Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Yearning for Zion

I wanted to write about the horrible story out of of Texas. where the followers of a breakaway polygamous sect of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints have set up a closed society.

The story bothers me on so many levels I found it nearly impossible to collect my thoughts. But Possumomma, aka the Atheist in a Minivan, expresses my thoughts exactly.

Please read her take on this.

Her bottom line is this:

This isn't about religion or religious freedom. It's about rape. It's about child neglect and abuse. And, it's time to end it.
While I agree with that, I'll take it a step a further.

This is a society where powerful men, under the pretense of religion are using girls and women as playthings.


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67 comments:

Fannie said...

"This is a society where powerful men, under the pretense of religion are using girls as women as playthings."

That is what sickens me about the whole ordeal. To me, the polygamy occurring at this "compound" seems less about religion, and more about power and control over girls and young women.

Ray Grinnell said...

I believe the rape is a symptom of a greater underlying evils: greed and narcissism.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

This society would do well to remember the promise of equality we made to one another. It is so sad to see women (anyone really) who think so little of themselves that they would allow themselves to be treated this way.

As for allowing children to be handled as objects of sexual desire, why that is absolutely the worst thing you can do with your life. The emotional scarring these kids will endure will never be able to be erased.

People ask me all the time where the boundaries of my freedom lay; where they harm someone else. actions like these cannot be permitted even under the powerful protections of religious freedom.

Paul Jamieson said...

so what do you think of NAMBLA?

John said...

"so what do you think of NAMBLA?"

I condemn NAMBLA in the strongest terms.

I condemn ALL exploitation of children.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

I condemn NAMBLA unconditionally, and I hold them responsible for the actions that led to the murder of Jeffery Curly in Cambridge over a decade ago.

Paul Jamieson said...

but wait a minute - why is NAMBLA any different than transmen or other people who are marginalized in their own minds?

Why, there is a women in CA who thinks she is a man and is pregnant.

Why in your equality driven world are any of these people any different than the FLDS?

And why shouldn't the FLDS be able to do anything they want in the name of diversity?

If 2 men can marry, why can't a woman be a man, a man marry a boy, or an older man marry a young girl?

I know why, I just want to hear you admit it.

John said...

Consenting adults, Paul, consenting adults.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

John's right Paul, there is no wiggle room here like you seem to want to imply. Children don't make educated life choices so we don't allow such things until they are an age they should understand.

What you are trying to do is lump all the things you find weird together and label them as the same.

-A trangender having a baby is odd but nothing the public needs to take action against.

-Two men deciding to embrace marriage seems odd to you, but again there is nothing the public needs to take action against.

-In the case of the FLDS children were harmed, and that is something the public most definetly should take action against.

Any organization deserves the right to freedom of speech, even when that speech is clearly against public sentiment. However, when the actions of said group create harm, either public or private, that action needs to be adjudicated.

Paul Jamieson said...

Harm is in the eye of the beholder

Its all the same Hosty - you either let it all go or nothing

John said...

"Harm is in the eye of the beholder"

I can understand why you would say that.

Those of us who have strong moral values have no use for your brand of moral relativism.

We know the difference between right and wrong.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

On the contrary Paul, harm is measurable. If it were not we would not be able to have courts that measure that harm and administer justice when harm has been committed.

There is is difference between harm and liberal views with which you disagree. You might not like your neighbor's ways, but you have no control over them unless you can prove they create harm.

John said...

Paul, our views are not liberal, they are American. As Jefferson once said:

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

Anonymous said...

Harm is in the eye of the beholder, I agree.
But here in an democratic society it is the collective eye of society.
How do most people see juvenile sex and marriage, wrong.
And my opinion is a part of the collective eye.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Anonymous, I'm not sure I get what you were trying to say. Could you rephrase your point? The comment about juneville sex is what I'm unclear on.

Anonymous said...

John in case you've forgotten the subject of this blog is Yearning for Zion and the LDS practice of sex and marriage between older men and young girls.
This is the juvenile sex and marriage I was making referance to.
Forgive me, for I thought, within the context of the blog, the referance was obvious.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Anonymous, you seem to make three points:

1. Harm is subjective
2. juvenille marriage is wrong
3. There is a collective good

While I agree with parts 2&3 I do not agree with part 1. Harm is not subjective to opinion, it is measurable. The court systems are designed to seperate legitimate complaints of harm from real instances. The standard for this measure is our laws and not simply the whim of the public eye.

