Christian attitudes toward polygamy are more controversial today than they have been for many years. As Euro-American churches debate the issue of same-sex unions, African Christians attack Westerners for their moral laxity and for caving in to secular hedonism. In response, some Western liberals retort that Africans themselves need to put their own house in order. Do African churches define marriage as a sacrosanct union between one man and one woman? If so, then why do their leaders tolerate polygamous unions?
A landmark court case will test whether Canada’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage also justifies the practice of polygamy.
The defense lawyer for a British Columbia man who openly admits to having multiple wives will argue that Canada’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage broadens the definition of marriage to include multiple spouses.
Two top leaders of a fundamentalist plural-marriage sect living in a commune-style compound called Bountiful in British Columbia have been arrested and charged with practicing polygamy. The criminal charges against the men are a first in Canada.
Law enforcement officials from three western states have urged the creation of a federal task force to combat polygamy— a proposal that members of a polygamous sect called an attack on religious freedom.
Texas authorities took swift action in April to find homes and resources for the more than 400 children removed from the Yearning for Zion Ranch located outside Eldorado. The ranch is the headquarters of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints movement, which allows its members to practice polygamy.
This spring HBO debuted a television series, Big Love, that features a likable polygamous family in Utah. An article in a March issue of Newsweek, headlined “Polygamists Unite!” quotes a polygamy activist saying, “Polygamy is the next civil rights battle.” He argues, “If Heather can have two mommies, she should also be able to have two mommies and a daddy.” That weekend on the Today Show, hosts Lester Holt and Campbell Brown gave a sympathetic interview to a polygamous family.
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