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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Polygamy, The More the Merrier?

The case against two men accused of polygamy has been put on hold until September when a B.C. Supreme Court judge will consider a defence argument to toss out the charges.

What are the charges? Polygamy; having more than one wife at the same time.

These folks in Bountiful, B.C. are what’s called “Momon fundamentalists”, in that they have the same lineage with the “Mormons”; the folks headquartered in salt Lake City Utah known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and that they believe that they are living the fundamentals of the religion that the mainstream Church abandoned over 100 years ago; the practice of plural marriage.

At it's core, marriage is a contract between two or more people that can consent to the provisions of the contract. The trouble comes in when you add a third party, the government.

In these communities, they usually have one legal government marriage between the man and the "first wife"; the other marriages are spiritual marriages of a religious nature that are only binding in their church, and do not constitute bigamy, which is legally marrying someone while still having a previous legal marriage.

These "Celestial marriages" are not recognized by the state, so the ladies that enter them and have children will often go on government assistance, and to the government they appear as stay-at-home single mothers. They often do not live with their husbands and may or may not receive financial and emotional support from them.

Put aside the (likely true) accusations of underage brides, put aside the welfare mothers this situation creates, put aside the unusual nature of their religious practices; the question that stands is should these people be allowed to practice their religion when it comes to plural marriage?

I believe in freedom, including religious freedom. While I don't agree with many of the tenants of their faith, I believe that where there is informed consent there is the right to be left alone. It is their faith, it is their lives, and they should be free to choose how to live it, and should be free to choose to leave, as some have.

The RCMP have launched numerous investigations into Bountiful since 1990, and prosecutors have repeatedly shied away from laying charges, concerned the polygamy laws wouldn't survive a challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I think that they may be right.

Posted by Freedom Manitoba on July 9, 2009 in Religion | Permalink


“The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.” Ayn Rand.

The government has a sad and unfortunate history from their intrusion into the private affair of people. It will never learn.

Posted by: TM | 2009-07-09 11:42:36 PM

Its about the children you idiots.

Posted by: epsilon | 2009-07-10 12:09:28 AM

Epsilon, that's always the reason. When kids are involved we are more concerned, but the problem is trying to figure out if they are better off if the government steps in. I believe they rarely are. The result of government intrusion is rarely good.

Posted by: TM | 2009-07-10 12:14:34 AM

If it were really about the children, then the government would be very concerned about all the single, never married, mothers, so no that is a smoke screen. Then we have swinger and wife-swapping clubs along with plenty of age old adultery. Yet here the government decides to get involved. Now if this were Muslims, they would likely close their eyes, but this is a very small group of basically harmless people wanting to be left to live as they believe.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-07-10 12:49:00 AM

I think that the government should stay away from consensual acts between adults . I don't see how the government would have any reason to bother swing clubs either. Adultery is a breach of contract unless both married partners agree to allow others into their marriage. Consensual adults sex/personal lives should not require any consent from the state. Civil courts should sort out the pieces when the shit hits the fan, there is nothing criminal about having multiple partners if everyone is agreeable to it. Like usual my instinct is that the state should fuck off and mind its own business. Problem is, socons like the three stooges of the standard, WANT the government to make everyone conform, and stomp out "sin" wherever they see it.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-07-10 1:23:35 AM

I find that one partner is enough to keep me busy.
I can't imagine having to deal with more than one...especially if they are as angry and full of issues as epsilon seems to be.
If children are being neglected that's a crime all by itself but you would think with more mother's present, they would be better off.
And a group of government incompetents that could screw up a county fair are in no position to make responsible choices for others.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-07-10 6:05:13 AM

Child sex laws wouldn't survive a Charter challenge either, at least not by their own merits. There is nothing in the Charter that says children are special. In fact, there is nothing in the Charter that says Canadians assume full rights only at age 18, either, so a court challenge of the entire concept of minor status might prove interesting.

