I am totally angry, appalled and otherwise upset about what is going on in Texas with the FLDS community. When I first saw the story on the evening news, I had mixed feelings. I felt annoyed that this media coverage would again bring up the controversial issue of polygamy and a lot of people would not distinguish our church from theirs. I felt confused as to why, after this group has lived in El Dorado for a number of years, government officials now felt they had adequate evidence to invade the settlement. And finally, I felt relieved that this group was finally being brought to justice after years and years of living outside of the laws of our country. I have a major problem with people who live in blatant opposition to the laws of our country (or any country for that matter). Don't get me started on illegal immigration- seriously, what part of "illegal" is unclear?
That said, I am now embarrassed about that feeling of relief. The more I read and hear about it, the more I think that this whole situation is a radical disregard for these people's rights- both their rights as Americans and their rights as fellow human beings. In no way do I agree with and therefore condone the practice of polygamy. I find it sad and appalling that young teenage girls are given in marriage to much older men in the name of His will. No question, the leadership of this group are seriously disturbed. I feel badly for the poor children who are born into this situation who don't know any other life, are not given the choice of an alternative lifestyle and therefore think they are doing the right thing by following their leaders. Yes, something must be done to reach out and help this community. By practicing polygamy and arranging marriages with young women under 18, they are living above the laws of the state and federal government.
Now I realize that because I am only able to read or hear what the media chooses to tell me- there is no way to know the entire story of what is going on there. So from the limited scope of articles published by online news outlets, I have raise one important question about this situation.
Why did they choose to take all the children away from their homes? I think this was an excessively harsh move. If the initial motive was to save teenage young women from abuse, then why didn't they just detain all of the girls ages 13-17? Or, and this is what I think should have happened, why didn't they detain all the men? If the allegations only involved the men and young women, why did all of the women loose all of their children?
This is what makes me the most upset. All children, ages 14 months and older, were taken away from their mothers. I couldn't help but think that if I was in that situation, my little Jonas would have been taken too! And like many of those older babies in that community, he's still nursing (some of the time- we're trying to cut back). I read reports of two toddlers who had to be hospitalized with severe dehydration. Seriously people! How is this in the best interest of the children? I wholeheartedly agree with this editorial.
The newest reports out today state that there is evidence of abuse of the teenage boys (but the source of the evidence is not specified) and that 41 of the children have had broken bones in the past. 41 out of 400+ children, less than 10% of the group- that sounds totally normal to me.
Yes- these people are knowingly living above the law and yes, they are deliberately secretive about their community. But does that mean that nursing babies deserve to be literally torn from their mother's breast? I'm inclined to think not. I hope that these people are able to get the help they need and the justice they deserve.