Old Orchard Beach, Maine -- Christian Polygamy supporters are celebrating this particular Independence Day with genuine optimism. Their new social movement is ten years old today.
This is not about Mormons either.
Mark Henkel, national polygamy advocate and founder of the Christian Polygamy organization, TruthBearer.org, explained, "Polygamous marriage dates as far back as the Biblical book of Genesis. Christian Polygamy generally involves just everyday conservative Christians, based only on the Bible. We have absolutely no connection and no history with the Latter Days Saints whatsoever."
Ten years ago, on July 4, 1994, Henkel published the first issue of the southern Maine conservative Christian newspaper, The Standard Bearer. From that issue forward, the essential arguments -- showing that polygyny is Scriptural -- were established. The movement was born.
Those arguments caught on among other conservative Christians. Within the next three years, those argumentations spread to the internet, and the TruthBearer website replaced the newspaper.
As the internet itself grew in the mid-1990s, the website similarly grew. More and more like-minded Christians discovered that they are not alone in seeing the Scripturality of Christian Polygamy.
TruthBearer.org quickly became a cross-denominational organization of activists, with its lofty mission of bringing Christian Polygamy to the churches. The media conducted numerous interviews with the organization.
The movement got an additional boost in 2003, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Lawrence v. Texas. That case seemed to indicate that anti-polygamy laws could be unconstitutional.
The case regularly intrigues many Christians to start searching out the issue of polygamy in the Bible.
"That search leads them to us," said Henkel. "To their surprise, they discover that polygyny is provably Biblical, that Bible-believing Christians do see it (whether or not choosing to marry polygynously), that we are absolutely not Mormon, and that -- with love-not-force -- we really do preach only Christ-like selfless love for women."
Ten years ago, the words, "Christian" and "polygamy," together would have been perceived as an oxymoron. But now "Christian Polygamy" is a recognized social movement. It has even been begrudgingly acknowledged by such Christian organizations as the Traditional Values Coalition and by such renowned individuals as Jerry Falwell.
"Not bad for a movement that's only ten years old today," said Henkel. " In just ten more years, Christian leaders could likely be thanking Christian Polygamy for our faithfulness. Legalized anti-polygamy tyranny could just be history. And together we all could celebrate this double significance of Independence Day."