And Greenthumb, your constant ranting about the rights of the oppressed would ring truer if you ever discussed responsibility, but you don't. There is no right without responsibility.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-10 7:45:40 AM

Individual rights, without the welfare state, always involve responsibility by definition.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-07-10 8:03:30 AM

The polygamy at Bountiful is not consensual. Girls and women are ordered by the "Bishop" to become concubines in the harems of the elders, and teenage boys are banished from the community in order to make more females available for these men, whose excuse for this sex fest is that men need three "wives" in order to become a god in Heaven. Love has nothing to do with it, everything is for the benefit of the elders. As well, women can only enter heaven if their "husband" invites them -- and if they don't obey him, he won't invite them! Once the women are "married" they are denied birth control and are expected to produce a baby every year, just as if they are cattle. What is so incomprehensible is that the RCMP produced an Affidavit in BC Supreme Court stating that Winston Blackmore has impregnated 9 underage girls, four of whom were only 15. That's sexual exploitation of minors and he should be charged under S. 153 CC. Why are they not charging him? No religion in Canada allows middle-eaged men to have sex with kids, and the authorities know it.
What is also incomprehensible is that the Supreme Court has already stated that religious rights do not take precedence over Canada's laws. Moreover, on 18 October 2002 Canada ratified the Protocol on the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which condemns polygamy as a contravention of women's equality rights that also harms their children by impoverishing them. Canada is legally obligated to uphold this document,but is ignoring it. Concubines in Bountiful have no rights and cannot share in their "husband's" health or life insurance nor his pension. As well, sections 15 and 28 of the Charter state that women are guaranteed equality with men...yet the women in Bountiful are treated as chattels who have to obey the elders or burn for ever in Hell. The situation in Bountiful is sick, and it's all the fault of successive A-G's departments who preferred to turn a blind eye to known sexual abuse and to the fact that the kids weren't even getting a proper education at the two schools and were failing to graduate from Grade 12. It's not only Winston Blackmore who should be in the dock -- it's also the BC government.

Posted by: Jancis M. Andrews | 2009-07-10 8:29:37 AM

"Individual rights, without the welfare state, always involve responsibility by definition."

Exactly. So why do I never see talk of responsibility accompanying your tireless talk of rights?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-10 8:42:10 AM

@ Jancis //The polygamy at Bountiful is not consensual. //

That seems like quite a generalization. I am well aware of the patriarichal society that places like this have, and that is part of their culture and religion. Even if the marriages are arranged (as many of them are) that doesn't mean it's not consentual.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-07-10 9:00:45 AM

Child sex laws wouldn't survive a Charter challenge either, at least not by their own merits. There is nothing in the Charter that says children are special. In fact, there is nothing in the Charter that says Canadians assume full rights only at age 18, either, so a court challenge of the entire concept of minor status might prove interesting.

Shane, you're completely wrong about this. And there's relevant case law to this regard. While the Charter actually prohibits discrimination based on age, section 15(2) of the constitution act allows discrimination for the purposes of protecting a disadvantaged group, and further, the Constitution Act of 1867, which still has force of law, with the exception of provisions superseded by the Constitution Act of 1982 provide explicit provisions for the establishment of Age of Majority restrictions by the provinces.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2009-07-10 9:49:30 AM

As soon as anyone is "forced" or coerced into entering a marriage, a crime HAS occurred. I am only ok with acts between consenting adults, anyone being forced to do something, I see as an act of violence that should be prosecuted. Also I think age of consent should be 18 years old. You can't even sign a cellphone contract till you are 18, so how can you legally consent to sex or marriage younger than that.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-07-10 10:19:54 AM

A morally equivocating libertarian argument would be that the only debatable issue with these folks is the appropriate age of consent and (assurances of) the lack of coercion involved in that consent. A more Randian argument might be that the appropriate moral judgement would dictate some form of societal censorship. This issue, although in this case, a small confined group of wackos is analogous to the much larger and much more aggressive Islamification of the West. At least the "Mormon Fundamentalists" aren't trying to shove (their form of) Shariah on the rest of us via the state.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2009-07-10 10:24:39 AM

Those three editions of the Constitution would appear to be at variance with one another, Mike. That is the sort of inconsistency lawyers love to exploit, and judges love to wade into. If it came down to it, the latest edition of the Constitution would most likely take precedence over the previous ones.

Given the fact that the age of consent has been manipulated several times independently of the age of majority, there is more wiggle room in this area than some might care to admit.

And given the care that society, including the government, lavishes upon children, you'd have quite a time convincing anyone that they constitute a "disadvantaged group." Their life is all rights, with no responsibility. Says so right in the law. That's called "privilege." And certainly such an interpretation would be at variance with the original intent of the legislation, which targeted "disadvantaged" adults, in particular Indians.