Anonymous said...

I understand your disagreement, my hope is that you may soon see mine.I believe a closer look will show we are not that far apart.
EXAMPLE 1
If I speak or take action against you, and no harm is intended on my part, and likewise no harm was percieved on your part, then I ask did harm occur?
EXAMPLE 2
When I was young, my father spanked me, he believed he was doing good. And while I would have disagreed with him then, I now agree. There are many opinions on spanking, then and now.
I fail to see how any opinion or standard can cease to be subjective when they are distilled from life's experiences.
My hope is that in a democratic society, a majority of people (aka collective eye) can set a subjective standard through the endorsment of lawmakers and judges, that reflects their (the majorities)value system.
I'm not sure why legitimate complaints of harm need to be separated from real instances. Are they not one and the same for one who percieves themself a victim? Does not legitimate imply real?

Anonymous said...

An Afterthuoght,
While this standard of measure we call law is not "simply the whim" of the public eye, should we not hope that, with careful aim, it misses not the target by any great margin?

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

I think what your saying anonymous is that nothing is truly objective.

That may well be.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, and I have been accused of that more than once, I will say this.

As TJ the MAxx once said.

All human beings are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights"

Children have rights; they have the right to have their bodily integrity respected until they are of the age to decide for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Well put, and I couldn't agree more.
These rights, endowed by the creator, are guarded by the justice system which in a democratic society should represent the collective will of the majority of its constituents.
The FDLS wants to regulate its own morality based on the collective will of its constituents and not that of the majority of this nations citizens.
I don't think I'll ever cease to be surprised at what people do in the name of God.
Some say that more pain and death have been caused in the name of God than for any other reasons.
It seems the only cause greater than patriotism itself. Almost as if, anything done in the name of God is above reproach.
It is just shocking to find that half the children/girls had been pregnant at one time or another.
What next in the name of God.

thomascombs said...

For many centuries, people married at the age of 14, 15, 16 and up. There is nothing inherently wrong with it. There is nothing inherently wrong with a woman that age giving birth. A person under 17 or whatever the age of consent is cannot legally consent because society is trying to deter pregnancy in women who are not able to raise their children. However, these people do not live in mainstream society. A FDLS woman of 16 can most likely raise a child just as well if not better than a woman of 18 on the 'outside.'

There is no proof that any of these women were forced into marriages.

Innocent until proven guilty.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Innocent until proven guilty only carries so far. For example; if a driver is suspected of DUI and refuses the breathalizer his license is immediately suspended.

The inspiration of this idea is the habitual and uncontrolable effects alcohol has on some people. Also, people are often remanded without bail while waiting for trial.

If our society were 100% behind the idea of innocence until proven guilty we would not have these instances to cite, nor would we have state custody of over 400 children from this group.

That being said, what makes you believe they are innocent of the charges?

thomascombs said...

I think we prohibit drunk driving not because it is inherently wrong but because it has bad consequences, like fatal accidents. Similarly we prohibit consensual sex before a certain age because the consequences, young mothers, are generally undesirable.

As to suspending a persons license because they refuse to take a breathalizer test, I would argue that the state is trying to discourage people from refusing them. It is arguable that a drivers license is a not a 'right' and the state can revoke it at will. Basically, the state is saying consenting to the tests is a condition upon which the license is granted. It's not an admission or covniction of wrongdoing.

I am inclined to defend the FLDS in this situation because there is, to date, no meaningful evidence that any of these allegations are true. IN my mind, until a person is convicted in court, they are innocent. The court of public opinion is unreliable, particularly on a sensational issue like this. While many FDLS men may eventually wind up in prison for rape, we should not rely on the media and hastily condemn these people until their actions are proven. After all, the marriages may actually be totally consensual and legal.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

I'm reading what you are saying and thinking about it. Meanwhile, could you please explain why you feel these people are innocent of the charges against them?

The coin has two sides, you are expecting them to prove what they charge, and I on the other side want to hear why you are not simply following the logic of the law as an execise in academics.

