Stossel was making the case that the reporting on Warren Jeffs is a bad distortion of what polygamy is by stating that Jeffs was a "polygamist sect leader." Since Jeffs was criminally charged with felony sexual assault on a minor, according to Stossel's article, this should be the focus - not that he was a polygamist because they are two distinctly different things.
Ooookay... I suppose that we could say that he has a point. But isn't that kind of like saying the coverage of Bill Clinton during his sex scandal was a bad distortion because they reported it as, "Bill Clinton, President of the United States, is charged with lying under oath in the case of his sexual conduct against Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky?" Oh, no no!! You cannot say that he's the President of the United States... after all, being the President and being a liar are two very different things! So??
Mark Henkel, a polygamy activist, was outraged at the reporting on Jeffs... He said, "The media kept saying, 'Polygamist leader, polygamist leader, but the case actually involved incest and arranged marriage of a girl with her 19-year-old cousin. There wasn't anything that had to do with polygamy. Jeffs wasn't called an incest leader. He wasn't called an underage-marriage leadder. He was called a polygamist leader.'" Oy... Jeffs was the leader of a polygamist sect of the Fundamentalist Mormon church. While being the leader of these polygamists he did terrible things for which he has been criminally charged. If his crimes give further bad name to polygamy and that upsets Mr. Henkel, too bad!
Henkel has a complaint, too, that American laws are hypocritical... He says, "Someone like a Hugh Hefner will have a successful television show with three live-in girlfriends! And that's all OK, and he's making great money, and that's all fine and great entertainment. But suddenly, if that man was to marry them, then suddenly he's a criminal. That's insane!"
Now, I'm not a fan of the Hugh Hefners of this world, either. So I'm probably not a good one to talk to about this. And I don't know about the "criminal" aspect of polygamy... it seems to me that it should just not be a legal marriage. No point in jailing people over it since we don't jail those who cohabit, either. Where in the country are we jailing practitioners of polygamy who aren't doing things to underage kids? Certainly not Utah!
Stossel says in his article that he interviewed Jewish and evangelical Christian polygamists. I have to wonder where he found these folks... and what sort of "evangelical Christian" church those people attend. Mark Henkel purports to be an "evangelical Christian." His website, truthbearer.org, has as it's title: "Truthbearer: continuing the reformation... bringing Christian polygamy to the churches." He further claims that polygamy is a "pro-woman consenting-adult model of Biblical marriage." Whew!! Speaking strictly as a woman, let me just say I DON'T THINK SO.
Professor Patricia Dixon of the University of Georgia embarked on a study of polygamy and was "transformed by the experience." She said that her study found that "it's female-centered. The women are the ones who are benefiting... It's not about another notch on your belt or anything like that. It really is the women who really promote this idea."
No offense, but I've seen the women in the recent Texas case. I suppose I can believe that those women are promoting this idea of polygamy... but they didn't exactly look mentally well to me, either. Just because some women are raised with this concept and accept it doesn't mean that it's actually a beneficial arrangement.
Stossel goes on to say, "The families we met wonder why what they do is illegal. Clearly it's wrong if an older man arranges marriages of young kids, but when adults choose to live this kind of life, why is that evil?" Hmmm... I guess we could just go one step further and ask why it's "clearly" wrong to arrange marriages of young kids, too. Why bother asking why anything is wrong or weird or gross? Better to be like NIKE and "just do it."
Mark Henkel's argument? "If they're saying [polygamy is] immoral, they're calling the greatest heroes in the Bible... immoral! Saying that Abraham, with his three wives, was immoral. Jacob had four wives. David had seven known named wives before Bathseba." Seriously? THIS is Henkel's basis for saying polygamy is a biblical model of marriage? In that case, consider that the biblical model for dating involves sleeping with a married woman, having her husband murdered, and then bringing her into his harem-o-gals! Just because somebody in the Bible did it doesn't mean it's a good model for our behavior. Good gravy - imagine all the horrible things we could justify that way!
As for me and my house -- one's going to have to be enough. I'm not about to let another woman into my kitchen, much less my bed. No, polygamy is not for me. BUT as Prince Ben-Israel, who has four wives, would say, "We're not saying this is for everybody. Everybody don't like football and basketball or tennis. But those who do oughta be free to do this."