I refuse to underestimate the idiocy of the judiciary. That way I'm surprised less often.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-10 10:45:53 AM

Having lived in a non Arab Muslim country for many years where polygamy was legal and the norm for those who could afford more than one wife, I can say that children were better cared for and less neglected than often the case here. Furthermore, I recall being astounded when the topic of polygamy was discussed in class and not one of the teenage girls was opposed to it. I had wrongly assumed that my views were universal. These girls thought that the European idea of one man and one wife was ridiculous. They explained to me, the teacher, that they preferred to have co-wives to share the work, the care of the children and for company. The first wife usually picked the second wife et cetera when the husband was wealthy enough to take another wife, since they esteemed that harmony among the wives was imperative. We may reject this practice for ourselves, I certainly do, but there is no need to drum up untrue and unproved claims.

As for the children they were all equally loved and cared for, referring to all the wives as mother. They were well adjusted and I never witnessed a case of state intervention nor of children in need of being adopted. There was no state welfare either, so economics probably had a lot to do with the usefulness of polygamy in that situation.

The bottom line is that because this small group of people offer no danger or threat, they are an easy target for the collectivists. I wager that there are probably more Muslims with more than one wife living in Canada, but of course that subject is taboo for reasons most of us understand.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-07-10 10:52:51 AM

"As soon as anyone is "forced" or coerced into entering a marriage, a crime HAS occurred." -drgreenthumb

If you read the article you will see that there are few or no actual legal marriages within this community. So there are no marriages to be forced into, just religious couplings that are legally illusory. It's the doctrine of legal impossibility -- you can't be the victim of a non-existent crime just because you believe it's a crime.

Anyways, for true "coercion" I think you would need a threat of violence or imprisonment or something like that. I have not seen any allegations of that here. On the contrary, we have evidence of numerous women and men who left the group without any apparent fear of retaliation. Compare this the widely publicized cases of Muslim fathers who have murdered daughters who objected to arranged marriages.

Posted by: Art | 2009-07-10 11:00:56 AM

@ Art //On the contrary, we have evidence of numerous women and men who left the group without any apparent fear of retaliation.//

True. They may face social ostracism, but that will happen when leaving a very dogmatic group. Aslong as you aren't physically preventing from leaving, then it's the persons choice to stay.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-07-10 11:16:29 AM

I have no strong objection to self-recognized "polygamy" whether practised by Muslims or Mormons, whether it's religious or not. The practice of arranging relationships was virtually universal throughout the world, and even much of the West, until very, very recently (and parents certainly still express preferences on the individual level, even in my own very progressive family!). Polygamy has been nearly as widespread.

What I do have an objection to is the hypocrisy of commenters like "Jancis" above who post hateful diatribes (in which she refers to women who bear children as "cattle"), where she uses the cover of "protecting women" as a basis for imposing her moral values as law on Canadians. I am also perplexed as to why she, and some others who share her views, are so fixated on this tiny, powerless group in Bountiful, when each year countless thousands of Muslims, many polygamous, enter Canada, with avowed purposeful political intent. It seems a waste of time and a misuse of resources, and for me calls into question her stated motivations.

Posted by: Roger27 | 2009-07-10 11:57:27 AM

As usual these So-Cons are jumping up and down with their ethnocentric viewpoint. Their biggest cry, as usual, is "think of the children." In fact come to think of it this is the cry of radical left wingers also. Food for thought.

Has anyone asked the members of Bountiful if they feel repressed. The only ones the media talk to are those who have left the community. Has anybody ever thought it could be that teens don't like the rules at home as in our western cities? They rather live on the streets than follow the rules of the household.

In fact, I think that the "think of the children" argument is the lamest argument around. These days, spanking your child is considered child abuse. When I reached 18, I actually thanked my father for spanking me, for it kept me out of trouble and on the straight and narrow.

I don't care what side of the debate one is on, but it should not include personal attacks. It seems now debates are about who can come up with the nastiest personal attacks or who can shout the loudest. On this site I noticed the ones who are worst are the ones who don't have a pair and hide behind a pseudoname or an alias.

Posted by: Doug Gilchrist | 2009-07-10 12:06:20 PM

"Exactly. So why do I never see talk of responsibility accompanying your tireless talk of rights?"

