I read in the Globe & Mail this morning that Polygamy charges were thrown out against 2 religious leaders in British Columbia. Winston Blackmore and Jim Oler were the two men charged in the case. First let me say that I am not a proponent of polygamy, but at the same time what two consenting adults do is their own business. If underage children are involved, then the appropriate laws should be vigorously enforced. So what to do?
My imperfect solution: decriminalize polygamy and then institute a mandatory religious social study class in the Province of BC, similar to what Quebec and England have instituted. The religious social study class would definitely not be a forum for religious indoctrination, but simply a class for learning about the beliefs and practices of world religions. How would this help?
- Decriminalization would hopefully lessen the siege mentality that the polygamist leaders encourage in their community, and allow community members to be more open to ideas from the outside.
- A religious social studies class would hopefully open the school children’s eyes to the world of faith and belief outside of their own community. This might help them, as they mature, to look more critically at their own faith, and make a more informed decision as to whether or not they want to stay in a polygamist community.
My 2 cents worth…
[In the interest of full disclosure you should know that one of my great grand mothers was a polygamist in the early 1900’s]