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Polygamy? It's positively biblical
The Philadelphia Inquirer ^ | 5/18/08 | Martha Nussbaum

Posted on 05/18/2008 12:35:02 AM PDT by ansel12

What is wrong with polygamy?

Nineteenth-century Americans coupled it with slavery, calling both "the twin relics of barbarism." Today, it is used as a scare image to deter people from approving same-sex marriage, lest it lead down a slippery slope to that horror of horrors.

But what, exactly, is bad about it? Looking at the Texas sect at the Yearning for Zion ranch, so much in the news, will not tell us, because that sect allegedly forced underage girls into marriage. The case then becomes one of child sexual abuse, a crime hardly unknown in the monogamous family, although it gets less splashy publicity when it occurs there. Disturbing things are fun to contemplate when they can be pinned on distant "deviants," but threatening when they occur in families like one's own.

Mormon polygamy of the 19th century was not child abuse. Adult women married by consent, and typically lived in separate dwellings, each visited by the husband in turn. In addition to their theological rationale, Mormons defended the practice with social arguments - in particular that polygamous men would abandon wives or visit prostitutes less frequently. Instead of answering these arguments, however, Americans hastened to vilify Mormon society, publishing semi-pornographic novels that depicted polygamy as a hotbed of incest and child abuse.

Self-righteous Americans hastened to stigmatize Mormon marriage as "patriarchal," while participating contentedly and uncritically in an institution (monogamy) so patriarchal that, for many years, women lost all property rights upon marriage and could not even get a divorce on grounds of cruelty. In one respect, Mormon women were miles ahead of their sisters living in monogamy: They got the vote in the territory of Utah in 1871, 49 years before the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment gave the vote to women all over the nation.

The hypocrisy of the monogamist majority reached its height in the denial (often heard in Congress) that there could be a serious religious argument for polygamy: hypocrisy, because the monogamists were denying their own heritage. Joseph Smith did not pull polygamy out of the air. He found it in the Old Testament, where many patriarchs are represented as polygamous. The very wording of the Ten Commandments, a chief pillar of American public morality then as now, presupposes polygamy. In Deuteronomy, the commandment not to "covet" is divided into two parts. The command not to covet the neighbor's spouse is addressed only to men, and the command not to covet the neighbor's house, field, etc., is addressed to all of the people of Israel. A standard Torah commentary used in my temple puts it this way: "Because men could have more than one wife, an unmarried woman could covet another's husband and even end up married to him."

Yet in 1878, the U.S. Supreme Court would uphold an anti-polygamy statute with these words, extraordinary from justices who were supposedly Bible readers: "Polygamy has always been odious among the northern and western nations of Europe, and, until the establishment of the Mormon Church, was almost exclusively a feature of the life of Asiatic and of African people." (The Jews were in fact an Asiatic people, but mainstream Christians usually forgot that, thinking of Jesus as a blond, blue-eyed child. So the justices did not see themselves as repudiating their biblical heritage, although this is precisely what they were doing.)

All this shows us a deplorable, if ubiquitous, human tendency: People who feel threatened by a new group demonize the group by imputing to it allegedly nefarious practices in the areas of gender and sexuality. Think of anti-Semitism in European history, Islamophobia, and - perhaps above all - fear and loathing of gays and lesbians.

But what should we say about polygamy itself, in our own time? What, if anything, is really wrong with it?

First, as traditionally practiced, polygamy is one-sided. Men have rights that women do not. Sex equality could, then, give the state a strong interest in disallowing religious claims to practice polygamy, as long as the one-sidedness is maintained.

What about, though, a practice of plural contractual marriages, by mutual consent, among adult, informed parties, all of whom have equal legal rights to contract such plural marriages? What interest might the state have that would justify refusing recognition of such marriages?

Well, children would have to be protected, so the law would have to make sure that issues such as maternity/paternity and child support were well articulated. Beyond this, a regime of polygamous unions would, no doubt, be difficult to administer - but not impossible, with good will and effort. It is already difficult to deal with sequential marriages and the responsibilities they entail.