What fact struck you enough to say, "...and that's why I think they are innocent."

thomascombs said...

I thing they are innocent because they have not been proven otherwise. I think they are innocent because I am not sure beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty. That is the logic of the law. They should benefit from a presumption of innocence not only in court, but in society at large.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

So you don't have any insight on this case, you simply don't think people should pre-judge them, do I have this right?

Here's a question then; how do you know they don't have proof? People aren't typically held without bail if there is no proof to give just cause.

What seems to be happening here with you, and I'm not sure you realize you are doing it, is that you are pre-judging those people who you think are doing the pre-judging of others. Shouldn't we wait for trial before we jump to the conclusion they have no evidence?

I agree whole-heartedly that people should not be judged by the public, but as flawed as our system is we still have to try to do what is best for all those concerned. The children can't speak for themselves in an educated fashion, so the state has stepped in.

These allegations were serious enough that the state pulled all these kids out of there, so my money is with what evidence that state still has not shared publically.

thomascombs said...

I do not trust the state on this one. They abused their power in seizing almost 500 people because of one phone call. They are treating the whole ranch as one household unit, and assuming that what somebdody claimed was happening to them, ie, sex abuse, must be happening to everybody out there. My question to Texas would be this: If you already supposed that these people were statutorily raping their kids, why not just arrest? Why wait for a token phone call? The so called phone call is a joke. It never came from the ranch (most likely).

That the state may prove to be justified in hindsight is no excuse for the abuse of power that they committed when seizing 500 people on the basis of one phone call.

So, yes. I disapprove of what the state did, I think their actions were the result of bias and prejudice against people living a radically different lifestyle (by choice).

Really, much of this issue turns on our prejudice against plural marriage and sex among young people. We are happy to see the state use its power against these people because they live a lifestyle that many people find morally wrong. I don't applaud the FLDS for its choice of lifestyle and think it's perverse. But, the state should not be influenced by irrational prejudice and hatred when choosing to use its power.

Anonymous said...

Following your argument, I suppose the next logical question would be, if not "consentual" sex with a 14 year old girl, then at what age does crime overide consent. The paradigm "its been done that way for a long time" does not work. Kind of reminds me of McDonalds, billions of people have been doing it for decades so it must be good for you.
Consent does not negate the crime!
If it did then we might have a difficult time prosecuting most pedophiles as their victims are seduced into consent.
We try to set the "age barrier" for sex and marrige with the hope of reducing the probability of this innocent seduction to a level society deems resonable.

thomascombs said...

Well, as to the comment about when does the law override consent, the answer is this: whenever we want it to. Minors cannot consent because we want to avoid underage pregnancy. In mainstream society, a 16 year old cannot raise a kid. She cant get a job, she cant vote, she cant do anything. The age of consent coincides with the age that people can become productive adults because thats how old they have to be to raise kids these days. So far as biology is concerned, many women could have kids at 15 or 16 years old with no problem. The issue of minors being "seduced" by older people is most likely not a motivating factor for most legislatures.

But I do not think that same rationale should apply to the people at YFZ. In other words, they are willing to totally isolate themselves from mainstream society. And the truth is, those kids are most likely raised with more care and attention that many kids on the outside are. The women don't work. They don't go to school. All they do is raise kids. What's the big deal if they start young? And, until it is proven that they are 'forced' into marriages I am withholding judgment on that one. In other words, I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that ALL relationships out there are totally consensual unless proven otherwise. Even the ones between young women and old men.

John said...

"They abused their power in seizing almost 500 people because of one phone call"

The State had an informant watching them four four years.

John said...

I am stunned that so many people believe it is OK for 12, 13, and 14 year olds girls to be given to middle aged men. Given, not choose. These girls are the property of the father until he gives them away to another man.

Don't little girls have any rights?

thomascombs said...

What makes you so sure that is the case?

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Thomascombs, you said:

"The so called phone call is a joke. It never came from the ranch (most likely)."

It doesn't seem reasonable to me for you to on one hand make speculations, then ask others to prove their opinions.

I do see your point that there is a lack of proof provided by the state to the public, but that lack of transparency should not be assumed as a lack of evidence. Commonly ongoing cases do not allow for public disclosure.

