Priestly Cheers for Polygamy

By Mark Tooley

The federal court that struck down part of Utah’s anti-polygamy law prompted a thoughtful comment from Southern Baptist spokesman Russell Moore:

“This is what happens when marriage becomes about the emotional and sexual wants of adults, divorced from the needs of children for a mother and a father committed to each other for life. Polygamy was outlawed in this country because it was demonstrated, again and again, to hurt women and children. Sadly, when marriage is elastic enough to mean anything, in due time it comes to mean nothing.”

More liberal church bodies that have already started deconstructing gender and marriage logically will show more openness to polygamy. In fact, only hours after the Utah ruling, at least one Episcopal priest already has.

The Rev Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, in her CCN blog, admitted the polygamy decision prompted a “little squeal of delight.” She knows the Utah polygamous family, the Browns, who star on a reality television program, “Sister Wives.” And she hails the “four parents who strive to model what being empowered people of faith looks like in contemporary America.”

Tumminio explains that “when done well, polygamy works because the participants have a different goal for marriage than monogamous couples,” which is “cultivating a community that together can reach heaven.” So she supports the “decision to loosen restrictions on polygamy because families such as the Browns exist who endeavor every day to live kind, healthy lives that are not harmful, not abusive.”

The Episcopal priest further opines: “I also believe there are theoretical reasons why, as a Christian, it makes sense to support healthy polygamous practices. It’s a natural extension for those Christians who support same-sex marriage on theological grounds. But even for those opposed to same-sex marriage, polygamy is documented in the Bible, thereby giving its existence warrant.”

Polygamous families are “just like the rest of us,” Tumminio insists. “They dress like us, go to public school like us, eat at Olive Garden like us – they just have more people committed to one another than the rest of our families do.”

So long as polygamists are “cultivating loving, healthy relationships that strive to honor God and neighbor,”the Episcopal priest surmises, “I believe it is possible for even nonpolygamous Christians such as myself to support their calling.”

Rev. Tumminio is articulating what doubtless other Episcopal, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian, Lutheran and dissident Methodist clergy will adamantly acclaim in the near future. It will be the next justice issue, and skeptics will be furiously denounced for their blind bigotry. They will beckon us with clenched teeth to the purported right side of history, which evidently is a return to pre-Christian pagan antiquity.


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