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Polygamy in the Media

Washington Times Interviews Founder
   for a "Polygamy Rights" Special Report

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This Interview is Available on TAPE.

The Washington Times
Cheryl Wetzstein
December 11, 2005
(Interviews: October 11, 2005 and November 22, 2005)
Washington Times Interviews Founder
for a "Polygamy Rights" Special Report

On October 11 and November 22, 2005, Cheryl Wetzstein, National Reporter of Family-Social Issues for The Washington Times, interviewed the Founder of TruthBearer.org. Both interviews were recorded on one audiocassette tape, which is now available for order.

Cheryl Wetzstein, a professional and friendly married woman, was researching information for a special report she was writing, titled, "The Marriage of Many." To do so, she sought that information from the TruthBearer organization. The focus of the report was to show how advocates for "same sex marriage" are wholly incorrect when they dispute claims that "polygamy is next."

The interviews went very well. The first interview with Mark the Founder occurred on October 11, 2005. After presenting herself as trustworthy and had accepted certain conditions, she was then given access to subsequently interview two member families of the TruthBearer.org organization who are practicing Christian polygamous families. (Those additional and separate interviews with the other polygamous families later occurred on October 24 and 27, 2005 respectively - but those family interviews are not - we repeat - those polygamous family interviews are NOT currently being made available on audiocassette tape, at this time.) After interviewing the families, a second, final interview was conducted with Mark the Founder on November 22, 2005.

Initially, the special report had been tentatively scheduled for December 4, 2005, but it was pushed back a day to December 5, 2005, instead. But within the week before that date, it was indefinitely re-scheduled again. However, the article was published that next week, both online and on the front page of the Sunday, December 11, 2005 issue of The Washington Times newspaper. .

As can be heard on the audiocassette recording of the two interviews with Mark the Founder, a number of excellent points were able to be successfully made. Mrs. Wetzstein was very understanding of the reality that Christian Polygamy is very dedicated to serious Bible-studied beliefs, extremely pro-family, and very concerned about the cultural tragedy of abandoned single moms. Indeed, any conservative (or liberal, for that matter) who hears those two interviews will equally be convinced that Christian Polygamy is seriously pro-woman, pro-family, and totally Bible-based evangelical Christianity and will see that the pro-polygamy movement in general is not some liberal or libertine idea at all.

No doubt, pro-polygamy activists will want to be sure to order the audiocassette recording of this interview. On that tape order-page, readers may also read (right now) many more of the powerful quotes that Mark the Founder provided in those two interviews on that one tape.

What now follows is Cheryl Wetzstein's article, as it also appeared online. The article is archived here, followed by a quick comment at the end.



The marriage of many

By Cheryl Wetzstein
© 2005 WashingtonTimes.com (article here)

The Washington Times – "Polygamy rights is the next civil rights battle." So goes the motto of a Christian pro-polygamy organization that has been watching the battle over homosexual "marriage" rights with keen interest.

"We're coming. We are next. There's no doubt about it, we are next," says Mark Henkel, founder of www.TruthBearer.org.

Traditional values groups often argue that legalizing same-sex "marriage" is a "slippery slope" -- that if marriage is redefined to allow homosexuals to "wed," it will be further redefined to allow other unions, including polygamous ones.

Homosexual rights leaders and their allies insist that the "slippery slope" argument is a rhetorical dodge. It's a "scare tactic," says Freedom to Marry founder Evan Wolfson.

"What homosexuals are asking for is the right to marry, not anybody they love, but somebody they love, which is not at all the same thing," Brookings Institution scholar Jonathan Rauch has written.

South Dakota lawmakers this year proposed the first constitutional marriage amendment that specifically outlaws unions of "two or more" persons.

The measure's author, South Dakota state Rep. Elizabeth Kraus, said the ban on polygamy is intentional.

After Canada legalized same-sex "marriage," its government "launched a study to look at the ramifications of polygamy," Mrs. Kraus said. "Once you open the marriage door to anyone other than one man or one woman, you haven't begun to slide down the slippery slope. You've already hit rock bottom."

