FAITH: Polygamy not entirely a Muslim thing
- Written by ABBEY KIBIRIGE SEMUWEMBA
Actually, the Bible does not restrict how many wives a man can have; only that he must be
married to whoever he has sex with.
In the Bible, King Solomon, who was one of the “good guys” had 1000 wives and concubines. According to the bible, a man may have sex with any woman who is legally his property.
This means polygamy is acceptable under biblical morality; if you’ll recall, almost all of the biblical greats had multiple wives and concubines (David, Solomon, Isaac, Abraham, Gideon, Esau, Jacob…)
For instance, King David had six wives and numerous concubines.
In 1Kings 11:3, King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. In 2 Chronicles 11:21, King Solomon’s son Rehoboam had 18 wives and almost 60 concubines. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 25:5 that if a woman’s husband dies, and she didn’t have any kids from him, then she must marry his brother and give him children.
Polygamy has been practiced for thousands of years.Polygamy stretches back at least thousands of years to the Babylonian empire. In Sweden, there is now a movement for legalized polyamory and the abolition of marriage.
In Canada, two out of four reports on polygamy commissioned by the Canadian government recommended decriminalization and regulation of the practice. In USA, Polygamy is supported in principle by the American Civil Liberties Union.
There are also Mormons living in suburban Utah who are polygamous anyway despite the fact that Polygamy is banned in the Utah Constitution and is a felony. While polygamy is technically illegal in Utah, tens of thousands of devout Christians there still practice it (Some husbands have as many as seven wives).
The law isn’t enforced much, like laws against other victimless crimes. While Bill Clinton also condemned polygamy and its prior practice by his Mormon church, when campaigning to be president and targeting
women votes, his great-grandfather had five wives and at least one of his great-great grandfathers had 12.
It’s also wrong to start comparing polygamy to gay marriage or homosexuality.Gay marriage and polygamy are like apples and oranges.
Polygamy would only be a fair comparison if the attempt was to have gays be able to have multiple spouses. There is more of a precedent in human history for polygamous marriage, than for “same sex marriage”.
“Same-sex marriage” used to be only legal in Massachusetts in 2004. I believe that supporters of homosexuality normally sneak in this issue because they are confusing “zoning laws” with rules and regulations that are set up for no other reason than to specifically protect and preserve the
prevailing moral values of the community.
These are the same types of regulations that keep me from dancing nude in my front yard. The government has the right to restrict and regulate those things in public that the
majority of society find inappropriate, as homosexuality is the case in Africa. The government has a compelling reason to control this behaviour for no other reason than it goes against the prevailing moral values of the
Polygamy laws have always been difficult to prosecute anywhere in the world because the men generally obtain marriage licenses for only their first wives. Subsequent marriages are performed secretly, and the additional wives often present themselves to society as single women with children.
As a result, there are therefore several polygamists in the UK, USA and other developed nations, and there is nothing the governments can do about it.
I support women rights and I would love my sisters to get married to single men but I will never stand in their way if they go for a polygamous marriage. Polygamy only violates women rights as long as it is non-consensual.
I don’t believe in the notion that love divided up means less love per person, as every woman has got something special about her. Even if we give women a choice now, it could make more sense for them to be the second wife of a rich man than the first wife of a poor one.
The anthropologist Laura Betzig is quoted as saying, “Which woman would not rather be John Kennedy’s third wife than Bozo the Clown’s first?”
Some suggest that the end of polygamy will come through the empowerment of women
but I think it has instead created a lot of problems in developed nations where women are so much empowered – since few men want to marry them.
So please let us not legislate against polygamy in Uganda but instead put more effort in fighting problems women face such as female circumcision, domestic violence, girls education, unequal employment opportunities, pregnancy discrimination at work and the right to inherit their fathers.
The writer is a Ugandan living in the UK