polygamy

The Depth of Sickness

Women and children from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar, near the Iraqi-Syrian border crossing in Fishkhabour, Dohuk province, August 14, 2014. (Photo: Reuters/Youssef Boudlal)

That we do not dispute this or, really, any other aspect of David Frankfurter’s analysis only adds to our horror:

The social context may be just as important for understanding this new policy of sexual enslavement. One thing learned from the study of the small religious movements that have sprung up in the West over the past few centuries is the systematic restructuring of sexual relations that leaders have often demanded at an early point in the movement. This may involve group celibacy or polygamy, the exclusive sexual rights of the leader, or free sexual relations. It can often mean dissolution of prior marriages.

From the Jewish Frankists to the Mormons, the Shakers, the Branch Davidians and others, there is a pattern of inverting or eliminating prior sexual and emotional bonds to establish a new order, administered through the leader and his acolytes at the most intimate level.

This could easily apply to Islamic State’s sexual enslavement policies. The group is declaring its own institutional domination over both the bodies of women it has captured and the sexual gratification of its recruits — as an explicit feature of its new religious utopia.

This is why.

The thing is that this isn’t just Daa’ish or Boko Haram; they are just particularly ugly, heavily-armed manifestations of a terrifying proposition―deliberate conditioning of females for sexual abuse. I wonder if they would put down their rifles in exchange for a reality television show: 3,000 Slaves and Counting.

Unfortunately, that’s not simply a crass joke.

Neither is the common bond between Western purity cult and Daa’ish; assertions of moral and, in some aspects literal, ownership of females is not some random phenomenon that happened within the Daa’ish experience, but, rather, a driving purpose of patriarchal societies. In the end, it is very possibly the reason why.

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Image note: Women and children from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar, near the Iraqi-Syrian border crossing in Fishkhabour, Dohuk province, August 14, 2014. (Photo: Reuters/Youssef Boudlal)

Frankfurter, David. “The true motives behind Islamic State’s use of sexual slavery”. Reuters. 8 September 2015.

Why Three Is the Loneliest Number (and Pat Robertson Is Dangerous)

VIII.  Adjustment.

To the one, Curtis M. Wong of Huffington Post brings us the least surprising lede of the day:

The increasingly predictable Pat Robertson has no time for Christians who are accepting of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

To the other, before we complain about taking the new out of news, it is worth pausing to appreciate the detail:

Pat Robertson, of the 700 Club.“Watch what happens, love affairs between men and animals are going to be absolutely permitted,” he said. “Polygamy, without question, is going to be permitted, and it will be called a right.”

See, here’s the thing about polygamy: Equal protection does not specifically apply to questions of numbers. To this end, marriage equality ends sex discrimination for individuals entering a certain legal arrangement. Polygamy is a fundamentally different assertion of that legal arrangement; the same legal arguments do not necessarily apply.

Thus we would remind Mr. Robertson that the quickest road to legalized polygamy is in the context of religious freedom.

And, you know, we can only reiterate our dismay, vis à vis bestiality, that Pat Robertson would seem to disregard the question of consent in such relations. This is a problem: We should not be surprised.

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Wong, Curtis M. “Pat Robertson Has No Time For Christians Who Accept Gays”. The Huffington Post. 10 August 2015.

A Note on Republicans and Reality

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 28: U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House August 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. President Obama spoke on various topics including possible action against ISIL and immigration reform. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

This one is really simple, and it is also just about what you would expect. That is to say, the reason Republican politicians loathe science so much is easily enough expressed:

Conservative commentators are fond of pointing to Barack Obama’s excessive use of the word “I” as evidence of the president’s narcissism. (“For God’s sake, he talks like the emperor Napoleon,” Charles Krauthammer complained recently.) But there’s one tiny problem with this line of reasoning. If you’re counting pronouns, Obama is maybe the least narcissistic president since 1945.

BuzzFeed News analyzed more than 2,000 presidential news conferences since 1929, looking for usage of first-person singular pronouns — “I,” “me,” “my,” “mine,” and “myself.” Just 2.5 percent of Obama’s total news-conference words fell into this category. Only Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt used them less often.

That is to say, science makes it harder for conservatives to lie. Put more bluntly: Science makes it harder to justify being politically conservative.

Charles freakin' KrauthammerTrue, John Templon’s article for BuzzFeed is hardly a proper, old-school, blue-blooded monograph, but neither is it supposed to be. But this is why conservatives hate science and all things remotely scientific; reality really interferes with their agenda.

To the other, Republicans should cheer up; it can’t last forever. After all, the way things are going, society will shift again, and suddenly my side of the aisle will become conservative. Now, in that case, it will likely be a social issue that divides, like wage equality for gay, incestuous, polygamous razor-assed baboons. You know, a congress of S&M baboons playing The Brady Bunch, and while that might prove a better idea than the two reimagined movies from a decade best forgotten, well, it is true that looking forward one might have a hard time understanding how, say, gay marriage is going to usher in polygamous or incestuous marriage.α

But, yeah. This is why conservatives and Republicans hate science. Science describes reality, and reality makes the Republican swindle that much tougher to sell.

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α Polygamy is a matter of numbers. Incest would be a true redefinition of family, as it would change the relative values of, well, relatives. Beyond the nine-headed babies, or whatever, consider growing up in a household where your grandpa, father, and older brother are all competing in hopes that you’ll sleep with them upon reaching age of consent. In truth, the best thing that could happen for legalized polygamous or incestuous marriage would be that the evangelical right wing decides to pick a fight. Historically, gay rights were nowhere on the political map in 1990, when Christians in Oregon decided to pick a fight. Nor were they a pressing issue two years later when Christian supremacism went statewide in the Beaver State and also found a home in Colorado. Which, of course, reminds that as the final barriers to nationwide marriage equality collapse, we all owe a raising of the wrist to Lon Mabon, Scott Lively and the Oregon Citizens’ Alliance, Colorado for Family Values, and many others without whom marriage equality would not have happened for another fifty years at least. Nothing increases general societal pathos toward a suspect group of people like proper, self-righteous, hypocritical, faithless Christian outrage.

Templon, John. “No, Obama’s Pronouns Don’t Make Him A Narcissist”. BuzzFeed. 19 October 2014.