Europe is locked in a desperate struggle against growing national debt problems and financial contagion. Nations from Spain to Italy to France are freezing spending, cutting salaries, reducing welfare programs and cutting operating costs (Reuters, "Austerity measures around the Eurozone," June 8, 2010). With all that Europe has to worry about, it may be surprising that polygamy may be contributing to Europe's fiscal woes.
Although polygamy is often associated with the Mormons, it is not a Mormon invention. In Islam, the Quran permits marriages of up to four wives as long as the husband is able to treat them justly (Surah 4.3). The ancient Chinese Zhou Dynasty practiced a form of polygamy (marrying multiple sisters) approximately 1000 years BC And polygamy was common in ancient India among the warrior castes and wealthy merchants.
As people of various ethnicities continue to immigrate to France, the ancient practice of polygamy has become not only an ethical, but an economic issue for the nation.
The Associated Press reports, "The burqa, or face-covering veil, is getting all the attention in the debate over Muslim immigrants in France. But another controversial tradition among some immigrants is less noticed and far more widespread: Polygamy." The article continues to report that, "experts say polygamy in France can also be linked to fraud, where husbands hijack a generous social welfare system to line their pockets with state funds from each of their wives" (FOXNews.com, "Polygamy banned but some immigrants in France use system to make money on their wives," May 2, 2010).
In the article, Jean-Marie Ballo, founder of an association that helps women escape from polygamous situations states, "I'd go so far as to say that polygamists here (in France) are breeding for cash" (ibid).
Polygamy is a scourge on society, and it is unbiblical. As Dr. Roderick C. Meredith wrote regarding Christ's instruction on marriage in Matthew 19:4: "Notice that He didn't say 'males and female' and he didn't say 'male and females.' He did not intend for a man to have a number of wives. He did not plan polygamy at all from the beginning-that was not His teaching; it was one male and one female" (The Gospel of Matthew - Program 21).
Commenting on the importance of the family, Mr. John Ogwyn wrote, "The biblical definition of the family – based upon one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-5) – long shaped Western attitudes. Marriage was the fountainhead of the family" (Tomorrow's World Magazine, "Families in Flux", March-April, 2001).
While there are Biblical examples where men took multiple wives, a careful study of Scripture reveals that this practice resulted in conflict and trouble and was not God's ideal. Furthermore, the Old Testament practice of a brother taking for his wife his childless, widowed sister-in-law (Genesis 38:8; Deuteronomy 25:5), was not polygamy as the nations of this world have long practiced. Instead, it was a very specific ordinance that God (not man) established. It was governed by very specific criteria and was established for the specific purpose of providing offspring for the dead brother, and security for his widow.
God's true Church has always taught that marriage is between one man and one woman. As Paul exhorts in Ephesians 5:33, a married man is to "love his own wife" (singular) and a married woman is to "respect her husband" (again, singular). And when Paul provided guidelines for the ministry he stated that, "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife…" (1 Timothy 3:2)—again, a monogamous relationship.
Not only do polygamists contradict the clear teaching of Scripture, but all too often polygamy leads to abuse, neglect, emotional suffering and financial destitution. France is seeing this today. Additionally, in France, polygamists marrying or "breeding for cash" is contributing to the drain on the French economy which means the polygamist man is also violating 1 Timothy 5:8—not being able to sufficiently provide for his own house.
The New Testament definition of marriage is a binding covenant between one man and one woman—not between one man and multiple women, or one woman and multiple men! To learn more about what God intended in marriage, please request or read online, God's Plan for Happy Marriage.