Voters will decide on the measure next November.

Also this year, a New Jersey appellate court expressed concerns about a right to polygamy in its 2-1 rejection of same-sex "marriage."

"The same form of constitutional attack that plaintiffs mount against statutes limiting the institution of marriage to members of the opposite sex also could be made against statutes prohibiting polygamy," New Jersey Appellate Judges Stephen Skillman and Anthony J. Parrillo said in their ruling in Lewis v. Harris.

"Indeed, there is arguably a stronger foundation for challenging statutes prohibiting polygamy than statutes limiting marriage to members of the opposite sex" because unlike homosexual "marriage," polygamy has been and still is condoned by many religions and societies, they wrote.

Judge Donald G. Collester Jr., who dissented in the case, said his colleagues exaggerated the "specter of polygamy."

The homosexual plaintiffs "do not question the binary aspect of marriage; they embrace it," Judge Collester said. Moreover, he said, despite myriad briefs filed in the case, "no polygamists have applied" for marriage rights.

But can the polygamy issue be so easily dismissed?

Polygamous families, polygamy rights activists, civil liberties lawyers, libertarians and family scholars say no. They agree that polygamy is a legitimate family form that should not be interfered with by the government.

"Indeed, why not polygamy?" asks Colby College professor Cheshire C. Calhoun, who has written about the merits of allowing both same-sex "marriage" and "gender-neutral" polygamy.


Polygamy resistance

Polygamy has been outlawed in the United States since Colonial days, and despite the notable detour of America's home-grown Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it seems likely to remain so.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected polygamy in its 1878 decision in Reynolds v. United States, which said government can enforce anti-polygamy laws even if they run counter to people's religious beliefs.

Utah's Constitution outlaws polygamy "forever" and, in 2001, the state's anti-polygamy laws were upheld when Thomas Green, a fundamentalist Mormon man with five wives, was sent to prison for bigamy and related crimes.

In recent years, the federal government and 40 states have passed Defense of Marriage Acts and/or constitutional amendments that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

But two 2003 court rulings changed the legal landscape on sex and marriage: The Lawrence v. Texas decision by the U.S. Supreme Court disallows states to criminalize private sexual behavior among consenting adults, such as sodomy between homosexual men. The Goodridge decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which legalized same-sex "marriage" in that state, says "the right to marry means little if it does not include the right to marry the person of one's choice."

Taken together, these rulings appear to support a right to polygamy by consenting adults, according to pundits such as conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer.

"[I]f marriage is redefined to include two men in love, on what possible principled grounds can it be denied to three men in love?" Mr. Krauthammer has asked.

However, many conservatives say legalized polygamy is a serious threat but not an imminent one.

"I think right now probably the courts would not go for polygamy, says Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel in Orlando, Fla., who fights for traditional marriage in lawsuits and supports a federal marriage amendment.

Support for polygamy rights today would be "political suicide," says Jan LaRue, legal specialist at Concerned Women for America.

Indeed, public disapproval of polygamy is 92 percent, according to a Gallup poll released in May.

However, conservatives say, legalized same-sex "marriage" was unthinkable just a few years ago and they think a battle over polygamy legalization can't be very far off.

"We've got some judicial activists all over the country, especially on the 9th Circuit [Court of Appeals], who would probably be ready, willing and able to include polygamy as a constitutional right," Mrs. LaRue says.


Polygamy is 'ultrafamily'

Pro-polygamy activists are counting on time being on their side.

"Polygamy would make sense" if people didn't have knee-jerk reactions based on stereotypical information and instead thought about it intelligently, Mr. Henkel says.

Two polygamous families associated with Mr. Henkel's organization agreed to speak by telephone with The Washington Times on the condition that they wouldn't reveal their names or whereabouts.

They all said their marriage choices were logical, biblical, normal and worthy of legal recognition.

If polygamy were legal, there would be more stable families, fewer single mothers and less welfare, says "Poppa," who lives in the Pacific Northwest with "Momma," his wife of 34 years, and "Mom," a single mother who joined them in "marriage" five years ago.

