Friday, May 23, 2008

No Right


We stand at a critical philosophical crossroads in this country. If we are indeed champions of religious freedom, even if that religion seems archaic and weird and most certainly unfashionable both literally and figuratively, then we cannot start throwing our weight around and tell that particular religious sect what they can and cannot teach their children.

Do we tell the Amish they're nutty for not driving cars?

How about the Jews for not eating pork?

The Catholics for the whole Trinity business?

The Mormons for la, la, la, la, la-ing through some of the silliest bedtime stories known to man?

Astrologists for not leaving the house without first consulting their daily chart?

Adherents to Chinese medicine who believe everything from ground bear tooth to obscure and rare plant life can cure whatever ails you, regardless of the harm harvesting said "therapies" causes to the natural environment?

And when was the last time you heard a bona fide court give an atheist shit for teaching their kids about the Big Bang?

That doesn't mean, of course, that anyone, religious or not, has the right to physically and/or sexually abuse their children. Reports of that kind should be investigated and pursued to the full extent of the law. But 460 children were removed from the FLDS compound in Texas last month based on nothing so much as a single allegation. There is no way all 460 of those kids suffered abuse. So one has to wonder: how much of this is about actual law and concern for a child's welfare, and how much of it is suppression of a religion that pushes all our buttons when it comes to the teeter/tooter relationship we have with religion in our so-called "enlightened" era?

I'm not a parent, but I have been a child and I can well imagine how utterly traumatic it must be for these parents and children to be separated like this. All because the Gub'ment of Texas thinks it knows what's best. Go ahead, investigate. But don't bust up hundreds of families just because you don't like how they define the concept.

If it were up to me? I'd remove every child from every parent who sticks their offspring in front of the television for more than a couple hours a day. Who indulges their child's every whim, so as not to play the bad guy. Whose level of maturity is so low, they have lost all ability to establish themselves as counselors, guides, and disciplinarians and morph instead into these warped best friend figures to the point of sporting similar hairstyles and belly-grazing crop tops (cough, Dinah Lohan, cough, cough).

But I don't have the right.

15 comments:

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Funny how the state is always so anxious about child welfare to the point of paranoia re any allegations of 'abuse', then conversely quite happy to let the majority of those same kids rot in homes, denied the opportunity of decent foster or adoptive families once they have been committed to state 'care' (legitimately or not) to fall into drugs and prostitution in their teens.

A crime surely as bad as any they investigate.

Up to 70% of the Brit prison population spent time in children's homes as children.

NYD said...

There is no way that anyone will convince me that a bureaucracy can take care of a child better than a parent. Even if the parent is a worthless sack of shit there is the possibility that the child isn't retarded and will outgrow the stupidity of it's surroundings.

A body politic just ignores the human and turns it into a zombie.

iamnot said...

Ok...as long as it's alright to tell them not to have sex with 13 year olds...even the ones they marry.
It's also not ok to kill the ones that won't wear a burka or that date outside their religon.
It's also not ok to perform genital mutilation on young girls.

Actually, it looks like I got a lot of problem with what some people do according to their religons and those things are NOT ok in our society and it IS goobernment's job to step in and stop them.

In the current case in TX, it looks like they stepped in without proper legal grounds. Obviously, you can't go around doing that because it opens the door for all sorts of governmental abuse. The worst part is, the actual offenders in that case will likely not be prosecuted because all the state discovered will be thrown out of court.

Doris Rose said...

They heard you!
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080523/ap_on_re_us/polygamist_retreat

Anonymous Boxer said...

It was a massive reaction, rather than an educated response when they burst in and "rescued" those children. Then, the rest of the world can "tsk, tsk" them while feeing their childre KFC as they sit in front of a video game.

I'm glad that young girl knew she could call for help. And I'm glad someone heard and believed her, but I totally agree with you that there was a better way to have handled it.

moi said...

Poet: Same problem here in the States. Over or under reaction. Neither work in the child's best interest.

NYD: Yes, and besides, whose childhood IS ideal? We can get really, really nit picky about the "right" way to raise a child. Bottom line, you eventually grow up and are able to make your own decisions.

Iamnot: I think I was pretty clear in stating that physical and sexual abuse is within the gub'ment's right to investigate and prosecute. But just because these kids are being raised differently from the "modern" norm, doesn't constitute child abuse. Three hundred years ago, you were considered an old maid if you weren't married by 16. Is age really tied to maturity? If so, I question whether 23-year-olds are ready for marriage, much less 13-year-olds. Not that I'm making a case for 13 year old marriage. But, think about it. How many of us ARE prepared for what marriage/childrearing entails, regardless of our age?

