group we identify with as “us”?

  • Cincinnatus

    fws@40: No. And why did you make this about homosexuality? Or did someone else accomplish that? All these threads bleed together for me, as they all eventually come around to homosexuality (usually with your involvement…).

  • Cincinnatus

    fws@40: No. And why did you make this about homosexuality? Or did someone else accomplish that? All these threads bleed together for me, as they all eventually come around to homosexuality (usually with your involvement…).

  • fws

    cinn @ 42

    not fair cinn.

    see @2, 3 and 18 etc etc etc.

    indeed my post 41 suggests that homosexuality is just a cover and excuse to avoid more important issues. How is that me , taking all these posts and making them about homosexuality? no.

    the underlying meme is that homoMarriage is organically connected to everything that is a societal ill as poster @ 3 says and you agree with at 18!

  • fws

    cinn @ 42

    not fair cinn.

    see @2, 3 and 18 etc etc etc.

    indeed my post 41 suggests that homosexuality is just a cover and excuse to avoid more important issues. How is that me , taking all these posts and making them about homosexuality? no.

    the underlying meme is that homoMarriage is organically connected to everything that is a societal ill as poster @ 3 says and you agree with at 18!

  • fws

    cinn @ 42

    reread the thread. and unknot your undies friend.

  • fws

    cinn @ 42

    reread the thread. and unknot your undies friend.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws@43: Comment #2 is making an observation about the irony of Mormon beliefs, Comment #3 is a fantastic disquisition on the dangers of polyamory as opposed to polygamy (which is why I endorsed it, though it mentions the homosexual rights movement incidentally for their conspicuous failure to speak out against polygamy in the face of those who wonder about the so-called “slippery slope”), and Comment #18 is about marriage laws and practices in Utah.

    My undies shall remain knotted until you can prove that they should be otherwise disposed :-P

  • Cincinnatus

    fws@43: Comment #2 is making an observation about the irony of Mormon beliefs, Comment #3 is a fantastic disquisition on the dangers of polyamory as opposed to polygamy (which is why I endorsed it, though it mentions the homosexual rights movement incidentally for their conspicuous failure to speak out against polygamy in the face of those who wonder about the so-called “slippery slope”), and Comment #18 is about marriage laws and practices in Utah.

    My undies shall remain knotted until you can prove that they should be otherwise disposed :-P

  • fws

    cinn @ 45

    ha!

  • fws

    cinn @ 45

    ha!

  • RDJ

    In reading these comments, I’ve observed that most respondents are truly distanced from the issues, and perhaps I could shed a little light, I am a 5th gen. practicing polygamist with two wives, should I call them “relationships” to make you all feel better? I was born of goodly parents, and raised in a large family with a lot going on to keep us all busy and cared for, and my Dad was the busiest of us all. He also had two wives. He married a ready made family because someone else abandoned Mom with three little kids. We had good times, and bad times, but the good times outweighed the bad ones. I doubt the problem is really about how many women a guy sleeps with, but rather about the kids! I know of many guys who sleep around, and no problem unless he decides to begin calling them wives. As long as there are no children involved, everything seems quite normal. No person should have to be married to someone they don’t wish to be, and how many guys do you know who would like to be married to someone that doesn’t want to be there? I think polygamy should be decriminalized, but not necessarily legalized because I don’t see an abundance of people who really want to take responsibility for what they do, nor who have what it takes to raise a large family. I feel that if a woman wants to have children she should be able to make that choice without government nor anyone else riding her conscience, it’s her choice. Granted they being at or beyond the age of consent, ready, willing and able. Age of consent should be the same for everyone. If age of accountability is 21, then make it the same for everyone. Well, that should give you all a little to talk about? I sure love my family and my life, my wives and children are happy and love one another. I don’t see where anyone else has anything better to offer, so don’t tell me to stop taking care of them, I love my freedom and my agency so I shall continue teaching my children they have the freedom and agency to choose and live a happy healthy productive life.

