Atlantic Monthly Quotes

They [Mormons] are, we believe, some kind-hearted people who think that what they are pleased to call the principles of American society militate against any interference with polygamy, because it is a religious custom. And this argument is supposed to be strengthened by the fact that the Mormon marriages are purely voluntary, and therefore concern only the men and women who make them. There is no similarity, it is said, between polygamy and such religious customs as those of the Thugs, which are enforced very much against the will of those chiefly interested. But this argument wholly overlooks a vital point in the case. Marriages do not merely concern the parents. They concern the offspring of the marriage, and it is for this very reason that the state interferes and enforces monogamy. The state is bound to protect the interests of its future citizens; and to treat polygamous marriages as if they concerned no one but those who voluntarily make the contract is to ignore a plain duty. All civilized modern countries consider that, in the interest of their future citizens, it is necessary to break up organized concubinage; they cannot in the nature of things treat it as a question of religion.

 
Context
This editorial was an excellent summary of the issue of Mormon polygamy where both sides are described. The Thugs were a violent religious sect in India where females were forced into marriage.
Citations

The Atlantic Monthly, Editorial, “Politics”, February 1872

Eigen's Political and Historical Quotations


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