These days, we are hearing about the evils of hetero-normativity, the prejudiced and intolerant view that heterosexual relationships are somehow normal. But coming to a theatre near you will be mono-normativity, the prejudiced and intolerant view that monogamous relationships are somehow normal.
Australian activist Simon Copland has an article on Same Sex Marriage Has Been Won: But The Real Fight is Only About to Begin which is really quite disturbing. I used to think the claim that LGBT activist want to legalize same-sex marriage just so they can completely deconstruct it was just right-wing fear-mongering. But this is exactly want Copland wants to do.
While monogamous marriage still works for many, our society is increasingly questioning whether it should remain as the only option. The question is where will the newlywed gays and lesbians stand? For years now the more promiscuous in the queer community have been told that gays and lesbians need to access marriage so we can ‘queer it up’. The best way to break down these traditions, we’ve been told, is from the inside. But is that really true? Many marriage equality campaigns have reinforced these conservative traditions. We’ve seen inspirational campaign videos eschewing the linear monogamous tale of marriage, arguments that same-sex marriages are important for the well being of children and activists who have actively rejected the possibility of legal rights for polyamorous relationships in the future. … The real marriage fight was never about homosexuality, but instead over the lifestyles conservatives find abhorrent. The same-sex marriage debate seems to have potentially converted many gays and lesbians into this position. Marriage equality is now inevitable. But the fight has only really just begun.
And then there is Sweden where even the conservative side of politics (er, apparently Sweden has one) has recently come out in favor of not only gender neutral marriages, but even number neutral marriages. Read about it here.
Over at the Washington Post is an article about How to Break Free From Monogamy Without Destroying Marriage, which includes the following story:
In 2010, Jessie approached her husband with an idea she called “ethical non-monogamy.” They would stay together as each other’s primary, lifelong partners, but they wouldn’t rule out other relationships — as long as they happened openly. Jessie has shown her husband her profile on several dating sites, including Open Minded. When she returns from her weekly date with one of her four extramarital partners, she tells him as much, or as little, as he likes.
I love Carl Trueman’s response:
A vision of personhood and freedom reduced to a series of sexual encounters designed to stave off boredom represents a somewhat childish and vacuous philosophy of life. Indeed, this is what now passes for thoughtful and provocative journalism in a quality newspaper and yet I hardly needed to break sweat in picking apart such nonsense. Conservative Christians may be in a minority, but thank God we have a richer understanding of what it means to be human and to be free than the rather simplistic and—dare I say it?—boring and predictable one which is exhibited here. The competition may currently control the airwaves but they really have nothing of interest or substance to say.
But lets say that polygamy and infidelity become normal and legal. Can you imagine what custody battles and property disputes are going to look like in a world of polyamory and open marriages? Lawyer’s must be salivating at the prospect of it all. And with all this talk about feminism and equality, I bet you a coke that polygamy will prove to be one of the best new ways to exploit women because you’ll be more likely to have one guy with multiple women than the other way around. Women will become sexual play things in some guy’s own marital harem. Spouses will be given a used-by date based on their ability to be sexually entertaining. But before you say, “But there’s polygamy in the Bible” and “Christians commit adultery,” let me ask two questions: (1) Who wants their daughter to be wife number three of five in some guy’s trailer out in rural Arizona? (2) What would you say if your spouse asked for an “open” marriage? I want my daughters to marry a man who will treasure them more than his own life, not treat them like concubines on a menu to serve his sexual appetites.I want my sons to be the kind of men who will choose fidelity and family over sexual temptation. Of course, growing up in a home where infidelity and abandonment took place, seeing the pain it caused, does make me kind of touchie on the subject.
I guess if mono-normativity becomes the new social heresy then it will be wrong to preach on the ills of adultery or to urge people to see the exclusivity of their marriage relationship as a symbol for the depth of their commitment to each other.
But who knows, maybe the polyamory activists are right. Think about all the victims of mono-normativity. Poor Bill Clinton was impeached because of his zipper problem, when in fact he was a victim of a mono-normativity conspiracy to destroy his presidency. Bill is a true feminist, he loves women, lots of women, preferably brunettes in their early 20s, and it was cruel and oppressive of Hillary to demand Bill be monogamous. Australian cricketer Shane Warn was considered a love rat for cheating on his wife, when in reality he was a love machine with no off switch. Maybe adultery should be redefined to mean sex between adults. Maybe we should we ban the mono-normativist propaganda film when When Harry Met Sally and replace it with When Harry met Sally, Sandra, and Bruce. If men have a libido ten times stronger than the average woman, then one man needs ten women to fulfil his sexual needs. Forget cancer or depression, unfulfilled sexual desire is the worst possible thing anyone can suffer and it has to stop. “Lust” should be the new unspeakable “L word.”
So what are we to do in an age where polygamy, promiscuity, infidelity, and open marriages are celebrated norms? Well, St. Paul has some advice:
As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit. Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. (1 Thess 4:1-9 NIV)
I know that infidelity happens and some celebrity couples have “open marriages” because of a male movie star’s over-active libido, but most of us have cringed at that because we see the value and virtue of faithful life-long partnerships. But when the virtues of exclusivity and fidelity are portrayed as a toxic relic of the Victorian era that people should not have to hear about because it’s very statement is offensive, then the game has changed. Far from ushering in some kind of sexual revolution with newly found freedoms, I think we’re going to see society degenerate further towards the perversity of ancient paganism, where sex becomes about the use of others, the gratification of the self, the pornification of women, and the worship of desire. It will lead to a generation of men and women who find sex and relationships hurtful, confusing, manipulative, and wonder what true love really is. The darker the darkness of the surrounding sexual culture, the more Christian marriages – I mean true and authentic Christian marriages – will stand out. That is because Christians will claim that sex is a gift to be enjoyed in a committed relationship and love is about giving rather than gratifying. It gives Christians the opportunity to show that love can have both eros and agape. Then suddenly the mono-normativity of Christianity might not seem like such a bad option.