Like most everyone else, I was interested in the background of the two shooters in the recent mass murders in our country. I happened to be reading an article about that topic which quoted the Dayton shooter’s ex-girlfriend in regard to their first date together. It was not overly surprising that he showed her an anti-Semitic video of the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting and gave her a play-by-play description. Some first date…

It wasn’t their initial outing that really caught my eye, though. The article mentioned that while she was dating the soon-to-be shooter, she also had another steady boyfriend. The author of the article seemed to take this in stride and simply mentioned in passing that she was polyamorous.


That term perked up my ears (or my eyes, as it were) and caused me to think. I’m pretty sure I had never heard that term prior to seeing it in this piece. I was so intrigued that I stopped reading the article and went to my trusty Google Machine to see what it meant. I assumed it had something to do with being bi-sexual or some other such variation on human sexuality, but I was wrong—sort of.

I had heard of polygamy, the sixty-three genders, and gender fluidity, but polyamorous had eluded me up to this point. As it turns out, polyamory “is the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved. It has been described as ‘consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy.’”

At first glance, the whole idea didn’t seem too far-fetched. After all, I suppose a lot of young guys wouldn’t have minded having a harem or two (particularly when they were teenagers). Most people would chalk that up to youth and raging hormones. But the part that tripped me up was the phrase, “with the consent of all partners involved.” That little caveat was (and still remains) a tad foreign to me. There’s this tiny thing called jealousy (as well as possessiveness) that has pervaded our culture for as long as I can remember. On top of that, once maturity sets in, so does reality. One relationship is about all most of us can handle at a time.

Outside the Boundaries

I think we cause ourselves a lot of problems when we stray outside the boundaries of Scriptural advice. I’ve not counted them, but I’ve read that there are at least one hundred verses in the Bible that promote marriage between one man and one woman. For example, 1 Corinthians 7:2 says, “But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.”

Apparently, there was some non-monogamous activity happening in Corinth in those days. St. Paul did not approve. I’m a bit surprised that anyone does (with the possible exception of teenage boys). “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure” (Hebrews 13:4). All the polyamorous might do well to take heed.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]