Religious Persecution?

  • cowboyupnorth

    Posts: 264

    Apr 18, 2008 11:24 PM GMT
    I consider my self a Christian and normally defend Christian values and my right to believe in God often on this site. This time I pose a different kind of question.
    Has anyone paid attention to the children who have been ripped away from their family and community because of Polygamy and allegations of child sexual abuse by forced marriage at young ages?

    I am not Mormon but I feel for the children, and their families. I think they are being abused by a conservative Christian Prosecutor and an incompetent child protection agency, in a Bible belt oppressive state. I think it is religious persecution and that we need to stand against it.

    If the men are the guilty ones then arrest them do not take the children away. Come on who was jailed, The children that's who? It is a crime that we act like this in America. I have not heard any evidence that the 400 children stolen from their families were being abused. What the prosecution says is abuse, is forcing young women into marriage with old men. If that is it then take the young women who have been forced into the marriage out, or better yet arrest the perpetrator and let the young women who we call the victim stay in her community and not be traumatized. Religious extremist trying to control other peoples faith or animal rights extremist, trying to control rodeos, horse racing, sled dog racing etc, they all just make me sick.
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    Apr 18, 2008 11:59 PM GMT
    Unfortunately, religious freedom is enshrined in the constitution and in this case acts as an all-encompassing shield to the male adults of that fundamentalist church. However, the law is more stringent on the treatment of children, and it is through this route that the state is using to go after them. Yes, on the surface it looks bad for the kids because they are being taken away from their mothers and placed in holding cells while this entire mess gets sorted out in court. But think about the long run for these kids. Hopefully if the state succeeds in pinning the adults as guilty indecent lawbreakers, then the kids will be placed in a better household and grow up without the fear of being forced into a marriage and bearing kids at 16. It is also possible that they will be able to rejoin their mothers and together move out to a better place.
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    Apr 19, 2008 12:05 AM GMT
    I'm like so atheist but I think the polygamists are being persecuted too. On the bright side, Janet Reno isn't frying the children like Waco. If people want to live that way, it's none of our business as long as they aren't interfering with our lives. I do have a problem with polygamists taking state and federal welfare though.

  • cowboyupnorth

    Posts: 264

    Apr 19, 2008 12:13 AM GMT
    relokou said Yes, on the surface it looks bad for the kids because they are being taken away from their mothers and placed in holding cells while this entire mess gets sorted out in court.


    On the surface, are you kidding me? They are being traumatized because of what some men in the community may have or are doing. That would be like my placing you in protective custody because their is a gay basher in your town. But I am sure you would appreciate me locking up you and all your friends while I look for the perp???


    relokou saidthe kids will be placed in a better household and grow up without the fear of being forced into a marriage and bearing kids at 16. It is also possible that they will be able to rejoin their mothers and together move out to a better place.


    Who's definition of better? That is the arrogance I have issue with. Having kids at 16, oh no. Come on the issue is not teen pregnancy its being forced into marriage, that is still on the adult not on the child/victim.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Apr 19, 2008 12:20 AM GMT
    I agree that this wasn't like the most well thought out plan for these poor kids
    Kinda like everything the government does these days

    Oh and I love that now David Koresh is starting to be enshrined in some people's minds as some sort of victim because of all thisicon_rolleyes.gif
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    Apr 19, 2008 12:38 AM GMT
    The state's official reason for raiding the compound was to rescue an anonymous 16 year old girl who claimed she was sexually abused. That opened the door, and afterwards it is easy to connect the dots to where things are now.

    Cases such as the one dominating the media occur daily, the difference being the sheer scale of this. In most states, they have the right to take your kids away from you if they deem you unfit as a parent. This is done not to intentionally create trauma but to end the suffering and abuse the kids experience under their incapable parents. Ultimately a judge will make the call, but the point is that states and our government have the right to protect the well being of its citizens -- especially the ones who cannot make an independent choice and depend on others -- normally their parents -- for sustenance and love. I, on the other hand, am 21 and I can fend for myself. These kids are not.

    Across our country there are countless couples wanting to adopt kids and provide them with a wholesome and loving environment. If these parents cannot do their job, then there are plenty of others willing to take on the task.

    I know your intentions are good, and I agree with you that the true criminals in all of this are the adult males marrying up multiple younger wives and the allegedly abusive acts they do to them. But you have to understand that as I said earlier, it is vastly more difficult to prosecute them directly because they can easily hide behind their religion. I am not even quite sure how to attack this myself, I suspect if I had to then I would try and charge the adults with statutory rape, but then I would need to get testimony from the kids and possibly supplement that with some from the mothers, among other things. That is all harder than it looks.

