Monday, December 16, 2013

Told You So!

UPDATE: Of course, one would never say 'Told You So' about the contents of a post like this ... would one? But one might say, "Full marks for consistent logic."

ORIGINAL

One of the observations made here (not necessarily by me, this is not a credit claiming exercise) is that there is a connection between changing marriage laws for one thing and for another.

In particular, there is a likelihood that once marriage laws have changed to remove the constraint that the contract is between a man and a woman, it will not be long before other constraints will be removed. The most likely such removal is the constraint that marriage be between only two people.

Such a move is being made in Utah. (OK, no great surprise there!) Kiwis may have seen a report about this on Stuff a few days ago. Jonathan S. Tobin offers his reflections here. I want to offer some of his work on the connections between same sex marriage and polygamous marriage.
"Once you blow up a societal consensus it cannot be easily reconstructed to protect only those practices or beliefs you like while still banning those you think ought to be kept beyond the pale. That’s the upshot of a case decided late on Friday in a Federal District Court in Salt Lake City, Utah that essentially decriminalized polygamy."
"While gay marriage advocates have sought to distance themselves from anything that smacked of approval for polygamy, Waddoups’s ruling merely illustrates what follows from a legal trend in which longstanding definitions are thrown out. The inexorable logic of the end of traditional marriage laws leads us to legalized polygamy. Noting this doesn’t mean that the political and cultural avalanche that has marginalized opposition to gay marriage is wrong. But it should obligate those who have helped orchestrate this sea change and sought to denigrate their opponents as bigots to acknowledge that the end of prohibitions of other non-traditional forms of marriage follows inevitably from their triumph." 
"But liberals like Turley still refuse to acknowledge that Justice Antonin Scalia was right when he predicted in his dissent in Lawrence that the demise of sodomy laws would lead to the legalization of some things that advocates of gay rights wanted no part of. If we have “evolved” to the point where marriage by any two consenting adults of either sex should be recognized by the state, then there isn’t any logical or legal rationale for prohibiting the same privilege for any number of citizens cohabiting to claim the same right.
All that is needed is a little candor on this issue on the part of critics of the dwindling band of opponents of gay marriage. The floodgates have been opened, and if that makes some of us uncomfortable, especially those who understandably view polygamy as synonymous with the exploitation of women, then we should be honest enough to acknowledge that it is merely part of the price that had to be paid to give gays the same right to marry afforded to other citizens."

"Oh," you might say, living Down Under, "We are not in Utah." True. But we are part of the Western world which seems very desirable to people who come from countries which tolerate polygamy. It is just a matter of time and the pressure will come.

Now it strikes me that there are two directions response in liberal social democracies could go. One is to seek to revoke the changes we have made, on the grounds that we didn't know what we were unleashing. Well, good luck with that! There were folk who tried to make the point and were dismissed as worry warts.

Another direction is a bit of frankness and honesty: yes, we have made changes, we didn't know what we were unleashing, but that is okay because we believe in same sex marriage with such commitment that if consequentially there is legalization of polygamy then so be it. The price of exploitation of women is a price worth paying.

Or is Jonathan Tobin just another worry wart?

Those inclined to think he is over anxious, if you are prepared to comment here, could you please articulate for ADU readers on what rational grounds a Western state would approve same sex marriage but not approve polygamy. Thank you!

Supplementary question: When Jesus said there were many things he had to teach us which we could not yet bear, did he have polygamy in mind? (H/T MCJ)

Aside: great article here re Scripture, reason, tradition

29 comments:

Shawn Herles said...

"could you please articulate for ADU readers on what rational grounds a Western state would approve same sex marriage but not approve polygamy."

They can't. One inevitably leads to the other, or it creates an inconsistency in the law. A gay rights group in NZ already wants to legalize polygamy. And of course that will lead to even more radical changes further down the road.

mike greenslade said...

Kia ora Peter,

Surely polygamy is a traditional (and biblical) form of marriage? And is there not plenty of evidence that monogamous marriage has been used for the exploitation of women?

Lorenzo said...

The sheer fact that there are several wives, generally, makes the marriage an unavoidable source of gender-based inequality. There are many, many dimensions to marriage besides the gender of those involved. Plus, have you noticed, the more devotedly polygamist societies also tend to have the greatest animus against any kind of legalisation of gay relationships.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Mike
I try to read the Old Testament through the New Testament. The latter has no admittance of polygamy.

Monogamous marriages can be exploitative, but are they structurally disposed to be so in the way that polygamous marriages are?

Shawn Herles said...

"Surely polygamy is a traditional (and biblical) form of marriage?"

No. Polygamy, which occurs after the Fall, is shown in the narrative of Scripture to be a falling away from God's original intentions described in the Genesis creation hymn as one man and one women, and the restored/re-affirmed by Jesus.