The history of Mormon polygamy shows us that the state and public opinion are very bad judges of what adult men and women may reasonably do. When people are insecure, they cling to the "normal" and vilify those who choose to live differently. Someday down the road, we may recognize that adults are entitled, as John Stuart Mill saw long ago, to conduct such "experiments in living" as suit their own plans and projects, as long as they inflict no harm on nonconsenting parties. The state must protect vulnerable dependents: children and the elderly. It must also protect adult men and women against fraud and force. Beyond that, it should leave the field of intimate sexual choice to a regime of private contractual arrangement. If polygamy turns out to be a bad idea, it won't survive the test of free choice over time.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: culturewar; flds; homosexualagenda; polygamy; samesexmarriage; sexpositiveagenda; slipperyslope; texas; utah
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1 posted on 05/18/2008 12:35:02 AM PDT by ansel12
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To: ansel12
Today, it is used as a scare image to deter people from approving same-sex marriage, lest it lead down a slippery slope to that horror of horrors.

BS Gaystapo.

There is much more cultural tradition around the world for polygamy than there is for same sex couples raising children as man and spouse.

2 posted on 05/18/2008 12:41:15 AM PDT by weegee (Vote NO on Marxism in 2008.)
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To: ansel12
Think of anti-Semitism in European history, Islamophobia, and - perhaps above all - fear and loathing of gays and lesbians.

Show me a tradition among Islam to be tolerant of all other faiths including Buddhism and Hinduism and conversion away from Islam and maybe you can BEGIN to use a term like "Islamophobia". They aren't victims. They are tyrannical oppressors.

3 posted on 05/18/2008 12:44:48 AM PDT by weegee (Vote NO on Marxism in 2008.)
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To: weegee
"There is much more cultural tradition around the world for polygamy than there is for same sex couples raising children as man and spouse."

For 'America' to survive, we can't tolerate this stuff.

4 posted on 05/18/2008 12:48:44 AM PDT by ansel12 (post-apocalyptic drifter uttered three words, polygamous zombie vampires!)
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To: ansel12

Stupid, stupid woman. Polygamy is the end of women’s rights, you moron.

In “theory,” the practice of “polyamory” is just a further expansion of our glorious freedoms, and who would be against freedoms? In *practice*, polygamy means what it means in Islam—basically the indenture of women.

But I give the woman credit for validating the thesis that gay marriage opens the door to other “frontiers” of marriage. Now that gay marriage is established, we’ll be seeing more pieces like this, along with similar pieces asking “What’s wrong with child marriage anyway?” and “What’s wrong with incestuous marriage anyway?”


5 posted on 05/18/2008 12:52:13 AM PDT by denydenydeny (Expel the priest and you don't inaugurate the age of reason, you get the witch doctor--Paul Johnson)
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To: ansel12

Maybe all those wackos in Montana, Idaho, and in the Michigan Militia had it right with living off the grid and away from civilization. It seems any godfearing, harworking conservative male is the physical manifestation of evil itself in the modernworld


6 posted on 05/18/2008 12:53:10 AM PDT by LukeL (Yasser Arafat: "I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize")
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To: LukeL

You have to fill me in, I don’t know what you mean.


7 posted on 05/18/2008 12:55:02 AM PDT by ansel12 (post-apocalyptic drifter uttered three words, polygamous zombie vampires!)
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To: denydenydeny

“Now that gay marriage is established, we’ll be seeing more pieces like this, along with similar pieces asking “What’s wrong with child marriage anyway?” and “What’s wrong with incestuous marriage anyway?”


An endless number.


8 posted on 05/18/2008 12:56:58 AM PDT by ansel12 (post-apocalyptic drifter uttered three words, polygamous zombie vampires!)
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To: ansel12
[Article] The hypocrisy of the monogamist majority reached its height in the denial (often heard in Congress) that there could be a serious religious argument for polygamy: hypocrisy, because the monogamists were denying their own heritage. [Emphasis added]

Yes, a heritage that also includes savagery, cannibalism, butchery of live animals, sexual debauchery and abuse of every description, murder, mass-murder, every conceivable transgression against the Noahide Laws, the Laws of Hammurabi, the law of Moses, and, as Marlon Brando once said, "what have you got?"

If this scribblerette were any gamier, she'd be covered in maggots.

