Why is polygamy condoned in the US?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_johnschlong, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. B_johnschlong

    B_johnschlong New Member

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    A few weeks ago, in the series "The strangeness of America", I watched a documentary about protestant loony sects in Salt Lake City and Utah. (The series shows many other crazy protestant sects in America, from snake-worshippers and Jesus-used-AK-47-sects to protestant capitalist cults, to mass commerce neoborn born several times over again we sell, sell, sell Jesus loony churches, etc... all very bizarre).

    There, in Salt Lake City, American psycho Bible thumpers are polygamous and incestuous. The documentary showed how the practise is never brought to court. It's even the other way around: the polygamists are going to the Supreme Court to demand the right to marry more than one woman, and if necessary her daughters too.

    The documentary showed many cases of how these protestant polygamists use rape and incest as a weapon to control their wives and daughters. Many girls tried to escape these dangerous religious loony American sects, and some did. But they are totally traumatized.

    Worst of all, everybody's in it: the police, the mayor, the governor, the judge, the grocer, the teacher. All of them polygamists. All of them practising incest.


    So why is this legal in the US? Or why is it condoned? I don't understand. In Europe we have laws against dangerous sects, like the protestant sects in America.


    Note: I don't consider all Americans to be as crazy as the ones featured in the series. I assume there are rational people living in the US, your ordinary catholic or atheist, so to speak.
     
  2. Shelby

    Gold Member

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    You're just jealous.
     
  3. madame_zora

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    I think it's tecnically illegal, but the authorites there do look the other way, for the reasons you cited.

    This is one of those things I agree with in theory, but not in practise, at least as it is being carried out in some circles. While I don't claim to be an authority on pologamous communities, I have heard enough stories about the abuses you've described to know that they are real. To what extent, I couldn't say.

    Consensual polygamy between adults is not a moral issue for me, nor is any concensual private sex practise, or living arrangement. However, children can't give consent, so my complaint isn't with polygamy itself, but its tendency, to whatever extent it exists, toward child molestation, rape, and forced marriage. I think we need to enforce the laws that pertain to children, but I don't really care about what adults do who consent to live in a group. Clearly, child abuse exists in mom-and-dad households too, so I'm cautious about assuming it's more prevalent in polygamous ones, until more complete information is available.
     
  4. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

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    I don't doubt it is, though. Because a polygamous relationship, or at least those in which several women are attached to a man (which seems to be what happens when it happens in the States, i.e., polygynous relationships) reinforce all the entitlements of patriarchy ... so muscle and size and force tend at times to be given free rein.

    I don't for a minute say that's true in all polygamous relationships. Only that it would logically be more prevalant than in relationships in which one man and one woman have joined lives.
     
  5. madame_zora

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    That makes perfect sense to me. I really don't know anybody personally who lives in a community like that, but the few interviews I saw did give me the impression that they're very "Man of the house" in nature.

    The only polygamists I've known have been hippies, and it was quite a different thing. That's why I don't object to polygamy in theory, but just some people's practises. Kind of like with gays, straights, Mormons, priests- I don't care who they fuck, but I do care if they rape. I feel they same way about anybody.
     
  6. rubberwilli

    rubberwilli Member

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    Polygamists Practice Big Love in Arizona

    As part of a new ABC Primetime segment/series called the Outsiders, they did an entire episode on polygamists in Centennial Arizona.

    Polygamy also is appearing in the news for two other reasons:
    1) There is an HBO series called Big Love which focuses on polygamy (it seems only fair since we've had Queer as Folk, the L-word and Oz)

    2) There was a major arrest of a polygamist leader recently, Warren Jeffs, which has brought a renewed scrutiny and interest in the subject of polygamy in the US. This is the sect that has been under such intense scrutiny recently for rape, abuse and other issues. Many other polygamist sects have done everything in their power to disctance themselves from Jeffs and his followers as "the bad polygamists."

    Polygamy is illegal in the the USA since 1862, and the Supreme Court in 1878 stated that polygamy was not protected by the Constitution as an expression of religious freedom in that "Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices."

    The Mormon Church, or the Church of Jesus Christ of the Later Day Saints, issued a manifesto against polygamy in 1904 and has "excommunicated" any members who practise it since that time.

    I thought the ABC show was interesting in that it showed that rather than fighting the law on this issue, the members of Centennial have worked around the law, taking only one legal wife and having the additional wives outside of the law being blessed only in a religious ceremony. Wives are only blessed after they have passed the age of consent (18). The wives consider themselves "sister wives" in that they act as sisters (even though they are most often not genetic or blood sisters) and share the responsibilities of motherhood and wifely duties.

    The other thing I found intersting was that many of these communities are focused on homebuilding and construction trades, which serves a very practical purpose. They are required to donate their time to support the community, and this takes the form of community house building and expansion to house the ever growing families.
     
  7. silentc

    silentc Member

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    I'm pretty sure it is illegal at the federal level, and rarely practiced anymore in the US. Of course in some areas I'm sure you have authorities that turn a blind eye because of friendships, tradition, similar beliefs, etc...
     
  8. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

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    Bingo.

    We are of one mind.
    Are you a gay male, MZ?
     
  9. agnslz

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    Polygamy is far from being condoned in the United States. In fact, it's often considered as bad as gay marriage.:rolleyes:
     
  10. kalipygian

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    The Mormons are not protestants, some christian denominations do not even recognize them as christian.

