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Dave:

I just can't believe this. All of this is so aweful. I just can't believe that the State of Texas is doing this and that many people apparently support this action. It is so abusive of all of our due process and First Amendment rights that we should all be raising our voices in objection to it all.

I have read some coverage suggesting that the Texas Governor and Attorney General find this to be a convenient matter in their reelection bids since they included promises to come down hard on child abuse in their previous campaigns. Taking all the FLDS children and referring to them as "abused children" that they have saved and their parents as sexual predators they have prosecuted (for bigamy) will provide a boost in their statistics for reelection. It is a crass use of people's lives to turn them into reelection statistics just because you can because your base views their belief system as repugnant.

I don't know if there's a lot of substance behind this angle about the Governor's and Attorney General's giddiness in this whole situation, but it certainly raises some alarming concerns -- as do the actions of the Texas judge who also must face reelection by a constituency that likely agrees fully with the CPS's actions here precisely because it is the FLDS at issue.

I have a 15 year old daughter.

If I were to:

- remove her from society,
- deny her an education,
- inculcate her into a cult religion,
- marry her to a 40+ year old man shortly after puberty,
- keep her continually pregnant and use her children as a 'bargaining chip' if she wants to leave...

... then you're darn tootin' that I should have CPS crashing through my door to come get her.

You can call it "religion," but it's child abuse, pure and simple, and saying that it's happening because of some belief in the supernatural does NOT make it right.

Period.

I think the core problem is that so many of us have polygamist roots --- so we think the FLDS are somehow like us.

Wrong.

This group is beyond the pale.

The current issue is underage marriages. Pretty sick.

But, the past and recent history is highly disturbing.

Consider:

* The regimented, secretive and bizzare nature of this cult.

* The repeat attempts to violate the law whether with respect to avoiding paying property taxes by not completing homes to welfare fraud.

* The centralization of all property under the control of their criminal prophet --- a man convicted of fostering child rape. Tithing is paid to him personally, not a church organization for personal enrichment.

* A widespread denial of educational opportunities to minimize opposition.

* The sad, robotic behavior of their women as evidenced by the recent interviews.

* The hiding of family members from their parents or siblings who flee the cult. A complete disregard for court orders to reunite.

* The admonition to be "sweet", meaning passive and subservient, which is given to children and women. A truly revolting term.

* The expelling of teenage boys to provide more marriage "opportunities" for the older men.

* The false claims of a secret revelation where President Taylor created a secret committee to take precedent over the apostles and First Presidency. A clearly fraudulent claim of an appearance by Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith to President Taylor. Denied by contemporaries and President Taylor's own diary. Used to launch this abomination. A heresy.

This is an organization that should be shunned. We should be celebrating the liberation of these children. Hopefully, more of the mothers will flee in the future. Maybe this is the stake that will kill this organization that has more common with the Branch Davidians, the Bob Jones cult and the Manson family than the contemporary LDS church.

The FLDS church is an evil organization. Not worthy of support. Not an ounce.

The issue here is not constitutional rights. It is whether we will stand with those who should be subject to scorn.

In rare cases, the state is entitled to use the full weight of the state. And, this is that case.

Steve, I don't care how sick the stuff going on in the compound is.

The state does not get to move without proper evidence.

Period.

I don't care if preserving America's civil rights and liberties endangers 50 children or 5,000 children. It MUST be preserved. End of story. Over and out.

It is that important.

* The false claims of a secret revelation where President Taylor created a secret committee to take precedent over the apostles and First Presidency. A clearly fraudulent claim of an appearance by Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith to President Taylor. Denied by contemporaries and President Taylor's own diary. Used to launch this abomination. A heresy.
-Missy

If its secret, wouldn't you think that Taylor, who KNEW that others would read his diary would put it in there??? You have no good evidence to disprove he didn't start this. I believe Taylor did it outside approval of the other 12 or presidency; hence making it invalid. But to those who were given those "keys", its as real as it gets.

Polygamy is a poison that Joseph Smith brought in secretly and tried to keep secret. Its the seed that eventually brought his death, as he destroyed the newspaper that exposed his polygamy which led to his last arrest. And the Mormon church and its split offs have paid for this poison ever since. Its the elephant in the room that will not go away. It will always be there; and they will never get rid of it.

Missy and Steve:

In the United States of America, the Constitution mandates that due process of law must be maintained in dealing with criminals no matter how horrible their crimes. If due process of law is abandoned simply because we view one person or one group of people as so horrible that they do not "deserve" due process of law, then the concept of due process of law actually becomes meaningless. In that case, at any given time, those in control can make a value judgment about who deserves due process of law.

In the last few weeks, Baptist sheriffs, CPS officials, and judges/political officials (and the two of you) have decided that the FLDS do not deserve due process of law in the wholesale removal of all of their children from their loving homes that were found to be entirely absent neglect of physical abuse. Given this absence of the danger of imminent physical harm which is usually required by due process as a justification for the separation of children from their parents (cross-examination in the hearing revealed that neither the CPS employee Voss nor the state's psychologist expert witness believed that the children were in danger of imminent physical harm), the CPS decided that the FLDS beliefs created an environment in which the children might become a victim of an underaged marriage at some time in the future. This is an unaccetpable basis for removing children from their homes in the American constitutional system and also under the Texas statutes that govern in this case.