The ascension from what this woman drags in as our "heritage" is precisely the common endeavor we call "civilization", which is what she barks at.

Which makes her part of the problem, not part of the answer.

9 posted on 05/18/2008 1:00:23 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus ("Whatever." -- sinkspur)
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To: ansel12
"There is much more cultural tradition around the world for polygamy than there is for same sex couples raising children as man and spouse."

There's a great argument for you. You could say the same thing about wife-beating, slavery, and blood feuds.

10 posted on 05/18/2008 1:01:25 AM PDT by denydenydeny (Expel the priest and you don't inaugurate the age of reason, you get the witch doctor--Paul Johnson)
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To: denydenydeny
......similar pieces asking “What’s wrong with child marriage anyway?” and “What’s wrong with incestuous marriage anyway?”

Yes, and let's include "what's wrong with bumping off gay apologists who annoy us?" What is hypocritical is the writer's polemical denial of the many, many benefits our "straightness" confers on her. On everyone, for that matter.

11 posted on 05/18/2008 1:03:34 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus ("Whatever." -- sinkspur)
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To: denydenydeny
Someone sent me a humor forward the other day that consisted of an impressive evening photograph of the Great Pyramids with the banner caption, "SLAVERY. It gets sh*t done."
12 posted on 05/18/2008 1:06:10 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus ("Whatever." -- sinkspur)
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To: ansel12
This kind of garbage is laying the groundwork for legalizing polygamy. It will accomplish several leftist goals at once. A slippery slope indeed.
13 posted on 05/18/2008 1:07:29 AM PDT by TheWasteLand
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To: lentulusgracchus

“Yes, and let’s include “what’s wrong with bumping off gay apologists who annoy us?” What is hypocritical is the writer’s polemical denial of the many, many benefits our “straightness” confers on her. On everyone, for that matter.”


Thanks:
I think that you just helped show how thorough our conditioning has been.


14 posted on 05/18/2008 1:14:33 AM PDT by ansel12 (post-apocalyptic drifter uttered three words, polygamous zombie vampires!)
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To: TheWasteLand

This kind of garbage is laying the groundwork for legalizing polygamy. It will accomplish several leftist goals at once.
An increase in radical “freedom” - always a liberal goal, so long as it fits with their cultural agenda.
Further weakening and degradation of the traditional family as the basic unit of society - the family has always been the great enemy of statism.
The next step in the liberal multicultural appeasement of muslims.
A slippery slope indeed.


I agree.


15 posted on 05/18/2008 1:27:07 AM PDT by ansel12 (post-apocalyptic drifter uttered three words, polygamous zombie vampires!)
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To: ansel12

The government will fight polygamy since it affects so many laws that would have to be rewritten. It also affects our tax system and social services. It could be a real mess were it to become widespread.


16 posted on 05/18/2008 1:47:58 AM PDT by yorkie01
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To: ansel12

So it wasn’t cheating. It was prophecy....oo yeah baby...WTF?


17 posted on 05/18/2008 1:50:05 AM PDT by allmost
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To: yorkie01

Americans detest even the implication that a true American, would even consider these nasty Arab ideas.


18 posted on 05/18/2008 1:52:50 AM PDT by ansel12 (post-apocalyptic drifter uttered three words, polygamous zombie vampires!)
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To: allmost

Keep it simple, it is 2:00 my time. What is the exact wording?


19 posted on 05/18/2008 1:56:10 AM PDT by ansel12 (post-apocalyptic drifter uttered three words, polygamous zombie vampires!)
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To: ansel12

You’ve got your spot.


20 posted on 05/18/2008 2:06:20 AM PDT by allmost
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To: ansel12

Pretty much anything that comes out of the Philly media is garbage, no matter what this woman has to say, the BSA will be ejected from their HQ of 70 years because the Philly City council welched on their lease due to their desire and indeed Constitutional Right to exclude Gay Scoutmasters from holding positions in the Organization.

For Me, Philly is CA East, I have just about everything that comes out of that town on a “pay no mind list”


21 posted on 05/18/2008 2:13:34 AM PDT by padre35 (Conservative in Exile/ Isaiah 3.3/Cry havoc and let slip the RINOS)
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To: allmost

“So it wasn’t cheating. It was prophecy....oo yeah baby...WTF?”


