Popular televangelist Pat Robertson, who serves as chancellor of Regent University and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, has said he doesn't know of anything in the Bible that condemns polygamy — the practice of having more than one wife or husband at the same time.
"I'm not sure I know anything in the Bible that indicates polygamy, as such, is against the Bible. But we don't do it and there are a lot of laws based on the New Testament [that] don't permit it, and that's where we are," Robertson said in a clip from "The 700 Club" series posted on YouTube Wednesday.
Robertson was responding to a question from a viewer identified only as Margaret who asked: "Why did God allow the men of faith in the Old Testament to have multiple wives and concubines? And when did God change His mind and make marriage monogamous?"
Although polygamy is illegal in the U.S. and culturally unpopular, some researchers estimate that between 50,000 to 100,000 people are involved in polygamous relationships and the arrangement is more common between men and multiple wives. Public acceptance of the lifestyle is also growing due to reality shows such as TLC's "Sister Wives," which gives a real-life inside look into a polygamist family.
"I don't think God changed his mind [polygamy]," Robertson said.
He noted that a man will find it easier to take care of multiple wives that vice versa.
"The truth is that women have babies. And when they have babies they can't fight wars because they are having babies, and they are looking after their babies and they need somebody to look after them — that's why husbands are supposed to look after their wives. And a man can take care of several wives whereas one wife can't take care of several husbands," the CBN chairman said.
"I think in the early days there must have been more women than men. Multiples wives were standard stuff in the primitive societies, at least they still are in Africa. I know one guy, the chief or something, the general, he had 60 wives. That's a little excessive, it is, but nevertheless, God didn't change his mind but came the New Testament. And Jesus gave the standards of marriage, man leaves his mother and father, cleaves to his wife and the twain will become one flesh," he explained. "And so that's the biblical order of the New Testament, but the culture has changed. God didn't change his mind."
Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, told The Daily Beast in 2015 that if polygamy is legalized he believes it could happen within "the next 20 to 30 years."
Earlier this year, however, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to Utah's anti-bigamy law brought by "Sister Wives" star Kody Brown and his wives, Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn.
Brown is only legally married to one of the "wives." The fundamentalist Mormons who are part of the Apostolic United Brethren Church, claimed in their legal challenge that Utah's law banning multiple spouses violated their religious liberty rights under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment. They claim polygamy as a religious belief.