Right now it is the FLDS whose beliefs make them ineligible for the due process of law guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. In a few years, perhaps it will be you whose beliefs do not agree with those in charge thus forfeiting your eligibility for the due process of law.

John,

If you don't consider raping a pubescent girl "physical abuse," then you and I have nothing to discuss.


Missy, read more carefully.

No one at this blog is promoting polygamy, physical abuse, or anything other kind of abuse or underaged marriage.

If a 16 year old was abused by her polygamous husband, then Texas CPS had the right to go in, investigate that allegation, and remove that girl and possibly her siblings. That is the extent of due process under the US Constitution and the Texas statutes -- not to remove all of the children of the entire ranch. Note that the children of some families living at the ranch who were not polygamous were also taken.

Upon examination, none of the children showed signs of neglect or physical abuse. The standard for removing children from their homes is the imminent threat of physical harm. Removing all of the children in a village because of the specific allegations of abuse made by a 16 year old to a crisis hotline is not permissible in the United States.

It sounds like you are willing to allow a person's or a group's belief system to make them ineligible for the due process of law that is afforded all those suspected of crimes in the United States. The First Amendment protects against this approach and other rights established in the Bill of Rights ensure the due process of law for all US citizens, no matter their beliefs or lack thereof.

John,

Teenaged daughters are NOT their parents' or their prophets' property, to be forced into marriages and subsequently raped against their will.

Girls. Are. Human. Beings.

They aren't livestock. They aren't supposed to be treated like cattle, traded around and bred like animals.

These girls - over 50% of those 14-17 years old are pregnant or have borne children - were forcibly raped by men their grandfathers' age.

You think this behavior is covered by the First Amendment and due process?

You believe that anyone can make up a B.S. belief system, let it include child rape or murder or human sacrifice - and then claim that this is "protected under the Constitution?"

Sick. Sick. Sick.

I am not arguing that any kind of behavior is "protected under the Constitution". Neither I nor anyone else at this blog is arguing that FLDS should be allowed to engage in underaged marriages, polygamy, or any other kind of physical abuse or neglect.

The reason that the Bill of Rights was included in the Constitution was to ensure that the government preserved the due process of law when investigating, arresting, searching, and prosecuting suspected criminals. Protecting the due process of law and holding the government strictly to the confines of the due process of law is the basis for a healthy democracy made up of people from numerous racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. It protects you from overreaching action by the State of Texas just the same as it is supposed to protect the FLDS from overreaching action by the State of Texas.

The State of Texas has violated due process by removing all of the children from an entire village in this case. Included in the group are children who do not even live at the ranch but who were visiting their grandmother at the time and children of at least one family that was not polygamous.

It is okay that you don't understand the principle of the due process of law and the nature of constitutional government because, luckily, a host of lawyers, bureaucrats, and legislators/members of the executive branch do understand these principles. The key in this case will be for the appellate courts to roundly criticize Texas for its severe violations of due process of law and to instruct on the proper course of conduct under Texas statutes and the US Constitution to remove abuse victims from their homes.

Missy, it is the removal of all 416 (or 437) FLDS kids and children that is driving the frustration with CPS -- that, plus the inflated statements they keep making to the press to justify their action. It is plain to most observers that 30 or 40 kids might have been removed because of an objective danger to the child, but the balance were removed simply because they are FLDS. That's the problem here.

It's no different than when tens of thousands of US citizens were removed to detention centers in 1942 solely because they were of Japanese descent rather than because there was an objective basis that, as individuals, they presented a security risk.

Missy,

If teenaged daughters are NOT their parents' or their prophets' property, then what right do you as a parent have to tell your daughter that she can't get married at 16 in a polygmous relationship? Is she not free to think for herself?

Do you think the FLDS would agree with the following chorus?

"Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet; don’t go astray.
Follow the prophet; follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet; he knows the way."

Same tune, different names.

#1 - Abuse one child in a family, and CPS/authorities have the duty to remove ALL children in that family from the "zone of danger." Thus the removal of ALL the children under 18 years old.

I I abused my 15 year old daughter (BTW: honors/AP student, athlete, non-religious) then I would fully expect to have any other children removed from that environment.

In a polygamous situation, where wives and children are removed, traded and swapped around - who knows who these children belong to?

Better to remove them all from the dangerous pedophiles on the YFZ ranch than to risk their safety and well-being.

I fully expect that the mtDNA results will reveal a startling pattern of incest and inbreeding among the FLDS members.

Coupled with the testimony of the female children removed from the YFZ Ranch, I have confidence that the evidence will paint a horrific picture - and that the public will be left wondering, "Why wasn't this done sooner?" rather than the reverse.

