Why is Romney’s dad Mexican? Ever wondered?? He keeps saying on the question of immigration, my dad is Mexican. My dad is Mexican. My dad was born in Mexico.
Well, in fact his dad is Mexican, but he was born to Americans in Mexico. And why were those Americans in Mexico? His grandfather was a polygamist who ‘escaped’ to Mexico !! Yes, a polygamist. Romney is a devout Mormon. And Mormons have a longstanding commitment to polygamy, and in most countries where polygamy is allowed or officially overlooked, Mormons STILL TODAY practice polygamy.
Within polygymous societies, multiple wives often become a status symbol denoting wealth, power, and fame. In effect the man rises in social standing via this process, and also in effect, women’s role is diminished in society. This practice falls squarely against any official announcement proclaiming women’s equality. Any one in support of polygamy, CAN NOT at the same time be in favor of women’s rights.
In the U.S. where the Mormon faith was founded, polygamy has a long tradition. It all began with Joseph Smith, Jr., (the Mormon founder) who stated he received a revelation on July 17, 1831 that “plural marriage” should be practiced by some Mormon men who were specifically commanded to do so.
After over 30 years of practice, in 1862, Congress issued the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act which clarified that the practice of polygamy was illegal in all US territories. The LDS Church (Mormon Church) fought this bill in court and took their fight all the way to the Supreme court that ruled unanimously in 1878 in a case called Reynolds v. United States declaring that polygamy was not protected by the Constitution, based on the longstanding legal principle that “laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices.”
Increasingly harsh anti-polygamy legislation in the US led some Mormons to emigrate to Canada and Mexico. In 1890, LDS Church president Wilford Woodruff issued a public declaration (the Manifesto) announcing that the LDS Church had discontinued new plural marriages. By 1910 the LDS Church excommunicated those who entered into, or performed, new plural marriages, and this led to a massive migration south of the Border to Mexico where there are literally huge Mormon compounds where polygamy is still practiced today. This is where Romney’s grandfather migrated to and lived. And Romney’s father came to the U.S. to seek economic opportunity like ordinary Hispanic migrants and ended up becoming the CEO of American Motors and eventually a Senator for Michigan.
Similarly to the LDS churches doctrine (and practice outside the U.S. many Muslim countries still retain traditional Islamic law which permits polygamy. However, secular elements within some Muslim societies challenge its acceptability. Polygamy is however, prohibited by law in some progressive Muslim-majority countries that have not adopted Islamic law for marital regulations, such as Azerbaijan, Tunisia and Turkey.
Iran too was one of them, until the Mullahs took power 40 years ago. Only 3 years ago, the ‘appointed’ members of the Majlis or Iran’s parliament (because as you know, Iran has bogus elections), tried to pass a Bill to officially allow polygamy again. Many women’s activists in Iran publicly fought the law, even going as far as to call the homes of the Parliamentarians to ask their wives if they would mind if they married their husbands. It was discovered (and widely published at the time) that at least 65 male members of the country’s 290-strong parliament had two or more wives. This is despite the fact that polygamy contravenes the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Iran has ratified. Article 23 stipulates that states must ensure that men and women have equal rights when marrying or at the dissolution of marriage. The “Family Protection Bill” would have reduced Iranian women’s rights even further, allowing men to take up to three additional wives without the consent or knowledge of their first spouse. Iranian law currently allows Muslim men to have up to four wives, but only after obtaining a court order demonstrating the permission of the first spouse and his ability to treat them all equally. For women who depend entirely on their husband’s income, sharing that with a second, third or fourth wife can mean severe financial hardship.
According to Shi’a Islam, Iranian men can already take any number of “temporary wives” without informing their first wife. The length of a temporary marriage is defined in advance and can last anything from hours to decades. Temporary wives generally face social ostracism, and their children may face difficulties in accessing public services such as education because if the marriage is unregistered, it may be hard for the mother to prove paternity. One absolute feature of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the past 34 years since the Mullahs took over all levers of government has been the rise of polygamy in Iran.
As a Muslim, I find this to be abhorrent. It’s a total disgrace. In effect, (and I know you know this is obvious, despite all their declarations of technological progress inside Iran) this has brought back the country and it smacks of hypocrisy when the regime says they are for women’s rights. Despite what people say, it is what a government actually does that in the end marks the true essence of a regime. In practice therefore, the Mullahs and the Mormon Church are very similar – they DO NOT fundamentally believe in women’s rights.
Last night in the debate Mitt Romney said he “went to a number of women’s groups… and they brought us whole binders full of women.” (http://www.businessinsider.com/mitt-romney-binders…). It’s gone viral on the internet (http://www.eonline.com/news/354719/mitt-romney-s-b…). And it smacks of someone that is fundamentally, in his core, from a tradition of polygamists i.e. NOT in favor of women’s rights. His whole campaign has persistently had a ‘gender’ gap, and his policies regarding women’s health issues are completely denigrating to women’s rights.
Do not think that this fundamental approach will matter only in areas involving social policy. For people with these attitudes also have similar approaches in other areas of their lives. People say, Romney’s foreign policy will not be too different to Ronald Reagan’s!! What does that mean? Well, we will have more Oliver Norths, more secret dealings with the Mullahs in Iran, More Bibles with notations from the President for Mullah Rafsanjani to receive, more secret arms for hostages deals ….it will be a sham. It will be October Surprise, Iran-Contra all over again. And the Mullahs in Iran will have another 4 years of power. The Republicans, and certainly Mr. Romney (despite everything he says) will sustain their far-right, religious brethren in Iran in power. Nothing will change.
I do not trust the Republicans and Mr. Romney to lead the world (and especially Iran) into a better place. Neither should you. Mr. Obama at least has liberated 150 Million Arabs from the claws of brutal dictators. There is democracy now in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen … There is now more than ‘one’ democracy in the Middle East! Yes, the situations are imperfect, but at least they are on the road to positive change. That is all we want in Iran. Democracy, freedom, justice … for everyone (especially our incredible women in Iran).