Tom Gilson

Portable Alternative “Marriages”

From the Washington Times, via Family Scholars Blog, comes this news on portable polygamy:

The British government has cleared the way for husbands with multiple wives to claim welfare benefits for all their partners, fueling growing controversy over the role of Islamic Shariah law in the nation’s cultural and legal framework…. a panel of four government departments has decided that all the wives of a Muslim man may collect state benefits, provided that the marriages took place in a country where multiple spouses are legal.

And from the NY Times, a report on portable same-sex “marriage:”

A New York appellate court ruled Friday that valid out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples must be legally recognized in New York, just as the law recognizes those of heterosexual couples solemnized elsewhere. Lawyers for both sides said the ruling applied to all public and private employers in the state.

So the trend is that whatever “marriage” you can find someone to approve somewhere, has to be approved even where such a “marriage” is illegal. The polygamy issue calls to mind a difficult question that sometimes arises in missions: what to do when a man with many wives converts to Christianity. Obviously the Biblical standard is one wife with one husband, but for a second, third, etc. wife to be thrown out can place incredible hardships on her. I’ve been aware of discussion on this in the past, but I’m not current on how that issue typically gets resolved, or if there’s one preferred solution.

Nevertheless, this trend toward approving in one place whatever is approved anywhere else is destabilizing, and especially in the case of same-sex “marriage,” it encourages immoral relationships. It’s not a healthy direction to be heading.

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6 thoughts on “Portable Alternative “Marriages”

  1. Well we all knew that same-sex marriages were just the beginning. For all you Christians out there that sit on their hands and let the government implement ‘worldly’ policies against God’s principles, this is the culmination of inaction. In case you think it won’t affect you, wait until your daughter comes home and says she has joined a harem. What is coming next? Hey, I love my cat……

  2. What is it you do not like about it? Is it that ends on rather a crass note? It struck me that way. Or is it that you think it is poor argumentation?

    Slippery slope “arguments” are sometimes not arguments but simple predictions. Predictions of our culture continuing in the current downward direction have two things to back them up: One, the course of history in that direction, which seems not to be turning around; two, the fueling of this momentum by a growing cultural consensus that (oversimplifying somewhat for brevity) increasingly denies the unique value of a one man-one woman marriage.

    Anyway, it’s actually been two years ago already that a woman “married” a dolphin. It was only a few months later that someone married herself. So even if L. Pearson’s comment had a rather indelicate close, it’s probably not as unlikely as you think.

  3. A potentially interesting fact is that, in countries where polygamy is legal, a polygamous man who comes to Christ is baptized and accepted into the community, but usually does not assume leadership positions, not being “the husband of one wife.” That phrase was addressed to the Greco-Roman world, which practiced, as we do today, serial polygamy, but it makes sense today in cases of simultaneous polygamy, enough that the churches in Africa, which are mostly independent of any missionary control for, oh, sixty/seventy years, find it acceptable, and continue to grow in membership.

    The missionaries tell me that, as the family changes over time, death of a wife, divorce, everyone just growing older and thus more willing to live in a brotherly sort of loving relationship, i.e. without sexual intercourse, the husband and, in some countries, the wives and former wives, rise to be deacons and eventually pastors. So, most of the problems created in this matter are resolved, not necessarily easily, but in love.

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