Friday, November 04, 2005

The Friday Furo Questus

Questus Furore - A Peculiar Institution
Polygamy is in the news again. Just great.

Just to clarify - polygamy was banned by the LDS Church in 1890. Banned. As in, if you enter into a plural marriage, you are tossed out of the church.

So just because the people in Hilldale, Utah, call themselves the "Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ," does not mean they are Mormon fundamentalists. They are a splinter group. Just like the Reorganized LDS Church, or the Community of Christ as they call themselves now. If these people were fundamentalists, then they would still be following the directions given by the Presidency and General Authorities of the LDS Church. (If you want to find Mormon fundamentalists, try Provo.)

One question that comes up from time to time is, why isn't polygamy more aggressively prosecuted? Well, a lot of lame-duck don't-want-to-upset-the-apple-cart reasons are given from time to time, but there's one more people ought to think about - how realistic are the odds of making the charges stick? Can the anti-polygamy law survive a successful prosecution?

The the institution of marriage is being undermined from many sides. Gay marriage proponents want marriage to include same-sex couples. Couples which stay together but won't marry want equal protection and benefits that are given to married couples. And marriage is devalued by virtue of the 50% of all marriages which end in divorce.

If the concept of marriage is in flux, can plural marriage continue to be held as illegal?

This is the reason that the Steed case, which Jamo has been following, has not involved prosecuting Judge Steed for practicing polygamy. Any defense attorney worth his salt would immediately place the law on trial, rather than the defendant.

In a time when many are agitating to redefine marriage as something other than a union between one man and one woman, it will be increasingly hard to hold polygamy as a crime. If the gender of the parties in a marriage is immaterial, then why limit the number of parties as well?

Recommended Reading
VDH, "The Real Global Virus."
Most Americans think that our present conflict is not comparable with World War II, in either its nature or magnitude. Perhaps — but they should at least recall the eerie resemblance of our dilemma to the spread of global fascism in the late 1930s.
John Derbyshire, "What's with Guy Fawkes?"

Henry Miller, "Flummoxing the Flu."

Andrew McCarthy, "Islam, Democracy & Assimilation."

Patrolling the Front back!

I was expecting at least applause, if not cheers. Hmm. Well, same to ya. Moving on.

Jamo (j.m.) has been following the local story of one Judge Walter Steed, who is fighting his removal from the bench. The reason for his removal? He's a polygamist.

e.gage has been doing some more photoblogging, and wonders if it's really necessary to warn people not to surf a tsunami. Well, it is California...

The Unknowable wants to know - have you heard of Google Earth? (So Google owns the Earth now? Not that it would surprise me...)

The Niem shows some of the interesting things LOST is doing.

Matt is MIA, and Maine Man and Nathan have been quiet lately, mainly hanging around in the comments.

And me (Tyler)? Well, I'm starting to get worried about Iran, worried about France, had some thoughts on milestones, and am looking forward to the model train show this weekend.

Thought of the Week

Our stay in Salt Lake City amounted to only two days, and therefore we had no time to make the customary inquisition into the workings of polygamy and get up the usual statistics and deductions preparatory to calling the attention of the nation at large once more to the matter.

I had the will to do it. With the gushing self-sufficiency of youth I was feverish to plunge in headlong and achieve a great reform here--until I saw the Mormon women. Then I was touched. My heart was wiser than my head. It warmed toward these poor, ungainly and pathetically "homely" creatures, and as I turned to hide the generous moisture in my eyes, I said, "No--the man that marries one of them has done an act of Christian charity which entitles him to the kindly applause of mankind, not their harsh censure--and the man that marries sixty of them has done a deed of open-handed generosity so sublime that the nations should stand uncovered in his presence and worship in silence."

Mark Twain, Roughing It
(In the interests of dating again sometime in my life, I would like to note that Mr. Twain's opinion of LDS women in no way reflects the opinions held by me or any other member of The Wasatch Front.)

Churchill Quote of the Week
"I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."
Sir Winston Churchill


At 8:22 PM, Blogger The Niem said...

He lives on within the tangle of the internet... but try to make a personal connection he's as evasive as Batman, as difficult to pin down as John Kerry's opinion on the war, he's so unseen even by his close friends that he is becoming more Myth than Man.

At 11:59 PM, Blogger e.gage said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:59 PM, Blogger e.gage said...

You're wrong. Mormons do practice polygamy.

The polygamist practitioners argue that they represent True Mormonism -- and we cannot prove them wrong unless the normal practitioners of Mormonism help us defeat them. Mormons are going to have to fight for their faith, disavowing those who go beyond the pale - just as Muslims have to do with the Muslim wingnuts.

And frankly, you just aren't doing a good enough job convincing me to make me believe that Mormons don't practice polygamy.


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