Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another front opens for legal polygamy, Washington DC

The vote came yesterday:
The Washington Post - "The legislation would allow gay couples from anywhere in the country to marry in the city. Those couples who live in the District would be entitled to all rights afforded to heterosexual married couples under District laws.

Although a final signature on the bill by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) could come by the end of the week, same-sex marriage opponents vowed to step up their effort to get Congress or a court to block the initiative during the 30-day congressional review period."
This amounts to a sort of test vote it would seem on gay marriage for the nation. The above mentioned "congressional review period" would be more or less a "veto power" over the law in our nations capital.

New Hampshire starts gay marriage January 1st, Vermont already has it and now it seems, Washington DC. All we need is somebody in Vermont, New Hampshire or Washington DC who IS in an informal polygamy, or who WANTS to be in a polygamy to go and attempt to obtain with full disclosure to the agency involved, a marriage license.

They will be DENIED of course, and that forms the basis for a court case.

Vermont Polygamy as a lobbying effort is getting zero support beyond the initial donation to register as a lobbyist. As a lobbyist, I am getting solicitations to attend certain functions, such as this one:
The Vermont Democratic House Campaign

Invites you to have a cocktail and kick off the 2010 legislative session with
Special Guests

Speaker Shap Smith
House Majority Leader Floyd Nease
Assistant House Majority Leader Lucy Leriche
and
Chairs & Vice Chairs of Standing Committees of
the House
-
Tuesday, January 5th – 6:00pm ‘til 8:00pm
Black Door Bar & Bistro
44 Main Street – 3rd Floor
Montpelier, VT
-
Individual Admission - $150
Friend of the Democratic House - $250
Very Good Friend of the Democratic House - $500
Best Friend of the Democratic House - $1,000
-
Please make checks payable to:
Vermont Democratic House Campaign
PO Box 1058
Montpelier, VT 05601
RSVP to (802) 279-2719 or info@vthouse.org
Paid for by the Vermont Democratic House Campaign.
To be a "bestest best friend," I can make out my check for $1,000.00. For one function. Showing up costs $150.00. There's no mention of an "open bar," but there is a "cash bar" and I'm sure luminaries in the Vermont political system like their lubrication.

None of this is said to criticize our form of government, or legislative process. Everything has a cost and campaigning has a cost. Rubbing elbows with our representatives all gathered nicely in one spot and getting noticed and schmoozed by them, that might run into the thousands, for one night.

My PO Box number? 433 at the same zip code as the Vermont Democratic House Campaign.

Vermont Polygamy is rapidly approaching the "fish or cut bait" point. Being a lobbyist in an effective way means being known, well known, for your activity. It is also probably going to be a full time job and spread into places like New Hampshire, and now it seems, Washington DC.

I would greatly prefer that government stay out of marriage, but they're not going to. The reasons are they wish to classify us for tax purposes, and we pay income tax and file returns in this country.

Privacy laws mean you have to (oddly) carry around documentation and permission to see your kids in school or be called the Dr, etc. Even in private institutions.

Laws about sexual behavior send men to jail in staged raids in Texas. As long as the government says that age is a factor in sexual relations, and sends men to jail for sometimes 40 years for being involved in simply discussing the matter, there will need to be laws to protect polygynists by making it possible to legally register their relationships.

Either you want confrontation and outrage or silence, hiding and lying, or you want to set your lamp on a stand.

If you're Christian, I think you want to let your light shine.

With the penalty phase of the Allan Keate trial probably winding up today, I'm not looking at a lot of story line to deal with concerning the FLDS, and hopefully I can concentrate only on legalizing polygamy. That of course, depends on you.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New York says No for Now to Same Sex Marriage

This leaves neighbors Vermont and New Hampshire as the only two states in the Union with laws legalizing "Gay Marriage" that have been ratified as some extension of the will of the people:
The New York Times - "The 38-to-24 vote startled proponents of the bill and signaled that political momentum, at least right now, had shifted against same-sex marriage, even in heavily Democratic New York. It followed more than a year of lobbying by gay rights organizations, who steered close to $1 million into New York legislative races to boost support for the measure.

Senators who voted against the measure said the public was gripped by economic anxiety and remained uneasy about changing the state’s definition of marriage."
Granted, no measure has survived popular referendum as we learned in Maine and California. In both cases it does well to note that 2-4% of the electorate changing their minds to be at least "tolerant" would be all it would take to clear that hurdle.

20 years ago it would have been well into the double digits, in terms of the margin of rejection. It's a matter of time.

Vermont and neighboring New Hampshire remain the best places for pushing legislation and/or court cases legalizing polygamy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New York Teters on the Edge of Same Sex Marriage

Sleeping New York State is back on the Gay Marriage blotter:
The Troy Record/AP - "Some key legislators have tied the long awaited vote to passing a deficit reduction plan. That’s now expected to be done this week.

While the bill was passed months ago by the Assembly and has the governor’s backing, its prospects in the Senate remain uncertain.

Paterson says Tuesday he’s confident it will pass, but he wants a debate and vote in any case to advance the cause.

Opponents like Democratic Sen. Ruben Diaz say they remain ready to fight the measure and don’t think a vote is imminent."
I have been a lobbyist in Vermont, for 6 months now, I could easily expand my efforts to the nearby State Capitals in New York, New Hampshire and Maine.

There's no interest though and it's expensive.

I figure we'll wait until the Polyamory crowd defines marriage in plural fashion, in a way that will be harmful to ours.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gay Marriage fails in Maine

This shows of course, how at odds a population can be, with it's legislators, Governors and Presidents. That has wider implications beyond the marriage issue.
FoxNews - "Gay marriage has now lost in every single state -- 31 in all -- in which it has been put to a popular vote. Gay-rights activists had hoped to buck that trend in Maine -- known for its moderate, independent-minded electorate -- and mounted an energetic, well-financed campaign.

'The institution of marriage has been preserved in Maine and across the nation,' declared Frank Schubert, chief organizer for the winning side.

Gay-marriage supporters conceded early Wednesday.

'We're in this for the long haul,' said Jesse Connolly, manager of the pro-gay marriage campaign. 'For next week, and next month, and next year -- until all Maine families are treated equally. Because in the end, this has always been about love and family and that will always be something worth fighting for.' "
Like the "Healthcare Issue," Same Sex Marriage will be back. I'm sure they're disappointed, and as I say repeatedly, I am not in favor of a Same Sex Marriage law in this country, and as always, the flip side of the coin is the opportunity it presents for polygynists.
ABC News - "Maine would have been the sixth state in the country to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, but instead becomes the 31st state to oppose the unions in a popular vote.

With 87 percent of precincts reporting as of 2 a.m. today, gay marriage opponents claimed 53 percent of the vote to supporters' 47 percent."
For those who only support heterosexual monogamy as the only form of marriage, this is not really that good a piece of news. Only 3% of Maine's electorate needs to change it's mind. The numbers were similar in California for Prop 8.

This leaves New Hampshire (the law becomes effective January 1st, 2010) and Vermont as states that have passed a Same Sex Marriage law, by some extension of the will of the people. Vermont's legislature had to override a veto to do it, and probably would pass the law if it were submitted to referendum. I can't speak for New Hampshire.

Vermont Polygamy will be publishing more, soon, as the Raymond Jessop trial winds down, as as a few leads pan out. In both Vermont and New Hampshire only one word needs to be changed in their laws to make Polygamy legal. These are ideal states for such activity since the new laws intents are more easily challenged in court, to gain legal acceptance of one of the oldest forms of marriage.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Baring your teeth

Snarling hatred is on display.
The Sechelt Coast Reporter - "There will be more on the pitiful, repulsive life within Bountiful next week in Coast Reporter. We urge you to educate yourself on this blight in our midst. If you care about the fates of these young people, email, write or phone MLA Nicholas Simons, Premier Gordon Campbell and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. These children and Jane Blackmore need to know we care."
For more of this naked blood lust, go here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Why it has to be legal

Because "they" will never stop. In this case "it" is Polygyny, and "they" is Canada, but human nature is the same everywhere.
Christian Telegraph - "A top law official in Canada is considering an appeal after a court threw out polygamy charges against two men, who claimed the nation's Charter of Rights and Freedoms permitted them to have several wives, reports Ecumenical News International.

'The first order of business will be to read the decision in its entirety, which I have not done yet,' said Mike de Jong, attorney general of British Columbia, after the court's 23 September decision.