Because I assume most people on this site understand the concept.

But just for fun, I'll give you an example. I fully support the right for someone to do what they wish with their own body. If they want to take drugs, that's their right. But then they have to accept the responsibility for the consequences. This may imply losing your friends, family, livelihood. I would never, either, expect the state to force other citizens to take care of this individual. Does this satisfy you Shane? In a liberal or libertarian state, rights would always come with responsibility. Many people have tried to explain this to you for months.

So here's my question. Why do I never you hear you criticize libertarianism in a way that's accurate? Why do I have to defend myself against your attacks for things I don't even believe in?

Posted by: Charles | 2009-07-10 12:11:00 PM

Btw Scott, I forgot to mention I thought your article yesterday to be excellent. I'm looking forward to part II.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-07-10 12:12:01 PM

Thanks. I hope to bring up topic for interesting discussion.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-07-10 1:09:48 PM

"Their biggest cry, as usual, is "think of the children." In fact come to think of it this is the cry of radical left wingers also. Food for thought." -Doug

Great points, Doug. Controlling the children has been the tactic of choice for millenia for imperialist state actors, Left-wing and Right, wishing to eliminate troublesome minority groups without actually killing them. Since compelling a change in the beliefs of an adult human being is an annoyingly difficult task, far easier to simply take that person's children, the natural heirs of his unique belief system, and raise them as part of the majority culture.

In the past this imperialist motive was explicit -- for example, the seizing of Native American children in Canada and the United States in the late 1800s and 1900s. Today it is implicit, hidden away under concerns of a vaguely-defined notion of "abuse" which can be manipulated to apply to the practices of disfavored religious minorities.

It's rather frightening to me, and a sad statement on human nature, that so soon after we have learned the lessons of the so-called "stolen generations" of Native children that we are eagerly arming the state with the power and authority to make the same mistakes all over again.

Posted by: Art | 2009-07-10 1:42:29 PM

"Because I assume most people on this site understand the concept."

Don't assume, Charles; makes my dick itch. It's sloppy and it's lazy. It's how airliners fall out of the sky and, more relevant to our discussion, how bad policy gets passed. The likely truth is more mundane: Because you simply don't think about responsibility as much and don't see why you should have to.

The trouble with your approach is that it's 100% reactive, and 0% proactive. Preventing a harm in the first place is much more efficient and less expensive than trying to remedy that harm once it has happened. In many cases the harm can never be repaired, even if it was easily preventable.

I'm not criticizing libertarianism per-se; merely the way some people represent it here. Perhaps that is why you've been chasing a will-o-the-wisp all these months. You've been looking everywhere but in the right place--your own writing.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-10 2:54:45 PM

I am appalled to see some of the comments directed to Jancis - she is obviously more conversant with the situation in Creston than the men here who should know better. Obviously it suits the POV of some to assume that FLDS polygamy is a product of consenting adults rather than that of brainwashing and subjugation of minors. Do you not yet understand that, piousness aside, Blackmore and Olen are very wealthy men - and virtual slave owners who have amassed their wealth at the expense of others, including the taxpayer?

The social workers in Creston admit they have a hands-off policy in regard to Bountiful; they will not go there no matter how many calls they receive. BC taxpayers fork over a half million a year to maintain two (because the two factions started feuding after Olen Sr.'s death) schools teaching a mix of home economics and religious studies to Grade 8. None of the students go on to attend high school.

FLDS is a CULT and maybe the question should be if we can properly support the "religious freedoms" of a group so wackadoodle that they will shun you if you don't believe that multiple teenage wives will give you the power to populate a whole planet in the next life?

Also the Blackmore family has contributed financially in the past to our local conservative MP and he has accepted their money ... you know whose side Jim Abbott's bread is buttered on and it's not about advancing women's rights.

Posted by: stella | 2009-07-10 6:37:16 PM

"I am appalled to see some of the comments directed to Jancis - she is obviously more conversant with the situation in Creston than the men here who should know better."

Stella, what appals you is if no importance whatever, nor has it any bearing on any pertinent fact, in any way, shape, form, wise, or semblance. This is a blog, where people debate. If these men's opinions are wrong, tell them how and why. If you just want to emote, call the Oprah Winfrey Show.

