Thursday, June 07, 2012

Sarah Jessica Parker and the religious right's hypocrisy on polygamy

Sometimes I get confused in regards to the ability of religious right to change its colors on a position.

Recent attacks on actress Sarah Jessica Parker is a perfect example.

Parker recently posted a video commercial for President Obama's re-election.

To say that the National Organization for Marriage didn't appreciate this video is an understatement. From its blog:

..So now the president is now not content to advocate redefining marriage as being possible between two people of the same sex. He is now in favor of redefining marriage so that it can be any union at all — which is to say, he is in favor of abolishing any publicly normative definition of marriage. If “you should be able to marry anyone you want,” then you should be able to marry someone who is already married, you should be able to marry your father, your mother, your sister, your brother, whoever. Taken as stated, the president’s position, proclaimed by his actress-spokesperson, is to personally advocate polygamous and even incestuous marriages.

No doubt the president does not really intend to say this. But why not, at least on the logic of the left-wing marriage nihilists whose rhetoric he is parroting? Conservatives say that same-sex marriage is a step towards the destruction of marriage. Their liberal opponents respond that this is childish, that letting gay people marry does not threaten any existing marriage. But that response completely misses the point, which is this: the argument by which the left defends same sex marriage is inseparable from an argument that marriage should be anything anybody wants it to be, which is the same thing as saying there should be no publicly normative definition of marriage, which is the same thing as destroying marriage as a public institution.

The incest thing is ridiculous. And of course the thing about polygamy is equally ridiculous. But the question is how can NOM accuse Obama's support of marriage equality leading to polygamy when its founder, Maggie Gallagher, said in 2003 polygamy is better for children:

"At least polygamy, for all its ugly defects, is an attempt to secure stable mother-father families for children."

Now granted, Gallagher will duck and dodge in that way in which the lgbt community has become used to. She will no doubt give a long explanation of what "she actually meant" or claim that since then her opinion has changed and she has written pieces which have spoken out against polygamy.

That's all very good. But how does one explain the recent comments by Tony Perkins claiming that "at least polygamy does not violate the laws of nature"

I think this basically proves what I hinted on this morning when I talked about the Family Research Council's lack of care when it comes to the bullying of students, whether they be gay or Christian.

One has to wonder does the religious right actually care about polygamy or are they using as yet another way to obsess over gays. Because for all of their talk about "marriage being sacred," they seem to have more kind words for polygamous relationships than same-sex relationships.

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Daniel said...

I'm not a bible scholar, but my impression is there are multiple rightious polygamous men who were God's favorites - Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Solomon, David, Saul, Moses, and many more. Does the bible condemn polygamy? I don't think so. Really, the religious right should not condemn polygamy - that's not a biblical approach. If they want bible law to control America, Maggie could be one wife among many, but stay away from the shellfish, no work on Sunday, and for God's sake, shut up in church, obey your husband, and submit to him.

Nathaniel said...

Recently I witnessed an argument between pro- and anti-equality individuals that sought to establish whether marriage has changed over time. Of course, the pro-equality argument was that polygamy was common and accepted. The response from the anti-equality side was to say, "Yeah, but they were still one-man-one-woman, since there weren't marriages between the wives or between the husband and another man." Since then, I have seen something along those lines as a dismissal of the argument; abandoning polygamy is not viewed as a real change, since even polygamy only had male-female pairings. It hurts my head to try to understand the reasoning. The truth is, they are engaging in fear-mongering: polygamy is bad, but at least it is an evil we know and is part of our history.

Daniel said...

Nathaniel you are right - marriage has changed tremendously. At least in the West and some other places. Marriage used to be women as chattel. Polygamy was common In some countries, marriage was, and still is, arranged and in some cases the bride is purchased. In addition, marriage was largely a permanent contract, not something that could be gotten out of easily. Marriage of one man:one woman:at a time is a major change in marriage. The fundies lie about it. They know, they just prefer to lie because the truth would lose them their argument

Anonymous said...

Religious people are not to be trusted.

They are all liars. We don't need them dictating how our society should live.

It's time for these people to take some responsibility for the harm their beliefs and prejudices cause people wanting to live in peace and harmony.

Frank said...

"I'm not a bible scholar, but my impression is there are multiple rightious polygamous men who were God's favorites - Abraham,..."

Abraham also married his sister. Eww. Well, technically his half-sister. Still: eww.

I wrote a blog post on the illogic of the religious right's "thinking" on incest--it's as big a problem for them as polygamy, not that they'd ever acknowledge it.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the reasoning behind comparing marriage equality to polygamy; polygamy is neither accepted nor legal and it certainly could not be considered common in present day me it just seems to be a rather clumsy attempt to force those who are against marriage equality into a position on another subject which you can easily ridicule with prepared commentary. Just because a practice was common or accepted thousands or even hundreds of years ago or in other cultures, does not mean it is accepted or common today, in this country. There were many practices and beliefs that were common thousands of years ago - some that are mentioned in the bible - that are not considered acceptable in modern western culture and to suggest that "religious people" must find them acceptable simply because they may have been commonly practiced thousands of years ago when the bible was written is disingenuous and a distraction from the real argument.

Anonymous said...

The word "Marriage" is of one man and one woman for the creation of children, and of Christian definition from Genesis and throughout the Bible.

"Same-sex marriage" is better defined as "civil union" or "same-sex partnership" with the latter being non-sexual.

The goal of these terms/arrangements is typically nondiscriminatory and inclusive. They should be available to people based on need, not sex. State laws should not discriminate in favor of those unmarried people who are in sexual relationships (or of same sex) over those with the same needs who, though committed to caring for each other, are not sexual partners. Widowed sisters living together and looking after each other, or an unmarried adult son taking care of his elderly father, may have the need for domestic partner benefits such as hospital visitation privileges and insurance rights.

A constitutionally sound domestic partnership law would not discriminate against such people by excluding them from eligibility simply because their relationships are not sexual or sex-based — just as a nondiscriminatory and inclusive law would not undermine marriage by treating unmarried sexual partners as if they were married.

Some of the text of this blog references text/thoughts from Robert P. George. "One Man, One Woman." The Wall Street Journal (November 28, 2003).

BlackTsunami said...

If you are relying on Robert George for some of your opinions, then I would be wary. George helped to found NOM and was instrumental in pushing that awful discredited Regnerus study. Also, I totally disagree with your first sentence, as do several courts. Heterosexuals have proven time and time again that they don't need marriage to create children. And also, this country is not a theocracy. Why should we rely on the "Christian" definition of marriage? Lastly your first sentence is also completely inaccurate. Marriage did not have the same definition throughout the Bible, seeing that several Biblical figures engaged in polygamy, i.e. David and Solomon.