I have to know what that means before I can respond to it.


22 posted on 05/18/2008 2:16:39 AM PDT by ansel12 (post-apocalyptic drifter uttered three words, polygamous zombie vampires!)
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To: ansel12

They love their booty call.


23 posted on 05/18/2008 2:28:34 AM PDT by allmost
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To: ansel12
This nonsense about polygamy would come to an end real quick if men would just use some reasoning, i.e., you decide you want an extra wife or two?

Congratulations Sparky, you've also got an extra Mother-In-Law or two!!!

Any sane man ought to run screaming from the room in terror once that liddle dose of reality hits 'em.
24 posted on 05/18/2008 2:31:55 AM PDT by mkjessup
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To: denydenydeny

True, but on the other hand, if my wife had a few more husbands, maybe I’d get more sleep at night and only have to mow the lawn every 3rd time etc. I do see an upside.


25 posted on 05/18/2008 2:34:35 AM PDT by NavVet ( If you don't defend Conservatism in the Primaries, you won't have it to defend in November)
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To: allmost

I read a lot of your short posting history.

How about speaking English? What do you mean?


26 posted on 05/18/2008 2:35:06 AM PDT by ansel12 (post-apocalyptic drifter uttered three words, polygamous zombie vampires!)
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To: ansel12; All; greyfoxx39; colorcountry; Pan_Yans Wife; MHGinTN; Colofornian; Elsie; FastCoyote; ...
Polygamy? It's absolutely wrong

I strongly recommend you visit the Utah Attorney General's web page on polygamy HERE to learn some of the reasons. You will find the AG's Primer on polygamy (there is a link to the pdf document at the bottom of the first paragraph) with the understanding it is emotionally disturbing.

There is an excellent video (approximately 90 minutes long) on polygamy HERE. It is well worth the watch in my opinion. (Incidentally, the sponsor provides copies of the DVD without charge to LDS members)

27 posted on 05/18/2008 2:52:23 AM PDT by Zakeet (Be thankful we don't get all the government we pay for)
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To: ansel12
How about speaking English? What do you mean? Don't know. Attack someone else please.
28 posted on 05/18/2008 2:54:46 AM PDT by allmost
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To: allmost
"They love their booty call."

Who loves their booty calls?

29 posted on 05/18/2008 2:58:18 AM PDT by ansel12 (post-apocalyptic drifter uttered three words, polygamous zombie vampires!)
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To: ansel12
A bit surprising to see the Philadelphia Inquirer calling for us to live by Old Testament standards...so they're also (just to be consistent) going to call for stoning of criminals, right?
30 posted on 05/18/2008 2:59:09 AM PDT by highlander_UW (illegal alien is to an undocumented worker as a drug dealer is to an unlicensed pharmacist)
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To: highlander_UW
" bit surprising to see the Philadelphia Inquirer calling for us to live by Old Testament standards"<

Yep.

31 posted on 05/18/2008 3:03:33 AM PDT by ansel12 (post-apocalyptic drifter uttered three words, polygamous zombie vampires!)
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To: ansel12

Polygamy is essentially slavery. The early Hebrews did all sorts of things that we wouldn’t do now, and in fact God educated them away from these things as He gradually built His Chosen People. The Old Testament is essentially the story of this, and it is clear that polygamy was one of the things that God led the Jews away from.

Few people understand how much Christianity has done for women. Coming into cultures where women were part of a herd owned by the more powerful men (because polygamy also means that there are some less powerful men who will never have a chance to marry), Christianity freed them essentially by treating them as individuals who had free will, an independent existence, and who deserved to love and be loved individually, as one woman by one man, bringing the beautiful imagery of the Old Testament into these brutal cultures.