That said, your assessment is a correct one. If these people are in violation of the law, they should be prosecuted. One way or another, this issue must be settled. Avoiding the issue simply lets the wound fester.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-10 6:54:54 PM

Oh dear, Stella is appalled. Get over it love. If you, or Jancis want to find something appalling, then get involved in putting a stop to the honour killings and force marriages, especially those concerning minors. Also I suggest that you give the old feminist canard that men are not qualified to understand a rest.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-07-10 7:42:29 PM

"Oh dear, Stella is appalled."

If you want debate, then let's have it and please stop with knee-jerk patronization in lieu of logical response.

The British government cares enough about the forced marriage of British minors that embassies in Pakistan and India actively intervene in forced marriages.

This is not about "feminism", that catch-all for all things female that you find irritating, this is more about taxpayer money supporting a CULT. FLDS is a CULT. And a highly successful one. Are you even familiar with their beliefs? Please explain exactly what part of CULT is "feminist canard".

Posted by: stella | 2009-07-10 11:01:39 PM

//FLDS is a CULT//

The difference between religion and cult is negligible.

//this is more about taxpayer money supporting a CULT.//

Obviously that's a problem from my perspective, but this topic is specifically about plural marriage, not the FLDS in general.

//Are you even familiar with their beliefs?//

Very familiar. I was an active Mormon for 11 years of my adult life and we share the same history as the FLDS.

BTW, there are people that practice plural marriage not for religious reasons, how about them?

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-07-10 11:43:20 PM

Scott, there are set criteria for defining a cult - http://www.religio.de/cudef.html for starters - with some of the more common hallmarks being requirement for complete subjugation to a self-appointed human authority, deep disdain for outsiders, mind control through limited education and repetition, excommunication of all members opposing the group standard, sacrifice of identity to the group leader, etc, etc.
As to plural marriages, polygamy is certainly practiced in Islam but most notably in those countries where women are not allowed to drive, work or go outside without an escort. Here in Canada we have this thing called "equal rights" - and at risk of being derided as a "feminist" yet again - women are not taking multiple husbands, denying them basic liberties, making money from their labour and then expecting the state to pick up the tab for the kids.
If two or more CONSENTING ADULTS form a plural marriage outside the law, well, there are ways of setting up wills and legal arrangements privately to protect all those concerned, especially the children.
I am not in favour of social services taking the kids away - why punish them? - but Olen and especially Blackmore need to be treated like any other deadbeat dad trying to scam the system ... with child support automatically deducted from their bank accounts and used, preferably, to offset the half million dollars in taxpayer funding for their private school.
I grew up with a Mormon friend and always envied her close-knit family and the many activities they did together. She had one dad and one mother. The Mormom Church does not support the FLDS (which they see as a CULT) or their doctrine of entering the Celestial Kingdom through polygamous marriage.

Posted by: stella | 2009-07-11 6:17:00 AM

Based on the stories that I did on the Bountiful polygamists while at B.C. Report, I would tend to disagree with the original post. I suspect that a lot of sad stuff is artfully kept hidden too.

One of my interview subjects was former plural wife Debbie Palmer. I'd suggest that her autobiography, Keep Sweet, might be useful place to start for those wondering why some are arguing that legalized polygamy is not a great idea.

Posted by: Rick Hiebert | 2009-07-11 8:48:16 AM

OK leaving aside the thorny ethics of legitimizing a CULT in the name of "religious freedom" and the questionable legality of giving children a substandard education and then treating them like property, let's look at the legal quagmire of polygamy itself.

Prior to the legalization of gay marriage, gay couples were still free include each other in their wills and make contractual agreements - if they so desired - e.g a written contract agreeing that Skippy will be a paid companion with room and board for a term of at least 2 years. With the official recognition of gay marriage rights, nothing really changed except that the employer and the state are now obliged to pick up the tab for gay spousal benefits.

The producers of "Big Love" felt - wrongly - that highlighting "christian" polygamy would create greater acceptance for gay marriage (in the US anyway). Now, under current laws, gay marriage or no, adultery is considered automatic grounds for uncontested divorce. i.e. "you play, you pay".