As far as John's point goes, "chattel" is a concept that went out in the begining of the last century. Women are not property to be given away, and 12 year old girls are too young to make the decision for themselves speaking from a developmental psychological point of view.

thomascombs said...

I agree that women are not chattel. I am saying that people should not be so quick to judge the FLDS. If it's proven in court that they give 12 year old girls away, then great.

But, until that is proven people should not be so willing to believe anything and everything the state of texas says. The state should NOT be given the benefit of the doubt, the suspect should. Do not assume that just because the state acted that they did the right thing. Do not assume that because CPS is keeping the kids in foster care that they will prove to be justified in doing so.

It is most important that the justice system function property in a situation where the accused are also subject to intense bias and prejudice, like the FLDS.

In my opinion, however, it is very unlikely that anybody will go to jail over this. If the girls have a choice, they will not prosecute. If they don't then the people on the ranch will probably hide the alleged rapist or ship him off to another place. In the end, this will probably only result in lots of litigation against texas and cps and large payouts of public money to the FLDS.

John said...

Do you have any idea how many of those underaged girls are pregnant?

Proof positive of statutory rape. The men are being required to give DNA samples.

I agree we must assume innocence until proven guilty, but it already beyond dispute that the lifestyle of the FLDS is illegal in the US.

thomascombs said...

My understanding is that nobody really knows how many of the are underage.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Science is at work here and will give us the answers we need.

Clearly, if a child is under the age of 16 and is pregnant, then a sexual assault has occurred. There can be no confusion on these facts.

The age of consent as I read for Texas was 17, 16 years if the elder partner was not more than 21.

thomascombs said...

I guess the real difference between me and most people is that I find nothing wrong with these people. I mean, if it comes out that there is force and/or abuse taking place the that's different. But, merely because a girl is 15 or 16 and pregnant is not 'abuse.' Its illegal largely for practical reasons, but is not inherently wrong in the sense that murder is.

You and everybody else have their panties in a bunch about it because you find their lifestyle perverse. But, bear in mind that this concept of 'age of consent' is rather recent and artificial. Marriage at the age of 15 or 16 was the norm for much of human history. Biologically, most women can handle it. And if these people want to do it, then I say we should carve out a FLDS exception to stat. rape laws. Until its proven that force was used, then im on their side here. If it is that horrible, then the woman would have/should have left.

Freedom means being given enough rope to hang yourself.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

"You and everybody else have their panties in a bunch about it because you find their lifestyle perverse."

Are you actually accusing a gay married human rights activist living in Massachusetts of being too conservative? (where is Paul Jamieson when you need him?)

I think you might want to do some more reading on this site before you make such a claim.

That being said, freedom is not synonymous with lawless. In a free society we are still expected to live by an agreed set of laws. The laws of Texas are clear on what age it is appropriate to have sex.

All laws are made to protect either a person or property. Laws prior to the 20th century and during the early 20th century reflected the attitudes towards women and children of the time. It was for that reason that the story of Mary Ellen is told, and it created laws against child abuse.

Mary Ellen's story can be found here:

http://www.nyspcc.org/beta_history/index_history.htm

My point in bringing this up is that simply because the idea of an age of consent is new it does not necessarily mean it is wrong.

Prior to Gene Piaget we had very little understanding of developmental psychology, so we had no basis to understand how things like forced marriage and sex at an early age would effect someone.

This is now known and society has taken action to correct the wrong. An age of consent doesn't only protect society from unnecessary births, it protects children's psychological well being.

thomascombs said...

I reject the idea that the state should decide the age of consent. I reject it especially in the context of the FLDS because they have, as much as is practicable, removed themselves from society. And as far as sex at an early age being psychologically harmful, I am not willing to subscribe to that either. High schools are full of people aged 15 and up having sex.

As tempting as it may be to say that merely because they are breaking the law they should be punished, I do not think that position really gets to the crux of the issue. Illegality is not a meaningful label. It doesn't tell us anything about the act itself other than that it's something we want to prevent in society.

The real issue is this: is sex/marriage in a polygamist society between younger women and older men inherently wrong? Or, do we just not like them? Is it not possible that people are living that way by choice and that the so called crimes are only 'wrong' because they are illegal?

