Anglican church drama
I heard a woman interviewed yesterday about the upheaval currently being experienced by the Anglican church (Episcopalians in USA) regarding the ordination of women and homosexuality. She was from somewhere in the South…one of the Carolinas, I believe, and she said, “I just think about when we have to deal with the Bishops in Africa who have more than one wife! We’ll look back on this and say, ‘Man, that was NOTHING!'”
Hmmmm. It always puzzles me why Westerners are so intimidated by polygyny. It’s not as if they’re monogamous themselves! Between premarital sex, adulterous liaisons, blatant homosexuality and frequent divorces (“serial polygyny”), they are definitely living on the wrong side of many commandments and Judeo/Christian/Islamic teachings – and polygyny is not against any teachings of any of the Abrahamic faiths. It was a well-established and accepted practice in the Old Testament (with no limits, incidentally), was not spoken against by Prophet Jesus (upon him be peace) or anyone else in the New Testament, and was regulated by the final revelation, the Qur’an.
Actually, most Christians would be aghast to find out why they abhor polygyny so much. It is because it was against the practices of the pagan Romans, under whose authority Christianity began. Just as Christmas was adopted from pagan practices, so was “strict” monogamy.
Another reason Americans are repulsed by the very concept of polygyny is the way it is practiced by some cultish offshoots of the Mormon church. Caddish old dodgers forcing innocent young teens (and sometimes their sisters!) into wedlock against their will….unlimited numbers of wives…blatant social services fraud…all this makes for a frighteningly immoral representation of an institution that, in other areas of the world, is part of strong societal structures.
From a First Amendment point of view, one man providing (acknowledgedly) for two or three or four women falls completely under the first amendment, and is MUCH less harmful to society than, say, young men “sewing their wild oats” and having a bunch of baby mamas to whom they spread diseases and whom they don’t support.
The Bishops in Africa who are in polygynous marriages are not harming society or the church at all. If they provide for all their wives, raise their families, and fulfill their religious and cultural/societal duties, their style of marriage should not be a concern. Of course, Paul did say that a deacon should be the husband of only one wife…. But then Paul never met Jesus, and he was, after all, preaching to pagans!