In the USA, polygamy has always been illegal. But then, homosexuality was illegal not long ago. Now, homosexuality is not only legal but well accepted by most Americans. Plus, gay rights are strongly defended in the courts.
It’s all about human rights, a movement that continues to grow in the U.S. In fact, this nation has been the supreme leader in the world in affirming human rights. They are enshrined in the Bill of Rights which are an addendum to our U.S. Constitution. I think human rights has its good and its bad. Human rights depends on what is morally accepted by a culture at any given time.
I suspect that in the future, polygamy will be made legal in the U.S. as a continuation of the human rights movement. I oppose the idea of this happening, but I think it will be inevitable. Interestingly, the Old Testament of the Christian Bible not only condemns adultery but imposes capital punishment on it if there are witnesses; yet the Bible nowhere explicitly condemns polygamy, let alone imposes the death penalty for it.
Mormons used to practice polygamy. They justified it by citing the Bible for support. Indeed, the Old Testament narrates various instances of polygamy, even committed by some of its spiritual heroes, such as kings David and Solomon, and some say Abraham. Even Israel, first named Jacob, had four wives. In fact, the U.S. government would not accept Utah, the original home of the Mormon church, into the union until Utah added a ban against polygamy to its state constitution. Recall that the official name of the Mormon church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Jesus clearly taught against polygamy. Some Pharisees asked him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?” (Matthew 19.3 NRSV). “Lawful” referred to Torah (Pentateuch). Jesus answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (vv. 4-6). Jesus was citing Genesis 2.24, which tells about God creating Adam and Eve for monogamy.
There have been many U.S. presidents who were unfaithful in marriage. But current President Donald Trump appears to be the supreme leader of them all. He had such a reputation as a womanizer, even while married to his first two wives who were quite beautiful women, that I believe he used to say he would never run for U.S. president primarily due to that reputation and perhaps also some shady business dealings.
Back in the old days, the infidelity of U.S. presidents was not made public. The media knew about the many, unethical, sexual trysts of one of America’s favorite presidents, Jack Kennedy, a married man. But it was kept quiet. How times have changed.
When Donald Trump campaigned for the U.S. presidency in 2016, more than twelve women came forth publicly and accused him of having sexually harassed them or even groped them sexually. Some claimed they had a sexual relationship with him while he was married to his current and third wife, Melania. Toward the end of the campaign, Donald Trump not only publicly denied all of these allegations by these women, he said he would sue every one of them. Like so many of his lies, Trump never did that. Now, some of these women–namely Karen McDougall, Stormy Daniels, and Summer Zervos–are suing Donald Trump. Zervos is suing Trump for defamation because he accused all of these women, including Zervos, of lying. A court just upheld Zervos’ suit, allowing it to move forward. This may embolden other such women to do likewise.
During all of this hullabaloo, I’ve been doing research on a book I may write about the so-called “sons of God” in Genesis 6.2-4 who married women who had giant children that caused much violence and corruption leading to the flood in Noah’s day. I have blogged about this before. (“Who Were the Sons of God in Genesis 6?: Part 1 and Part 2.) It is one of the most difficult Bible texts to interpret.
There have been three main interpretations of these sons of God in Genesis 6.1-4, who caused the flood in the days of Noah: (1) the forbidden intermarriage of the godly line of Sethites with the ungodly line of Cainites (Sethite Interpretation), which has been believed by most Christians throughout church history, (2) ungodly angels who took women as wives who gave birth to divine-human giants (Angel Interpretation), which most scholars have believed in modern times, and (3) polytheistic tyrant kings who created harems (Divine-Kings Interpretation). Early in my theological education, I was taught the Angel Interpretation. I soon abandoned that and loosely held to the Sethite Interpretation for decades. But like nearly all Christians, I never knew about the Angelic Interpretation. I have believed it for the past ten years since I first learned of it.
Donald Trump is one of those very financially successful men who has rejected the moral precept of faithfulness in marriage and acted like he can have just about any woman he wants anytime. He actually stated this unwittingly on a Hollywood lot while exiting a RV vehicle. It was taped and televised six weeks before the election. Yet he survived that embarrassment and won the presidency. Now, his sexual escapades are being made known even more as time proceeds. I suspect things like this will cause America to become more and more desensitized to marriage infidelity until, someday, America will do what it has done about homosexuality and make polygamy legal.