CBC.ca – The Hour – Polygamy

CBC.ca – The Hour

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygamy

I'm usually pretty fond of The Hour, and I usually have praise for the way George handles sides on the stories they run. But tonight, the story on Warren Jeffs and 'polygamy' kinda got under my skin, lol.

In general, Warren Jeffs gets under my skin, and especially so when he, or his ilk in Bountiful, start a discussion on the legality of 'polygamy.' The first point to make is that religious sects who supposedly practice polygamy, such as certain renegade Mormons, as well as Islam and others, almost invariably practice POLYGYNY in the specific sense.

Polygamy is the term that refers to general plural marriages … where people have more than one spouse. In a religious context, its important to note that this almost never manifests as polyandry, the practice of women having more than one husband. It almost always manifests in a religious context as the opposite form, one man with multiple wives. Its also worth pointing out that in the religious context, polygyny is often a specific religious directive, opening issues of coercion that are hard to address without stepping on toes of 'faith.'

But regardless of all that, the reason it bugs me when Jeffs and his ilk dominate discussion of the legality of polygamy is that they practice a tiny, perverted version of polygamy, or the even more general form polyamory (the desire and ability to love more than one person at a time, roughly). There are groups of people who are so completely removed from the Warren Jeffs' of the world, but who still practice polyamory. Our relationships are never discussed when the legality is brought up, and no one points out the defining difference between religious polygyny and the more secular variety is coercion and consent.

George's guest for the segment was Angela Campbell, and while she wasn't as specifically negative about polygamy as some people he might have picked, I thought it was interesting that neither Geroge nor Angela looked beyond the religious forms of polygamy for their report. It was really her final comment that prompted me to write. She said that while in theory, polygamy is gender-neutral, in real life it is always male-centred. She is right, ofc, in the narrowly defined world of religious polygyny and life of Warren Jeffs.

But in the REAL world, she hasn't got a clue what she's talking about. I am a polyamorous man who happily has relationships with women who also have multiple partners. I discuss issues with other people like myself on a regular basis … there are some very active communities that have nothing to do with a gender-specific definition of polygamy, or religious coercion to to be wife #14 at age 14.

I wish she or George would have looked, just a little bit, for that world before doing a story like that on national TV. I think communities like Bountiful tend to have some dangerous practices, but to me, they are only tangentially about polygamy. No, Warren Jeffs isn't really a wanted criminal because he has multiple wives … the reason he is on the FBI list is because of coercion, and allegations of underage wives. NEITHER of those has anything to do with polygamy really … the unfortunate abuse of children occurs in the world of monogamy, as do coercion and ownership issues. The issues in communities like Jeffs aren't about the multiple partners at all, but instead about the coercion to the lifestyle, and child abuse … both crimes in their own right.

I have 3 'girlfriends' who all know about each other and who I am. One is married, with a husband and kids … she and her husband are involved with others as well. Another lady is actively seeking both a female friend, and another male friend. In none of these situations do you find dishonesty, coercion, or abuse … instead, its honest love between people, nothing more or less.

There are many others like me. I talk to them daily … George, if you are reading this, you should have a look for them, IMO. Its worth another story.

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3 Responses

  1. Yes, the issue with bountiful is pedophilia disguised as religious freedom.

    I would like to see more discussion about this, as I have been following the Jeff Warren case and the situation in bountiful. Daphne Braham has been documenting the situation for years now, and I thank her for keeping the issue alive, where gov’t has failed.

    I think you’re point of view is essential to add to the discussion, polyamorous relationships and polygamy have nothing to do with marrying young girls to multiple older male partners as dictated by the Prophet, rather than the bonds of love.

  2. Thanx again … and I do think its important to focus on the real abuse in places like Bountiful.

  3. I would like to get a repeat of the Nov. 13the Broadcast of ‘The Hour’

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