Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

March 9, 2010

"Polyamory: Evil dressed as love"

Jackson Sun (Tennessee)

Gosh, sometimes people don't like us. Delita Johnson is co-founder of Focus On Christ Ministries, a "last days" ministry in Jackson, Tennessee, and she has a column in the local Jackson Sun:

Polyamory: Evil dressed as love

Let me start off by describing to you a picture that I saw a couple of days ago that was taken in San Francisco in 2004. The picture was titled "Polyamory Pride," and it showed four women holding a massive white sign with large capitalized black letters that read "POLYAMORY." These women were smiling and waving and appeared to be very proud of holding such a disgraceful sign.

Two of the women were dressed like dominatrixes, while the other two had a mix of male and female attributes. The picture was, to me, a bit disturbing. How confusing is this for today's youth who are already struggling with making right and wrong decisions? This type of open exposure of polyamory makes the concept of an honest and real marriage relationship dim. The meaning of a true marriage relationship is slowly deteriorating.

According to Newsweek, polyamory is here to stay and the world wants "traditionalists," like myself, to get used to it. I, for one, will not "get used to it."...

Oh, and for those who don't even know what polyamory is, let me help you out. It is the current "term of art" applied to "families" or "clusters" comprised of multiple sexual partners.

As Newsweek explains, this is not exactly polygamy, because marriage is not the issue. Advocates of polyamory argue their lifestyle is not "open marriage." Indeed, they define their movement in terms of the principle of "ethical nonmonogamy," defined as "engaging in loving, intimate relationships with more than one person, based upon the knowledge and consent of everyone involved."

All of the "new terminology" is killing me. This movement includes couples who openly and with full knowledge of each other engage in sexual relationships with others. Some are involved in group sex, and others experiment with bisexuality.

...Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Read the whole column (March 8, 2010). This isn't the first time she's gone on about us.

The irony here is that states with a conservative "pro-marriage" evangelical culture, such as Tennessee, have the highest rates of divorce and of teen pregnancy (see pages 3 and 13). They have at least as high a rate of births to unwed mothers (see page 7), and buy at least as much online porn per capita, which religious conservatives would include with all the above.

Liberal states have substantially lower rates of marriage-crisis indicators. And in particularly liberal places, such as my own leafy Boston suburbs and my Unitarian Universalist church (with its comprehensive, explicit sex-ed program), marriage and intact-family childbirth are doing way better than today's American norm.1 When the headline came out last year that nearly 40% of American children are now born out of wedlock (see page 3, top right), people here thought the Boston Globe must have printed a typo.

Meanwhile, the moral breakdown of conservative culture, which evangelicals see all around them, only entrenches the very beliefs that tend to make it worse.

Update: Just after I wrote that, this article appeared in the highly respected Christian Science Monitor:

High divorce rates and teen pregnancy are worse in conservative states than liberal states

By Naomi Cahn and June Carbone

Ask most people about the differences between families who live in “red” (conservative) states and “blue” (liberal) states, and you’ll hear a common refrain: Massachusetts and California are hotbeds of divorce and teen pregnancy, while Nebraska and Texas are havens of virtue and stability.

The reality is quite different. And the evidence should force all of us – conservative and liberal alike – to think carefully about the policies we set to help American families thrive in the 21st century.

...The US family system, which once differed little by class or region, has become a marker of race, culture, and religion. A new “blue” family paradigm has handsomely rewarded those who invest in women’s as well as men’s education and defer childbearing until the couple is better established. These families, concentrated in urban areas and the coasts, have seen their divorce rates fall back to the level of the 1960s, incomes rise, and nonmarital births remain rare. With later marriage has also come greater stability and less divorce.

...Difficulties in the “red” world, meanwhile, have grown worse. Traditionalists continue to advocate abstinence until marriage and bans on abortion. They’ve said an emphatic “no” to the practices that have made the new “blue” system workable.

Yet, paradoxically, as sociologist Brad Wilcox reports, evangelical Protestant teens have sex at slightly earlier ages on average than their nonevangelical peers (respectively, 16.38 years old versus 16.52 years old), evangelical Protestant couples are also slightly more likely to divorce than nonevangelical couples, and evangelical mothers are actually more likely to work full time outside the home than their nonevangelical peers.

