Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Polyamory. Huh?

I've been answering calls from London over the last few days, setting up the filming in my office of a response to a "polyamory" convention being held around Seattle sometime soon.  A London TV station is covering a new group, the "polyamorists" who have not only coined an unwieldy new term, but have also found a use for it.  It's the new name given to people who choose to have more than one lover at a time.  The London TV station wanted a response from a local clergyman who, they hoped, would give some spicy condemnations of this new group.

My wife's first response to the upcoming interview was a semi-suspicious, "Why do they want to talk to YOU?" I assured her I had no special knowledge of the topic (other than a doctorate in gender, sexuality, and spirituality -- which I'm sure the London station knows nothing about), and that the interview came exclusively because of my role at the Church Council.  She then asked, "What are you going to say?"

There are some obvious responses to the idea of polyamory:

    1) It's contrary to our Christian tradition of monogamy,
    2) It gives a fancy name designed to serve as a fig leaf for promiscuity,
    3) It denies what we're coming to know about marriage -- that just 2 people living together in love presents a substantial lifelong challenge, and
    4) Since apparently most polyamorists are men with multiple female partners (polygyny) isn't this likely just another vehicle for the exploitation of women by men?
Are there other things to consider in relation to polyamory?  If you have some suggestions, let me know your thoughts -- by Tuesday, when the cameras roll.


At 1:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what if I agree with what you say, and I too stay monogamous to my partner, but that if others want to live that way then it is between them and their numerous partners. I totally would not be able to live this life style, but know others that can handle it.

At 6:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the church need to once again condemn people for their sexuality? It seems to me that's been going on long enough.

I have a close friend who is a gay man. He has had a partner for 9 years, and their relationship is very strong and caring. They have an open relationship, in which each is free to have sex with others, as they please. This seems to work very well for them, and my friend tells me it is common in gay male couples.

I have another close friend who was raised Catholic and told from childhood that masturbation was an evil sin. According to him, that oppressive message caused him lasting psychological harm. I don't think his experience is very unusual.

Meanwhile, we are all very familiar with the hateful, so-called "Christians" who condemn homosexuality as evil and call AIDS God's punishment.

Then there is the history of the Catholic church incarcerating young girls for expressing their sexuality. Not to mention Islamic fundamentalists stoning women to death for suspected infidelity.

The point is, religion seems to constantly err on the side of condemning natural healthy human sexuality. It might be a good idea to consider that history before condemning "polyamory," "promiscuity," or whatever other label you choose to apply.

At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the above. I may not be able to handle that lifestyle, but I don't believe it's up to me or the church to judge what "adults" do. I also know people who have very healthy, open relationships, and I think that Sex is natural and should not be labeled.

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