Recently, a rare combination of shock and righteous indignation overtook us in our living rooms when news of a raid on a Texas polygamist compound hit the TV screens. Why the outrage? Some of the (older) husbands were suspected of taking for themselves teenage girls as new wives.
State prosecutors justified the extreme family disruptions and their war-like intervention in terms of rescuing brainwashed and coerced teenage girls and declared their actions to "be about child sexual abuse and our commitment to protect children."
So much for coherence and consistency in our present society.
While Texas authorities were invading a well ordered community in which, some argued, the vast majority of adults (older teen aged girls included) freely consented to live and remain, they seemed to forget that 60% of girls in America who had sex before age 15 were coerced by males an average of six years their senior. And that more than two-thirds of births to teenage girls were fathered by adult men age 20 or older. If the numbers in Canada are only half of those in the US, it is indeed a shocking picture of child sexual abuse arising from the mantra of "choice" in sexual matters.
Are the mothers involved being arrested or losing custody of their children because of this kind of sexual activity? Is there even a call from society—more especially the women's rights groups—to track down and prosecute the perpetrators of such abuse? Hardly. To put it mildly, our society regularly turns a blind eye to such sexual impropriety.
I point out the blatant hypocrisy of the Texas incident in order to draw attention to our confused and dangerous "pleasure ethics." No, I was not trying to defend polygamy. Current laws which proscribe polygamy are based on solid rationale and ought to be strictly enforced for the common good of society.
We were right as a society to be aghast at the abuses inherent in polygamy. To be consistent and rational, however, our outrage can be justified only if we ourselves abide by and uphold Christian marriage in its fullness. In part, this standard dictates that sexual relations take place exclusively within marriage and be open to the gift of life (no contraception) and that the marriage bond may be broken only by the death of either man or woman.
Even from a "natural," atheistic and Darwinian point of view, no other arrangement between the human sexes is better geared to the survival and successful propagation of our species than Christian marriage. Furthermore, we can demonstrate how well this formula of man/woman union is attuned to nature by observing that HIV/AIDS and all other forms of STD's would surely be eradicated within a generation or two through its strict and exclusive practice.
Many non-Christian, religious cultures and prophets throughout history have also come, through observation and reason, to the same conclusions and have restricted sexual choices accordingly for the good of society. However, no prophet of God has been more instrumental in defining for us the purpose and limits of divine marriage than Jesus Christ, Son of God and Saviour of the world.
But "pleasure ethics" draws different conclusions. Inside of asking, "What is good?" we are overtaken by "What feels good?" Instead of focusing on moral standards which constrain our pleasures by reminding us of what's right and good, our "choice" is the selfish path of our own desires—with devastating consequences personally, socially and spiritually.