Should polygyny be legalized?
There is nothing to “legalize”, at least so far as those who can read the Bill of Rights (First Amendment) are concerned, or for those who understand that God ordained marriage, and not government. Our own Declaration of Independence affirms that the proper function of government is to “secure these Rights” granted by our Creator, not criminalize them.
In particular, then, those who claim to care about what the Author of Liberty, and also the Author of the Bible, has to say about the issue should study both His Law and our own ‘supreme law’ carefully! Since our national government is prohibited from “preventing the free exercise” of one’s faith, even those who do not share a belief in the Bible must recognize that the case for polygyny is very real, and very consistent. It is a well-accepted legal principle that statutes in violation of higher law, either the Constitution or God’s, are “null and void”. Finally, it is important to understand that ALL of the principles of our own common law, the early letters of the Committees of Correspondence, and the debates preceding the battle for independence and the later ratification of the Constitution, accept without question the premise that man’s law must be in harmony with the principles of the Bible.
Some people by this point have probably noted that the correct word, “polygyny”, has been carefully used in this essay rather than the more general term, “polygamy”. This is because, whether one “understands His plan” or not, and whether others even agree or not, a man may have more than one marriage Covenant according to the Bible, but a woman may not. (The proper term for the Biblically-prohibited practice of multiple husbands is “polyandry”.) Even the most superficial reading of the myriad comments in the Bible concerning marriage makes this point undeniable – whether it fits modern “politically-correct” sentiment or not.
A proper study of the many references, examples, ordinances, and even practical guidelines in the Bible that allow or specify polygyny would require an entire book, and not merely a short essay, to examine. Only a few, however, should make the issue quite clear. Certainly the multiple wives of the patriarchs (Abraham and Jacob, most obviously, but also many others, such as Gideon) make it clear that God never prohibited polygyny, and He also said, “I change not”.
King David was called by the Bible “a man after God’s own heart”, and – in spite of being sharply criticized for his well-documented sins – was NOT criticized for his several wives. Indeed, God even told David that He “would have given [him] more”! A number of verses specify the conditions under which a man could, or even should, take more than one wife. (Ex. 21:10, Deut. 21:15, the “Levirate Law” of Lev. 25, the provisions in Lev. 18, etc.) It should be obvious that God NEVER says “Thou shalt not…” do something, and then provide procedures for doing it anyway!
It is also well worth noting at this point that there is a big difference in law between prohibiting something, mandating it, and allowing it. The question of whether polygyny is something “you should do” is unrelated to the issue of whether or not government has the lawful power to PROHIBIT something that God clearly allows. After all, even the Apostle Paul wrote that he thought there were many people who should not get married – but that opinion has not (at least not yet, anyway) – been used to justify laws against all marriage.
More and more people who choose to study God’s Word for themselves are surprised, or even shocked, to find that not only did God never prohibit a man from taking more than one wife, but He never changed His mind about it. Jesus never said otherwise, and even at least two prophets (Jeremiah and Ezekiel) spoke metaphorically of God having two wives. Even those who do not find the evidence compelling must admit that there are those who do, and can make a sound case from the Bible for their “religious belief”. That fact alone should be sufficient to convince those who deny the Bible, but still venerate the Bill of Rights, to support the principle that the “free exercise” of religion CANNOT be construed in any way to allow federal prohibition of Biblical polygyny.
Whether or not one chooses to practice a particular style of worship, of prayer, of diet, or of marriage, is, and according to our own Bill of Rights, remains, a matter largely between ourselves and God. Both history and that same Bible also clearly demonstrate that when we deviate from those standards, and from what we claim to believe, a nation inevitably suffers.
Polygyny does not need to be “legalized”, because it is already Lawful. All that is necessary is that cops and courts follow what is actually already written.