Under current laws I could come home with another man and announce to my husband that I have committed myself to the Church of Holy Wackadoodle - and he could file for uncontested divorce with full custody of the children. Under a law acknowledging my right to religious polygamy a) I could claim that my entrance to the Celestial Kingdom has been blocked and my religious freedoms curtailed b) tell my husband "lookit, all my relatives are Wackadoodles and so is your boss and if you persist in your bad attitude, you will no longer have a job" and/or c) "if you are no longer welcome in Wackadoodleville and have to leave, it would too much hardship for the kids and so they will be staying with me and my new husband".

When inclusion of a third (or 4th, 5th or 6th) party in the marriage is no longer adultery - unless accepted unconditionally by all - how do we differentiate consensual polygamy from forced plural marriage? Plus the employer and the state will then be obliged to pick up the tab for multiple spousal benefits.

Posted by: stella | 2009-07-11 9:32:40 AM

"If you want debate, then let's have it and please stop with knee-jerk patronization in lieu of logical response."

How exactly does one respond logically to an emotional statement?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-11 9:54:10 AM

@ stella // there are set criteria for defining a cult - http://www.religio.de/cudef.html for starters //

Those definitions all apply to the early Christian church as well. What cult really means is "a religion that I don't like".

//The Mormon Church does not support the FLDS (which they see as a CULT) or their doctrine of entering the Celestial Kingdom through polygamous marriage. //

This is getting a bit off track, but I will let you know that yes, the mainstream Mormons DO still practice plural marriage in their temples since a man can be "sealed" to more than one spouse at a time. Joseph Smith, the first prophet of the Mormon church, is the one that instituted polygamy in their religion.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-07-11 10:08:39 AM

@ Rick // for those wondering why some are arguing that legalized polygamy is not a great idea//

I am aware of the practices of these people. The point I'm making is that consenting people should be free to marry whomever they want, as long as there is consent.

I am afraid that some people are getting bogged down by the FLDS context, perhaps I shouldn't have used it since some folks are focusing on that rather than the act of marriage itself.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-07-11 10:11:40 AM

Scott, I agree. I note all kinds of criticisms but none addressing why this is government business. Let us have a look at a few. Cult is a non starter, since it is pretty standard practice for one religious group to refer to people of a different group as belonging to a cult. In this sense there is no difference. Then there is the welfare argument, which again does not hold water since the number of these women collecting welfare pales in comparison to the number of single mothers collecting welfare throughout Canada. I am not a supporter of this type of welfare, but that is a different topic. The other objections are simply based on emotion and again fail to explain why the government should be involved. Unless there is real evidence that members are being held prisoner and being forced against their will, I say butt out.

So, again why the focus on this miniscule group? Clearly it is because they are an easy target and cannot fight back.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-07-11 10:55:03 AM

If one wants to talk of marriage, one should look at marriage both cross culturally and historically. At face value it is a religious institution but it also used as social control to control property rights.

This is why there is such a fight over gay marriage. What Social Conservatives don't realize is why gay people fight so vehemently for marriage rights. It comes down to protection of their property, in case of death of their partner, from family members who don't approve of the relationship. So these So-Cons have no right to say gay marriage is being shoved down their throat until the government tells them that they must marry a same sex partner. A true libertarian believes all citizens are have equal oppurtunities but are not equal.

As to Cults. Remember at one time Christianity was considered a cult and the true gods were Jupiter, Hera, Athena et. all. To say that the Christian God is the only true god because most Christians believe it it totally ignorant. Jesus will return and New Juruselem will descend to earth (and all the wonderful events that can only be imagined by a night of heavy pyote smoking and LSD) is as equally as valid as a martyr blowing himself up to receive 72 virgins. Logically impossible (or probable at very astronomical odds.)

And before you jump on me for being an atheist, not that it is a bad thing. I believe that there is a creator, a higher power, and I have come to that view studying science. Everyone needs to believe in something, and it doesn't matter what. At the end of the day it depends if you believe you are a good person or not.

Posted by: Doug Gilchrist | 2009-07-11 10:57:34 AM

Doug, excellent points. The solution would be to remove the state from marriage and leave it to either a religious institution or a written contractual agreement. One major opposition to SSM is that religious institutions may end up being forced to perform same sex marriages when it goes against the religion. That concern is well founded considering HRC rulings to date. I still maintain that the beginning of the end started with government recognition of common law marriage. Had the government stayed out of the marriage business, this would not have happened. Two adults living together would only have been protected if they had a written contractual agreement or a religious one.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-07-11 11:26:04 AM

In this blog, which calls itself a debate, I have yet to hear a woman defending her right to a polygamous relationship, or for that matter, a direct answer to any of my talking points.

