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Christians mocking themselves while unintentionally advertising for polyamory April 25, 2013

Posted by Shaun McGonigal in Culture and Society, Polyamory, Religion.
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Wait…have you seen this?

So, I found this today via the Friendly Atheist, and I really thought this was a parody.  I simply cannot believe that real people, trying to make a real point, could be so unaware.

Wait, yes I can.  But it hurts to think about it, because I really want to like our species, but find so many reasons not to.

So, a man admits his infidelity (his “adultery”) to his wife, with his accomplice at hand, and offers the argument that if she loves him, she has to love his adultery.  And she accepts it, even so far as to write up some placards to support this publicly.  Of course, the primary analogy is between accepting of the sin (of homosexuality/adultery) of the sinners we should love.  You know, “love the sinner hate the sin” and other hilariously stupid ideas derived from the absurdity of Christian theology.

But also, this video is hilarious (unintentionally) while simultaneously frustrating.  And, of course, the first thing I thought (when deciding whether it was a parody) was that this was a poly triad making a video mocking Christians.  But since this seems legit I’m just going to have to pose the question of whether poly people should take offense at this video or not.  I mean, this is clearly in the wheelhouse of the argument that homosexual marriage will lead to thing like group marriage, sex with alpacas, and whatever else Christians fantasize about when denying that their worldview is as crazy as a pack of rabid hyenas on coke.  But are the Christians who made this even aware of the overt similarity to polyamory here in this video? Is it making fun of us?

Perhaps, but I don’t think any offense should be taken, and I think what Hemant said in response to it is the reason why:

This is the sort of video you would expect an LGBT group to make to mock Christians’ narrow-minded thinking on the subject… Instead, the Christians here went ahead and did the work for them. They’re proving to the world how badly they don’t get it.

They are mocking themselves, without being aware of it.

See, what a video like this does is exposes the lack of self-awareness of people who make it.  Think of it this way; could we here at polyskeptic have made this exact video (with us in it, of course), and had it be a parody? Could we have written it much better to make the point of the absurdity of the conservative Christian worldview in relation to such issues as homosexuality? No, I don’t think so.

The nonchalance of the wife in this video, in reaction to her husband admitting adultery while holding hands with another woman is done for the sake of comedy.  The tension here is between an obviously not-acceptable situation of direct, in-your-face cheating along side the subsequent calm acceptance, tolerance, and ultimate capitulation to it.   Of course nobody is going to respond calmly to such a situation.  Of course these things are sinful and wrong. Of course this is comedy gold.  Just not for the reasons they intended.

The English idiom “of course” here is also telling.  It implies following the expected (mainstream) set of behaviors.  Except the “of course” used above is said mockingly, because that set of expectations only occurs within the rigid bounds of a monogamous (Christian, in this case) world.  My hope is that the fact that this video misses the point about homosexuality and the standard tropes about monogamy are equally understood by people.  I hope that this video is not just absurd because of the stupid analogy between “sins,” but because it teases itself where monogamy lies.

Because my worry is that for many people the calmness and acceptance of the quasi-polyamorous circumstance portrayed here will be missed.  That the effect of the joke will be at being offended by the effectiveness of the analogy.  The video is saying that just like the idea that your wife would calmly accept your “adultery” is absurd, so is the idea that we should accept homosexuality.  And the problem is that, for many people, this will land.  I am willing to bet that the producers of this video would be gobsmacked if they saw people who would accept what they would deem as “adultery” with calmness.  Granted, the actual act in the video is not polyamory, but the tension of the joke is embedded in the idea that no woman (or man, especially in a patriarchal system) would accept their spouse having another lover.  Without that “of course,” the joke cannot land, and we are left with the presentation of the equal acceptability of homosexuality and sexual non-exclusivity.

Sounds about right to me.

When I watched it all I saw was a hilarious pseudo-advertisement for polyamory via unintentional self-parody.  I saw the absurdity of having an issue with homosexuality compared to the absurdity of jealousy, exclusiveness, and monogamy.  And not only am I not offended but  I have a wry and mischievous smile on my face.  I love it when Christians do the work for me, I only wish they could understand it.

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Comments»

1. cindy0803 - April 25, 2013

Not all Christians take this view. “Thinking” Christians would see that adultery hurts not just the wife (in this case) but the son. That is what makes adultery something we try not to do. Someone being gay does not hurt anyone else, unless you are a fundamentalist Christian who takes it as a sign that their religious freedoms are in jeopardy because you don’t agree with them. The hypocrisy in using adultery, of course, is that groups like Faith in Action (the ones who made this video) are not leading any cause to outlaw adultery in the United States and there are plenty of people in the Church who have divorced and remarried (adultery).

Two additional, non-related issues struck me about this video.

The first is that a Christian group had no problem involving a young boy in the making of this video about a very adult issue. There is no way I would involve my 9-year-old daughter in making a video about something I’m not prepared to discuss with her because I don’t think she’s ready to hear it or needs to know it. Disgusting. It is like taking a 3rd grader to a KKK ceremony.

Second, and this truly peeves me (that is a very nice word for how I am truly feeling), the man (half of the adulterer duo), while not necessarily being my cup-of-tea, was of a similar outward “decently dowdy” appearance to his wife. However, the “other” woman was dressed like a hooker. I apologize to hookers if that is offensive, but I have to say it to get my point across. The unsaid message there is that adultery is really the woman’s fault and/or the “other” woman in this triangle is the one we should really have the most animosity toward.

I am a Christian, BTW, and I apologize for all the Christians out there like the ones who made this video and who watch it and agree with it.

2. Chouli - April 25, 2013

Wow, that is the funniest AND the most awkward thing I’ve seen all week! The concept of “accepting adultery” or opening up a monogamous relationship shocks NO ONE these days outside of their own little gay-bashing circle jerk. Even your average monogamous couple these days in the US are *aware* that people have open relationships, even if they aren’t interested, and even if they don’t approve….they cannot see it as absurd, because they know it’s not all that uncommon.

3. Clare Flourish - April 25, 2013

My quibble is that I saw the “wife” in the video to be shocked and non-complicit, and to be attacking her husband in the end- “He cheats on his taxes too”. But, yes. Adultery in context where a couple have previously held themselves out as a monogamous couple, without the agreement of both to become polyamorous, has a victim. Gay lovemaking does not.

I thought the man rather camp, and not a good enough actor to appear camp if he were not.

4. Kat - April 25, 2013

Gold. Pure gold.

5. Dominique' L. Parker - April 25, 2013

I divorced the SOB who cheated on me. He asked me not too during the process. Now he’s cheating on his current wife. I stopped loving the sinner too.

6. Dave Churvis - April 26, 2013

This was deliriously, hilariously awful. Aside from the ridiculous message, it’s just… terribly produced. The only thing that could have made this worse was a filter that made it look like a VHS recording. AND IS THAT A MUSTARD STAIN?

But seriously… If I’m interested in someone, the first person I tell is Matt (my partner). Usually, he makes fun of me because I’m too chickenshit to do anything about it. And then he’ll often go and make the first move on my behalf. If that isn’t real love, you find me something that is.

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8. seiko ダイバー - October 14, 2013

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