'Obviously, I will talk to officials within the ministry and a decision will be made around a possible appeal.' Winston Blackmore, aged 52, and James Oler, 44, from Bountiful, British Columbia, belong to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), an offshoot of the mainstream Mormon church, which formally renounced polygamy in 1890."
It has to be legal, or you are second class citizens at the back of the bus. In a way I hope Canada does appeal the ruling and takes it all the way to their highest court. Of course, Blackmore and Oler probably just want to get on with their lives.

I apologize for being away from this blog so long. The revelations and investigations surrounding Rozita Swinton and the FLDS and the Colorado Springs Police Department took up a lot of time, in addition, I was ill on and off again for the first part of this month. It did not completely incapacitate me, but it sapped my energy for such things.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Zygote or V12? Confronting the Church on Marriage, Part IIIa

An addendum to the "One Flesh" discussion with Woody Lauer. I have been patiently discussing (sometimes not so patiently) Genesis 2:24 with a poster named "el gayo" at CARM Discussion Forums. At times, I wondered why I was doing it. "El gayo's" steady, stubborn resistance forced the argument from the pro polygyny side into a refinement that yielded the following. I have modified the argument slightly so as to better fit this venue.
"There is nothing INHERENT in the passage Genesis 2:24, mandates or establishes monogamy.
'Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.'
The passage does not mention monogamy, it describes marriage. We know only that it refers to a marriage (the only marriage at that time) that was also monogamous.

We also know that the same marriage was a birth betrothal marriage. Here is the preceding section of Genesis 2, verses 18-23:
'And the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." '
Is the monogamy of that marriage important? It may be. It is just as self evident that we follow patterns of betrothal, from the earliest possible age if it is self evident from the passage that we follow the monogamous pattern.

It may be later that someone establishes a pattern of monogamy by referring back to this verse and the concept of one flesh, but the MERE REPETITION of the content of Genesis 2:24 cannot be said to establish monogamy any more than it would the practice of birth betrothal. That understanding must come directly from the repetition of the verse, and the commentary.

When Jesus repeats the verse, he emphasizes only that it is the PERMANENCE of Adam and Eve's union that he is interested in for the purposes of the discussion, he never discusses the monogamy of their marriage beyond the fact that he is discussing them, and we know they were monogamous.

But he is discussing them and we know they were betrothed also. For some reason we don't care about that part, we only seem to care about their monogamy.

The point is, that Genesis 2:24 does not prevent a man or a woman from marrying again over and over and over and over again. From the passage we would say that if they did, they would be husband or wife to that new spouse and be 'one flesh' with them. It is later that we learn a WIFE cannot undertake more than one spouse, but we never learn the same thing about a husband.

Most of us are conditioned to think it is one man one woman = marriage as if it were a zygote. Sperm comes together with egg. Something new is formed. Zygotes cannot unify again with other sperm. They are now closed systems.

Marriage may though, be more like a drop of water. One drop plus one drop is one bigger drop of water, that can be added to again and again and again until it's an ocean.

Maybe marriage is like an engine. One crankshaft (husband), one piston (wife), or maybe two wives/pistons, or perhaps as many as twelve. They're all engines. They're all one engine.

Some look at 'one flesh' and say 'Zygote.' Others look at one flesh and say 'engine' is a better illustration. Why is it a Zygote instead? There is no support for either notion in Genesis UNLESS you are going to adopt all aspects of the first marriage. This is why I mention birth betrothal. Both views are possible from the passage, neither are excluded.

Therefore, mere repetition of Genesis 2:24 doesn't establish monogamy as anything other than a possible form of marriage. Quoting it won't change that. Commenting on it as Jesus does in the New Testament, when he says 'see, the union was to be permanent,' is the only way discover how Adam and Eve's example, govern us."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It's Bigamy Stupid, not Polygamy

The crime, no matter how hard law enforcement tries to twist and turn in the creation of laws, and enforcement of them, is the legal registration of more than one marriage.
The Detroit Free Press - "(St. Clair Shores police Detective Margaret) Eidt said (Martha) Fleming married her second husband Jan. 30 at Christ Gospel Tabernacle Church, 30500 Harper, in St. Clair Shores. But she had been married to a man in Bay City since 1996.

Sometime shortly after her second marriage, she took the inheritance check from her second husband, cashed it in Harper Woods and took off, Eidt said.

The detective said a civil attorney representing the second husband discovered Fleming was already married. Eidt said Harper Woods police are investigating the theft of the inheritance check."
Nevertheless, the suspicion of bigamy remains probable cause when invading your home. By having your marriages be informal, instead of formal, you, as a polygynist, leave yourself perpetually open 24/7/365 to home invasion, by law enforcement.

You may not be legally registered with more than one spouse as Martha was, but your purporting to be married to more than one spouse, however tenuous, leaves you open to arrest and investigation with probable cause.

You have to hide and lay low as a result.

What sort of life is this for a Christian who is told NOT to hide their light under a bushel? Hat tip "Christian or Biblical Polygamy."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Who's Dr. Kurt?

Ok, they're starting to figure it out. "Dr. Kurt Anderson" of West Palm Beach asks "why not polygamy?" KurtAndersonville.

It's time-(UPDATED)

Someone needs to show up, in Vermont, and try to register more than one marriage. You of course will not be able to do it, but you'll set in motion the legal process that may make it happen.
Montpelier, VT (AHN) - "Vermont's gay marriage law began taking effect at exactly midnight on Tuesday, a little over four months after state lawmakers voted to override Gov. Jim Douglas' veto of the legislation and added to the number of states who have legalized same-sex marriages.

Couples and gay advocates will be marking the day with celebrations, one of which is a wedding reception in Essex that will benefit the Vermont People with AIDS Coalition and other groups.

Rallies will be held by members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church at the capital city, Montpelier, to protest the new marriage law, but one of the state's leading same-sex marriage groups, the Vermont Freedom to Marry, has urged supporters not to engage with the demonstrators, saying doing so 'would only lend relevance and newsworthiness' to their opponents." (September 1, 2009 7:48 a.m. EST)
It'll be too much of a zoo, and though you can probably hear the commotion, and perhaps see it from my house, I'm 5 miles away at work. Besides, I have no video equipment to tape and then share the business with you so we'll just let it happen.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Confronting the Church on Marriage, Part IV

I had claimed to Woody (Stewart Lauer) that the directive to Kings to not have רבה (rabah) wives is not a directive to have only one wife. It is a directive to have not too many wives.

This is a relative state which I believe to be defined roughly by the terms of concubines and their treatment in Exodus 21. A wife is owed regular consort (regular is relative), food and clothing. Poverty can overtake us all, but if a wife is deprived as a direct result of the addition of another wife, this is wrong. Exodus 21:10:
"If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish."
It should be noted that this is God himself speaking, and he's just finished up with the Ten Commandments in the preceding chapter, stating "thou shalt not commit adultery." I find it hard to believe then that God turns right around and without scowl or sign proceeds to regulate what we now regard as adultery. God says to provide for your wife or wives in their physical needs, including sexual relations. Depriving your wife of these things as the direct result of taking another wife, is wrong. Stewart "Woody" Lauer:
" 'Neither shall he multiply wives for himself (Deu 17:17 NAS),' is a command that Solomon violated by polygyny, irrespective of the wives’ citizenships."
I had mentioned the foreign origin of Solomon's wives and also said:
"You're arguing that a King could only possess one horse"
Woody:
"I don’t know who the 'you' is, but I make no such argument. Holladay gives the hifil [sic]* stem for this verb as, 'make many, increase.' Both NASB and KJV render it 'multiply', which means 'increase in number,' or 'make more numerous.' V 17b, when proscribing riches adds the adverb, 'greatly', thereby allowing possession of riches in moderation. As such, vv 16 and 17a are best taken as absolute proscriptions, prohibiting multiple wives and prohibiting what we might call a calvary [sic] or a chariotry. The king was the ruler of God’s people of old."
My first observation is that I am not a King. If it is found, ultimately, that this is indeed a prohibition against a King having two or more wives at a time, well, so be it. I am not a King. Woody also compares this to elders, and I have too, so we are in rough agreement there. I will deal with that issue in the next post.

