Michael Stuart Kelly Posted April 20, 2008 Share Posted April 20, 2008 Fundamentalist Mormons and individual rightsI tried to ignore a recent news campaign that just won't go away, but the more I looked into it, the more I saw it was related to a recent discussion we have been having here on OL concerning individual rights.To start with, the following news item has caused me a feeling of outrage on so many levels it is hard to know where to begin. Look at this crap:Moms and young children from Texas ranch to be parted By MICHELLE ROBERTSAssociated PressYahoo! NewsApril 20, 2008From the article:Adult mothers who have been allowed to stay with their young children since they were taken from a polygamous sect will be separated from them after DNA sampling is completed next week, a child welfare official said Saturday.State District Judge Barbara Walther late Friday ordered that parents and children of the Yearning For Zion Ranch submit DNA samples to help sort out family relationships that have confounded authorities since 416 children were taken into state custody two weeks ago.. . .Child welfare officials allowed adult mothers with children ages 4 and younger to stay together when the state took custody of the rest of the children from the ranch. Now, only mothers younger than 18 will be allowed to remain with their children once the sampling is complete. The welfare agency will also try to keep siblings together, he said."We're going to make these transitions as easy as possible," Azar said. "We want to keep them together as much as possible so they don't feel they're completely isolated from their culture or the people they know."WAIT A MINUTE!!!"Make these transitions as easy as possible..."???!!!Who in hell does this guy think he is or is fooling? The state has used guns to violate the rights of peace-abiding citizens to raise their children as they see fit and confiscated the children from their lawful mothers.I don't care if this thing is complicated, what the state just did was wrong. Period.That doesn't make this cult right, though.For those who have not been following events, here is a brief overview. The Mormon faith is divided into a fundamentalist branch and a mainstream one. This split occurred at the beginning of last century and was over (among other things) the practice of polygamy. Fundamentalist members started being excommunicated by the mainstream group after the split. For those interested, here is the Wikipedia article on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is abbreviated as "FLDS" and this is what the mainstream press calls it. For some reason, the word "Mormon" has been avoided like the plague by the mainstream press in covering the present case. (Another case of mainstream news pulling all meaning from the jaws of truth to cover it's ass.)This fundamentalist cult has traditionally had two main compounds: in Utah and Arizona. Because of legal difficulties over child abuse in both states, it has been migrating to a compound in Texas. This compound, (here is the Wikipedia article) Yearning for Zion Ranch (YFZ Ranch), was recently raided because of a hoax about a 16 year old girl being raped and beaten by her husband. Although the hoax has been uncovered and admitted, Texas authorities are claiming that the raid was legitimate because it actually did uncover evidence of child abuse.Under Texas law, blood relationship has stronger bearing on family law than in other states. Also, if a girl is underage and pregnant, the father (if adult) is considered guilty of statutory rape. What Texas is trying to do is test the DNA of the children and mothers and fathers, compare the ages of the children against the ages of their biological mothers and determine which mothers were underage at the time of birth. That way it can go after the fathers on rape and pedophilia charges.Like I said above, I think the state is being grossly heavy-handed in this affair and is flat-out wrong to pursue this line of intimidation. It is trying to punish good people for doing what they thought was good.As to the fundamentalist Mormons, I think they are flat-out wrong, too, but for another reason (and despite considering them to be good people seeking to live a virtuous life).We have been discussing the rights of children here on OL. I am now faced with identifying another right, or category of right, or something. In the present society, there is a concept that keeps coming up in terms of rights that I am wrestling with—more so because of this case than before. When human society has reached a certain level of technological advancement and generalized wealth, a new kind of situation is created than exists in raw nature. There is no way to get around thinking about what rights arise in this new situation. (Don't worry, I am not going toward welfare in this reasoning. )To cut to the chase, I think access to information by children and adults has to be considered a right in the present information age. The only way a cult leadership can control and mold people into virtual slaves is to keep them cut off from information coming from the rest of the world, demonize the outside world and threaten cult members from birth with excommunication. To a child trying to learn the difference between good and evil, he learns that his choice for not obeying the cult leaders is to be tossed into the jaws of pure evil. This scares the holy hell right out of him and turns him into a brainwashed person willing to do anything to avoid that.I think it is a violation of children's rights to prohibit them from learning the truth about the world according to their rational faculties. It is an impairment of their mental abilities, especially volition. I don't have anything against practicing faith and even teaching it (although I think it is foolish), but I do have something against prohibiting a child to develop his reason by restricting access to information.If the state wants to prosecute this cult for violating the rights of children for impairing their mental development, I have no qualms against it. I would base this right on access to information.But to prosecute these people for pedophilia??? Keerrisst! These fundamentalist Mormons honestly believe they are serving their God by doing this. They think this is virtue! If the state wants to go this route, justice demands that it first provide an educational policy with warnings, deadlines, etc. There have been a few women who escaped the cult and I saw their interviews on TV. Although they made their choices (and heroic ones, I might add), I have no reason to believe that the men or women in this sect they left behind think they are practicing evil. From everything I have seen about this affair so far, I haven't seen anyone do what I would call "right." Everybody is doing everything all wrong for all the wrong reasons.What a mess!Michael Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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