#2. The U.S. Constitution has been well-interpreted by the Supreme Court for two centuries now. Both the First and Fourth Amendments have been examined, and found to have limitations.

The FLDS members are currently enjoying due process: they are not being held without warrants, they are allowed legal representation, they are allowed access to the court system.

In fact, they're all over the media, giving interviews, and their attorneys are all over my TV screen on CNN and FOX and MSNBC.

They can scream about "due process" and their "Constitutional rights," but the vast vast vast majority of Americans see the matter as I do: a repugnant, pedophilic cult that had its children removed for their own safety.

"but the vast vast vast majority of Americans see the matter as I do: a repugnant, pedophilic cult that had its children removed for their own safety."

Says you.

A LOT of Americans DO NOT see it the way you do.

I see it to a large extent as a repugnant fundamentalist group with marriage practices that hurt women and especially young girls.

But I feel obliged to voice objection to abuses of due process and civil rights.

Well, Seth, there are a LOT of Americans who visit kiddie porn websites - and don't see anything wrong with underage sexual imagery.

I guess that any perversion has its defenders, eh?

Missy's one-track comments and steady refusal to care about due process is a useful reminder that for a lot of people civil rights really aren't all that important. It reminds me a little of a friend who explained at some length why she liked Pinochet's rule of her native Chile. "With Pinochet, we weren't ruled by politicians anymore; he got rid of politics." If you're a go-with-the-flow kind of guy, then rule by a dictator who uses his absolute power to get rid of the sickos you hate (and some loud-mouth agitators you don't care about) may be a swell system.

Though I've never been on trial, due process is a freedom I see keeping us free more than free speech or any of the others. I wish we could build a memorial to those who have suffered due to that freedom and recognize, as with fallen soldiers, that their sacrifice is not in vain.

No, Missy's right.

The FLDS cult members can't have their kids back until the DNA tests come back and show who the parents are.

It's a real mess down there in El Dorado, what with the multiple wives and switching families around. I get a migraine thinking about having to sort out the geneology of those folks. (OTOH, it may be pretty simple, with all the incest and all).

They aren't being denied due process. They're going to have to wait for their day in court, that's all.

Sounds like this mess wasn't created in a few weeks, or months, or years. It's going to have to be unraveled carefully and slowly.

Oh, and it's soldiers who protect the Constitution, not lawyers and such. We have the freedom to blog about the Constitution thanks to the men and women who have gone to fight in foreign lands to protect our right to sit in our homes and offices and type away -------------

No Josiah,

Lawyers protect the Constitution as well. Maybe this working-class hero crap gives you a buzz, but it's kind of missing the mark.

By the way, believe it or not, I'm actually ambivalent about the whole FLDS mess. I'm as glad as anyone to see the whole nasty system being squashed. But I do not think due process is being served here.

Missy, good point. Just because a lot of Americans believe something does not make it right. Glad you realize that.

Now maybe you'll quit trying to bolster your own arguments by pointing to all the people who agree with you. Kay?

Seth,

[edited]

Here's some of that "working class crap" for you to chew on, pal.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
It Is The Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army

That's just crazy. Soldiers protect our nation from foreign enemies. That's it. It's an important task, but hardly even the beginning of what it takes to be a free nation. Every dictatorship has plenty of soldiers.

"They can scream about "due process" and their "Constitutional rights," but the vast vast vast majority of Americans see the matter as I do: a repugnant, pedophilic cult that had its children removed for their own safety."

This amount of ignorance is sickening.

Besides, nobody seems to mention the obvious religious conflict of interest that is also playing part in this horrific example of civil rights violation and religious persecution.

CPS in Texas is deeply connected to the "First Baptist Church." There are some parts of the South (Texas, Oklahoma, etc) where some rural Baptists still believe Mormons can grow horns and devil tails... They (First Baptist Church and other Protestants) are VICIOUS ENEMIES of ANY BRANCH of the LDS religious movement and are adamant to destroy them no matter what.

They have an agenda and all this "we are protecting the children" BS and nonsense is simply a facade for their goal.

So, besides the political conflicts of interest posted originally in this post, I believe religious conflicts of interest must be added to the list.

Baptists and other Protestants hate Mormons, they truly hate us. They could care less about the safety of any of those children: originally they thought they had 416... then they corrected their "miscounting" Then they couldn't account for two children, now a lactating baby has been hospitalized for extreme weight loss and a 7 year old has been hospitalized for dehydration.

I think the Federal Government MUST intervene and monitor closely the actions of these Protestant terrorists. Watchdogs are needed.

Steve,

If you would know an ounce of actual REAL LDS Church History, you would notice that most of the claims you made to demonize the FLDS were core beliefs and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Some of them are so ironic that the only thing I can think of is that you have made a complete fool of yourself among people who know history.

Not to mention that the "false claims" of revelatory statements can be applied to a plethora of Latter-day Saints doctrines past and present, without enough arguments to either prove or disprove either position.

Please read a book or two (and make sure they are not written by McConkie).

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

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