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That Didn’t Take Long: The APA Normalizing Polyamory

More than twenty years ago, the late Father Richard John Neuhaus penned one of his most memorable sayings. When you come across an article titled ‘Whither Incest?’, he said, it’s safe to assume it won’t be a “vigorous defense of traditional morality.”

To paraphrase Father Neuhaus, whenever the American Psychological Association (APA) addresses an aspect of human sexuality, you can bet it won’t be a vigorous defense of traditional morality.

Recently, the APA announced the creation of a special task force  “to address the needs of people who practice consensual non-monogamy, including their intersecting marginalized identities.” Isn’t that a lot of words that need to be unpacked? So here it goes.

First, “Consensual non-monogamy” is a euphemism for polyamory. Polyamory “is the practice of, or desire for, emotionally intimate relationships with more than one partner.” And “intersecting marginalized identities” means the task force will look into how the desire to have more than one partner is, in fact, a deep-seated identity, and anyone who thinks otherwise is discriminating against people who were “born that way.” Or, as the APA put it in their announcement, “…the ability to engage in desired intimacy without social and medical stigmatization is not a liberty for all.”

Many of us predicted polyamory would, in fact, be the next cause of the sexual revolution. Polyamorous marriage seems, for now, inevitable. That would mean marriage between more than two people, and why not? If marriage is officially severed from procreation, as so-called “same-sex marriage” has now legislated, then there is no reason to keep it to two people, instead of three, four, or more.

Or, as a member of the task force wrote on Medium, “Monogamy is privileged...” Implying, of course, that it shouldn’t be.

The task force will study all kinds of polyamorous relationships with the stated goal, according to the same task-force member, of helping “mental health professionals  . . . examine [their] biases and take a nonjudgmental posture toward clients engaged in consensual non-monogamy—just as [they] would with LGBTQ clients.”

Notice the assumption here: As long as the behavior in question is “consensual,” whatever that means, “mental health professionals” should “take a nonjudgmental posture.”

The real goal of the task force, however, goes beyond helping to remove the bias of mental health professionals. Remember that phrase from the announcement that I quoted earlier about “medical and social stigmatization”? As has been the case time after time with the APA, the goal is to promote an ideology by giving it a scientific veneer.

This ideology reduces all sexual morality to “consent,” and assumes that there is no good or bad way to define or engage in “desired intimacy.” Any discomfort that anyone has must be the result of “stigmatization.”

As Andre Van Mol, a physician who has studied adolescent sexuality, told the Christian Post “this is the entirely expected and predicted consequence of what happens when ideology replaces science. The APA is yet again showing us that they are a professional guild and not a scientific organization.”

It’s also the “entirely and predicted consequence” of our cultural trajectory regarding human sexuality. Four years ago, Robbie George wrote an article in The American Interest entitled “Is Polyamory Next?” Everything he pointed to there has happened: sympathetic depictions of polyamory in the media, opinion pieces by legal scholars, and call after call for us “to keep our minds open towards polygamy and other multiple-partner sexual relationships.” He made it clear that the same logic that justified same-sex marriage would eventually be applied to polyamory, which many same-sex advocates, even then, freely admitted.

Given the changes in the Supreme Court, we may not get an Obergefell-type decision for polyamory. But this move by the APA suggests it may not be necessary. If enough people are convinced that disapproving of polyamory is bigotry, the politics and law, especially in some jurisdictions, will quickly follow suit.

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BreakPoint is a program of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. BreakPoint commentaries offer incisive content people can't find anywhere else; content that cuts through the fog of relativism and the news cycle with truth and compassion. Founded by Chuck Colson (1931 – 2012) in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends. Today, you can get it in written and a variety of audio formats: on the web, the radio, or your favorite podcast app on the go.

John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and radio host of BreakPoint, a daily national radio program providing thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.

Publication date: July 24, 2019

Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Igor Kell

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