Contrary to stereotypes, Poppa says, his family is self-sufficient and active in their community. All the adults work and share in household duties and the care of six children. "We pool our money and our resources and whenever one [adult] has to take off, another will watch the kids," he says.

Momma says she welcomed Mom into the family because she felt compassion for the 37-year-old single mother and knew "my husband could take care of both of us."

"He's always had more love than I could absorb," Momma says. Good polygamous men, she adds, "are not trying to create a collection [of wives]. They're trying to make sure this [single] woman has a support mechanism for her and her children."

And religiously speaking, they have no doubt they are living God's will.

"Biblically, it stands that marriage has always been more than one wife," Momma says. "It says right in the Scriptures that you've got men throughout the ages who have always taken care of more than one wife."

Says Poppa: "Polygamy is family. It's us. It's a unity and identity of a family group. ... It is the ultrafamily."

The second polygamous family also rejected characterizations of their lives as abnormal, sex-focused or prone to child abuse.

"The only difference between us and any other normal American family -- you know, that whole image of the dog, the cat, the 2-1/2 kids, two-car garage, swimming pool, two-story, three-bedroom house and a husband and a wife -- it's all the same, except it's just a husband and a wife and a wife," says the second "Poppa," who lives with "Mamasita" and "Momma" and their six children in the South.

"We're extremely pro-family, we're extremely pro-children," says Momma, who is 36 and joined Poppa, 29, and "Mamasita," 28, at their request six years ago.

They say that theirs is a harmonious, loving home -- "we're sensitive to each other," Mamasita says -- and having another adult in the house has allowed both women to share child care, go to college and get good jobs.


Issue of recognition

Decriminalization of polygamy would bring shared health benefits and other legal privileges of marriage, they say, but the bigger issue is recognition.

"People assume they have the right to look down on us or treat us badly because in a lot of people's opinions, we're just bad," Poppa says.

"We're consenting, nobody was forced," Momma says. "What I want is to be accepted as a wife. I want to be accepted as a family. I don't want to be looked down upon."

Pro-polygamy forces may look nascent in 2005, but they have more than a few supporters -- legally, academically and culturally.

Already, an estimated 30,000 to 80,000 families are living polygamously in the United States, including hundreds of Laotian Hmongs in Minnesota and thousands of fundamentalist Mormons in Arizona and Utah.

In Utah, a married fundamentalist Mormon couple has filed a federal lawsuit with another woman they want to marry.

The Supreme Court's Lawrence decision should apply to consenting adults who want to engage in polygamy, says their lawyer, Brian Barnard, who argues that the trio's constitutional rights to religious expression, privacy and intimate expression have been violated.

The case, Bronson v. Swensen, was dismissed by a federal court but is being appealed, says Mr. Barnard, who adds he is also seeking a repeal of the 1878 anti-polygamy Reynolds decision.


Polygamy allies

Polygamy is supported in principle by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Libertarian Party. In a 2004 commentary in USA Today, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said anti-polygamy laws are hypocritical and that Green's 2001 bigamy conviction was "simply a matter of unequal treatment under the law."

Georgia State University professor Patricia Dixon has interviewed numerous polygamous families who live in America in three black communities -- African Hebrew Israelite, Ausar Auset Society and African American Muslim.

Polygyny, in which one man co-partners with many women, can be quite advantageous for women when it's practiced openly and with consent, Ms. Dixon concluded in her 2002 book, "We Want for Our Sisters What We Want for Ourselves."

The women in these communities probably would "really appreciate" having polygamy rights, she tells The Times. "Not having a legal license [as a second or third wife] causes a lot of anxiety."

Liberals and feminists have to be pro-polygamy because of their tolerance doctrine and belief in a woman's right to choose, which certainly includes "the right to choose polygamy," Mr. Henkel says.

The goal, therefore, is to convince conservatives, especially Christians, that "consenting adult" polygamy is biblical and valuable, both to society and to individual men and women.