I had also mentioned to Woody that the sin for which Solomon is chastised in scripture, is not the sin for which Woody chastises him. In Nehemiah 13:25-27 it says:
"I contended with them and cursed them and struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, 'You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take of their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin regarding these things? Yet among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless the foreign women caused even him to sin. 'Do we then hear about you that you have committed all this great evil by acting unfaithfully against our God by marrying foreign women?' "
Nowhere is the number of Solomon's wives mentioned as the primary concern, though it seems almost certain to our sensibilities that his number was indeed too great and a violation of Deuteronomy 17:17. Nevertheless, scripture at least sees this as a lessor problem, choosing not to make overt mention of it. The Bible also does not chide Solomon for excessive wealth or horses, both of which he also seemed to have in excess. Apparently, these things are not as big a deal as we would like to make them even if wrong, and it may well have been that Solomon's primary sin was the foreign nature of his wives, and the greater number of them he took, were of foreign origin. Nehemiah may be saying, "What's the real problem here?" and saying that if you took the foreigners out of the mix, there would be no problem at all. In any case Solomon is never directly chided for his many marriages and concubines, only his foreign ones.

Woody also tries to sneak in the idea that it's "one wife," "not a lot of horses," and "not a whole lot of gold." I'll accept only the last. In context, Deuteronomy 17:16-17 is parallel in construction. It shows two unlike things, and says identical things about them. In essence, the passage says "horse or wives, Kings are not to "רבה (rabah)" them, whatever that is. Here is the passage:
"Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply [רבה (rabah)] horses, since the LORD has said to you, 'You shall never again return that way.' He shall not multiply [רבה (rabah)] wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly [מאד (meh·ode')] increase [רבה (rabah)] silver and gold for himself."
In the last case, Woody's contention is supported. Using the modifier "meh·ode' " to go with "רבה (rabah)." But in the cases of the first use of "rabah" in verse 16, the "stem" and "aspect" of the verb is the same as in the case of it's use with wives in verse 17. It is the "Hiphil" stem and "imperfect" aspect. This renders the two constructions parallel. Furthermore, there are some other uses of the same stem and aspect that are worth looking into. Genesis 16:10:
"Moreover, the angel of the LORD said to her, 'I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.' "(NAS)
Or Genesis 17:2:
"I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly."
Genesis 22:17:
"...I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies."
Genesis 28:3:
"May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples."
This simply cannot be a word that is confined to the use "more than one." As it is used, in the immediate context, and others, the Hebrew "rabah" in the Hiphil stem and imperfect aspect means "a bunch." It may mean "a really big bunch."

If interpreted to mean "more than one wife" which is distinctly inconsistent with it's usage elsewhere by Moses in other books, it would also have the effect of limiting a King to one horse. The sentence construction again, is parallel. Whatever is said about a wife, is also being said about a horse. If a King is not to have more than one wife, he is also being said not to have more than one horse. If a King lives in a way that is instructive to the rest of the populace, then indeed we are to have only one wife, as the King would, and indeed, only one horse. This would make animal husbandry problematic, and getting horses a really big problem because in this same passage we are told that a King was not to go down to Egypt again, for the purposes of multiplying horses. Why not say "don't have horses at all?"

I am not one to say that the translations are in error. I think they are more than adequate, whether it be the King James, or the NASB or the ESV. They do get spun over time though, as politicians do focus groups and find buzz words, theologians work the margins of word meanings until we become accustomed to hearing them in contexts that dictate meanings not shared by the original text. Multiply has interesting meanings. The word "rabah" is translated "Multiply" or "Many" depending on your version. In English, depending on context, two is not many, nor may it be an accurate rendering of multiply. It's just barely multiply, and it's certainly not many. It can't be said to dictate only one wife, though it might, if read a certain way in the English. In the Hebrew, it simply can't be said to dictate one wife.

Next, I'll deal with Woody's similar contention on elders. And with a surprise admission on his part.



* Woody in this case, an alternate spelling, not an apparently incorrect one.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Interlude and Panhandle, then on with our regularly scheduled programming

Writing this series on my interaction with the OPC is a very taxing pursuit. Outwardly, it may not seem to be, after all, what is writing anyway? It's just typing and typing and typing. One of the worst forms of writing can be blogging, which is what Vermont Polygamy is, a blog.

Bad writing and blogging are not necessarily hand in hand. At times I do look back on some things I have written, make minor edits, and in other cases, wonder how anybody can understand the tangled gobbledy gook that flowed off my fingertips. I rarely write with an outline, though at times I do. In being timely, it's hard to do that.

As a consequence, I sometimes write, am interrupted, write, am interrupted again, table something for a day, write some more, and so on. The result is often not what I fully intended. Sometimes the result is something even after post publishing tweaks, I don't like very much. I rarely delete any material on either of my blogs. If I blather, honest editorial policy is to leave that blather out there to be criticized.

It is my intention to weave the continuing series on the church discussions into a book. The brief exchange with the intelligentsia of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church provides more than adequate fodder to characterize the position of the Reformation on marriage and monogamy or more accurately, marriage as equivalent to monogamy. It provides me with more than adequate fodder to refute it.

As a reformed person, I can take no public political position, without reconciling it to my religious belief. I do not pretend to take my religion on the road, and force others into accepting it in practice, but I can ask for my legal cul de sac in which to practice my religion, this is what I do.

After this series on the OPC, I will go on with the book, and blogging about the progress of Same Sex Marriage in Vermont. There is a limit to this. As I point out at Modern Pharisee, I am becoming increasingly more popular as a blogger. An anonymous commenter says this must be because so many people wish to keep track of me and what I'm doing. As if. No followers and all surveillance? That would be a commentary on paranoia like I've rarely seen. Not mine though. It would seem that the forces of polygamy watching are populated by high school educated young mothers. At least that's what the site stats of "the Pharisee" indicate.

Ultimately, this is another mention that I need real support to continue the effort. With as many of you as are out there, that are supportive, there should be some support. I am not among the idle rich, I am among the working renting population. I live paycheck to paycheck. I could do this far better if it was all I had to do. To do this in the future, it may very well be that this can be all I do. Just picture yourself as my employer, with me on the evening news espousing even what this generation views as a deviant lifestyle. I would be on to a sole proprietorship of nothing and speedy bankruptcy in nothing flat.

I am a registered lobbyist in the State of Vermont for this cause. The next legislative session is this coming January. If I can't do this alone as a livelihood, I really can't do it much longer, other than as a simple observer. I'm not sure how much interest I have in that.

I am increasingly pointing out to my friends in this cause, some practicing polygynists, and some merely advocating for the practice, that I have no desire merely to serve as a front for men who want greater variety on their sexual menu. This is the frequent criticism of the average polygynist, is that they are simply sex crazed men looking for a booty call that they can make look legitimate through religion.

I may be forced to at least superficially, agree with them.

Zero support means that at best the Christian Polygynist is hiding out in their lifestyle, laying low, not calling attention to themselves, and bed hopping. I understand this. Attention means problems. Ask the FLDS. String the words compound, polygamy and religion together and it reads like an engraved invitation to a visit from the SWAT team and the FBI. Who would want that?

Unless though, it is the intention of such persons to hide their lights perpetually under a bushel (albeit a bushel with lots of tail in it), it's time to come out in support of the effort. Don't, and I won't.

I am as Dr. Andrew Selle has named me, the leading public advocate and debater of the cause of Christian polygyny, in the world. Musings about site stats on my other blog are designed to show you that people care about the cause, from a pro polygyny standpoint.

Faith without works though, is nothing. I would very much enjoy an exchange of ideas on this topic. You can comment here, or you can email me.

hughmcbryde@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Confronting the Church on Marriage, Part III

Picking up where we left off on the 9th of this month, I progress to Woody's last statement, which I said I would let hang out there, and soak in. I will paraphrase his answer, as I understand it, having written him on some points for clarification, and using the statements he made. His argument is, "marriage is one man and one woman because Genesis 2:24 is a definition of marriage." This is an argument I can accept, easily. I'm not sure it's precisely correct, but I can accept it.

So Woody accuses me of Red Herrings by mentioning that we don't marry our own ribs. Not so. But in an effort to meet him more than half way, I shall concede that God never meant for us to emulate Adam and Eve in ways that we cannot, and that creation was fixed at the time of Eve, with no more first generation men, women or animals on the drawing board. God rests. All generations subsequent to Adam and Eve are to come from them as Paul says and henceforth all men are out of women, not woman from man.

