Who’s laughing now?


Last week a Peachtree City woman was arrested and charged with two felonies for bigamy. She allegedly married a second man under an assumed name so as to avoid the law.

But why do we care? Why is it even a crime for this woman to marry someone she loves? Why can’t she marry two men or even six if she wants?

More people today are coming to the conclusion that polygamous marriages don’t hurt anyone, and polygamous unions deserve the same recognition as heterosexual marriages. As I was sorting through this issue, I stumbled across a website which claimed that marriage laws should be changed to allow for polygamous marriage.

“Many polygamous couples want the right to legally marry because they are in love – many, in fact, have spent the last 10, 20 or 50 years with that person – and they want to honor their relationship in the greatest way our society has to offer, by making a public commitment to stand together in good times and bad, through all the joys and challenges family life brings.

Many parents want the right to marry because they know it offers children a vital safety net and guarantees protections that unmarried parents cannot provide. And still other people … are fighting for the right of polygamous couples to marry because they recognize that it is simply not fair to deny some families the protections all other families are eligible to enjoy.”

Most reasonable people today understand that marriage is a basic human right, and restricting it to a man and woman is discriminatory, inequitable, and unfair. We have out grown such puritanical notions … or have we?

What if you were to re-read the website quote above and substitute the phrase “intergenerational couples” or “trans-species couples” for “polygamous couples.” Would it make sense?

In today’s world, it sure could. We already know countless stories of sex between students and teachers or adults with children. Why should we be surprised by bestiality?

Intimacy with other species is growing in our country just as bigamy and polygamy is. It is already in some universities. Professor Alice Kuzniar researches and writes on relationships with animals, particularly dogs.

She was at the University of North Carolina when she wrote a leading work on the subject called “Melancholy Dog.” Later, for a San Francisco State University journal she wrote “On Intimacy with Dogs,” where she “insist[s] on the appropriateness of one’s passion for a pet, sprightly challeng[ing] assumptions about what constitutes a marital-sexual relationship.”

This isn’t farfetched, but becoming normal in our country. A July 15, 2005 story in the Seattle Times chronicled the death of a man who was crushed while having sex with a horse at a popular farm near Seattle. In the end no one was arrested as “deputies don’t believe a crime occurred because bestiality is not illegal in Washington state and the horse was uninjured.”

You may be cringing right now. You may be laughing and thinking this is ridiculous. This could never happen in our country, because this is a small minority, and people would never allow it. Really …?

I have lived long enough to witness a tectonic shift in public opinion on sexuality and marriage. Today, these issues are framed as human rights and matters of inequality and discrimination.

They are nothing of the sort. We are witnessing what happens when a country jettisons God. Dostoyevsky said if there is no God “everything is lawful.”

This is what happens when God in his person and character is no longer the definition of good. Everyone knows we are not like him, and that is how we all knew what was right and wrong.

Now, we are all our own standards, which means there is no good or evil. There is just what is good for oneself. One can’t say what is good for another because he or she is their own standard.

Likewise, if someone wants to hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings or exterminate whole races of people, no one can say that is wrong. All one can say is that he, she or they would not do that. They are their own standard.

This is what happens when we decide for ourselves what good is rather than God. So if our neighbor wants to marry two men, how can anyone say that is wrong?

Oh, remember that website quote above where I suggested substituting other phrases for “polygamous couples?” I have to confess, I already did that with the quote, which actually comes verbatim from the Human Rights Campaign, a leading homosexual rights group.

From the gay marriage page, I substituted “polygamous couples” for “same-sex couples.” The argument for gay marriage is EXACTLY the same as the argument for polygamous, bigamous, intergenerational, or trans-species marriage.

This has never been a rights or discrimination issue. It is a moral issue. When we assume that we are the deciders of good instead of God, then “everything is lawful” and amazingly we scratch our heads and wonder how we lost our country and our culture.

Fifty years ago people laughed at the idea of homosexuals marrying, thinking it was ridiculous and would never happen. Who’s laughing now?

[David Richardson of Peachtree City coordinates the Assumptions Project. He has a Master of Theology degree from Oxford University and is a recognized expert on the religious attitudes and beliefs of university professors. He, his wife, and his children have lived in Fayette County for over 22 years.]