Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Why monogamists will lose, and polygynists will lose right along with them.

The April issue of "Origins," a publication of The Ohio State University.
"Polygyny is the family structure most often mentioned in the first five books of the Old Testament."
That saves me the project time devoted to counting them all. I thought so. For years I have warned Christians, Bible thumping fellows of the "fundamentalist" bolt of cloth that they were playing a losing hand on marriage.
The world outside the Church, or those denominations nominally described as Christian, but liberal in doctrinal outlook, point to our failure to recognize that monogamy is only a form of marriage endorsed by God, not marriage itself. Clinging to this wishful view of marriage, in truth a vestige of Rome, will get us what we don't want. For the Stephanie Coontz leaps right from that launching point, the assertion that scriptures most favored families in the Torah, were polygynists, not monogamists, to asserting that we're just wrong. And she's right. The problem is that while we have our heads up our collective posteriors, she will go on to insist that because of this arbitrary change, we should not be listened to when it comes to defining marriage. She, and others will take care of that, for she moves on to discuss a form of marriage not even discussed in scripture.
"Polyandry—one woman and many men—has also been found in some societies. In Tibet and parts of India, Kashmir, and Nepal, a woman may be married to two or more brothers, none of whom can claim exclusive sexual rights to her."
Polyandry, in the Bible is simple adultery, not marriage at all. But remember, she has us dead to rights in the fundamental community. We don't recognize our roots as the most "Bible Believing" group. So if we don't, why pay attention to us? We change things, so they get to as well. Next Stephanie proposes a lie, but a plausible lie, in view of our history.
"The Christian tradition was more condemnatory toward same-sex relationships, but on the other hand, early Christianity wasn’t too keen on heterosexual relationships either. St. Paul maintained that getting married was better than being consumed with passion and giving in to sin, but he argued that staying single and celibate was the best way to serve the Lord. In the medieval European hierarchy of female virtue, the unmarried virgin came in first. The widow, safely delivered from the corruptions of the flesh, came second. And the wife occupied the lowest rung of respectable womanhood."
Fundies are now, unrealistic, prudish loons. Don't listen to them. Christians, have made us backward.
"In the modern industrial world, the United States remains an anomaly in its intolerance toward same-sex relationships. In 2002, an international poll found that 42 percent of Americans believed that homosexuality was morally wrong, compared to just 5 percent of Spaniards, 13 percent of the French, and 16 percent of Italians.

In December 2008, 66 member states of the United Nations signed a statement calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality worldwide. The United States was the only major Western nation that refused to sign. Today, countries as diverse as the Czech Republic, Spain, Norway, South Africa, Australia, Canada, and Croatia permit same-sex domestic partnerships or marriage, with Taiwan and Nepal soon to sign on."
This week, in Vermont, where I live, the the debate rages in the legislature over homosexual marriage. Christians line up insisting that marriage is one man, one woman only. They laugh at us, and discount us, because we are blind, and dishonest. We'd have a far better chance if we hadn't redefined marriage in such prudish ways to start with. More believable. To the inexpert ear after having it demonstrated conclusively that we're lying to ourselves, the lie that homosexuality is acceptable is more attractive.

We have descended to this. Defending an alteration of God's word, as God's word and the world doesn't believe us as a result. What we're going to get as marriage law will attack and destroy us in ways we have not thought of, but I have. I am sure of course, that I have only exposed the tip of the iceberg. The real results of redefining marriage culturally will now come back to haunt us in completely unforeseen ways.

I propose again, that we carve out a place to protect our marriages, not fight society as to what is marriage. If we ever had credibility in their eyes, we no longer do. Esther and Mordecai did not seek to change the world around them, as strangers in a strange land. They sought only the tools to defend themselves. This is what we should seek now, in a post Christian culture.

The problem for the Monogamy Only proponent is that the protection they seek can only come with allowing protection of a variety of other groups, polygynists included. If we want to carve out a place for "Christian Marriage" in the law, we will be asked to show that we have been consistent if we want the protections of our religious freedom. We haven't been, and that's where we will lose. Maybe not this week. But soon, and it will be a bigger loss if we fight the losing battle we now fight.

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