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

ThomasCombs, you've said a few things that stand out at me:

"I reject the idea that the state should decide the age of consent."

Can you say who you think should and what that age should be?

"And as far as sex at an early age being psychologically harmful, I am not willing to subscribe to that either."

OK, what is the basis of your opinon? Remember, we are talking about forced marriages and sex between young teenage girls (under 16) and men old enough to be their fathers.

While I am accepting of alternative relationship styles that are not the social norm, like polygamy, I still condemn those where one or more of the partners are not old enough to make sound decisions.

That brings me back to the question; what age is ok?

thomascombs said...

What age is OK? It totally depends on the person. For some people, it's 35. For others, its 14. People give their consent to things they are willing and able to accept. The law should not make that choice for people. Ideally, that choice should be left to the individual. And it may well be left to the individual at YFZ ranch.

"Remember, we are talking about forced marriages and sex between young teenage girls (under 16) and men old enough to be their fathers."

That is precisely what has not yet been decided by a court. The issue of force and non consensual marriages is still up in the air.

My entire point all along has been this: what do we say about them if what you just said is not true? What if these people do this freely and willingly? Are we willing to accept that as a legitimate choice, or will we destroy their lifestyle because we are unwilling to accept them?

I think this whole thing is a witch-hunt masquerading as a social welfare project.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

As a Gay man living in Salem Massachusetts I had to laugh when I read your comment about witch trials.

Let's refocus the question:

At what age is it reasonable to assume that children are making sound decisions for themselves, such as marriage?

Is under 14 too young?

thomascombs said...

I don't know. Not necessarily, but, probably in most cases 14 is too young to assume children are making sound decisions about marriage.

Although, if getting into a bad marriage were illegal, half the people I know would be in jail.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Now let's assume that we both care about the welfare of these children. Would you think it a sound social policy to set an age so that these children who are not mature enough to make these decisions have some form of protection against people who might try to take advantage of them?

thomascombs said...

No.

And here's why. In 99.9% of cases, if a young girl is unwilling to consent, she will not do so and she will not be forced or manupulated.

If she is forced or manipulated, there is already a crime in place to protect against that. It's called rape, and it has nothing to do with the age of the victim.

What really needs to happen is most states in the country need to overhaul the rape laws which are profoundly prejudiced against women and actually discourage reporting of rape.

Staturory rape is a crime of strict liability, meaning even if the people do it freely and willingly, the actor is criminally liable.

Consensual sex between people of any age is not rape, which is by definition non consensual sex.

Thus, stat rape laws are not necessary because the harm they are meant to prevent or punish is already addressed by ordinary rape.

And the issue here is that the state is imposing its views on what is the 'appropriate' age of consent. and the number they arrive at is not intended to apply to the fdls, but to people living in modern society. In our world, no girl of 14 or 15 can handle a kid, so deterring sex is the obvious choice. But in the fdls world, they are more than capable of raising children from a much younger age.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Thomas, we are both living in the same world as they are, they just don't want to follow the laws. This is because the men in their sect don't see women as equals, and they see their own daughters as property.

How is a child raised in this type of enviornment expected to learn about statutary rape when the men control everything that comes in and out of their compound?

As an adult I would be afraid of going against these men while living amoung them. You are expecting me to think that a child would simply go tell on them when they are fearing for their own safety?

Maybe we aren't living in the same world... ;)

thomascombs said...

We most certainly do NOT live in the same world as they do. I believe freedom means being given the ability to make choices that are hard for other people to accept. It means having the ability to live a lifestyle that others reject entirely. And when the sun goes down at YFZ, those people can always just walk out and leave. It does happen. They can leave. They have the choice.

They should be allowed to live that way not because we disregard their autonomy as women, but because we respect their autonomy as women.

Each day they chose to be there is a choice they make. The choice they have is a reality. And even if some of them cannot make it, the choice is still there. They are free to come or to go.

It should not be up to you or me or a legislature to tell them what to do.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

The children are the subject of the investigation, not the women. If women want to live at the whim of their male husbands that is their business.

These children are not able to make decisions for themselves partly because of their age, but also because they lack a fundamental understanding of their rights as citizens. I challenge you to prove to me otherwise.

