What to make of the polygamist sect in Texas, whose children are now in the custody of the state?
First off, regarding polygamy, Jesus makes clear what God’s will is for marriage, quoting from Gen. 2:24: “’For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they two shall become one flesh …So that they are no more two, but one flesh.’ What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (Matthew 19:5-6, ASV).” Jesus, who was addressing the practice of easy divorce among the legalistic Pharisees, gives the reason why God seemed to allow polygamy in the Old Testament times: because of the hardness of the people’s hearts (v. 6). And Paul’s instructions in 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:5-5, that bishops be the husband of one wife, most likely were given in the context of polygamy practiced at that time among the Gentiles.
Now, take a good look at this sect (really a cult, with a controlling jailed “prophet” as its leader) and, if Jesus tarries in returning, take a good look several decades from now. They could be considered pioneers in our downward spiraling culture. Mark Steyn, in his book America Alone, talks about another religious tradition where polygamy is accepted: Islam. Should this religion gain the ascendancy in America, (which it has all but done in Europe), Steyn pictures Hollywood dropping its propagandizing for homosexuality like a hot potato, and instead extolling the charms of polygamous relationships. “But that can’t happen here!” you cry out. Hmmm, were have we heard THAT before? Polygamy is already getting a positive play in the HBO show Big Love, so it’s not beyond imagination.
One final thought: the angst shown by our mainstream media over the sect is morbidly amusing. The same media that blares the message for people to make their own morals (or not have any), and has been a major force in making premarital sex and easy divorce all but the norm, is now aghast at a polygamous sect in its mist. “I’m shocked, shocked!” Captain Renault cries in the Humphrey Bogart classic Casablanca, at the gambling in Rick Blaine’s bar in which he had previously indulged (someone even hands the captain his winnings after he announces the bar is being closed down!). That’s the image that keeps coming to mind, when I hear the media harping on the “shocking” polygamy.