    The main reason the state courts and social agencies are inactive in enforcing laws and do not break up these 'extended families' is because then THEY would be responsible for caring for the kids. Likely the county level law enforcement in the areas where they live are in sympathy with them.

    It is pretty funny how an organization that puts so much effort into opposing gay marriage(they gave $500,000. for an anti gay marriage constutional amendment here a few years ago), it's most famous leader, Brigham Young, had 35 wives. (he should have been a maharajah)

    edit:wikipedia says he had 50 wives an 57 children.
     
  11. rubberwilli

    rubberwilli Member

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    If you look at the Jeffers case, as well as Centenial, Arizona these polygamous sects ARE the town. Their the police, mayor, church, businesses, school, everything is run by the members of the church. It's hard to get the police to report a problem, or to report a problem to the police, when they are members of the same religious organization and report many of the goings on s to the church leaders.

    Yet another reason why I found the ABC special so intriguing, they actually allowed ABC to film a vast majority of the comings and goings of the community, even allowing them to film a religious service which is a HUGE no-no in Mormonism. It was basically a lot of testimonials, but it was alot more access than any "news crew" had ever been given before. They were run out of some of the neighboring towns who did not want to be copperative by their police for trespassing and filming on private property.
     
  12. BobLeeSwagger

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    The state governments (mainly Utah, occasionally Arizona) gave up on trying to prosecute polygamy per se. There are too many of them and many aren't hurting anyone. But they have gone after the ones that are committing child abuse and welfare fraud, which most Mormons oppose too.
     
  13. invisibleman

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    Poly relationships are very interesting to me. I am not in one. I would like to try it out. Just for a social experiment to see if I could handle three other guys simutaneously. I know that I would REALLY have to take time to pick the right men.
     
  14. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    It's still illegal in all 50 States. The religious communities that practice it typically live in self-sufficient fairly isolated compounds. They only are legally married once if ever (with a marriage license, legally recognized) and then the rest of these marriages are not on any official legal record and so often not easy to prosecute. There are still laws against fornicating (having sex outside of marriage) in many states but these are very very very rarely enforced. Sometimes the polygamists do get prosectued on charges of stautory rape as they often marry and impregnate girls who are under the legal age of sexual consent, since their marriages are often arranged and done so when the girls are at a young age.

    Though polygamist practices may be accepted by the majority of those who live within these compounds, and even by sympathizers in nearby communities, by and large polygamy is in no way "condoned" in the United States. In general, public opinion is still very much against it and officially it is still against the law.
     
  15. DC_DEEP

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    There was an interesting show on TLC last night, entitled "My Husband's Three Wives." As NIC mentioned above, the man had one woman to whom he was legally officially married, and brought another woman into the family with his wife's (reluctant) consent. Wife 2 was joined to them in a commitment ceremony, but it is not a legal arrangement. Those three and their children have been a family unit for 18 years. The women said that in the beginning, there was some resentment and jealousy, but over the years, they have grown to love each other as sister-wives. They tried to add another to the arrangement, but the personalities just contrasted too much. #3 never did become official, and eventually moved out.
     
  16. Shelby

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    Putting up with just one can be a tough row to hoe.
     
  17. madame_zora

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    Who are you calling a hoe?:biggrin1:

    Personally, I couldn't see myself in a polygamous marriage, so I wouldn't enter into one, but I don't think that polygamy, by itself, is a problem, when practised between consenting adults. I think the problems arise from coersion of the young, and I am completely against that. What grown people do, or how they choose to live is of no interest to me, nor do I feel it should be for the government.

    Prosecute a crime against the young, where one (or more) has been committed, but if no one's being hurt, then it's just none of my business.
     
  18. LongTimeComing

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    Well, I think there are some shades of gray here. First off, the polygamy being practiced in some of these cult-like communities is very abusive, and I do not in any way condone it. But, like MZ has said, if there is an unusual relationship between CONSENTING adults, I have no problem. Unfortunately, I think there are many times where something may seem to be consensual, where it is actually the result of years of conditioning. Women born into abusive households, for example, may grow up vulnerable to being almost enslaved by an extremely domineering man. There may be subtle threats of physical, financial, or emotional harm. It may appear to be consensual, but in fact is not. I think this happens more often than we would like to admit.

    I've got nothing against polyamory (sp?) where people can actively love more than one partner. That seems to me to be much more about openess and freedom rather than control and enslavery.
     
  19. madame_zora

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    Yes, I agree on all counts. There is certainly a difference between a theory and a practise. The main difference is that human beings are involved in a parctise, and human beings are prone to human behaviors, like greed, selfishness, and control. I think the potential for abuse is great, and I would like to see those crimes prosecuted, but perhaps the theory needs amendments, not to be cast aside in its entirely.

    A lot of people do it badly, but I wouldn't want to ones who do it well to be penalised, just because I personally don't understand it. I see a potential in our society to move forward from the dark ages, in many areas, and I'd like to see us glean some good from that potential, if it were possible.
     
  20. joeice345

    joeice345 Member

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    I live in Utah. It is Illegal on both the state and federal levels. It is prosecuteed heavily within the state.

    The problem is that often a man has one legal wife and then he takes others as wifes, but not legally. So he's married to one, and living and having sex with several others, which is legal unless it's determined to be a common law marriage. Often they'll live in different homes, which makes this more difficult to prove.

    Yes it's illegal, but they find the loopholes and hop through em.
     
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