People do not have the right to pawn off their children as property, even you admitted chattel was wrong. I think you need to come to the table with more than just opinions if you expect people to take you seriously. In the absence of facts at least be able to explain why you feel the way you do.

I give you much credit for standing up and stating your thoughts especially where you find us at odds.

John said...

Only the men at FLDS are free. No one can leave. Teenage boys are the biggest threat to their access to girls, so the many of the boys (as young as 13) are thrown out of the compound with no help from the elders on how do deal with a strange new world.

The make up all kinds of false paperwork so as to keep the welfare checks coming.

They are not self-sufficient; they are the classic definition of parasites. (And I am not complaining about the welfare state, I back that to the hilt; they abuse it)

I do not disagree with you about age of consent laws in general.

See my post on that subject yesterday.

thomascombs said...

"People do not have the right to pawn off their children as property, even you admitted chattel was wrong."

Actually John, the burden is on YOU to come to the table with facts proving that comment you just made. Until it's proven that they are actually doing that, then I assume they are not.

And what makes everybody so sure that they cannot leave? Are they prisoners?

So far as the boys getting kicked out, that only makes sense in a polygamist society. It's necessary

I think people assume the worst because they dislike FLDS.

John said...

Well, I am not making the accusations as much as reporting what the authorities are saying.

I agree with you 100% that state must prove it, and the state must uphold the presumption of innocence.

We ( the laymen) are free to speculate at will.

Anonymous said...

Proof?
Am I wrong, or are pregnant minors proof enough that a crime has taken place.
Thomas lets be real here and stop calling them young women who are having sex with older men. Its men having sex with children.
Maybe for a long time women had no choice in their destiny concerning marriage. But we don't live in that time anymore.
As far as their isolation, if you live in TX, then you live by TX law. If you live in USA, the same applies. You don't have to agree or like it, but you must follow the law or suffer the consequences.
We can second guess law enforcements right to go in. In hindsight, the initial call was bogus. Based on what we know about the FLDS and information in the call, for a warrent, law enforcement only needs to be "resonably sure" a crime did or was going to occur.
Wouldn't it have been grand to find all our suspicions were wrong and there had never been any pregnant minors. Shamefully this was not the case.
Laws do not take effect only where people like them or are in agreement with them. The girls are/were children and sex with a child is a crime.
I just dont seem to understand the shady gray syndrome you share.

thomascombs said...

Dear Anon.

Preggo teens are proof of nothing. The age that a woman could get married in texas in 2005 was 14. It was changed to 16 in 2005. Do the math. A 17 year old could have been legally married at 14 in 1005.

Anonymous said...

Pick the hypothetical evidence as it suits you, but a 16 or a 15 or a 14 or a 13 or even a 12 year old would not be a legal marriage, then or now, and sex with them is considered statutory rape. Statutory rape is a crime. I think the trouble with your opinion is you want conclusive and irrefutable proof before an investigation or prosecution. It doesn't work that way in the USA. Reasonable suspicion, we get a warrant, and open an investigation, proof of a crime and we prosecute, and if a jury agrees we sentence. Come on now, you sound sane, you must know this. The legal system is working.
I believe they are innocent until proven guilty. But at the same time, our suspicions that a crime has occured are reasonable.
Why are you not joining the others in asking where are all the boys. Do you believe that hypotheticaly they almost exclusively give birth to girls? I also believe scepticism is good, but I just can't go so far as to believe these people can defy genetic probability. 400+ children and only 27 boys, am I close on these numbers? The genetic probability is not unlikely, it's impossible!

thomascombs said...

Where are the boys? They got kicked out so more women would be available. I know that. While that's a bit sick, there's nothing necessarily illegal about it.

And I simply do not trust texas on this one, which is why i do not entertain any suspicions, no matter how reasonable they seem. These facts upon which you rely are coming from Texas CPS, an organization that's now faced with justifying one of the largest child 'protective' actions in history. In other words, they sure better come up with not just a few preggo teens, but lots and lots of them.

This is state power used in its most invasive and destructive fashions: going right into the home and taking the kids from their mothers. It takes more than reasonable suspicion to justify that, in my opinion.

