April 24, 2008

News > I Agree with KAG and the ACLU re: Texas FLDS

The way the majority of people of the FLDS in Texas are being separated from their children without due process is criminal. How can a judge determine with only cursory arguments that all 437 children were being neglected or abused and therefore should be taken from their parents and placed in foster care? From Katie Allison-Granju:

If the adults - mothers and fathers - in this polygamist, FLDS sect are encouraging sexual activity by teenage girls with adult men as part of their religious practice (as it appears they almost certainly are), this is criminally abusive. It needs to be stopped.

The individual men and women who have played a role in this abuse need to be individually prosecuted. Their other, younger children should be put into state custody. I cannot express strongly enough how much I believe the state needs to take a strong, unequivocal stance in going after any of these individual adults in this group who have committed crimes against children in the name of religion.

However, I am increasingly disturbed by the way the state of Texas is handling this matter. The wholesale rounding up and de facto incarceration of hundreds of women and children - none of whom have been individually accused of any crime - is very troublesome.

The Salt Lake Tribune - ACLU says constitutional rights threatened in Texas FLDS child custody proceedings

David Bernstein at Volokh.com - Child Abuse in the Name of Protecting Children

Imagine that some parents in a school district were accused of child abuse. Now imagine that the authorities took every child from the elementary, junior high, and high school away from their parents and put them in foster care. That's a rough analogy of what's happening in Texas.

It's also worth mentioning that the initial charge of sexual abuse that prompted the initial search warrant was bogus. Rozita Swinton told authorities she was a young girl being held in a basement at the ranch. She has now been arrested for filing a false report. She was never even a member of the group and there's no reason to believe she had ever so much as been to the compound. Swinton is 33 years old and lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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Comments

Outrage won't come, of course, because these folks are labeled as being "religious nutcases", which they may indeed be. However, it remains rather clear that there is an increasingly thin thread by which the state is attempting to hang its case upon, all the while, the state is (unlawfuly, I believe) separating families, just because a bureaucrat in Austin says so, For The Children, of course.

Pretty sick, in my opinion.

I am a self-styled atheist, and I look upon the ways and lives of FLDS members, and others to be sure, as backwards. As far as I'm concerned, it's THEIR business to believe what they want and establish whatever value struture they want. It's just NONE of my business to take any sort of act at controlling their behaviors...and it should be no different for the state of Texas.

Others will shout about how "wrong" it is for a man to be having relations with teenage girls, and how that is the reason for the raid, and that it is rather openly known that this happens in FLDS sects. That criticism may be true for some, but not all, people. Large age gap arranged marriages aren't something out of line, historically, either. Instead, it is merely a reflection of current, Western mainstream thinking about the subject that tends to impose that value. To which I ask this rhetorical question, is it really any different if this same, or any other, "underage" teenage girl is having sexual relations with an equally underage teenage boy, or one that might be just a few years older?

I don't think so. Answers then, can not be defined in a clear moral sense across all people, I think, and I'm not much of one to put too much faith in such an arcane social institution that we define as law to delineate such matters.

Sorry, but from where I'm standing, there is a group of people who live outside of what most others see as acceptable morals. They are being put upon by the government, and the government is getting away with it simply because this group is largely viewed as being a fringe organization.

I can only hope more people see this situation the same way I do as this travesty plays out.

Posted by: theirritablearchitect at April 25, 2008

Couldn't agree more (me: http://www.bkdunn.com/blog/?p=159). I'm furious also the attitude that I've seen expressed by many that the fact that, as it turns out, some of them really did commit crimes somehow justifies this mass round-up. I'm also incensed by this new precedent that folks have to now get DNA tests in order to have a legal claim to their own kids. Also wondering: in order to prevent this from happening again, they're going to sterilize all these adults, right? Cuz otherwise, they're going to keep having kids and raising them the way they want to. Either that or you have to arrest the lot of them.

Finally, irritable's statement "...the government is getting away with it simply because this group is largely viewed as being a fringe organization..." strikes a chord with me. Makes me wonder who else is a "fringe organization". Civil libertarians? Registered communists? Roman Catholics? Mainstream Mormons? People who make more money than the rest of us? The amount of overreach in this is horrifying to an Orwellian extent.

I guess the *good* thing is that this case seems so exceptional -- these round-ups only seem to be happening every 50 years or so. But it's not that hard to imagine that frequency accelerating. And even if it doesn't, it wasn't right this time either.

Posted by: bkdunn at May 01, 2008
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