    It is a lot easier to prove that the parents were just incapable and general abuse was prevalent in the compound. That should be sufficient to deem the parents unfit and have custody transferred to a state designated guardian. I do not know how this will all turn out, but I do know that things will have to go very, very bad to match the conditions and absence of freedoms in the fundamentalist compound.
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    Apr 19, 2008 1:01 AM GMT
    I don't think this is religious persecution. Polygamy is illegal, if they really wanted to persecute this group because of differing religious views, polygamy would have been the perfect 'in' for the state long ago.

    The children are not being kept in holding cells.

    Law informent reacted to a call claiming sexual and physical abuse. They didn't have time to plan this raid. Could it have been handled better? Probably, if they had time. Did they do their best under the circumstances, in my opinion, yes.

    Why take all the children? The phone call wasn't just about sexual abuse, it was also about physical abuse. It's not a secret that physical abuse is a part of the norm in these groups. But, for the protection of all citizens, law enforcement can't storm a place just because they think something is happening. They got the call, the made the decision to take all the children and find out which ones are being abused. Most of the children don't have birth certificates, most of the children will not give their last names, many of the teenaged girls, including the 5 pregnant 16 year olds, gave false names. The women won't name their husbands, nor give authorities their last names. The authorities still are not sure which kids belong to which parents. Under the circumstances, I think it's understandable that all the children were taken, and that their being kept in custody until this whole mess gets sorted out.

    The mothers are as guilty as the fathers. I know they can't speak out against their young daughters being married off or beaten, but they could have made that phone call instead of the teenager.

    I have nothing against polygamy. It's polygyny and polyandry that I have a problem with. I say the government should legalize polygamy. For one, it would prevent welfare abuse. The laws against polygamy have forced these people into their secret, closed communities, allowing for the children to be overlooked by the state and abused.

  • cowboyupnorth

    Posts: 264

    Apr 19, 2008 1:04 AM GMT
    I have to respectfully disagree with you relokou. You seem to take issue with the fundamentalist compound. Well I have lived in Amish Country and several of my friends are fundamentalist. I do not claim to understand why they would chose the life style they have, any more then they understand mine. To take these children and place them in non Mormon homes I think is wrong. Believe me I am very far removed from Mormon. However I also have had several Mormon friends having lived in Southern California. They were all loving loyal people and I do not Judge them for their different beliefs.

    The other issue is still the state taking the easy road. Often in domestic violence situations if the man abuses his wife and the child they arrest her (the Victim) for failure to protect, rather then hold the batterer accountable. It is something akin to male privilege. Children have also been placed in foster care, removed from their homes, schools, etc in the name of safety, while the bad guy runs free. Again why punish the child for the sins of the father? We have worked hard to stop this barbaric practice and whats going on with these kids feels strangely similar to what we see in domestic violence cases.
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    Apr 19, 2008 1:18 AM GMT
    You're right in that sense Cowboy. For better or worse, these children are being punished just by being removed from their homes. Add to that they're coming from a somewhat closed society that is very different than mainstream society, I'm sure they feel like they've been dumped on another planet. And like most children, they'll think all this is their fault.

    While I'm not a fan of 'the end justifies the means' way of thinking, I don't think there's any good or right way of going about a situation like this.
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    Apr 19, 2008 1:18 AM GMT
    Sadly as is most often the case the children are the losers in this and will be for a long time, until they are old enough to sort things out for themselves. I worked for the Government as director of a Housing Authority, so many many times I've seen children taken in circumstances where something was aledged by a jealous neighbor or one wanting revenge, and laws are such that if there is doubt Social services takes the child. I have also taken in foster children, these kids often end up "IN THE SYSTEM" because of some "DO-GOODERS" wanting to save the world one child at a time from situations that are really none of their business, and not as harmful as jerking them from their homes. Once a family situation gets in this loop of social services breathing down their necks, their privacy goes out the door, and often children will like in divorce situations blame themselves for the problems. I think Children should not be removed without definate proof of abuse, but once there is proof act quickly. This situation seems like it was a bit hasty, but then I don't know the particulars to really pass any judgement. But it is a sad day when a child is removed from its surroundings.
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    Apr 19, 2008 3:12 AM GMT
    I'm watching CNN now. 5 married, underage preganant girls found and 15 married, underage mothers found.

    The judge has decided that the all 416 children will remain in states custody. She's also ordered 416 DNA to sort out which children belong to which parents. The original call may have been a hoax.

    We all have strong opinions about this, but I think we've only seen the tip of the iceberg.
  • cowboyupnorth

    Posts: 264

    Apr 19, 2008 4:06 AM GMT
    ShawnTO saidI'm watching CNN now. 5 married, underage preganant girls found and 15 married, underage mothers found.

    The judge has decided that the all 416 children will remain in states custody. She's also ordered 416 DNA to sort out which children belong to which parents. The original call may have been a hoax.