While women can be exploited in any kind of marriage or relationship, polygamy tends to do so far more than any other, for a variety of reasons. If you have watched the excellent tv series Big Love about a polygamous Mormon family you'll have an idea of what I mean.

There is another issue here though, which is whether the State should be involved in defining or regulating marriage in the first place.

Shawn Herles said...

"If we are to judge by the sort of narratives we see promoted by the "more intelligent" in society today, the results of abandoning Christianity are not impressive. The New Pantheon of postmodernism seems to consist of a perverse mix of envy-driven, universalist egalitarian socialism combined with a sick fetish for normalizing all manner of deviant lifestyles. Egalitarianism, white guilt, multiculturalism, feminism, gay marriage, LGBTQ rights, gender nihilism and any number of other ever more ridiculous and destructive liberal causes are all a part of the new social Catechism. Belief in the moral equality, if not outright superiority, of individuals with alternative sexual preferences and/or nonconforming gender identities is a key article of faith. Indeed, it seems we are heading towards a society where any sort of discrimination, intolerance or exclusion of those with “non-traditional” sexual lifestyles will be frowned upon and potentially punished."

Michael Enoch

Father Ron Smith said...

Of course, if marriage were to be banned altogether, that would change the face of relationships, yes?

What society needs is for any two people who are legally entitled to be married, to consider seriously undertaking this state with some intention of maintaining it for life. We're having enough trouble trying to encourage heterosexual couples to consider this, without clouding the issue here. One problem at a time, pleass!

Bill Ghrist said...

I'm not sure how much legal force this would have, but there is a fundamental difference between same sex marriage and polygamy. The acceptance of same sex marriage is an acknowledgement that we as a society no longer regard marriage as a relationship of property, i.e., we have rejected the older understanding that the wife is the property of the husband. Our cultural and legal position has evolved to the principle that both parties in a marriage are of equal status. Polygamy is the old order in spades--there is no way to regard polygamy as a relationship in which the parties have equal status.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that there are two basic rational grounds for making civil laws in democratic societies.
One is that there are civil problems to be solved.
Jesus said, Moses gave you this law (concerning divorce) because of your hardness of heart - that is, to regulate a problem actually manifesting itself in society.
The second issue is social consensus. Where social consensus is lacking, laws become unacceptable and unenforceable.
In our democracy the church has a voice in the general discussion but obviously that voice will not be privileged in any way, other than the force and clarity and relevance of its arguments.
As regards gay marriage - clearly there have been issues that needed regulating (eg issues over superannuation); and the social consensus has not been able to grasp the real force of arguments that marriage is between a man and a woman.
As regards polygamy, if long term social trends lead to relationships of a polygamous character then eventually the socio-legal problems that attend such relationships (questions of property, inheritance etc) will need some form of legal framework.
The law of the Anglican church ought to be decided on different grounds but probably won't be.
Rhys

Shawn Herles said...

" The acceptance of same sex marriage is an acknowledgement that we as a society no longer regard marriage as a relationship of property, i.e., we have rejected the older understanding that the wife is the property of the husband."

The claim that marriage treated women as the property of the husband prior to same-sex marriage is bizarre, and imo untrue. Moreover, it is largely a Liberal/Feminist myth (propaganda) that traditional/Biblical marriage was merely a property relationship.

I also think that Bill misunderstands the nature of the "equality" laws. It is legally unsustainable to give same-sex "marriage" equal status with traditional/Biblical marriage while not also affording the same equality to other forms, such as polygamy. Eventually the law will be tested in court, and it won't stand.

liturgy said...

Yes, the logic is inevitable. Our church’s blessing of sequential sex partners inevitably leads to polygamy, and blessing simultaneous sex partners. Just as Martin has maintained that ordaining women has its own inner logic which leads to marrying gays.

Advent Blessings

Bosco

Father Ron Smith said...

"Polygamy, which occurs after the Fall," - Shawn -

2 questions for you, Shawn: Is there any human relationship that did not 'occur after the Fall'. And, 'was there any human relationship that occurred 'before the Fall'.

Father Ron Smith said...

"Those inclined to think he is over anxious, if you are prepared to comment here, could you please articulate for ADU readers on what rational grounds a Western state would approve same sex marriage but not approve polygamy. Thank you!"

Could one of those grounds, Peter, not be 'Plain common sense'? Especially in view of the fact that, in Christian society, marriage has always been nothing other than bertween two persons.

The Same-sex Marriage Bill simply cannot be accounted as equivalent to the legalisation of threesomes, or polygamy - a different kind of relationship, not wanted by the majority of society members.

Same-Sex Marriage, on the other hand, is accounted to be only an extension of accepted two-person relationship, which involves only two persons on the same gender.