Please try again.

- Why should we legitimize one obscure CULT in the face of social and economic reason? Islam condones polygamy but not every muslim is polygamous and it is not a requirement for entering Paradise. There are countries where polygamy is commonplace, but as noted above, they also require women to wear the veil and blowing oneself up along with a few hapless bystanders is encouraged - none of these are prerequistes to religious freedom.

- How do we differentiate between consenting adults practicing polygamy and forced plural marriage? If the minimum age of marriage was raised to 18 regardless of parental consent and a minimum standard curriculum was mandated in all schools, then we could possibly justify the next step but that is not true today.

- Figurative "celestial marriage" is no more legal polygamy than communion and the consumption of "the Body of Christ" is cannibalism. Or maybe you know something about Temple services I don't. Or maybe we should honour the religious freedom of the Borneo headhunters among us?

- Common-law marriage, or the intervention of the state in the institution of marriage arose in part from the development of spousal benefits. The will has been around for centuries. So has the contractual agreement and there is nothing wrong with that. Why should the state or the employer be mandated to provide benefits for 30 spouses or more?

One more time, Blackmore and Olen should be treated like any other deadbeat dads who knocked up one woman and then ran to the next. They need to be paying their own child support. Please explain one more time why we are giving these people good taxpayer money to bring up their children to believe there is no other alternative.

Posted by: stella | 2009-07-11 2:12:00 PM

Very good points Stella. The reason you don't see many women talking about the issues on this blog, is their probably not allowed to.

Posted by: glen | 2009-07-11 3:09:37 PM

Woops. that should have read they are.

Posted by: glen | 2009-07-11 3:11:53 PM

In summary Stella, like many others, wants to use the government against those with whose beliefs and live styles she disagrees or does not like even though they offer no threat to her. Pretty common these days with always some clamouring for another ban on this and on that.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-07-12 10:15:34 AM

Its illegal to hold captives in this country...unless you are the government.
So if these women are being held as captives, why hasn't Blackmore been charged with kidnapping?
Again I'll say...the government couldn't properly organize a county fair or a Chinese fire drill...keep them out of private arrangements.
No situation has ever been so bad that the government couldn't make it worse.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-07-12 10:54:46 AM

@ stella //I have yet to hear a woman defending her right to a polygamous relationship//

Women Defend Polygamy - Support

A Modern Polygamous Wife

Polygamy Family Interview

It's their choice.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-07-12 11:40:13 AM

@ Alain //solution would be to remove the state from marriage and leave it to either a religious institution or a written contractual agreement.//


Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-07-12 11:43:16 AM

@ Alain //solution would be to remove the state from marriage and leave it to either a religious institution or a written contractual agreement.//


Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-07-12 11:43:16 AM

The only reason the state is involved in marriage is to assert its claim over a marriage as being a "tax unit".

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-07-12 12:22:33 PM

//The only reason the state is involved in marriage is to assert its claim over a marriage as being a "tax unit". //

It makes as much sense to be for the government to be involved in marriage as it would be for it to be involved in baptism.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-07-12 6:38:59 PM

I think JC nailed it, but I would add it also assists government in keeping tabs on citizens just as with being required by law to answer census questions no matter how invasive they may be. Then there are all the invasive questions for obtaining a gun permit and it gets worse and worse. Personally I remain very suspicious of government, whatever the party, and feel that the less information it has, the better off we are. One does not need to be involved in any criminal activity to see and understand this.

The government alone is bad enough for wanting to control people, but when you have a bunch of busybodies demanding that the government criminalise any behaviour among consenting adults simply because they do not like it, it gets even worse. For outsiders to want the government to criminalise the beliefs and practices of this small group, because they do not like it, is equal to demanding that the government criminalise homosexuality between consenting adults. There are always people doing things or behaving in ways I do not approve and there always will be, but as long as it is not being imposed on me and remains among consenting adults, I believe in live and let live. Enough already.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-07-12 7:50:41 PM

Live and let live. Words to live by.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-07-14 9:29:44 AM

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