Once the conservatives come around, Mr. Henkel says confidently, opposition to polygamy "will come crashing down ... like a house of cards."

[ END OF ARTICLE ]

<><

The audiocassette recording of both of the two interviews with the Founder of TruthBearer.org, pertaining to the above special report, has been mass produced, as a single tape, and is now available for order. That tape order-page also allows readers to immediately (right now) read many more of the powerful quotes that Mark the Founder provided in those taped interviews on that one tape.

Quick Clarification and Final Comment:

The text of Cheryl Wetzstein's article is clearly outstanding. The article presents "polygamy rights" honestly and accurately.

Mrs. Wetzstein starts the article off with the very well-known catch-phrase created by Mark the Founder. Later, she quotes him again in the middle of the text. Then she makes some excellent quotes from multiple members of the organization. And finally, she later closes the piece with more of the Founder's intellectual sound-bite quotes. Such a combination is truly a positive and gratifying thing for any Cause-based organization to witness. The Cause of "polygamy rights" was presented well in that text, indeed.

Without being nit-picky, though, there is one minor - but very important - fact-clarification that is necessary to be made. The article mistakenly says, "Thomas Green, a fundamentalist Mormon man with five wives, was sent to prison for bigamy and related crimes."

Factually, Tom Green, has actually never served - and is not ever scheduled to serve - any real time for bigamy. Rather, contrary to anti-polygamists' propaganda that deliberately misleads the media - such as their misinforming even excellent reporters such as Cheryl Wetzstein - Tom Green was first sentenced to five years in prison only for the real crime of criminal non-support (i.e., welfare fraud). The sentences for the four add-on charges of bigamy were then set only to be served concurrently - i.e., at the exact same time he is already serving the time in jail for the criminal non-support sentence. Additionally, Tom Green, was also later sentenced (in a later trial) for another real crime: child rape of his 13 year old step-daughter. What all the facts actually prove, therefore, is that Tom Green has not ever served - and has not ever been scheduled to serve - even one single day of real time in prison for any charge of bigamy.

Indeed, Tom Green was clearly not sent to prison for bigamy - at all. And the real crimes of criminal non-support and child rape - for which he is actually serving real time in prison - are not "related crimes" to polygamy either.

Pro-polygamists have long voiced their vehement and loathing opposition to Tom Green, as he is known to pro-polygamists as the "polygamy Tim MacVeigh."

FMI about Tom Green and pro-polygamists' vehement opposition to him, please see:

It is unfortunate, of course, that, on this one little factual discrepency, anti-polygamists were cleverly successful in misleading Mrs. Wetzstein - as anti-polygamists routinely attempt to mislead all media about Tom Green.

Even so, The Washington Times has further allowed Mark the Founder to send an official "Letter to the Editor" to clarify such necessary issues. That official "Letter" has already been written, sent, and may likely appear in that printed newspaper - some time before the end of 2005.

Accordingly, much bigger than the matter of this issue for clarification, it is ncessary to most emphatically state: the overall text of Cheryl Wetzstein's article was truly a most outstanding article.

The TruthBearer.org organization is genuinely grateful to Cheryl Wetzstein and The Washington Times for her text that let people see what normal pro-polygamists really think and want, being as normal as anyone else. The article she wrote is a true blessing, for sure.

Plus, the creation of a powerfully persuasive interview tape resulted. That double-interview tape helps anyone who hears it to know beyond any question of a doubt that the pro-polygamy movement is extremely pro-family and not some "mere liberal or libertine" concept. For quick proof of that, readers may immediately read many of the powerful quotes made in both of those interviews with the Founder, right on that tape order-page.

For all these blessings, therefore, the ministry of TruthBearer.org is truly and genuinely grateful to Cheryl Wetzstein and The Washington Times. Glory to God!

And now YOU can get a copy of the audiocassette recording of the two very positive media interviews on one tape too. YOU can help further spread the word to others too! Order your copy TODAY!

Glory to God that that message gets out! Alleluia Hallelujah!

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