And to call statutory rape child abuse is, in many cases, and abuse of the word abuse. Like i said, in Texas a 14 year old could legally marry in 2005. Was it child abuse then? Or is it suddenly child abuse now simply because the state has changed the age of consent? Was it child abuse when, for thousands of years, women regularly married at the age 14, 15 or 16? Is it abuse even though, biologically speaking, they can handle it?

At the end of the day, what motivates this action is not just a concern for kids. People just don't like the FLDS. We think they are perverse and will do everything possible to destroy them. Taking all their kids from them is the most effective way to do that, perhaps the only way.

My prediction is that the state will be able to prove a limited number (probably less than 10) of legitimate stat rape cases, but those will not result in any convictions. Then, they will get the shit sued out of them for such a gross abuse of their power.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

"Was it child abuse when, for thousands of years, women regularly married at the age 14, 15 or 16?"

Umm, yes... that's why we changed the laws to protect the children.

"My prediction is that the state will be able to prove a limited number (probably less than 10) of legitimate stat rape cases, but those will not result in any convictions. Then, they will get the shit sued out of them for such a gross abuse of their power."

Do you base this prediction on any facts, or are you no better than what you accuse the state of Texas of being?

try reading this is you think the children are not the concern:

http://livelovelearn247.blogspot.com/2008/05/yearning-for-zion-update-41-children.html

thomascombs said...

Um, ok. So this proves that less than 10% of them have had broken bones. So what? I went to the same school for 13 years, and can definitely say that by the time we all graduated at least 10% had broken a bone at some point, including me. Should CPS have seized us too?

So far, the most damming thing seems to be this statement:

"State officials have said that more than 30 of the 53 girls from 14 to 17 who were at the ranch are pregnant or have children."

First of all, those officials are having a hell of a time figuring out just how old those kids are. So, i would not get to carried away with this statement.

And because a 14 year old could legally marry in texas in 2005, that means some of these girls could have been, according to texas' own laws, legally married and have had kids and be under 18 today. So, again, the state has really proven nothing.

However, the most important line I read in that article was this:

"Officials did not offer evidence to support their assertions."

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Let me re-itterate my question so that you can answer it:

"My prediction is that the state will be able to prove a limited number (probably less than 10) of legitimate stat rape cases, but those will not result in any convictions. Then, they will get the shit sued out of them for such a gross abuse of their power."

Do you base this prediction on any facts, or are you no better than what you accuse the state of Texas of being?

thomascombs said...

Well, lets see. Right now they only claim to have 30 underage girls who are pregnant. So that's your pool of stat rape victims right there. And some may be legally married or be older than the state thinks or whatever.

And of the ones who are married but not pregnant, they are unlikely to talk because they realize they will be sending their spiritual husbands to prison if they do. So they will lie and say they're single. And, without any public records to the contrary, its unlikely that anybody will prove them wrong.

These people are most likely not going to turn each other in. And, among the pregnant ones, if they do not cooperate and tell who their husbands are, then the authorities will never find them. Even if the girls do talk, the FLDS is well funded and practiced in running from the law, so I am doubtful anybody will go to jail over this.

The FBI had to put warren jeffs on their 10 most wanted list before they got him.

So, in the end, this probably is just a huge waste of tax payer money.

Lets face it, unless the state can justify taking away generation after generation of FLDS kids so that these people can stop breeding, they cannot be stopped. As much as people would love to see them wiped out, achieving that goal while maintaining some semblance of due process is virtually impossible.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

I'm seeing the words "probably" and "most likely" used time and time again, then you lambaste Texas for not having it's facts straight.

Why is this not double talk?

thomascombs said...

I'm free to speculate at will about the legal outcome. And the 'probably' and 'maybe' is meant to signal that I'm just speculating.

I don't need tons of facts to criticize their methods. CPS, however, would do better if they said nothing at all until they get all this sorted out.

Anonymous said...

"I'm free to speculate at will about the legal outcome".
"I don't need tons of facts to criticize their methods. "

Speculative Critics seldom have ANY need for facts!

"The truth about a man's character can be like an old tire buried in the yard of spin, but given enough time, it will, soon enough, work it's way to the surface" Anonymous

thomascombs said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Sorry Thomas, insults are not allowed here. Try resubmitting what you have to say without the name calling.