• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

Incest and Polygamy

Posted in:

Incest and Polygamy

Share

Recently a young woman interviewed me for a paper she was writing on polygamy. One of her first questions involved incestuous marriages. People tend to equate polygamy with incestuous marriage partly because of the widely publicized Kingston case, when a sixteen-year-old girl protested being forced to marry her uncle. But not all polygamous groups condone incestuous marriages. In my father's religious group (which later became the Apostolic United Brethren, or AUB) any sort of incest was taboo, as it is in most cultures. As a doctor, my father knew the hazards of genetic coupling and he wouldn't support the marriage of second cousins, let alone closer relatives. As the attending physician in many fundamentalist communities, he had witnessed horrific births when polygamous people ignored this taboo, where children came into the world with severe and heart-wrenching deformities. Despite his lectures and strong advice, many patriarchs stubbornly continued the practice.

Now that two of the men arrested in Texas are charged with marrying underage girls who were also relatives, the question rises again: Why do polygamists figure they are exempt from the ancient and scientifically-sustained taboo against marrying and bearing children with members of one's own family? The answer has to do with the same entitlement that accompanies polygamy in general: a belief in eugenic breeding. In these circumstances, eugenic breeding is rooted in the idea that people who are "called to live the Principle of Plural Marriage" are somehow superior to other members of the human race: more intelligent, better looking, physically superior, etc. If the idea seems familiar, look to Germany during the Holocaust. Eugenic breeding was used to justify the murder of millions among of mental patients, political activists, retarded people, and various ethnic groups, including gypsies and Jews so that the "Aryan race" could retain its "purity."

As for me, I think people who go to such lengths to justify their "superiority" are covering deep-seated fears of inferiority. What do you think?

Share
Connect with Marie Claire:
Advertisement
horoscopes
daily giveaway
Go to the Beach

Go to the Beach

enter now
You Know You Want More
Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook
Welcome!

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Continue
Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.

Continue