This again creates a problem for Woody since it is now mandated that some things be done in ways unlike Adam and Eve. Adam never marries in fact. Adam has a wife created for him. She is the only being created as a wife. Does Woody now argue for all marriages being arranged? Certainly Adam's father arranged for his marriage. Does Woody propose that Adam and Eve's children were to be married as they were? God has mandated in man's perfection that man be "fruitful and multiply." Creation is closed on the 6th day. Is Eve to serve as a sort of hive queen, whelping all the children who are sexual, but never engage in sex or was it God's divine intent from the beginning that Adam be polygynous and marry his own daughter(s) or that Eve be polyandrous and marry her own son(s)? Is it more likely that it was God's intent, from the beginning, in Man's perfection or fallen state, that they marry siblings? If we accept God never meant parents to marry their own children, then Adam's children, two of them at least, must marry one another. Herein is a mandated difference that is not as Adam and Eve were, from the beginning. Once it is established that Seth's marriage was never meant to be like Adam and Eve's in all ways, then it is established that we can only follow Adam and Eve in ways that we are able.

So are we to marry exactly as Adam and Eve did in ways that we can? Again, Woody necessarily returns to the Adam and Eve archetype and argues rigorous betrothal practice by default. Am I to betroth all my female children from the womb? This is in fact what he argues, and if he does not then he readily concedes to me that we are not even to follow Adam and Eve in all ways that we are able. Since we do not follow them in all ways that we can, we must settle on one method: We are to follow them in all ways that we are instructed to follow them. I could make other arguments similar to the female betrothal from the womb example given above, but I shall leave this for now as the only one on the table. Let Woody defeat this. He is defeated in extracting monogamy as in instruction from Genesis 2:24, he must find it clearly held up, as a monogamy, as instructive in that regard. It must be said "Adam married only Eve and you should never marry more than one at a time, like Adam and like Eve." This is never said.

Woody and I agree that Genesis 2:24 is a comment by the author Moses, this is what he means by "Mosaic interpolation" (Moses introduced). From there Moses commented with flawless divine inspiration that marriage is defined forward from this moment. All the business about the "waw-consective narrative" is just bombast. Having been accused by Woody of attitudes, I feel it is my right to point out here that he could have said "Moses introduced this comment into the text, which defines marriage," instead he resorts to belittling by throwing out seldom used phrases (meaningful though they may be) like "Mosaic Interpolation" and "waw-consecutive narrative." Woody then dumps in terms like "anarthrous generic 'man' " instead of simply "man" and so on. Anarthrous, by the way, is a word so little used, my spell checker doesn't recognize it.

Woody next makes a dense (layered and complex) argument about what Jesus said in quoting the passage. I say it means what it meant. Jesus says that in Matthew 19. This is one of the unintended consequences of "from the beginning it was not so." Jesus is reaching back, quoting Genesis 2:24, probably in Hebrew and saying "it means now, what it meant then, no changes." That does not mean "Marriage must be exactly like Adam and Eve" though, it means that as defined, at that time, marriage is and was and will always be, exactly the same thing. If the definition was inclusive of different patterns of marriage for subsequent generations than the exact pattern laid out by Adam and Eve, then these differences are included in that definition. Where Woody errs, where all err on the monogamy side is to say that this means "any deviation" is not marriage. There are necessarily deviations from the pattern of Adam and Eve. The question is only; what are the allowable and righteous deviations.

Woody then makes what I think are deliberately confusing points about the "LXX" (Septuagint) and the Samaritan Pentateuch, implying however vaguely that there is some new inspiration revealed in Christ's words because of the Greek Translation of Genesis. I'm going to insist that there is more evidence that Christ spoke these words in Hebrew, or possibly Aramaic, as opposed to Greek. He was sent to the Lost Sheep of Israel, and at this point, was ministering to them. Thus, any implication or drift in meaning or new meaning that Woody or others pick up from the use of Septuagint by the authors of Matthew or Mark is not drift at all. They report accurately as possible what Christ said in those passages, as a translation of his words, not his words exactly. So when Christ quotes scripture, he quotes it in the original Hebrew or in Aramaic.

So, back to the top. If as Woody claims, and I accept, at least for the sake of discussion, marriage is "one man and one woman," where does that leave me? Quite simply it leaves me with the alternative declaration that a man can have several marriages, while he and his spouse(s) live. Romans 7 entirely takes care of any supposition that a woman can have concurrent marriages. I can accept Woody's work and declare the above to be correct, it's just that he claims somewhere that this means "only" and that, is never said. Either marriage is defined as being open to the addition of several wives, or men are said to be morally capable without any sin of marrying several times concurrently. I can make my view easily fit with this argument, and so it is no argument at all.

Some will point out that it is wrong to marry siblings and I agree. Remember that this is a change, the sort of change Woody maintains can occur, and in this case, did occur. Whereas Seth marries a sister or another brother does, and Abram marries his half sister, we may not. The change is clearly laid out. There was no law, and men and women married freely it seems in and out of their families. Later there is a law. Leviticus 18:9:
"The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover."
There is no such passage regarding multiple wives. There are in fact passages that compel such relationships, even if they are mere side effects of obeying other laws. What are we to make of this?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Confronting the Church on Marriage, Part II

As you recall, from my last post, Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church devoted time and resources to the defeat of the Same Sex Marriage bill in Vermont. Dr. Andrew Selle (What's Next? POLYGAMY?) who is a teacher, elder and ordained Orthodox Presbyterian pastor testified publicly against the bill. He also testified before the various subcommittees that cleared the bill in it's various and final forms to go out to the floor for a vote in both the House and Senate in Vermont.

Let me be clear that I would greatly prefer the Government not be involved in marriage at all, but as long as they classify people for income tax status based on whether they are married or not, there is no hope at all of getting them out of marriage. Thus we must license ourselves and marry to be classified for tax purposes and the Government climbs into bed with us.

I don't want Same Sex Marriage. It's an oxymoron as I have often pointed out. Beyond that I don't care if homosexuals live together and call themselves married, they are not married in the eyes of God just because they think they are. This I humbly submit, should also be the position of the church. We should not invade the homes of the unbeliever and tell them how to live. If we wish to, let us evangelize until there is a Christian Majority, and then elect officials to rule us that see it the way we do. Job one in that formulation? Evangelism, not lobbying for "Traditional Marriage." This is the backdrop for what follows.

I had gone into a membership class out of a desire to be in submission to the authorities of my local OPC church body. There is nothing in the membership requirements for the prospective membership about marriage views. There is nothing that says I should submit blindly to the dictates of the session in doctrinal issues. There is in fact a statement that no prospective member should blindly submit. With that in mind I emailed the entire session April 18th, in advance of their session meeting on 20th of this year. There was an ongoing verbal discussion between Carl Durham (the pastor) and I, and he had requested that he be able to show my work, shown below, to someone else. That someone else would turn out to be Kobe (Japan) Reformed Theological Seminary Hebrew professor, Stewart "Woody" Lauer. (Pictured Below)

I emphasized the epidemic of divorce as one of my concerns, and the effect of understanding acceptable polygyny on divorce doctrine. I emphasized that we are eroding confidence in the Old Testament narrative, and the relative virtue of it's primary figures by degrading their family states. I equated that to taking a low view of the first several chapters of Genesis.



These are the arguments I presented, which I will edit to direct them at the audience of this blog. Any who dispute this record, I will answer by presented the original text of the emails and their historic origins. There were several arguments to the church, which Woody did not deal with, so for now, I will not deal with those, but present them later, as uncontested or misunderstood. Woody was frequently give to terse wording about not understanding an argument. I will table those and deal with those he did understand. It is interesting how the general argument I have been making in public for years is less complex when presented to a member of the Reformed Theological community. I said:
"Many people will say the advocacy of Polygyny is frivolous as few peace seeking Christians would flaunt the laws of the land by taking other wives. I have several things to say in that area. One, in those nations promoting monogamy through law, there is still divorce, and the pattern of polygynous marriage leads to a better understanding of that unfortunate human necessity born of our sinful natures. (Also) you can get on a computer in Afghanistan or Iran or any other nation in the world, and you can access this forum and others like it. It shows serious myopia to think that we in the west own this discussion. Conservative denominations like our also draw the line at degrading the truth of the first third of Genesis or any other section of scripture for that matter. The denial of a polygynous pattern of marriage in the Old Testament as moral, where more marriages mentioned are polygynous than are not, threatens the veracity of God's in the eyes of men in the same way that adherence to the theory of Evolution does. It makes the word a fairy tale. It makes it of no value in our life today."
And Woody replies:
"These are unsupported pretentious claims. If God chooses to permit something at an earlier period, and then proscribes it later in the flow of redemptive history, God’s veracity suffers no injury. While the case of divorce ('Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.') does not prove polygyny was temporary, it does prove that God allowing one ethical standard before Christ and forbidding it afterward is consistent with God’s self-revelation, even if someone might seek to fault God as inconsistent."
Woody immediately wrestles for the upper hand by characterizing a conversation starter as "unsupported and pretentious." This is irrelevant to the discussion. It goes to the politics of the discussion, not it's substance. I am being characterized as having made my whole argument. I am also be characterized as having an attitude. Neither are true.

