Monday, April 21, 2008

Polygamy and Adultery

I've been keeping merely a mildly interested eye on the Mormon sect of polygamists that were broken up recently in Texas. I've seen some of the wives on Larry King and have read several articles. Most recently I read this article on Triablogue.

What interests me is the notion that polygamy is rightly vilified as wrong in much of the American culture. It's certainly illegal. Adultery is also illegal in most states, although the definition of adultery differs slightly. However, the ban on adultery isn't enforced. What makes us think that polygamy can be enforced aside from the fact that civil marriage at least requires a license.

I'm no polygamist and I think polygamy is wrong. But let my submit this:

1a) Polygamists, by definition, commit to the marriages they make.
1b) Adulterers, by definition do not commit to relationships.
2a) Evidentially, the families of polygamists typically raise their children to be otherwise very law-abiding and responsible citizens.
2b) Evidentially, the children of adulterers abandoned to one parent or another or grandparents or multiple homes raise a high percentage of their children to be troubled citizens.

So, which one is worse civilly? They're both wrong morally, but one seems to be more civilly tolerable than the other. Why would we as a culture put up with adultery while we condemn polygamy?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

One mistake in your post. These are not "mormon" sects. They have nothing to do with mormons. LDS Church. FYI.

Mon Apr 21, 08:16:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Jim Pemberton said...

Perhaps you can educate me, anon. It's my understanding that the difference between a Mormon and the church of Latter Day Saints (LDS) is the same difference between Muslims and Islam. i.e. Muslims follow the teachings of Islam as Mormons follow the teachings of the LDS. Am I wrong in thinking that their use of the name LDS is that of a sectarian reference noting that their practice is a derivative of historic Mormon practice? If so, apparently I'm not the only one who makes this error and I'm open to correction for the sake of accuracy.

Mon Apr 21, 09:47:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Mark Pemberton said...

Perhaps the litmus test used here is the same as one used when comparing abortion and the death penalty. Warped huh? It's ok to kill the unborn child, but surely we can't kill those who have been convicted of severe crimes and sentenced to death. Park in the driveway and drive in the parkway....

Wed Apr 23, 12:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Jim Pemberton said...

Yeah, it all goes back to presuppositions. You and I have the gospel (logos of God - incarnation and atonement of the Creator) as our primary presupposition, bro. Others have existential convenience as their presupposition. The problem is that their presupposition requires the compartmentalization of philosophical constructs that result in inconsistencies such as this.

Wed Apr 23, 08:39:00 PM GMT-5  

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