  • RDJ

    In reading these comments, I’ve observed that most respondents are truly distanced from the issues, and perhaps I could shed a little light, I am a 5th gen. practicing polygamist with two wives, should I call them “relationships” to make you all feel better? I was born of goodly parents, and raised in a large family with a lot going on to keep us all busy and cared for, and my Dad was the busiest of us all. He also had two wives. He married a ready made family because someone else abandoned Mom with three little kids. We had good times, and bad times, but the good times outweighed the bad ones. I doubt the problem is really about how many women a guy sleeps with, but rather about the kids! I know of many guys who sleep around, and no problem unless he decides to begin calling them wives. As long as there are no children involved, everything seems quite normal. No person should have to be married to someone they don’t wish to be, and how many guys do you know who would like to be married to someone that doesn’t want to be there? I think polygamy should be decriminalized, but not necessarily legalized because I don’t see an abundance of people who really want to take responsibility for what they do, nor who have what it takes to raise a large family. I feel that if a woman wants to have children she should be able to make that choice without government nor anyone else riding her conscience, it’s her choice. Granted they being at or beyond the age of consent, ready, willing and able. Age of consent should be the same for everyone. If age of accountability is 21, then make it the same for everyone. Well, that should give you all a little to talk about? I sure love my family and my life, my wives and children are happy and love one another. I don’t see where anyone else has anything better to offer, so don’t tell me to stop taking care of them, I love my freedom and my agency so I shall continue teaching my children they have the freedom and agency to choose and live a happy healthy productive life.

  • Pingback: -American Muslims and Polygamy | ANSWERS For The Faith

  • Pingback: -American Muslims and Polygamy | ANSWERS For The Faith

  • Keili Branche

    Really, I don’t see the big deal. If a person wants multiple partners whats so bad about that? I doesn’t cause anyone harm plus it really wouldn’t be that much different then an “open marriage”

  • Keili Branche

    Really, I don’t see the big deal. If a person wants multiple partners whats so bad about that? I doesn’t cause anyone harm plus it really wouldn’t be that much different then an “open marriage”

  • Pingback: seethruthefog

  • Pingback: seethruthefog

  • http://Www.twitter.com/antodav antodav

    Wow. Astounding amount of ignorance in this thread, and ignorance abounding in all sides. Where do I even begin…

    First of all, do not use the word “Mormon” so recklessly. It is properly applied only to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which abolished polygamy over 120 years ago. Even then, Mormon beliefs on the matter are clear: polygamy is an abomination in the sight of God and prohibited (Jacob 2:28) unless He says otherwise (Jacob 2:30) which was done by means of prophetic revelation in 1831 (Doctrine and Covenants 132:61-62) but rescinded in 1890 for the sake of the preservation of the Church (Official Declaration 1). Those who continue to practice polygamy are not “Mormons”, but members of breakaway sects who have apostatized, been excommunicated, and deprived themselves of all of the blessings that come with Church membership, including temple marriage. You may disagree with “Mormon” beliefs all you like, but at least have the integrity to represent them correctly.

    Secondly, there is no Biblical prohibition anywhere against polygamy. Any Christian should be aware that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and several other Old Testament prophets entered into polygamy when it was commanded of them by God and served his purposes. It only became sinful when they took unto them the wives of others, or unlawfully added wives unto themselves without God’s permission, such as in the case of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), or of Solomon and his “strange” (i.e. non-Jewish) wives who led him into idol worship (1 Kings 11:1-6); cf. Deuteronomy 17:17. Exodus 21:10-11 lays out the rules for plural marriage, wherein a man is obligated to provide for additional wives without taking anything away or providing any less for his first wife, and Deuteronomy 21:15-17 dictates equal treatment for the children of each of a man’s wives regardless of how he may feel about the wives himself. Those who break these laws are cursed now and always have been. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and His laws do not change throughout each dispensation.

    Paul’s references to marriage in 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Timothy 3, and elsewhere in the New Testament are meant to apply primarily to men actively serving in the ministry, particularly those engaged in missionary work. This can be confusing as the Primitive Church did not contain paid clergy practicing priestcrafts as most Christian denominations do today. In Hebrews 13 Paul describes marriage as honorable, and indeed Paul prophesies that during the coming apostasy false doctrines would be preached forbidding men to marry (1 Timothy 4:3). Also, contrary to popular belief, Paul himself WAS married, as would have been required of him per his membership in the Sanhedrin—although his wife may not have actually been with him while he was serving on his mission. Interpretations of Paul’s words as a prohibition against polygamy reflect a misinterpretation of scripture partially based in poorly translated Greek, but also the fact that polygamy was not authorized during the dispensation of Christ and Peter. Even within a Nicene Trinitarian paradigm, the God of the Old Testament (Jehovah) and Jesus Christ are one, so one should not presume any contradiction between the teachings and commandments of the two. They are the same God.