This has completely transformed the lives of women, who because they are physically weaker and also bound to their children do not have the power in a primitive culture to resist polygamy/slavery without the support of the different world-view that is embodied in the Gospels. It’s interesting that all rejections of Christianity immediately go back to a primitive tribal culture. This includes Islam and Mormonism, the private “revelations” of individual wackos who essentially dumped Christianity and Judaism to legitimize their personal desires - for women, wealth, or conquest - in a faux version of the Old Testament. This means that the power of the group’s leader is all-controlling, decisions are made by a select few as the result of secret visions, slavery is practiced, including the enslavement of women in polygamy, blood fueds resume, and essentially the culture is a complete rejection of the individual-based, natural law infused culture brought by Christianity as it extended God’s message to the Jews to include the Gentiles as well.


32 posted on 05/18/2008 3:12:52 AM PDT by livius
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To: ansel12
Please expand. Your comment can be read a couple of ways.
33 posted on 05/18/2008 3:13:52 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus ("Whatever." -- sinkspur)
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To: livius
Perspicuous-comment BTTT. Thank you for your post.
34 posted on 05/18/2008 3:19:44 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus ("Whatever." -- sinkspur)
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To: livius
The Old Testament is essentially the story of this, and it is clear that polygamy was one of the things that God led the Jews away from.

Many of the things that the Jews were weaned away from would fall nowadays under the catchall expression, "values of the marketplace". Sometimes the markets are not your friend.

John Bunyan referred to worldly values frequently in his Pilgrim's Progress as impediments to the pilgrim. Worldliness was a particular concern of Reformation-era English Protestants.

35 posted on 05/18/2008 3:28:20 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus ("Whatever." -- sinkspur)
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To: lentulusgracchus

No


36 posted on 05/18/2008 3:29:02 AM PDT by ansel12 (post-apocalyptic drifter uttered three words, polygamous zombie vampires!)
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To: ansel12
Mormon polygamy of the 19th century was not child abuse. Adult women married by consent,

problem is twofold - they werent marrying adults - Joseph Smith himself married 14 yr old Helen Marr Kimball, and she only accepted after he tied her affirmation to the claim by Smith that her immediate family would gain entrance to Heaven if she did so.

37 posted on 05/18/2008 3:32:11 AM PDT by Revelation 911 (unwashed swine prepared to be hosed down by Dannites)
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To: ansel12; LukeL
I think #6 is referring to the liberal assault on true manhood. Liberal education policies, Feminism, PC Forces, Environmentalism and Christian persecution are destroying the American male as we saw him in say the 40's and 50's.

He's loosely saying that polygamy is a lesser evil than what the liberal socialist are doing to de-masculate modern man in liberal society. The critical point being in the liberal's world men are no longer men and women are no longer women. In a polygamist view, the women are chattle, but still play the role of women. The men are men (except for the poor fellows who will never know wedded bliss due to the shortage of women. Another evil unto itself, IMHO. Think China...)

Personally, I'd have to disagree with the concept of polygamy because it corrupts the vision I have of the American Christian Family.

That being said, in a situation where polygamy is permitted, I love my wife and care for her feelings too much to throw away the years of devotion to take another woman to bed as wife. It's something sacred and a responsibility before God to me. I didn't just meet my wife, I asked God for her and she was delivered.

At some point the concept of "don't tug on Superman's cape" overwhelms the thoughtful man. ; )

Not a flame, folks, just an opposing opinion. : ) Cheers, guys!

38 posted on 05/18/2008 3:35:07 AM PDT by Caipirabob (Communists... Socialists... Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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To: lentulusgracchus

That’s a good way of putting it - these are “values of the marketplace” in the sense that they are the “values” of a world where material power is all-important and the person who happens to hold it can do whatever he wants. Perhaps we could say that worldliness is the rejection of the world as planned by God (which was revealed to the Jews and then to the Gentiles) and its replacement by a world that is subject to the whims of the powerful (a tribe, its leader, men in the tribe, etc.), or of the powerful individual who seeks to assert his domination rather than living as God calls him to live.


39 posted on 05/18/2008 3:36:58 AM PDT by livius
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To: Revelation 911

You are saying that Joseph Smith had sex with a kid. BFD a cult is a cult, of course some one did something with someone or else it would not ve a cult.


40 posted on 05/18/2008 3:41:14 AM PDT by ansel12 (post-apocalyptic drifter uttered three words, polygamous zombie vampires!)
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To: ansel12
But what, exactly, is bad about it?

