Update: I should probably have made it a little clearer that I do not support polygamy people like Warren Jeffs, who force people into it. If polygamy is to be accepted, it must be a consensual relationship between adults.
Ever since a series of articles and news stories flooded the media earlier this year about fugitive polygamy cult leader Warren Jeffs, I’ve noticed an increasing number of articles about polygamy and those seeking to have it supported by society (U.S. society, anyway). I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but then I noticed this article tonight.
CNN has an story about a recent polygamy rally in Utah. The main idea is that children of polygamists were speaking out to have their lifestyle supported by the Utah government, and how they are living happy and free lives. One quote in particular caught my attention:
We are not brainwashed, mistreated, neglected, malnourished, illiterate, defective or dysfunctional,” 17-year-old Jessica said. “My brothers and sisters are freethinking, independent people: some who have chosen this lifestyle, while others have branched out to a diversity of religions.
This appears to be a defense either directly or indirectly related to the flood of media attention on Jeffs. For those who don’t know, Warren Jeffs is currently on the run from authorities for committing statutory rape and conspiracy to commit such an act. Jeffs is the self-appointed leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the major religious sect in the U.S. practicing polygamy. Major polygamist communities tend to be clustered out west, especially in Hildale, Utah.
I believe that the attention on Jeffs has definitely brought about some more negative feelings toward something that has been already viewed highly immoral by many. This rally seems to be the polygamists’ and their childrens’ way of trying to reach out to the community around them. However, this may only be the start. One rotton apple can spoil it for the bunch, as they say. I forsee more functions of this type in the future, as polygamists try to get their lifestyle accepted, especially in places like Utah, where it’s illegal.
It definitely has some parallels to the on-going gay-rights movement. A group of people trying to get their lifestyle accepted amongst a sea of people who may or may not accept it. It would definitely be an uphill battle, perhaps moreso than gay rights. This one may be man and women, but here we have multiple woman or multiple men, depending on exactly what type is practiced. I can definitely see how even some in the gay community would be averse to this, a double-whammy, whereas gays only have to battle against heterosexuals for the most part.
Whatever the eventual outcome, these movements seem to go in waves, with the major actions separated by about 40 years or so (yes, I counted). The women civil rights movement in the 20s, the black civil rights movement in the 60s, and now the gay civil rights movement in the 2000s. Will the polygamists have to wait until the 2040’s for their movement? Only time will tell, but I’m guessing they will be the next major social rights movement. I can’t really think of another group that might be up for rallying for their civil rights, so the polygamists naturally seem to be the next (you can correct me in the comments if you wish). So, where am I on this? Well, I can hardly support the gay right movement without supporting their lifestyle, at least from afar. Neither I’d get involved in, but neither I particularly have problems accepting as a way people can live.
What are your views? I invite you to comment, but remember, no attacks.