I agree that God can change the rules and patterns by which we live. Mandating one thing though, and then forbidding it later requires clear direction in both cases. "Do this," and then "Don't do that anymore." The command to refrain must be clear and not buried in nuance subject to interpretation. An example would be the absolute need to marry in your immediate family at the outset of creation, and the later forbidding of that practice by God's law. Seth could marry his sister, in fact someone in Adam's progeny was required to do so. We cannot do that.

Woody also immediately tries to throw polygyny in a bucket with divorce. We don't even agree on the existence of the bucket to begin with (classifying divorce as a sinful behavior reluctantly permitted), but if it did exist, there is no passage that places polygyny in that bucket, there's just the bucket, the category. So for now we'll grant Woody his bucket, but dare him to show as none of his allies in the argument have ever been able to do, when polygyny was thrown in that bucket.

I then assert the following:
"It is my declaration that the practice of Polygyny is just as valid today as it was when it was practiced in the Old Testament. There are a couple of tired arguments against it that I would like to discourage up front. In that I am addressing these arguments up front, the simple repetition of them would be to engage in one of the most ancient fallacies known as 'argumentum ad nauseam.' Since I have made the argument already, repeating it is now a fallacy since the argument is answered and that answer must now be replied to."
This is an intentional throwing down of the gauntlet. It is not for the purposes of creating strife, but to say "move the ball" don't echo these arguments. It's like the opening moves in a chess game. Each assertion I will subsequently make needs an answer that adds information to the discussion.

Woody replies:
"I would not demand agreement with the WCF on this matter in order to find a profession of faith valid. However, if an inquirer seriously opposed to our church’s confession on some point seems unwilling to listen humbly and carefully to the church’s official teachers, I would doubt his sincerity with respect to vow #4 (cf. Heb 13:17; 1 Tim 4:15). He seems to be saying: don’t bother me with anything I think I have heard before, and I’ll be the judge of whether or not you are worth my time to deal with."
First and of foremost importance is the outright admission that my stance does NOT call my faith into question. Other things might, but my marriage stance does not. This then classifies it the same way one might classify infant baptism or believer baptism, Sabbath (Saturday) or Sunday worship. Perhaps a larger item of this category of permissible difference, but it is still the same thing. Doubting my "sincerity" is something Woody may not do, though he does anyway. He does not know my heart, and he is wrong about my intentions.

Woody though goes on to try immediately to spin it as foundational. We're now not talking about faith, but 100% compliance with a extra Biblical confession of faith. This is the equivalent of asking me to comply with the misguided pharisees tithing of the spices. Man made interpretive rules win out. We must all swear to the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF), not just the Bible.

This is part five of the membership questions presented to a prospective member of Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church:
" 'Do you agree to submit in the Lord to the government of his church and, in case you should be found delinquent in doctrine or life, to heed it's discipline?'

Q. What does it mean to 'submit in the Lord' to the government of this church?

A. It means that you heed the teaching and admonishment of the elders as long as they are teaching what the Bible teaches (1 Thes. 5:12ff). No one, including church leaders, has the right to make any requirements that go beyond those given in the Word of God.

Q. If you ever have a disagreement with the leaders of the church or any other member, how should you handle it?

A. If you believe it is important, you should go directly to the person(s) involved and talk it through. Never gossip, but get appropriate people involved if necessary to help bring peace. God commands us to 'make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of Peace.' (Eph. 3:3)."
So we progress to my first argument, that Woody deals with. It's about the "bucket," referred to above. Woody:
"If John Murray’s treatment of the progressive revelation of God’s kingdom ethic respecting divorce is faithful to Scripture (Divorce, Presbyterian & Reformed), then the connection is indirect, strictly proving only the possibility of progressive revelation of marital ethics when moving into the NT period of the coming of the kingdom of heaven. The actual revelation of a proscription against polygyny must be shown, separately."
So Woody puts off the argument. In debating the topic, I've learned that this is usually to cover up a weak argument. Promise to solve the problem, but solve it later, then put as much distance in between this assertion, and actually showing the connection "separately" and maybe you won't have to. Maybe your opponent will tire. Probably your supporters won't ask you to produce it. Maybe it won't look as weak when there is distance in between your claim you can produce it, and actually producing it. Woody then skips a few arguments pretending not to understand, and then answers them, showing that he did. I have italicized the snippets of arguments he picks up from those he claimed not to "get." First the argument he "answers," his answer being an answer to several arguments he brushes aside as unclear.
" 'It's Adam & Eve, not Adam & Eve & Amber & Crystal' which is a variation of the 'Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve' argument against homosexual 'marriage.' This is a 'Faulty' or 'Hasty Generalization.' Neither argument holds water. This is not to say I condone Adam & Steve, I don't. There are other reasons why Adam and Steve should stay away from one another, but they aren't spoken to in the creation story. Using the Adam and Eve monogamy example assumes the story in all it's details, before the fall, to be an archetype for all marriage that we must follow without deviation. It is not possible to argue monogamy from their example unless you embrace all parts of the example."
Woody's reply:
"This reads like a mere ungrounded assertion. Jesus does appeal to the way things were from the beginning (pre-fall) as normative, archetypal if you like. 'Unless you got married buck naked, I urge you not to go there.' – A thoroughly unpersuasive, irrelevant argument. God himself sanctioned the covering of nakedness after the fall. That would sufficiently justify the change, irrespective of whether or not the first marriage was intended by God to be normative. 'There are other ways this supposed archetype gets strained as well. You're probably not named Adam, or Eve, you aren't made from a rib or you're not missing one.' – Red herrings. Gen 2 portrays the first marriage as normative of marriage, not of everything having to do with Adam and Eve. 'The list goes on. Adam and Eve's marriage is an archetype ONLY in ways stated elsewhere in scripture to be an archetype or ideal.' I see no more than a high handed pronouncement, here. Gen 2:24 itself (apart from later usage) reads like an editorial (Mosaic) interpolation into a pre-existent (inherited) narrative (the Hebrew grammar supports such an inference, with a break in the waw-consecutive narrative). The author of Genesis is best understood taking the first marriage ('this cause') normatively ('shall leave … and shall cleave') for mankind thereafter. This ('they … shall become one,' marital unification) is what God has established as a normative pattern for the seed of Adam (mankind) through creating the woman as the helpmeet of man and joining them together as one (flesh). The Hebrew tense in v 24 is imperfect (w/o waw) which in this context reads as a decree (cf. 2:16b, 4:7b, 6:15a). While the impf. can be merely predictive (e.g. prophecy, cf. 9:25b), that force makes no sense here since the subject (ish = a man) is an anarthrous generic ‘man’ (as male). (It would make no sense non-generically, for then Moses would then be predicting—based upon what God did for Adam—that one unspecified man (‘a [particular but not contextually identified] man’) will [at some particular future time] marry a wife. What possible sense would that make in context?)


Arguably, Jesus, too, takes 2:24 in this (decretive) way when he appeals to it normatively (definition 3)(Mat 19:5-6): 'For this cause a man shall leave … and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh … Consequently … let no man separate [3rd person imperative].' Interestingly, Matthew (who from time to time appeals directly to the Hebrew (e.g. Mat 8:17) has Jesus following the LXX’s paraphrastic, 'the two shall become …,' implicating the Lord’s agreement that the 'two' is indeed implied in the original Hebrew decree. As such, 'two' shall become 'one' is normative. (The Samaritan Pentateuch, too, has it.)"
And with that, I'm going to give Woody the floor for a while, let that soak in, and reply to it in my next post. This is a kitchen sink reply. It is a lot like talking to a Neo-orthodox theologian who piles on the Big Words, and the God Words so that his answer sounds as if it means something. His argument though is that the Two become One. I agree, they do. What difference does that make though?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Battle!

Ever since I saw the somewhat apocryphal movie "Michael," one scene in particular has stuck in my mind. The misguided Angel wandering around muttering "Battle!" Well Battle it is, though Battle I have sought to avoid now for over a year.

