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Argument: Criminalizing polygamy violates the right to freedom of religion

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Reasons to agree

  1. Jonathan Turley. "Polygamy laws expose our own hypocrisy". USAToday. 10/3/2004 - "I personally detest polygamy. Yet if we yield to our impulse and single out one hated minority, the First Amendment becomes little more than hype and we become little more than hypocrites. For my part, I would rather have a neighbor with different spouses than a country with different standards for its citizens. I know I can educate my three sons about the importance of monogamy, but hypocrisy can leave a more lasting impression."
  2. The state has a duty to respect religious beliefs. Polygamy is typically practiced as an extension of religious belief. The state should not be in the business of saying that polygamous religious beliefs are wrong, while other religious beliefs are right.
  3. Given that polygamy has such a long history as a religious tradition, and that it can be considered a legitimate religious belief, how can governments deny individuals their free right to practice these beliefs. Doesn't that violate the principle of "freedom of religion". We shouldn’t stop people from practicing their faiths. Polygamy is legal within the Muslim faith. Why should the validity of such marriages not be recognized? It’s no less than a slur on the faith concerned.
  4. Polygamy has long been part of many religious traditions. We should allow long standing religious practices to continue.
  5. Religious polygamy is the victim of unfair prejudices
  6. Legalization will dissolve paranoia on both sides of the fence. Prejudices and misunderstandings between polygamous and non-polygamous communities worsened by the fact that polygamy's illegality, in many countries, drives the practice under-ground. Legalizing it will bringing into the open and subsequently increase mutual-understanding and tolerance on both sides of the fence.
  7. Polygamy is practiced mainly for religious reasons, so can’t be seen in secular terms

Reasons to disagree

  1. Religious freedom does not allow you to harm women. Polygamy harms women.
  2. This is all fine and good for adults, but in compounds, when polygamist control the police, children are forced into Polygamy.
  3. People's religions do not give them extra rights.
  4. In a secular society we should not consider religious teachings when determining what is legal.
  5. In a secular society we should not consider minority religious teachings when determining what is legal.
  6. It does not necessarily follow that just because a religious belief has been around a long time means that we should continue to allow it in a pluralistic secular society. We should evaluate each activity independent of what some old religion has taught. Ancient Americans used to believe in human sacrifices. Just because that was once a religious practice that was acceptable at the time, does not mean that we have to continue allowing it.
  7. Polygamy is practiced mainly for religious reasons, so can't be seen in secular terms Some contend that Polygamy is simply a marriage contract and that it should not be pigeon-holed, for legal purposes, as solely a religious phenomena. Indeed, if religion had nothing to do with polygamy, it might be considered less threatening, as it could be considered more of an act of free will, instead of an act of obedience to God's will. But, the reality is that over 90% of polygamy is practiced by Mormons, Muslims, and others as an act of faith and obedience to God's supposed commandments. For legislators, this is important, as it reveals that polygamy really is being conducted in obedience to God's will, in competition with both free will and the laws of almost all secular states. Polygamy is a religious phenomena, and needs to be treated as such by the state.
  8. Polygamy does not exist for religious reasons
  9. Polygamy is not supported in the Bible
  10. The Bible or Quran are read as instructing only patriarchal polygyny. The Bible and Koran support polgyny (one male many wives) but not polyandry (one women many husbands). The reason for this is clear – women are objects and a man can have more than one, but a man is more significant - he is head of the household. Therefore, it is wrong to support polygamy in accordance with the Bible or Koran, and this necessitates following a sexists, misogynist form of polygamy: polygyny only.
  11. Polygamy is virtually impossible under the Quran. Whilst polygynous marriages are technically possible in the Muslim world, they are very rare - because the requirement that all wives are treated ‘fairly’ (Koran 4:3) is almost impossible to meet. It is not possible to love one person as much as another, impossible to give one person as much thought or time as another. The very low rate of polygyny in Islam points to the problems innate in polygamy more generally.
  12. Polygamy does not exist for religious reasons


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