    We all have strong opinions about this, but I think we've only seen the tip of the iceberg.


    It was a conspiracy by the government for the government. 15 underage marriages and 5 underage pregnancies and they will keep all 416 children, Bull shit. In any community the same size we have more underage pregnancies than that. If it were my child and I was innocent I sure would feel like going postal on their asses. I felt from the start that their was never a 16 yr old making the call. No one from the inside called it was all smoke and mirrors to convert those unchristian Mormons..... Just a Thought.
  • Muunrakur

    Posts: 169

    Apr 19, 2008 4:10 AM GMT
    cowboyupnorth saidI consider my self a Christian and normally defend Christian values and my right to believe in God often on this site. This time I pose a different kind of question.
    Has anyone paid attention to the children who have been ripped away from their family and community because of Polygamy and allegations of child sexual abuse by forced marriage at young ages? . . .


    You totally lost me here. The children who are being taught polygamy (opinions aside, against the law), underage sex (possibly forced), ownership of women, etc. are better off being with the people who are teaching them these things?
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    Apr 19, 2008 4:11 AM GMT
    Anything's possible. Yes, there's lots of teenage pregnancy in the country, the problem here is underage girls being impregnated by middle-aged men.

    But the sexual abuse isn't the only concern, there's the allegations of incest and physical abuse as well. They need to sort that all out.
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    Apr 19, 2008 6:13 AM GMT
    The girls aren't the only victims.

    In the environs of Colorado City, Arizona, which is like the epicenter of "fundamentalist" Mormons, a polygamous community, the young boys have been banished from the town when they reach the age of 15 or 16, in order to keep the ratio of men to women sufficient to permit the continuing polygamy. These boys are under- or uneducated, have no skills, and wind up as vagrants and criminals out of sheer necessity in the towns nearby.

    And that is no accident. This "culling of the herd" is a necessary and repeated component of the system; otherwise the young men would attempt to get female mates and there wouldn't be enough available girls for plural marriage.

    It's a warped system for children of either sex. They'd be better off with crack addicts for parents.
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Apr 19, 2008 9:44 AM GMT
    I am most surprised by how the situation has been permitted to perpetuate.

    One of the conceivable reasons for the state to take custody of the children is to prevent witness tampering.

    I am curious as to how the children will be kept and how the state will ensure that their current situation will be better for them (I presume that they will not be jailed, as cowboyupnorth suggests). I am also somewhat curious as to why the state did not perform mass-arrests of the men in the group though (was it fear of lawsuits by men who may later be exonerated?).

    I have no sympathy for the men in the group; patriarchal, power-obsessed bastards who intentionally subjugate and isolate (and allegedly abuse and rape) their community's women and children...lock 'em up.

    The abuses that are derided are not the cross-generational marriages, but the statutory rapes by men against girls within the community (and possible incidents of incest). Polygamy is also illegal and a punishable offense in the US.

    Just because they live in a isolated community within the US does not mean they gain the right to flout US federal and state laws.

    ***
    Sidenote: if Mitt Romney was elected to be the Republican presidental candidate, would he have had to condemn the FDLS at this point? I'm just curious about alternative contemporary realities and what they could entail.
  • redheaded_dud...

    Posts: 408

    Apr 26, 2008 10:28 PM GMT
    So here's another question, and one that I think we as homos have a somewhat unique perspective in: SHOULD the government have outlawed polygamy? And as for underage marriage, there was a time not too long ago in the United States where 16 years old was marrying age (ever see Coal Miner's Daughter? )
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    Apr 26, 2008 10:43 PM GMT
    cowboyupnorth said[quote]It was a conspiracy by the government for the government. 15 underage marriages and 5 underage pregnancies and they will keep all 416 children, Bull shit. In any community the same size we have more underage pregnancies than that. If it were my child and I was innocent I sure would feel like going postal on their asses. I felt from the start that their was never a 16 yr old making the call. No one from the inside called it was all smoke and mirrors to convert those unchristian Mormons..... Just a Thought.


    Exactly who do they give the 416 children back to? One of the problems is that the people in question claim to be a community and will not say who are the parents of which child. Are they just supposed to hand over the children to a community of people and hope for the best?