Doris Rose: Yup. And let the lawsuits begin . . .

AB: Oh, most certainly. I am livid that so many of our children aren't property "heard." But my point here is that I believe, despite our PC proclivities for "tolerance," these folks were treated in this manner because they live so far out of the mainstream.

iamnot said...

I agree that the age of consent is semi-arbitrary and has changed over time...still, an age must be set and enforced if there are to be any limits at all.

EmmaK said...

I suppose what it comes down to is that it is easier to remove these kids from what may or may not be a cult ... than to deal with the thousands of abused/neglected/mistreated kids in this country.....but I suppose if the govt got involved in every family where the parenting was suspect there would once again be outrage that they were interfering in what isn't their business. Why are so many obviously immature people allowed to have kids? I don't know. And I think there is a case that you should have to go through some kind of training program before you have kids.

Aunty Belle said...

Yeesh! what a situation.

Lots of thangs goin' on in this. shoulda been on case by case basis to protect the integrity of the law (what little is left of it!)

But thar's one thang nobody much says-polygamy is against the law. That alone is a reason to dismantle the FDLS--not with muscle, but by case by case resettlement.

Interestin' thang is that when the US gubmint Supreme Court outlawed the practice in the 1800s, that were on account of it bein' essentially slavery fer women.

Girls initiated into such an' told that their only entry to paradise is if their husband say so, that is emotional battery. Therefore, these gilrs have no option, no support beyond this form of enslavement.

Either we permit polygamy or we enforce it--otherwise we have Sharia law comin' soon to yore neighborhood, as Iamnot mentioned.

Aunty Belle said...

Now that real funny thang about the case fer the rest of us-- as parents. Well, what IS wrong wif early marriages? Why is it we 's grown ho-hum about teens "hooking -up" but we's aghast to to think of a pair of 18 year olds gettin' hitched?

Why does we assume a possible divorce when kids marry young is worse than 15 years of indiscriminate "hooking up?" The latter is worse, say counselors, fer it jes' makes ya accustomed to revolving relationships so that soon enough ya cain't manage a marriage.

Why doan we let kids in love go on an git married? hep wif they college or apprenticeships fer a few years...but doan penalize a decent pair jes' cause they's young. Marriage is better than a 20 year adolescenct self absorption on the way to being an immature 30 somethin', ain't it?

( Full disclosure, Aunty were a child bride at 18, Uncle wuz 20..heh..an that were a few decades back so it din't harm us mor'n any other lifestyle!)

The Troll said...

Pales in comparison to what the Feds under Clinton/Reno did at WACO.

moi said...

Iamnot: Insofar as marriage is a construct of the gub'ment, yes, we do need to come up with some kind of age limit.

EmmaK: Well, speaking in general, I think social services not only walks a tightrope, that rope's boundaries are pretty arbitrary as well. And while I'm not a fan of gub'ment regulation in most instances, I'm not unaware of the irony inherent in a society that requires licensing for dog/cat ownership, yet doesn't seem to think parenting classes, at the very least as a precursor to a marriage license, are at all an necessity. But again, what would those classes teach?

Aunty "Either we permit polygamy, or we outlaw it." A good question to ask is if polygamy really does exist. I mean how does one marry more than one woman LEGALLY and not just verbally? Are these multiple spousal units a tax burden or are they self sufficient? If self-sufficient, I say, no harm no foul. And while it's abhorrent to me to think young girls are being indoctrinated in the manner your describe, your next comment brings me to this: what is ultimately more damaging to a young woman's self esteem? My bottom line point in all this is that we can't legislate what people teach their children. We just can't.

Troll: Yes, but it was prompted by the same mindset.

ThursdayNext said...

The other night I saw toddlers on the subway platform at 11pm with their poor excuse for parents.

As much as I disagree with that lifestyle (sorry, cant advocate teenage girls at the age of 13 having babies), I was sick to my stomach thinking about those children away from their moms and am hoping that this doesnt get appealed so that these children can be with their moms.

upset waitress said...

This all will be over as soon as we can migrate to outer space. The dumb ones will stay on Earth.

Wicked Thistle said...

I'm a little late to the party here, but a special Amen on the last paragraph.