So much for dismissing the idea of a slippery slope.
Yesterday was another watershed in the hard-to-look-at, slow-motion death of our culture. In a case brought by the star of the “Sister Wives” reality TV show, the Federal courts have now begun to chip away at prohibitions against polygamy, succumbing to a carefully planned strategy designed to not only permit polygamy as we usually think of it (polygyny as among Muslims and Fundamentalist Mormons) but true polyamory.
In its opinion, the Court was unkind to our Christian heritage and the common heritage of Western Civilization in general. Judge Clark Waddoups of the District of Utah quoted an historic U. S. Supreme Court case disapprovingly, and commented on it.
“The organization of a community for the spread and practice of polygamy is, in a measure, a return to barbarism. It is contrary to the spirit of Christianity and of the civilization which Christianity has produced in the Western world.” Late Corp., 136 U.S. at 49. [Late Corp. was the 1890 U. S. Supreme Court case which upheld a Federal statute disincorporating the Mormon Church because it promoted polygamy.] This observation [is] unthinkable as part of the legal analysis in a modern Supreme Court decision…
To be sure, I am providing here just a small slice of a 91-page opinion, but this is illuminating because it’s only when Courts and Presidents are tearing down our Christian heritage that they admit that we actually did have one.
I never liked the term “post-Christian America,” because it seems to me that defining something by what it isn’t is no definition at all. Such language is unhelpful to its intended hearer, and is a self-deception on the part of the speaker. I may tell you that my dog is not a cat, and still leave you in the dark about what a dog really is.
If polygamy is on the way in (to be followed by what else?) then isn’t it time we stopped calling America “post-Christian?” For something is never post-anything without having already become something else – if not in its entirety then certainly in its essential character.
How then shall we call this era? Neo-Pagan America seems a sound choice to me. Others may think differently. Based on their quote above, it appears that the U. S. Supreme Court of 1890 would have called us Barbarian America.
That will be left to the historians. In the meantime, trying days are ahead.