It is fair to say that I had been dragged kicking and screaming from Montana, to Vermont. I did not want to be here, and like Jonah, similarly dragged from one place to another, I still don't want to be here. To channel Tina Fey's version of Sarah Palin, from here "I can see Sodom and Gomorrah, from my house." Or Nineveh. Whatever fits.

I arrived late Friday, August the 1st 2008 in a rain storm with a blown out tire on my trailer, a rough start. After showing up at the work God in his mercy provided for me, my next order of business was to pick a church, and I quickly found an OPC representative right in the Barre Montpelier area, Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Since I was moving because of the necessity of work, it was move first, pick a church next. The representative of my other denominational preference, the Presbyterian Church in America, was in St. Albans, which was a bit of a hike. Being short on funds and fuel, I chose COPC which was 3 miles from where I as staying. I first went there on August the 3rd, 2008. Olivia and Carl Durham graciously invited me to their home for dinner, the 3rd was communion Sunday, I cleared my participation in the sacrament with Carl (pictured below) and later that evening in his home, I let him know where I stood on marriage, and promised not to seek the spotlight on the issue.

I didn't seek the spotlight, but it came looking for me. I have long maintained that the "Gay Marriage" issue was tied to the legal practice of polygyny, since if it is preference that guides marriage rights and laws in our country, and there are "bisexuals," then if homosexuals are entitled to marriage, then bisexuals ought to be as well. The minimum configuration of a "bisexual marriage" is at least two members of the same sex and one member of the other. One of the members of the same sex has to be bisexual. To be married, and bisexual, and protect your relationships with all the benefits of civil marriage, three people must be married. Voilà! Polygamy.

It's harder to argue the issue of preference for numbers. A man might want lots of partners, or similarly a woman. We sure know that there are some of us that have a hard time confining themselves to one bed. It can be argued this "preference" is more widespread than gay or bisexual tendencies. So this too can be argued in the following way. A man or woman has a high sex drive, a desire for variety. His or her partners don't have such needs. Partner them all together and everybody gets what they want. If your wife wants sex once a month, and you find five such women, you could pretty much have met everyone's needs in marriage and sexual relationships.

When I was thinking of pushing the marriage issue I looked first at California and asked a friend to go with me there, and try to obtain a marriage license. The idea was, we don't have to get married, but if we go and get the license, the precedent is set. Once legally allowed to marry when married already to someone else, polygamy (and thus polygyny) is legal. I similarly wondered if someone would do that in New England, but of course, I had no desire to BE in New England. Ack! Ptooie! Yuck!

So what does the LORD in his foreordination do? He moves me to Vermont, and then in the 2009 legislative session, Vermont passes the first Same Sex Marriage law by exactly the number of votes necessary to override the Governor's veto of the bill. This is significant for several reasons.

One is that we are not bending a law written for heterosexual monogamy as marriage, we will now be testing and bending a law in Vermont based on sexual preference. Whereas I would have understood a defeat of polygynous marriage in the courts because of the excess of the courts in the first place, I have no problem with vying against the state for the rights of polygynists in Vermont when the voice of the people, it's state Legislature, has passed a law, intentionally protective of preference.

Next is that I have been brought into direct contact with with the point of the spear when it came to the Reformation's defense of marriage in the person of ordained Orthodox Presbyterian minister, Dr. Andrew Selle. Dr Selle, as you may recall, invested a lot of time and effort into the defeat of the Same Sex Marriage bill in Vermont. This same Dr. Selle cannot find the time to discuss the true Biblical "Traditional marriage" with someone in his own church and denomination. In retrospect, how good a representative of the Reformation is he, if he says "What's Next? Polygamy!?" No Andy, that was first, and it's never gone away. We have hymns in our hymnbooks written by polygynists. Many are based on the Psalms of David and more recently it is said that Martin Madan was a polygynist. In my church we all received an email from Carl about this, the church was very involved with time and resources:
"Today’s Times Argus says the public time for input on same sex marriage bill has already been set - Wed March 18 at statehouse. This will be for BOTH House and Senate so it will probably be the only one. I want to encourage people to go to and/or pray for this event - simply our presence is important, most don't need to say anything."
I completely agree that there is no such thing as "Gay Marriage" but when confronted with that specter, the church turned out. They turned out and worried aloud through an official representative that "what's next" would be Polygamy.

During this same time frame I sought to become a member of the local OPC church. I was again revealing to the session, not the congregation as a whole, about my beliefs about marriage. I have been denied membership at Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church, even though I have complied with all the questions on their membership requirements adequately. They seek to bar me from membership on the basis of my marriage beliefs, but those are not said to be core issues by the church.

COPC farmed out their response to me to a Hebrew Scholar, half a world away, Stewart "Woody" Lauer (Kobe Reformed Theological Seminary). His answers were inadequate and I will be discussing them later, here. God willing. The church has now put me off referring to their faith in an argument as yet undiscovered, that they plan to answer me with, when they get the chance to spend the time looking for it. I have now cleared the internal requirements of the church to be private in our disputes, not public. Their refusal now clears me to be public. I have also been turned away by the Presbytery.

These are important hurdles to clear. There are a number of things happening in the next few weeks. Same Sex marriage becomes legal in Vermont next month. It is necessary first to find someone willing to submit to a test case of marriage law. If someone were to come forward and attempt to register their marriages to more than one legally, then we would have the beginning of a test case in Vermont for polygamy.

A legislative agenda is farther away. My registration as a lobbyist in Vermont had no more than symbolic importance this year. There was no possibility of crafting and advancing a legislative solution so quickly on the heals of the narrow passage of the Same Sex Marriage bill in Vermont. January 2010 is really the first opportunity to push for that in the legislature. I don't think the gays will be on our side. The Polyamory crowd so far has seemed to me to be arrogant and bent on the entire destruction of marriage, though in theory they should facilitate the legal framework necessary.

Polyamory groups are for entirely egalitarian approaches to marriage as expressed in civil law. That is an anathema to the concept of either polygynous marriage or monogamous marriage in the Biblical sense. If they craft the agenda, marriage laws will be used against our marriages, not for them.

I urgently seek contact with someone willing to register their marriage legally in Vermont as a polygamy. If this goes to a legislative agenda, it's going to be expensive. I would remind everyone that this is an activity not likely to make many friends, and it will put me in real danger, though that danger is probably more related to stress and economics than it would be physical.

At this point I need support of all kinds, and so far I have not seen much at all. If there is no support, I have to question doing this at all. I am a husband, I do have a family, if this pursuit threatens those priorities, and no one cares, I have to re evaluate what I am doing and ask if all I am doing is casting things in front of others, to be trampled.

There is a large Christian polygyny crowd out there right now. I know this. What I do I do primarily for YOUR protection. Expect to see more in the way of posting to Vermont Polygamy as September approaches. I will be going into greater detail on my interaction with the church during this month. Barring extraordinary events, the only thing that will stop me will be my denomination choosing to engage me internally on the topic of marriage. Something at this point, that would greatly surprise me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Future of Vermont Polygamy

I may have to cease altogether, or temporarily. In order of probability that will be Temporarily (until further notice), Not at all, or Altogether. Here's why.

I am a Reformation Christian. A Conservative Presbyterian one to be exact. There are several Conservative Presbyterian denominations. I will not identify which one so on the off chance that someone tries to identify my church, it won't be painfully obvious which one it is that I attend. This is in keeping with a pattern outlined in scripture for disputes in which it stays private in it's initial stages, and hopefully never progresses beyond it's initial stages. Publicity is at odds with Godly practice at this particular point. Here is an outline of what my church wants from me when we meet.
"At a minimum, as evidence of such a change of heart on your part, and before we could consider welcoming you into membership, you would have to promise when we meet with you soon, in regard to this matter:

1.) To abandon your erroneous doctrine regarding polygyny and not attempt to persuade others about these views, either with those in this church or in other churches, including removing discussion and endorsement of polygyny on your personal website."
There were two other conditions that I do not consider important to mention. Suffice it to say that if I am disagreed with on the above as it is evident that I am, one would expect those that disagree with me, who are also concerned with the purity of the church, to take such a position.

If by some compromise or determination that results from the impending meeting I am told again to follow this condition, and accept the condition then Vermont Polygamy and the largest part of my other blog Modern Pharisee would go up in smoke. I'd probably cease publication of both in that case. If I blogged again it would be under the same site as Modern Pharisee no doubt, but with the deletion of my concerns on marriage and/or the repudiation of my stance on polygyny.