    And its great that you think there was no inside call, but that is speculation, and I as a resident of the state I can say that the feeling we are getting locally is that the state would rather not be dealing with this situation at all, but is only doing so to exercise all due caution. There is not conspiracy here.
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    Apr 26, 2008 11:07 PM GMT
    redheaded_dude saidSo here's another question, and one that I think we as homos have a somewhat unique perspective in: SHOULD the government have outlawed polygamy? And as for underage marriage, there was a time not too long ago in the United States where 16 years old was marrying age (ever see Coal Miner's Daughter? )


    From a personal standpoint I am all about mentally sound, consenting adults doing whatever the hell they want. From a federal perspective I can see polygyny, polyandry and polygamy being a legal quagmire. Some problematic situations would be things like deciding if someone should be taken off of life support. If a man has two wives which one makes that choice or do they have to agree? Social Security survivors benefits does it go up per person you have married? Divorce, if a woman doesn't work, has three husbands that do how do you decide who's property is who's and who should pay who alimony? And if you are looking at try polygamy, then you could have a man with three wives two of which have multiple husbands.
    So while I can see nothing wrong with it on a personal level I can see why a government would rather not get involved.

    As for underage marriage? Trying to nail things down by age is difficult, but just because it was legal recently doesn't really have any baring on the discussion. Segregation was also legal recently as well but I am in do rush to bring that back.

    UPDATE:If the government were going to legalize something like this I would think they would have to go with polygamy rather than polyandry or polygyny. Seems like going with one of the latter two would be discrimination.
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    Apr 26, 2008 11:09 PM GMT
    It's not really about polygamy; it's more about the fact that CHILDREN are pregnant AND have given birth to CHILDREN. HELLO!!??? Wait for the DNA, folks.

    The fact is, that someone called in and said there was child abuse going on (the person calling was in fact saying that she was being abused), and this is what sparked the investigation.

    I don't care who called, but laws were found to be broken, and now people are being prosecuted...as rightly as they should be.

    What was the CPS and local government supposed to do after they received a call of abuse??? Ignore it? Wait to get more information?? Sure, then everyone would be coming down on them because they waited too long. Just because you are religious doesn't mean you can go above and beyond the realms of the law.

    Damned if you do; Damned if you don't. I'd err on the side of the safety of the children who are allegedly being abused before I'd worry about the religion of the people being investigated.

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    Apr 27, 2008 10:46 AM GMT
    I agree with relokou.

    I can state it simply: Children + Fanatic Parents = Bad News

    1) They grow up more fanatic than their parents
    2) They gow up psycho

    I haven't read about or seen the story behind this, but I think ShawnTO is right. Protective Custody is not Prison. And the circumstances from what I can read here is appalling.

    The state had the right to take the children away.

    It will traumatize them, that's for sure. But maybe less so than if they had remained. There's nothing anyone can do really.

    cowboyupnorth, there is religious tolerance, but then again, there is turning a blind eye to abuse done in the name of religion. I can't understand how you can defend them. Because it is part of their faith suddenly gives them free license to do whatever they want? How would you like it if Muslims start cutting of thieves' hands in America? Or if those Hindu Thugees revive their age old practices? Or if fathers start selling wayward daughters once again into slavery? Or in the case of some tribes here, if headhunters revive their rites to manhood by raiding nearby villages looking for head trophies? These are all religion-sanctioned acts, but obviously criminal and just plain wrong.

    Polygamy is not wrong as long as it is between consenting adults. But these are children!

    I recommend a good movie about this topic - The Village. Religion can only go so far before it starts impinging on other people's freedoms.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Apr 27, 2008 12:35 PM GMT
    I agree with some of what has been said here.

    I remember hearing the discussion with Carolyn Jessup on NPR (Diane Reams Show) who was a female member of this group (I believe it was the Utah sect). In order to free herself (and her children) she had to do so in the dark of night when her "husband" was out of town.
    She relayed how he sought help and after the disappearance was discovered, her husband and a large group combed the Salt Lake City area for she and her children. If found, she would have been left, but her children would have dragged back. She was lucky and has written a book on her ordeal.

    Clearly polygamy is illegal and other aspects of this lifestyle are in serious question. It shouldn't be allowed to happen in Texas or Utah.

    Cowboy's original thread raised concern for the women and especially the children involved. I can appreciate that. It may or may not have been prudently
    approached. It needed to happen however.
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    Apr 28, 2008 3:40 AM GMT
    I think the state overreacted because of the Waco thing and because this community doesn't follow the liberal ways of the mainstream.

    I'm no fan of Bible thumpers or other fundamentalist groups, but in the U.S. at times seems that if you're not watching cable TV, or buying unnecessary crap, or driving a gas-guzzling car, you're liable to be treated like some kind of freak and have your kids taken away.

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    Apr 28, 2008 4:11 AM GMT
    VinyardHmo said; "It's not really about polygamy; it's more about the fact that CHILDREN are pregnant AND have given birth to CHILDREN. HELLO!!??? Wait for the DNA, folks."

    We get that all the time here among the non-polygamous citizens of Toledo.
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    Apr 28, 2008 4:15 AM GMT
    I don't care who your fuckin, but when you involve children, then you deserve to have your cock and balls shoved down your throat...along with whatever book you're praying with. So maybe the people in Toledo are on to something???!!!