Saturday, May 31, 2008
Lone Star Falling
People around the world have been watching the ongoing story of Texas's removal of 400-plus children from a Mormon fundamentalist polygamist compound like it was some kind of entertaining TV movie. Where is the outrage?
The Texas Child Protective Services raid on the "Yearning For Zion" ranch was absolutely disgusting. I'd actually like to see its instigators imprisoned. On the basis of just ONE anonymous (fictitious) report of abuse, now known to have been placed by a mature, mentally-deranged member of Mormonism's mainstream variant (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) from Colorado with a history of prank phone calls and no affiliation with the FLDS, CPS goons busted in on private property and took over four hundred children away from their parents. It was basically a state-sponsored mass kidnapping. And no doubt, it has been terribly scary for the children.
Where is the outrage? Why should it have taken the state's Supreme Court to clarify that there was no legal basis for CPS confiscating the children - and subjecting them to invasive physical tests, testing by psychiatrists and state bureacrats, putting them into foster care with perfect strangers?
How did it come about that in so many countries with legal systems based on a presumption of innocence, that bureacrats have been given free reign to presume guilt whenever they like, act like thugs, and then force those they decide to accuse to prove themselves innocent?
There is an entire class of people on the planet (and they span from the left to the right) who are incapable of believing that any sane human being could, or should, desire a lifestyle other than what they think of as "the" ideal. For the secular social activists cheering on the raid, "ideal" means egalitarian marital relationships. For the evangelical Christians cheering on the raid, "ideal" means following the "true Jesus", and getting out of Joseph Smith's cult. And boy...they just couldn't wait to bust up the ranch, could they? The Mormon fundamentalists were doing it all wrong, weren't they? Thank God for that one phone call. Manifestly, in 2008, in the state of Texas, that's all it takes.
The levers of government - at least those of American government - were never designed to be used to enforce any particular mode of living. The Declaration of Independence itself states that people have the inalienable right to the "pursuit of happiness". And if that happens to mean in some case, living in a desert compound sharing one man with ten other women...that's what it means. What business is it of anyone else's?
Where there is solid evidence of a child being abused, then of course law enforcement should investigate (that case). But that's not what happened in Texas. What happened there was an outrageous abuse of state power, on wholly illegitimate, specious grounds. Really sick.