While the devout who make traditional marriages work have happy stable lives, economic circumstances have made it harder to find matches that support gendered family roles and to get marginal couples through family tensions.

...The hallmark of what we have termed the blue family paradigm is training for autonomy.

...The fact that traditional families are flailing often persuades them that a return to traditional values is that much more critical. In today’s world, however, almost all of the traditional nostrums have proved counterproductive.

Missing from this debate is recognition of the bankruptcy of traditionalist family values as policy for the postindustrial era....

We are entirely sympathetic with those inclined to lock up their daughters from puberty until marriage, but we do recognize that the societies abroad most insistent on policing women’s virtue are locked into cycles of poverty.

In the United States, states that emphasize abstinence-only education, limit public subsidies of contraception, restrict access to abortion – and, yes, oppose gay marriage – have higher teen birth and divorce rates.

...The solution? As we outline in great detail in our book Red Families v. Blue Families, there are three critical steps we can take: (1) promote access to contraception – within marriage as well as outside it; (2) develop a greater ability to combine not only work and family, but family and education; and (3) make sure the next generation stays in school, learns the skills to be employed, and cultivates values that can adapt to the future....

Read the whole article (March 12, 2010).


1 A sex-positive, poly friend of mine used to direct a shelter for troubled youth. He says he gave thorough birth-control indoctrination to all the kids entering the shelter and freely passed out contraceptives to minors, a felony in his state at the time. He is proud that not one unwanted pregnancy happened among the several hundred at-risk kids under his care over a span of years.




Blogger Allyson said...

Of course, I'm sure the nice lady probably didn't pause to think about the fact that some of her religious leaders of the past were involved quite heavily in non-monogamy... and sometimes it was illicit, and sometimes it was sanctioned by God. :)

March 09, 2010 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One might reply, "Fundies: Evil dressed as faith," but that wouldn't be nice.

March 09, 2010 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Richard Levitte said...

At the end, Delita says:

I am not the judge

Well, Delita, I'm sorry, but with this article, you are the judge!

March 10, 2010 3:11 AM  
Blogger Deborah M. said...

I am getting so tired of hearing the phony conservatives and the fundamentalist monotheists strut around crying their crocodile tears on how “Traditional Marriage and the Family” is being destroyed by mixed racial couples, feminists, gays, and now polygamous people in the corporation-owned media. Between the Pope’s brother hiding behind the head of the Catholic Church’s skirts so that he doesn’t get discovered as a “sexual sadist” who is covering up the rape of boys by other priests and a Californian senator who voted against allowing gays to marry and then came out as being homosexual himself after getting caught driving while stinking drunk, I view these conservatives, fundies, and the high-on-religion smoking journalists that support them, as not only a bunch of hypocrites but as a bunch of comedians who deserve to be ignored for their lousy performances. So what skeletons does Delita Johnson have in her closet?

March 12, 2010 2:23 PM  
Blogger Marco said...

Ah...these poor people are scared. That's all. Scared of something new and unknown to them. I say let 'em speak. Who cares? Their opinion isn't going to stop any Poly curiosity or practice anyways. So, whatever. Preach on. Go ahead with your bad selves.

March 13, 2010 8:59 AM  
Anonymous letseatcake said...

"This type of open exposure of polyamory makes the concept of an honest and real marriage relationship dim."

What the heck? Doesn't she realize polyamory = honesty? That that's the entire point?


March 15, 2010 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was an interesting article - sort of stumbled upon it. I didn't know there was a term for this besides "open marriage." Anyway, there are lot of conservative hypocrites out there. That's a people problem - not a God problem. God's law still stands and that's for a closed marriage, not an open one.

August 01, 2010 4:42 AM  
Anonymous Rock Solomon said...

The origin of marriage is based in property and status by thousands of years of male dominated society. Love is it's modern dressing to sell it to modern people. But now, with the sexes finding equality for the first time in tens of thousands of years, the old system is falling apart faster then ever. People are starting to realize that love doesn't have to be in a box of fear, jealousy, lies and ignorance. It can exist for all, equally. Just a thought.

August 08, 2010 3:58 AM  
Anonymous Deborah said...

... more than a thought, it is a very good social observation. Thank you, Rock, for having the courage as well as the honesty to state it.

August 10, 2010 3:10 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home