There has been a lot said about the polygamist Winston Blackmore and his little community of Bountiful, and I found myself questioning why Wally Oppal tried to prosecute him so vehemently. I often wonder if he acted with such passion because of his love for our laws and the justice system or because it contradicted some personal moral and/or religious beliefs.
If Mr. Blackmore’s case had not been thrown out because of Mr.Oppal’s zeal in finding a special prosecutor that shared his anti-polygamy view, it is very possible that polygamy could have been legal in Canada under the guise of religious freedom.
Despite the fact that I disagree with polygamy, I would be forced to argue that anyone wishing to disagree with Mr. Blackmore on purely religious grounds can not win. His conviction that God has commanded him to have many wives is no more ridiculous than believing that a loaf of bread and bottle of wine is miraculously turned into the body and blood of Christ on Sundays.
If 10, 20 or even 30 consenting adults choose to live together as a family and consider themselves spiritually married, then you can not use religious moralizing to argue against it, given some of the outrageous beliefs that we have already come to accept.
We are willing to turn a blind eye to female and male circumcision, forced marriages and the continued discrimination and vilification of homosexuals; parents refuse medical treatment and blood transfusions for their children and teach their daughters to submit to and obey their husbands; and we terrify small children into behaving with the concept of eternal damnation and Hell which has been shown to have longterm psychological effects. Therefore, his religious convictions, no matter how repugnant we may think they are, should not be any less protected than yours
As I stated earlier, I personally disagree with polygamy, not because of religious moralizing, but because of what I feel is the equivalent of irrational religious garbage being forced into the minds of the young girls there, which in my opinion borders on the edge of child abuse. Also, despite how archaic and narrow-minded it may sound, I still believe that marriage is the union between one man and one woman.
Yet I must concede that the modern face of families and the meaning of marriage seem to be ever evolving. We have blended families, with children being raised by two, sometimes three moms or dads and the legalization of gay marriage has forever changed the meaning of what we thought marriage was.
In view of all this, I would think that even Mr.Oppal would have to admit that the only successful legal argument against Mr. Blackmore would appear to be that he had nine underage brides (four at 15 years of age, two at 16, and three at 17 years old). This could one day be what leads to his eventual downfall, but for now the law seems to be on his side, and unless we are willing to invent some imaginary spiritual line that religious freedoms can not cross, then the protection you demand for your irrational religious beliefs has to be applied equally to all people.
Even if his name is Winston Blackmore.