Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"Protect the children", or, "Bust the cultists"?

The problem with the FLDS seems to be motivated by public concern for the welfare of “the children.” We are told in the news that Texas CPS went in and took all the children to protect them from abuse. The nature of abuse that could apply to ALL the children has not been specified. And we further hear that “this is the way it is always done” in child abuse cases. CPS when it goes in takes all the children, sorts through who is actually at risk, and then returns the children that are not at risk.

The reason why that claim does not fly in this case is because Texas CPS and the local police knew for four years that the FLDS community was practicing under-age “spiritual marriage”. When they finally moved in, they were targeting the at-risk children, i.e. those minor girls of “child-bearing age.” They knew because they had an insider, according to the sheriff of Eldorado. There has been no talk whatsoever of any abuse of the younger girls or any of the boys; yet all were taken into CPS custody.

When we ask “why were all the children taken?” the only reason is that given above. This is why the specter of infringement upon religious freedom is raised. Religious freedom apparently exists only for those religious groups that don’t offend the sensibilities of the mainline Christian Protestant sects in the USA. It seems evident that this is consistently true in Texas at any rate.

Hypothetically, if the FLDS had been practicing “spiritual wifery” with girls at the age of consent, i.e. 16 and older, would Texas CPS have moved on them? If the wives engaged in sexual relations with far older men were no younger than 18, would CPS have moved on them?

If you say “no”, that means the FLDS should be safe to be polygamists: there would have been no raid on the Ranch and no minor-aged children taken into State custody. This hypothetical FLDS community, not known to participate in under-age "marriage" practices or sexual activity with children, should be safe from arrest or interference.

If you say “yes, CPS would have moved on them anyway”, then we are not even talking about “sexual child abuse” as the motive for the raid of the YFZ Ranch: rather, Texas is moving against a perceived aberrant religious community and breaking it up (granted, a lot better this way than with bullets, tanks and fire as happened in '93). And the alleged “abuse of children” could only be religious indoctrination. Texas wants no polygamy or “Zionism” being taught to children in their State. (The Branch Davidians at Waco were "Zionists" too.)

And if you say “yes”, then Muslims are not safe here; neither are Jews, Native American religious practices, Mormons or even Roman Catholics. Parents who home-school their children are not safe here. If government can do what Texas is doing, still, then American freedom of religion is not being protected. Religion perceived as not mainline Protestant Christianity is not safe here.

I think that in Texas, we may be witnessing an underground swell of fundamentalist Christian bigotry and government steeped in that growing mindset. If that suspicion is true, then to use “the children” to get at a hated religion is the worst form of hypocrisy I can think of, and is itself child abuse: using children as a shield of their real feelings of religious bigotry masquerading as altruism.

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