    Setting aside Scripture, politically there is no longer any justification for the criminalization of polygamy, especially if gay marriage is going to become a normal and accepted social institution alongside traditional monogamous heterosexual marriage. Gay marriage and polygamy may both go against God’s law, but God’s law and man’s law exist in two separate spheres, as any Protestant familiar with the teachings of Martin Luther will surely attest. God has given us the freedom to choose between obedience to his commandments, through which we receive His blessings, or disobedience and sin, the wages of which are death (Romans 6:23), i.e. spiritual death, or “hell”. Secular governments do not have the authority to take away this most precious of God’s gifts to man, that is his agency, the power that comes with being not only God’s creation, but also in fact his actual child alongside the Savior and the angels (Romans 8:16-17). Man must be free to sin in order for him to be able to choose the right and fulfill his destiny as joint-heirs with Christ. Therefore, that which is abominable before God must nevertheless remain legal before man, although any person who follows and loves Christ will abstain from these things anyway and keep his commandments. (John 14:15).

  • http://Www.twitter.com/antodav antodav

    Wow. Astounding amount of ignorance in this thread, and ignorance abounding in all sides. Where do I even begin…

    First of all, do not use the word “Mormon” so recklessly. It is properly applied only to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which abolished polygamy over 120 years ago. Even then, Mormon beliefs on the matter are clear: polygamy is an abomination in the sight of God and prohibited (Jacob 2:28) unless He says otherwise (Jacob 2:30) which was done by means of prophetic revelation in 1831 (Doctrine and Covenants 132:61-62) but rescinded in 1890 for the sake of the preservation of the Church (Official Declaration 1). Those who continue to practice polygamy are not “Mormons”, but members of breakaway sects who have apostatized, been excommunicated, and deprived themselves of all of the blessings that come with Church membership, including temple marriage. You may disagree with “Mormon” beliefs all you like, but at least have the integrity to represent them correctly.

    Secondly, there is no Biblical prohibition anywhere against polygamy. Any Christian should be aware that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and several other Old Testament prophets entered into polygamy when it was commanded of them by God and served his purposes. It only became sinful when they took unto them the wives of others, or unlawfully added wives unto themselves without God’s permission, such as in the case of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), or of Solomon and his “strange” (i.e. non-Jewish) wives who led him into idol worship (1 Kings 11:1-6); cf. Deuteronomy 17:17. Exodus 21:10-11 lays out the rules for plural marriage, wherein a man is obligated to provide for additional wives without taking anything away or providing any less for his first wife, and Deuteronomy 21:15-17 dictates equal treatment for the children of each of a man’s wives regardless of how he may feel about the wives himself. Those who break these laws are cursed now and always have been. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and His laws do not change throughout each dispensation.

    Paul’s references to marriage in 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Timothy 3, and elsewhere in the New Testament are meant to apply primarily to men actively serving in the ministry, particularly those engaged in missionary work. This can be confusing as the Primitive Church did not contain paid clergy practicing priestcrafts as most Christian denominations do today. In Hebrews 13 Paul describes marriage as honorable, and indeed Paul prophesies that during the coming apostasy false doctrines would be preached forbidding men to marry (1 Timothy 4:3). Also, contrary to popular belief, Paul himself WAS married, as would have been required of him per his membership in the Sanhedrin—although his wife may not have actually been with him while he was serving on his mission. Interpretations of Paul’s words as a prohibition against polygamy reflect a misinterpretation of scripture partially based in poorly translated Greek, but also the fact that polygamy was not authorized during the dispensation of Christ and Peter. Even within a Nicene Trinitarian paradigm, the God of the Old Testament (Jehovah) and Jesus Christ are one, so one should not presume any contradiction between the teachings and commandments of the two. They are the same God.

    Setting aside Scripture, politically there is no longer any justification for the criminalization of polygamy, especially if gay marriage is going to become a normal and accepted social institution alongside traditional monogamous heterosexual marriage. Gay marriage and polygamy may both go against God’s law, but God’s law and man’s law exist in two separate spheres, as any Protestant familiar with the teachings of Martin Luther will surely attest. God has given us the freedom to choose between obedience to his commandments, through which we receive His blessings, or disobedience and sin, the wages of which are death (Romans 6:23), i.e. spiritual death, or “hell”. Secular governments do not have the authority to take away this most precious of God’s gifts to man, that is his agency, the power that comes with being not only God’s creation, but also in fact his actual child alongside the Savior and the angels (Romans 8:16-17). Man must be free to sin in order for him to be able to choose the right and fulfill his destiny as joint-heirs with Christ. Therefore, that which is abominable before God must nevertheless remain legal before man, although any person who follows and loves Christ will abstain from these things anyway and keep his commandments. (John 14:15).


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X