At this point I should assure every reader, friend, foe, casual acquaintance or anonymous, that I don't see it is likely that I will repudiate my position. It is somewhat more likely that I will accept the authority of the church and not speak about my views, this may involve some compromise. It is far more likely that I will continue in some way. I suppose it's possible that I could pull a Palin and walk away without any clear plan.

July 19Th is the slated date for this discussion, I'll let you know more at then, which may just be something along the lines of "discussions are ongoing."

God does not need me in particular to do anything. Help can come for his people, and correction, and doctrine, from anywhere. For all I know Governor Mark Sanford could take my place in this battle. I pursue what seems to be the most logical and best course, but God chose Gideon and whittled his force down to 300 men before using them for his purposes. God chose Jonah, and never was there a more reluctant prophet. God chose Paul, a killer of the followers of his Son, to spread the word to the world. Remember Abraham reached a point that he realized he could sacrifice Isaac, and God could of course, raise him from the dead. Daniel's three friends consented to be thrown to their deaths if God would not save them from the firey furnace. In short, God can do anything, and do it without me. In the twinkling of an eye.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Hampshire Passes Same Sex Marriage Bill

Like the bad penny that keeps turning up, New Hampshire passes yet another Gay "Marriage" bill, but this version is very close to the one Governor Lynch said he'd sign.
Reuters - "New Hampshire's Democratically controlled House of Representatives endorsed gay marriage in a 198-176 vote, hours after the state Senate approved the legislation by 14-10 along party lines, making the state the fourth this year to back gay marriage in the United States."
It remains to be seen whether or not Lynch will sign it into law, or just let it pass through. Told ya so.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Hampshire gets back on track for SSM

If "traditional marriage" (read heterosexual monogamy) supporters thought they were stopping the gay "marriage" bandwagon in New Hampshire, they can think again. New Hampshire's bill is moving forward. From "Everyday Christian."
"New Hampshire is now home to a winding road that may ultimately lead to it becoming the sixth U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage. The other five are Iowa, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Democratic governor John Lynch had been on the record as supporting civil unions for same-sex couples but opposed to gay marriage. He later agreed with the state legislature which viewed it as a civil rights issue and sent a bill to be signed. Lynch sent the bill back seeking extra protections written in for churches and religious groups which might refuse same-sex weddings. The amended bill was narrowly defeated in the House and has been sent to a conference committee for restructuring.

The new compromise bill may be on Lynch’s desk as early as next week. A hearing is scheduled next Wednesday, June 3.

The delay in passage has been helpful to illustrate the potential pitfalls same-sex marriage holds for people unrelated to a gay couple who oppose the marriage, said Bruce Hausknecht.

'We wouldn’t support any same-sex marriage bill, period, but what (Lynch) has done is raise awareness of the connection between religious liberties,” said Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action. 'The fix proposed falls woefully short of any serious protection of religious liberties.'

Hausknecht cited in particular the New Mexico case of Elaine and Jonathan Hugenin. The conservative Christian couple owns Elane Photography in Albuquerque. Vanessa Willock contacted Elane asking it to photograph a commitment ceremony with her girlfriend. After the Hugenins declined, Willock filed a charge against the company with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission. The commission found the company guilty of discrimination and fined it $6,000.

'When (Lynch) said he wanted to revisit the language that’s OK, but it barely scratches the surface,' Hausknecht said. 'There are a whole host of small businesses that will be effected by this and punished if they don’t agree with what is happening.'

The provisions being taken in the bill are adequate and worth a few days’ wait for Mo Baxley. Baxley is the executive director of New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition, a leading state lobbying firm in favor of gay marriage.

'Absolutely, we would stand up for individual liberties, including people’s religious liberties,' Baxley said. 'It’s pretty clearly spelled out in the legislation. The intent is not to discriminate.'

Baxley also defended Lynch on being characterized as a flip-flopper on supporting civil unions then later supporting gay marriage."
I've heard talk in my own church about retreating from "state registered" marriages which was amusing to hear since when debating the topic of polygyny being marriage, even if informal, I continued to hear variations of the "living in sin" argument based on the fact that the polygynous marriage was not "legal." Now the very same people are saying "well, we just won't have 'legal' marriages if we're forced to submit to laws geared for SSM." It's amusing because I'm now hearing the argument rejected by my opponents instantly offered as a shield against gay marriage. They propose to simply take marriage private, as polygynous marriages have always been. Remind me again, what was the objection to the informal nature of polygynous unions? They weren't "legal?"

Combine the interest now in Evangelical/Reformed circles to take marriage "private" or "not legal" (not "illegal" mind, you, just not "legal) and the following story reported on over at "Modern Pharisee."
KTVG San Diego - "Attorney Dean Broyles of The Western Center For Law & Policy was shocked with what happened to the pastor and his wife.

Broyles said, 'The county asked, "Do you have a regular meeting in your home?" She said, "Yes." "Do you say amen?" "Yes." "Do you pray?" "Yes." "Do you say praise the Lord?" "Yes." '

The county employee notified the couple that the small Bible study, with an average of 15 people attending, was in violation of County regulations, according to Broyles.

Broyles said a few days later the couple received a written warning that listed 'unlawful use of land' and told them to 'stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit' -- a process that could cost tens of thousands of dollars."
There could very well be a move on to do what was done to the FLDS, after a fashion, and bring churches under more state regulation. Attack them on all fronts, including the pocketbook. Whoever thought that there would be a move on to make Bible Studies "illegal?"

Consider this: A chain of events where you are driven into the church building to have Bible studies, and the state starts moving in to see if you're engaging in "hate speech" and zoning laws imposed on Bible Study gatherings and informal weddings.

I can see it now, we get forced to have all services in designated areas. We are sued and regulated in those areas where we officially practice. We end up not being able to have "informal" weddings. We're charged with a variety of violations for this or that. We're bled of our resources in lawsuits, and so on.

All of this to get you in church for church. To tell you what you can and can't do in church. To discourage informal weddings. To force churches to participate in SSM.

Forgive me if this appears a bit fuzzy at the moment but it's beginning to sound like a communist nation with the state sitting in on everything we say and do. I honestly don't know how it's going to work out but I foresee the state not wanting informal marriages and wanting to be in on every aspect of our religious practice and I can't see that as good. Feel free to comment as I don't think I'm making the best connections here, but I see the connection between the two stories.

I have been saying for years that perhaps we should fold our tent on opposition to SSM in exchange for being able to write religiously defined "marriage contracts" or prenups. I think that window is rapidly closing and what we'll be left with is the state writing and regulating our "marriage contract," and SSM as well.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Same Sex Marriage Advocates continue to Pummel Christianity...

With their own Bible. From a Letter to the Editor in the Bangor Daily News, Kelly Connell and Heidi Plante write:
"Those who use (the Bible) to attack gay marriage claim (it) promotes marriage as the union of 'one man and one woman.' In fact, in much of the Bible, marriage is between one man and many women. Abraham, Jacob and Lamech all had multiple wives (Genesis chapters 4, 16, 25, 28 and 29). To follow all that the Bible endorses one would have to fight for polygamy, incest (Genesis 19), adultery (Genesis 30), and many other behaviors we no longer tolerate or believe to be God’s intent for us."
Neatly summarized here is also the point made of progressive revelation. Not "progressive" in the sense that we know more about God's plan, but progressive in the sense that God's plan is erroneously perceived and corrected as time goes on. This is the idea that the Church plays a role in revelation and social policy in the sense that the Church makes doctrine up or invents it and interacts with society to arrive at "values" or "social mores." "Change," in other words.

Unless we as the Church retreat to a Biblical position, which states that (among other things), polygyny is NOT wrong, the SSM crowd will continue to throw the book at us. Our Book. The Bible.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Same Sex "Marriage" stalls again in New Hampshire

There are certain passages that preachers neglect in scripture, to their peril. One is the capstone story of the Book of Judges, in which a rather spineless Levite loses his rather unfaithful and less than sympathetic figure of a wife, his concubine. Virtually everyone in the story remains unnamed. It's not a good commentary on the principals involved. He woos her back, then he throws her to the wolves in a story that parallels remarkably the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Why should we be more afraid of "Gay Marriage" than of polygamy? It's contained in this one sentence.
CNN - "The (new) language (of the same sex marriage bill) would specify that religious organizations can decline to take part in any marriage ceremony without incurring fines or risking lawsuits."
To say I watch my legal facilitators with a baleful eye is to grossly understate the situation. If SSM advocates were truly of the "live and let live" variety of folks by and large I could almost be in favor of same sex "marriage." Almost.

