By Alexander Samuels
Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union, is on record as saying that her organization has "defended the right of individuals to engage in polygamy." This statement was reported last month in an Agape Press article by James L. Lambert, "ACLU Now Defends Polygamy, Further Eroding Traditional Marriage."
Strossen's comments, which were made during a speech at Yale University earlier this year, did not receive . . . much coverage in the mainstream press. However, the Yale Daily News reported that she made the statement in response to a student's question. According to the article, Strossen implied that polygamy was a "fundamental right" for mature, consenting adults.
In the United States, Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, first secretly promoted the concept of polygamy during the 1830s, advocating the marriage of one man to a number of wives. It was not until 1852, eight years after Smith's death, that the church publicly acknowledged the practice of polygamy.
In 1862, the Mormon practice of polygamy was criminalized by the federal Morrill Anti-Bigamy Law, which President Abraham Lincoln signed into law on July 8, 1862. In an 1874 test case, George Reynolds, secretary to Mormon Church leader Brigham Young, volunteered to be charged under the Morrill Act. The Church had claimed that the federal government had no jurisdiction to regulate marriage and other internal church practices and that the act was a violation of a Mormon's First Amendment rights. Reynolds was found guilty, given a two-year jail sentence and ordered to pay a $500 fine. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1879 upheld Reynolds' conviction, declaring that the Morrill Act was constitutional, that the U.S. government had a right to enforce marital standards and that polygamy was a barbarous practice.
The ACLU, however, is obviously dedicating itself to destroying traditional marriage and restoring "barbarous practices." According to the Bible, marriage, as ordained by God, involves one man and one woman, not multiple women (Genesis 2:24). "The two will become one flesh," said Jesus (Matthew 19:5). Marriage is monogamous, and God was not pleased with polygamy (Mark 10:2, 1 Timothy 3:2, 12, Titus 1:6). We are taught to obey civil laws when they do not collide with God's laws (Romans 13:1-7, Acts 5:29). As a rule, all governments have laws relative to marriage. Christians should support marriage laws that do not contradict God's Word. The ACLU and Nadine Strossen seem to be willing to use any cause to uproot the foundations of Christian influence in this country.
On the lighter side, although I do not know whether Strossen is an atheist, she would do well to heed the advice of our country's patron saint of atheism, Mark Twain. A Mormon once challenged him to cite any passage of Scripture forbidding polygamy. "Nothing easier," replied Twain. "No man can serve two masters."