Most married people have enough difficulty being faithful to one partner, and can hardly imagine being multiply faithful to more.

Any attempt to equate the desire of society in general to move towards polygamy as an extension of Same-Sex Marriage is alarmist.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Plain common sense in Christian society in which marriage has always been between a man and woman teaches me that marriage should always be between two people of the opposite gender.

No! I am afraid 'plain common sense' does not constitute a rational reason for approving same sex marriage but not approving polygamy.

It is not alarmist, but simple justice, if not politeness to request that our parliament consider the rights of Muslims and polygamist Mormons to exercise their preference for polygamy over monogamy in the same way as it has considered the rights of gay and lesbian people to marry someone of their own gender.

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter. We are here talking about a Western democracy that immigrants opt into. Most immigrants who are either Muslim or Mormon know the rule and laws of western society. If they did not wish to live in a Western society - with its social implications they surely would not want to live here. We are not subject in N.Z., for instance, to the theocratic Sharia Law.

Western society rejects polygamy. It now accepts Same-Sex Marriage.
The application of the latter does not necessarily lead to any ready acceptance of the former.

Remember, we are still a Western Society - which many conservative evangelicals seem unhappy about.
Whatever its faults, Western Society does not accept polygamy. To suggest that it might - simply because the law has been changed to included Same-Sex relationships - is nothing less than mischief.

Shawn Herles said...

In response to Ron.

"Could one of those grounds, Peter, not be 'Plain common sense'?"

No. Because there is no plain common sense in the West anymore. Liberalism/Cultural Marxism is an abstract ideology that shuns common sense and reality. In fact in many Western countries, speaking plain common sense can get your arrested and hauled before the Liberal "Human Rights" inquisition. Just ask Mark Steyn.

"in view of the fact that, in Christian society, marriage has always been nothing other than bertween two persons."

Untrue. Marriage was been between one man and one women, not the Liberal ideology of genderless "persons". In fact the reduction of real, particular, biological men and women to abstract, genderless "persons" is a nice bit of evidence to support my point that common sense is being replaced by brutal and abstract ideology, much as Orwell described chillingly in Nineteen Eighty Four.

In response to Bosco.

"Yes, the logic is inevitable. Our church’s blessing of sequential sex partners inevitably leads to polygamy,"

Totally irrelevant point as we are not talking about the Church or civil society but the State and the law. The issue here, which you have completely missed, is the consistency of law. If the State passes a law granting "equality" to one group it must sooner or later be consistent and grant that equality to another. The logic of how law is made and enforced in the modern State dictates this.

Shawn Herles said...

Peter said:

"It is not alarmist, but simple justice, if not politeness to request that our parliament consider the rights of Muslims and polygamist Mormons to exercise their preference for polygamy over monogamy in the same way as it has considered the rights of gay and lesbian people to marry someone of their own gender."

Exactly right. I don't think either of us is making a slippery slope argument here, but an argument about how laws are applied in todays society. The State cannot grant a right to one group without sooner or later granting it to another, or it will be accused of discrimination, a terrible sin in the modern West. The Bill itself made this even more inevitable by using the word 'equality', which was a lie of course, but now that the word has been invoked, on what legal grounds can the State refuse that same 'equality' elsewhere?. Especially in todays society in which equality, "fairness" and treating everyone the same are such powerful memes, utterly removed from reality and common sense though they are. It will get away with making exceptions for a while, but sooner or later the iron law of "equality" that the Frankfurt School has so successfully twisted and perverted our society with, will force the States hand.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
The USA is a Western society and it appears powerless to resist legal acceptance of polygamy.

Will Britain be able to resist Sharia law?

How far behind will NZ be?

Shawn Herles said...

Nothing to worry about, right? Just scaremongering? Just slippery slope argument, right?

Then again.......

The First US State to Legalize Same Sex Marriage Now to legalize bestiality, adultery, repeal public morality, and stop teaching children about values and virtues.

http://wakeupcallnews.blogspot.co.nz/2013/07/the-first-us-state-to-legalize-same-sex.html

Court refuses to ban Dutch pedophile party - Europe - International Herald Tribune

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/17/world/europe/17iht-dutch.2222178.html?_r=0

Christians Banned from Foster Care over Gay Views

http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2011/march/christians-banned-from-foster-care-over-gay-views.html

This is how the West ends, not with a bang but with a whimper.

Father Ron Smith said...

In answer to Peter and Shawn in their recent alarmist postings:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not upon your own understanding. In all your ways ACKNOWLEDGE HIM, and He will direct your paths" - A Word of scripture -

That's my philosophy, what's yours?

Shawn Herles said...

The cracks are starting to appear in the Liberal myth of LGBT...

"In what may come as a shock to many, there’s no such thing as a transgendered person.