The most recent failure of the bill in New Hampshire had several former supporters of the bill switching sides to vote against it. Why? Because it removes the ability to "force" religious organizations into acceptance. It wasn't so much that the bill was designed linguistically to sue churches and denominations, but it did open the door to such suits and now we see an idealistic pettiness I usually associate with the right. A "my way or the highway" attitude.

If you want to examine the rather dense language (I advise two "pirin" tablets, that's Aspirin with the A and S scraped off) and a reading of the post immediately preceding this one. It is Governor Jim Lynch's statement on the New Hampshire bill, and the changes he requires in it.

The legal common ground between supporters of SSM and supporters of legal polygamy (in my case, the more narrow case of polygyny) should make, except for the religious differences, happy bedfellows. Ultimately I think it does not which is why I lean so hard on the horn of marriage contracts. Just as it wasn't the object of the men of Sodom, Gomorrah or Gibeah to compromise or live and let live, I don't think it is the object of present day SSM advocates to do that either. While they may open the door to legal polygamy, we must not only take that gift, but also built a legal wall between us and them or they will be at the door, pounding on it, demanding that they destroy. There is nothing new under the sun. We are not better. We have not progressed. The same scenes will play themselves out again.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gov. Lynch Statement Regarding Same-Sex Marriage Legislation

Hat Tip to the "Law Dork."

CONCORD - Gov. John Lynch released the following statement today regarding same-sex legislation in New Hampshire:

“The gay marriage debate in New Hampshire has been filled with passion and emotion on all sides.

“My personal views on the subject of marriage have been shaped by my own experience, tradition and upbringing. But as Governor of New Hampshire, I recognize that I have a responsibility to consider this issue through a broader lens.

“In the past weeks and months, I have spoken with lawmakers, religious leaders and citizens. My office has received thousands of phone calls, letters and emails. I have studied our current marriage and civil union laws, the laws of other states, the bills recently passed by the legislature and our history and traditions.

“Two years ago, we passed civil unions legislation here in New Hampshire. That law gave same-sex couples in civil unions the same rights and protections as marriage. And in typical New Hampshire fashion, the people of this state embraced civil unions and agreed we needed to continue our tradition of opposing discrimination.

“At its core, HB 436 simply changes the term ‘civil union’ to ‘civil marriage.’ Given the cultural, historical and religious significance of the word marriage, this is a meaningful change.

“I have heard, and I understand, the very real feelings of same-sex couples that a separate system is not an equal system. That a civil law that differentiates between their committed relationships and those of heterosexual couples undermines both their dignity and the legitimacy of their families.

“I have also heard, and I understand, the concerns of our citizens who have equally deep feelings and genuine religious beliefs about marriage. They fear that this legislation would interfere with the ability of religious groups to freely practice their faiths.

“Throughout history, our society’s views of civil rights have constantly evolved and expanded. New Hampshire’s great tradition has always been to come down on the side of individual liberties and protections.

“That is what I believe we must do today.

“But following that tradition means we must act to protect both the liberty of same-sex couples and religious liberty. In their current form, I do not believe these bills accomplish those goals.

“The Legislature took an important step by clearly differentiating between civil and religious marriage, and protecting religious groups from having to participate in marriage ceremonies that violate their fundamental religious beliefs.

“But the role of marriage in many faiths extends beyond the actual marriage ceremony.

“I have examined the laws of other states, including Vermont and Connecticut, which have recently passed same-sex marriage laws. Both go further in protecting religious institutions than the current New Hampshire legislation.

“This morning, I met with House and Senate leaders, and the sponsors of this legislation, and gave them language that will provide additional protections to religious institutions.

“This new language will provide the strongest and clearest protections for religious institutions and associations, and for the individuals working with such institutions.
It will make clear that they cannot be forced to act in ways that violate their deeply held religious principles.

“If the legislature passes this language, I will sign the same-sex marriage bill into law. If the legislature doesn’t pass these provisions, I will veto it.

“We can and must treat both same-sex couples and people of certain religious traditions with respect and dignity.

“I believe this proposed language will accomplish both of these goals and I urge the legislature to pass it.

Below is the language Gov. Lynch has proposed for the same Sex legislation.

# # #

I. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a religious organization, association, or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges to an individual if such request for such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges is related to the solemnization of a marriage, the celebration of a marriage, or the promotion of marriage through religious counseling, programs, courses, retreats, or housing designated for married individuals, and such solemnization, celebration, or promotion of marriage is in violation of their religious beliefs and faith. Any refusal to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges in accordance with this section shall not create any civil claim or cause of action or result in any state action to penalize or withhold benefits from such religious organization, association or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society.

II. The marriage laws of this state shall not be construed to affect the ability of a fraternal benefit society to determine the admission of members pursuant to RSA 418:5, and shall not require a fraternal benefit society that has been established and is operating for charitable and educational purposes and which is operated, supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization to provide insurance benefits to any person if to do so would violate the fraternal benefit society’s free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States and part 1, article 5 of the Constitution of New Hampshire

III. Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed or construed to limit the protections and exemptions provided to religious organizations under RSA § 354-A:18.

IV. Repeal. RSA 457-A, relative to civil unions, is repealed effective January 1, 2011, except that no new civil unions shall be established after January 1, 2010.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Hampshire will have Gay "Marriage"

All the signs are there. The stagy Republican boycott/walkout is all about how everything in politics can be a victory, as long as you stay in office.
The Nashua Telegraph - "Rep. William O'Brien, R-Mont Vernon, claimed the group has a meeting with Gov. John Lynch this morning and will urge Lynch to veto the bill (HB 436), which would let gays and lesbians marry, and a related one (HB 310) that fixes mistakes and omissions made in the first.

Rep. David Cote, D-Nashua, chairs the House panel, but O'Brien stressed the GOP members were upset at House Democratic leadership and not at Cote.

'I have a great deal of respect for David Cote and think he's a decent person,' O'Brien said. '. . . The comments he and others made have convinced me this process was beyond his control.'

House Republicans vigorously protested the second same-sex marriage bill that went through the Senate and House on the same day a week ago without a public hearing.

For his part, Cote said he served more than two decades in the House minority before Democrats took control of the House after the 2006 elections.

He couldn't recall such a committee walkout before while adding that any member of the committee can come and go as they wish.

'The idea that the Republican minority did not have an opportunity to participate in this debate is just not true,' Cote said.

Other local representatives who signed protest statements and did not take part in the committee meeting Tuesday included Robert Rowe, of Amherst, Nancy Elliot, of Merrimack, Robert Mead, of Mont Vernon, and Peter Silva, of Nashua.

Seven of the nine Republicans members on the House panel signed the statement.

An eighth, Rep. Anthony DiFruscia, of Windham, supported both bills after the Senate created separate religious and civil marriages for same-sex couples in the compromise. He was not at the Statehouse on Tuesday.

The ninth, Rep. Joseph Hagan, of Chester, voted against both bills and was also absent Tuesday."
One really doesn't need to get too technical about who is where, or who is absent. What is important is the quick language fixes in the bills and the fast tracking of them to Gov. Lynch. Nothing short of a massive demonstration on the capital steps could persuade Gov. Lynch to exercise his veto now.

Republicans will posture about how they tried to save marriage and use the issue as grist for the next election campaign. Democrats who supported it will immediately start distancing themselves from the legislation so as to minimize the damage and gay "marriage" will be a reality in Hew Hampshire. The only state in doubt now in the "northern tier" will be Maine, with it's unpredictable "voter veto" looming on the horizon. New York may chime in with it's own bill soon. I'm sitting right in the middle of all those state capitals.

If you want to keep reliable track of that bill's progress, there is always the New Hampshire Governor's site, and there's the "Law Dork," published by Chris Geidner, a gay lawyer who doesn't seem to get panicky about things. The bill's submission date to the Governor seems to have been changed to the 12th, making it likely that the law will be real law by Monday of next week. The five days required by New Hampshire law expire on Saturday. Or he could just sign it.

Glenn Beck (Grudgingly) speaks the truth, but doesn't explain it

For that, you have to speak with bloggers such as moi.

For the LOGIC you must go to my preceding post. Yes Glenn, it is not logically possible to exclude more than two from entering into marriage when you've broken the gender difference barrier, but you need to tell them why that is.

This is why polygamy and polyamory will probably be legalized by the courts.

Hat tip to Media Matters. (&Toes)