Somehow I managed to stumble across this amazing website, Marry Our Daughter, which allows “those following the Biblical tradition of arranging marriages for their daughters” to list their daughters for sale online. The brides are typically 15 or 16 years old, and fetch a bride price of between $30,000 and $100,000.
For example, right now you can buy Kristen, who has a wild streak and likes parties; Ashley, who likes sports, clothes, jewelry and current pop music; or Kyra (14) – who’s bright and funny and full of life but has little direct experience with the opposite sex.
The Biblical justification is as follows:
Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I’ll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the girl as my wife.”
[ Social Responsibility ] “If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride–price, and she shall be his wife.
If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride–price for virgins.
1 Samuel 18:25
Saul replied, “Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’ ” Saul’s plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines.
What do the girls think of all this? If we believe the website (and I don’t), they are thrilled to be able to raise the money for their family. Katrina says:
I was SO scared getting married so young, but my husband is an okay guy and I am SO proud that because of me my parents were able to get their first brand-new car and take the trip they always wanted to.
My mother thought I was getting ‘too frisky” and that I had to get married right away before I lost my purity to some high school boy. Marry Our Daughter found me a husband and my parents were able to keep their house and pay off my mother’s medical bills. I was so glad I could help them, and being married at my age (I’m 16 now) has a lot of advantages, like my own credit card!
The website argues that “girls within the United States can marry as young as 13 years old with parental permission, and the Bride Price is a custom of long standing, mentioned many times in the Bible, and as such is a protected religious practice.”
So – what do you think? Is selling your teenage daughter ethically responsible? Does America’s doctrine of religious tolerance really safeguard every Biblical idea?