And that’s not just my view. Canadian psychiatrist, Dr Joseph Berger, made the statement when testifying to the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights earlier this year.

His point was that the whole desire was a figment of the imagination. No doubt this will stir up a few angry emotions, but as the eminently qualified and truthful doctor pointed out, this whole debate is not about scientific facts but feelings. We are dealing with people who are unhappy and wish that they were something else.

There’s a word for that and Dr Berger used it as well: delusion.

http://bernardgaynor.com.au/psychiatrist-theres-no-such-thing-as-a-transgendered-person/

Shawn Herles said...

"That's my philosophy, what's yours?"

Trust in the Lord, not modernist idols and liberal propaganda. Trust in the Lord and fight against the Powers and Principalities of this present dark age. Trust in the Lord and read the signs of the times. Trust in the Lord and follow Him alone, not the false spirit of the world.

Shawn Herles said...

Words of scripture relevant to this topic -

Do not be conformed to this world - Romans 12:2

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world - 1 John 2

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God - James 4

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world - Colossians 2

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles CONTRARY TO THE DOCTRINE THAT YOU HAVE BEEN TAUGHT - Romans 16

Anonymous said...

"Just as Martin has maintained that ordaining women has its own inner logic which leads to marrying gays."

I don't think that strictly reflects my thinking; but what I have said is that some do indeed argue from one to the other, on the grounds that gender is allegedly irrelevant to God's particular calling to the pastoral ministry, and if we can dispense with the biblical practice in one area, why not in another? A number of voices in Tec have indeed argued this way, so I don't claim the idea is my own. I've always believed in the "ministry" of men and women as this is described in the NT.
But I cannot follow or understand Bosco's claim that NZ Anglicanism's "blessing of sequential sex partners inevitably leads to polygamy". I wasn't aware that NZ Anglicanism 'blessed sequential sex partners' and my perusal of 'A New Zealand Prayer Book' (2005) doesn't reveal any such liturgy. I would be grateful to Bosco for elucidating his words.

Martin

Anonymous said...

When marriage is redefined as a freely entered private contract of association between any adult persons (which can also be terminated unilaterally, albeit with the possibility of monetary or other material compensation, or is fixed term, as in the experiment now being tried by the Government of Mexico City), then the State no longer has any interest in restricting which free adults may or may not be party to that private contract, any more than it is has the right to say who can be in my circle or friends.
That is the simple point that is being made, and the one which the judge in Utah has rightly discerned, in the light of Lawrence vs. Texas and other rulings.

Martinos Dikastes

Father Ron Smith said...

I think Bosco is speaking of the Church giving its blessing to re-marriage after divorce - something accessed by some in the Church who would never who acknowledge Same-Sex Partnerships. A certain moral Inconsistency here?

Anonymous said...

No, I don't think that can be the meaning; "blessing sequential sex partners" sounds like something to do with sacred prostitution, which was common enough in ancient Canaan as well as in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, but not something I would have associated with ACANZP (well, not yet, anyway). Elucidate, please, Bosco!

Martin

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I think we could remove a little bit of critical comment of commenters here from the following comment:

"In part response to Shawn's link to a critic (Gaz Parker) of the publishers of the 'Daily Word' series, here is the provenance of his critic:

'About Gaz Parker
"I was born with the ability to see spirit entities. I learned to ignore them for most of my life but during 2004 I had a kind of spiritual awakening so I thought. For years I questioned it until I asked God to show me what this is. God showed me the truth and I realised these spirits are evil, they are demons. Jesus never left me, he love me and he loves you too. My audio testimony can be found......."

I leave readers of ADU to decide whether they trust in Gaz Parker, or the world-wide reputation of 'Daily Word', which is a source of inspiration to many Christians - as is BRF's 'New Daylight', which my wife and I read together every day.

It is important to realise that most authors - of any spiritual works - need to be read with 'a pinch of salt'. They are not the Bible, which, anyway, itself needs careful analysis (as discovered in our Host's very good summary of Genesis 1- 3).

However, insomuch as they help (and not hinder) one's search for the Truth in 'The Logos', they are acceptable aids to understanding.

Authors are meant to be read, not idolised, ...

...

Whatsoever things are good, pure and holy: "Think on these things". So often we seem to concentrate on what's wrong with the world, than what is good and commendable.

In this Advent Season, we need to look forward to our Redemption, reflecting on the poetic reality of the phrase: "The Almighty Word leapt down". Happy Advent, ALL.
"

MichaelA said...

"I think Bosco is speaking of the Church giving its blessing to re-marriage after divorce - something accessed by some in the Church who would never who acknowledge Same-Sex Partnerships. A certain moral Inconsistency here?"

Why would that be the case, Fr Ron, when Christ himself permitted remarriage after divorce?

If it was done for reasons that Christ did not permit, then sure, but that is not what you wrote.