For one thing, males who wield power and influence will claim several wives, while males lacking such attributes will have to do without. Young males will often be forced out of communities to prevent any possibility that they will compete with the older, more established males. This phenomenon is seen in tribal cultures which practice polygamy, such as unreformed Mormon cults, Muslim societies and groups of chimpanzees.

What interest might the state have that would justify refusing recognition of such marriages?

Stability of society - large groups of young males unable to find mates are a recipe for social unrest and violence, as seen throughout the Muslim world today. This fact is known to Muslim terrorist groups, which reportedly rely on marriage to stabilize and calm down unwanted recruits and former members who might otherwise cause mischief unsanctioned by the terrorist groups.


41 posted on 05/18/2008 3:41:48 AM PDT by AnotherUnixGeek
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To: lentulusgracchus
Yes, a heritage that also includes savagery, cannibalism, butchery of live animals, sexual debauchery and abuse of every description, murder, mass-murder, every conceivable transgression against the Noahide Laws, the Laws of Hammurabi, the law of Moses, and, as Marlon Brando once said, "what have you got?"

If this scribblerette were any gamier, she'd be covered in maggots.

Well said.

What this scibblerette (good word!) says can be said by any clit-slitting muzzie fanatic.

Whatever it is "you have got" is all fine tradition.

42 posted on 05/18/2008 3:54:27 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: ansel12

Im not saying anything - HISTORY is


43 posted on 05/18/2008 4:03:00 AM PDT by Revelation 911 (unwashed swine prepared to be hosed down by Dannites)
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To: livius
Few people understand how much Christianity has done for women. Coming into cultures where women were part of a herd owned by the more powerful men (because polygamy also means that there are some less powerful men who will never have a chance to marry), Christianity freed them essentially by treating them as individuals who had free will, an independent existence, and who deserved to love and be loved individually, as one woman by one man, bringing the beautiful imagery of the Old Testament into these brutal cultures.
Thank you for posting this. The writer of the posted piece is either a moron or a marxist. Why would a marxist praise polygamy? Simple. They are enraged at the end of the Soviet Union and are trying everything they know, including supporting muzzies, to bring down western civilization.

That's why the hags & btches of NOW never say a word about the slaughter, mutilation and slavery of muzzie women around the globe.

And that's why the slimey disgusting skank who wrote this piece cares not a whit about the implications that polygamy has for the freedeom and liberty of women everywhere.

44 posted on 05/18/2008 4:04:16 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: Revelation 911

Say What?

Spit it out!


45 posted on 05/18/2008 4:06:30 AM PDT by ansel12 (post-apocalyptic drifter uttered three words, polygamous zombie vampires!)
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To: ansel12

LOL - get some sleep - we arent making sense to each other


46 posted on 05/18/2008 4:07:25 AM PDT by Revelation 911 (unwashed swine prepared to be hosed down by Dannites)
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To: Revelation 911
"LOL - get some sleep - we arent making sense to each other"

This is my thread, what is it that you want to post?

47 posted on 05/18/2008 4:12:35 AM PDT by ansel12 (post-apocalyptic drifter uttered three words, polygamous zombie vampires!)
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To: ansel12

“Today, it is used as a scare image to deter people from approving same-sex marriage, lest it lead down a slippery slope to that horror of horrors.

The deviance and repugnance of “gay marrige” can stand on it’s own as such. It doesn’t require ‘scare images’.


48 posted on 05/18/2008 4:14:08 AM PDT by TalBlack
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To: TalBlack; Revelation 911

I’m cool with it as long as Revelation 911 is.


49 posted on 05/18/2008 4:21:22 AM PDT by ansel12 (post-apocalyptic drifter uttered three words, polygamous zombie vampires!)
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To: ansel12

Polygamy=Horny men and brainless women.

For years polygamy was practiced by Joseph Smith and his followers (see note above). The Mormon church practiced polygamy until it was outlawed. Had it never been outlawed, they’d still be at it today and Utah would most likely be the most populous state in the nation. Thank God it was outlawed.


50 posted on 05/18/2008 4:35:15 AM PDT by dmw (Aren't you glad you use common sense? Don't you wish everybody did?)
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