How many people should go on the honeymoon?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

In the absence of any cultural definition of gender or marriage, let alone any restriction on sex, relationships in our society will only get cloudier.

We will see polygamy legalized in my lifetime, perhaps even in the next twenty years.

Historically the definition of marriage in Western nations has been one man and one woman. But with that definition now obliterated, there is not a replacement but rather a vacuum. Soon, numerous kinds of relationships will be considered worthy of qualifying as marriage.

The modern family

Case in point, CNN recently published a feature on families that practice polygamy/polyamory and are determined to see their lifestyle acknowledged as a modern, functional approach to relationships:

As the concept of open relationships rises in pop culture and political debates, some polyamorous families like the Holders and Mullins see an opportunity to go public and fight stereotypes that polyamory is just swinging, cheating or kinky sex.

“We’re not trying to say that monogamy is bad,” said Billy Holder, a 36-year old carpenter who works at a university in Atlanta. “We’re trying to promote the fact that everyone has a right to develop a relationship structure that works for them.”

The marriage trajectory

To highlight this trend may seem sensationalistic to some, but society has rapidly altered the entire concept of marriage within the past decade, and there’s no reason to believe that this trajectory won’t continue. First Things writer Robert P. George points out that “the displacement of the conjugal conception of marriage left no ground of principal for supposing that marriage is the union of two and only two persons.”

Soon, numerous kinds of relationships will be considered worthy of qualifying as marriage.

Once both heterosexual marriage and gay marriage are legal, there will be no reason to prohibit bisexual marriage. The Bible is far more direct on prohibitions against homosexuality than it is on polygamy (though both are sinful), and if professing Christians make the long leap to support gay marriage, it’s a much shorter step over the line of biblical faithfulness to arrive at polygamy. Mormon scholars and evangelical leaders with rich Hebrew word studies but poor wisdom will jockey to see who can churn out the first landmark book about how the Old Testament is pro-polygamy.

The secular case for polyamory will go something like this: If it’s legal to be right handed, and legal to be left handed, then it should be legal to be ambidextrous. Sociological experts educated beyond their intelligence will be paraded on news shows, armed with statistics saying that divorce rates would go down and families kept intact if unfaithful partners were allowed to keep both the spouse and the lover, bringing them together as one big nuttier-than-a-Skippy-factory family.

If professing Christians make the long leap to support gay marriage, it’s a much shorter step to arrive at polygamy.

The CNN piece indicates that this is precisely the polyamorist mentality:

“We want to promote the idea that any relationship is valid as long as it is a choice made by consenting adults,” [Holder] said. “In this regard, and as in most things, promoting public acceptance is the first step.”

It’s not just a fling or phase for them. It’s an identity. They want to show that polyamory can be a viable alternative to monogamy, even for the middle-class suburban families with children, jobs and house notes.

The Holders and Mullins say it’s not a choice—polyamory is an inherent part of their sexuality. “Life would probably be easier if I didn’t feel the need to open myself up to loving more than one person,” Jeremy [Mullins] said. “But it’s part of who I am, and I feel that my life is enriched by it.”

In the absence of any definition of gender or marriage, let alone any restriction on sex, things will get cloudier and not clearer. I would write more, but Sister Wives is on right now. 

 


 

Check out A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future? by Mark Driscoll for additional cultural commentary. Copyright © 2013.