Wednesday, January 7, 2009
A Sad Day for British Columbia: Two Mormon Fundamentalists Indicted for Polygamy (Revised)
Wally Oppal, pompous buffoon and British Columbia's current Attorney General, has finally caved in to the hysterical demands of illiberal ideologues and charged two of BC's Mormon fundamentalist men with polygamy. Words cannot express how I loathe this sort of thing, and I don't even know where to begin in trying...everything about it is totally wrong. It is totally outrageous.
Where to begin?
Canada passed a law in 1892 banning "conjugal" relationships, though not sex, with more than one person. This the anti-polygamy law under which BC polygamists are now being charged.
So...it is okay for Mr. Jones to have a wife but also a revolving door policy towards girlfriends. It is okay for him to sire kids with a bunch of them. It is okay for him to have a mistress, or 100 mistresses. But if Mr. Jones, with the full consent of all the women involved, lives with any of them as a husband, even sporadically, and/or supports them and his children financially as as a husband would, he ought to go to jail.
I don't get that. Can someone explain it to me? If government in fact has some compelling interest in, or some viable argument for, maintaining a monopoly over the legitimation of certain social/sexual relationships between consenting adults, I can't imagine what those might be. Certainly I've never heard any sensible account of either; and why government should worry about who hooks up with whom, or for how long, when it cannot even stop us from killing, maiming, raping, and stealing from each other, is quite beyond my comprehension.
Even granting that government could make some sort of sensible claim over monopolizing the legitimation of certain human relationships, I'm curious to know how they came up with the "one man-one woman" "one true definition of marriage" conclusion. After all, the Mormon fundamentalists they're charging are certain that they know the "one true definition of marriage", and that it is "one man, many women".
In truth, neither the province of British Columbia, nor the religious believers they are now prosecuting in the most bigoted fashion, knows anything about a "one true definition of marriage", because no such thing exists. There are only people; and in different cultures and different times, and according to their own desires or needs, they engage in all sorts of different marital relationships...and as far as I can see, the only thing that matters is that the participants consent, and that they are old enough to know what they are consenting to.
Every time anyone starts saying any of this, there are always people who pipe up and say, "What about the underage marriages?". But in reality, underage marriages have nothing to do with any of this - they can, and should be, prosecuted in polygamous contexts as much as in monogamous contexts. There is no, and never has been any, dispute about that. But it is not even what we are talking about here.
What we are talking about here is a form of relationship which, in its essence, is actually identical in nature to that practiced by many British Columbians, but which is being prosecuted in only one case: when a certain type of religious believer practices it on religious grounds.
And that is total BS, the definition of government bullying. I don't really see how some man-about-town with eight or ten ladies who he "sees" is doing anything essentially different than some guy who lives in Bountiful with eight wives. That the latter talks about Mormon founder Joseph Smith while the former talks about Hugh Hefner, makes, or should make, no difference. You can't punish a guy for committing Act X just because of the religion he belongs to, and then turn a blind eye to everyone else committing just the same Act X only on grounds that they're not religious at all.
Wally Oppal should be ashamed of himself. As the attorney-general, he is supposed to ensure that BC law is applied fairly. With this act, he is actually spearheading an effort to apply it in the most bigoted fashion.
If men and women wish to remain celibate, be monogamous, be gay, be straight, be in "open marriages", act like sluts, enter into polygamous or group marriages, and do so for whatever reason...who cares? What business is it of Wally Oppal's? He doesn't crack down on homosexual promiscuity. He doesn't crack down on everday heterosexual promiscuity. He doesn't crack down on all his buddies who have mistresses. But he cracks down on religious believers who do the same thing?
Not fair. Wally Oppal is a weak-willed bully who ought to be replaced by someone with respect for provincial and Constitutional law, and their fair application.