Wednesday, April 23, 2008

That Texas FLDS Brouhaha

I've tried to avoid that issue just because it's so weird, but here's a post with which I agree completely.

Where is the ACLU? As one of the commenters says, "The ACLU does not have a history of caring much to protect the constitutional rights of Christians…"

If you're not into clicking on links, here's a sampler:

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 (sic) been individually accused of any crime - is very troublesome.


Yes, sometimes groups commit crimes and you arrest the whole group and then sort out the specific criminals. That's reasonable when dealing with groups of adults, it's entirely different when the state takes children from their parents.

11 comments:

Erica said...

This is a preliminary report, but even more disturbingly, the original call for help may have come from an individual unassociated with the FLDS who has a history of making bogus police reports:

Via Salt Lake Tribune

I would also love to know where the ACLU is on this one.

Donalbain said...

I would say that when children are the seeming victims, then the better safe than sorry principle is best. Get the children safe, deal with the cases as quickly as possible and charge anybody who seems guilty.

Mrs. C said...

Thank you, Darren, for mentioning the fact that in theory we all still have constitutional rights no matter how unpopular our religion may be. The state is in effect teaching religious groups is that if they cooperate with investigations they'll lose their families anyway. Might as well go down fighting next time, is the rationality they are breeding.

allen (from Michigan) said...

Jumping to a bit of a conclusion aren't you Donal? The authorities are just as human, and thus error-prone and self-interested, as anyone else.

There were a bunch of child-molestation prosecutions sometime back in which the children's testimony was so obviously coached that and reasonable person wouldn't have given the charges a second thought. But the prosecutors in the case seemed to be unimpressed by the flimsiness of the evidence and went ahead with the prosecutions.

I don't know how many people's lives were destroyed by what can only be characterized as malicious prosecution but quite clearly the more discretion the legal authorities have the more they'll abuse it.

This is looking more and more like just the sort of abuse of authority that's best dealt with by further abuses. If you think the people who are now interested in covering their own asses have the best interests of the children at heart I wish you'd divulge its source. I'd rather that this turn out to be a proper exercise of civil authority then what it, more and more, seems to be turning out to be, an abuse of that authority

Ellen K said...

Here's the side story, this particular cult does have a history of transporting underage girls across the Mexican and Canadian borders to avoid prosecution. While this group likes to pretend to be rustic but simple folks, they have done many things that are reprehensible in the name of religion. But first of all, how would the law agency or state know that it's a false report? And if it is a real report, and the state doesn't take action, what are the repercussions then? While on the surface, this looks like an issue of mean old police picking on the poor little church folks, there are bigger issues. Some of them involve sex with minors, but some of them also involve money. And by money, I mean welfare fraud. Question: How are these men earning enough to support very extended families in Eldorado TX, which believe me is the definition of the Middle of Nowhere? Answer, they are using their children as extensive tax write-offs while having their subsidiary wives declared as unwed mothers and getting welfare and assistance as a means of balancing the budget. This isn't unusual, several Muslim men have done the same thing in New York and Philadelphia. LIkewise, back when communes were all the rage, this was a common way of getting the government to subsidize their "lifestyle". As for the issues of "families being torn apart," that is a familiar and repeated phrase used by the FLDS to garner public sympathy. We don't really know who some of the children belong to. Wives and children can be taken away from a man who fails to totally support the local church hierarchy and given to another. The strange dresses the women wear are a way of "branding" them as members of specific families. Since children have been moved around at will, then it is quite possible that the people who care for them are not their parents. That's why the state of Texas is doing DNA analysis at great expense. This is not some harmless group. I have seen the look that these women have when confronted by outsiders. I had a friend who joined the Moonies while a young teen. Her response was much the same. Now imagine a girl who has been raised in such an atmosphere of total male domination and fear. She probably doesn't think that there is any escape. And the men of the church don't want them to see differently which is why outside communication is apostasy. This isn't the simply violation of civil rights that some people like to declare it to be. This is a cult that has exercised the freedoms we are given to create their own warped version of a belief system. Read "Under the Banner of Heaven," which covers many of the same topics and includes some serious history, then tell me that there's no need for concern.

Darren said...

I'm not saying these folks are freakazoids. I'm saying that they still have the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, and even then they retain their constitutional rights. That the state might accomplish what we outsiders view as "good" doesn't give the state carte blanche to do whatever it wants.

Even when enforcing the law, the state's power is limited--rather, it should be.

Darren said...

Correction: my first sentence above should say "I'm not saying these folks AREN'T freakazoids."

allen (from Michigan) said...

The larger question isn't whether the group is a bunch of nut jobs. The larger question is whether this is a proper exercise of governmental authority and, more and more, it's looking like it isn't. Officialdom seems more interested in hurrying the process along and of keeping as tight a rein on information then in making sure rights are respected and that's a real red flag as far as I'm concerned. Smokescreens and haste aren't signs that everything is being done properly, quite the opposite.

Does the name "Richard Jewel" ring a bell? It ought to. The FBI, Atlanta police and the news media made it their business to turn an innocent, courageous man into a criminal for their own, selfish ends. How can anyone be sure that the same thing isn't happening again?

KimJ said...

Here's the ACLU

Darren said...

Their response seems a little tepid to me, but hey, let's welcome them to the party.

Anonymous said...

http://www.aclufightsforchristians.com/