Monday, April 28, 2008

Religious persecution verses child protection

I don't know that I can bring myself to say much about the FDLS issue in Texas. If fully grown adult women have such a low opinion of themselves that they are willing to commit themselves to second-class citizenhood in a polygamous marriage, so be it.

Why do we NEVER hear of polygamist situations that involve multiple men married to one woman? Simply put: Polygamy is mostly about power. Traditionally women have had less power then men (at least on the surface). Therefore, historically, polygamy is a situation where one man has multiple wives. Some women would say that having 'sisters in marriage' is a good thing, in that it gives them a rest from the lout they were all foolish enough to commit to.

What I can say something about the treatment of children in the FDLS. I typically stand by parents' rights to raise their children as they see fit, so long as they do not physically or mentally abuse their children. Some would say that taking the FDLS kids into Texas state custody interfered with parent rights. Let's think on that as we read on.

It was announced today that 31 out of 53 teenaged FDLS girls were either mothers already or pregnant at the time they were taken into custody. The definition of 'teenaged girls' here is 14 to 17 years old. Encouraging, or possibly forcing/coercing, 14 to 17 year old girls into 'marriage' and parenthood is right up there with physical and psychological abuse in my book. Even by Texas standards, this is intolerable.



Cobwebs said...

I'd like to expand on this sentence:
If fully grown adult women have such a low opinion of themselves that they are willing to commit themselves to second-class citizenhood in a polygamous marriage, so be it.

You're imputing to these women a worldview similar to yours, which I can assure you, they do not share. It isn't as though they came from mainstream families and decided to run off and join a cult one day. They've been raised all their lives to believe that women should be obedient to the will of men, because that's what god wants. They're isolated from opposing viewpoints, and any woman who might argue--a rarity, if her parents have raised her "right"--is ostracized.

My mother is Mormon, and my sister and I attended her church throughout childhood. Even the mainstream Mormons have a very strong view of women as subordinates (indeed, children in Sunday School are separated by gender around age 8: The boys start learning how to be church "elders," and the girls are taught homemaking skills). I'm sure that this isolated little community was an order of magnitude more oppressive.

Even though I think this sect's teachings are abhorrent, I don't think the government is right in separating the children from their mothers. Experts who have examined the kids have commented that they seem both physically and emotionally healthy, and this enforced separation has got to be traumatic for both them and their mothers.

Think back to when your son was four or five; what if the government announced one day that, even though he was healthy and happy, you weren't raising him "properly" and placed him in foster care?

What the church leaders were doing is unquestionably illegal, and they should be punished, but the government should be providing these women with therapy and education instead of taking their children away from them.

This kind of crapola is a big part of the reason I'm agnostic.

Summer said...

My opinion, it's not a religion, it's a cult. But then again religion can be cultlike. I don't agree with children having babies and it's disgusting that these men have this power over the woman. Incest must run rampant. If you send the children back to them the cycle will repeat.