The state of Texas has now gone the KGB one step better: 416 children and their mothers have been arrested in a much larger crowd, and you are statistically likely to be part of that crowd of people who think that the FLDS people had it coming.
You are oh so wrong.
Most of us think the FLDS people in that Eldorado "compound" are just too weird--but only because we don't know them very well. However, we also think that just because they're too weird gives Texas law enforcement authorities the excuse to flout the law in attempting to give 416 FLDS children and their mothers what Texas officials think is best for them. Texas is now in full damage-control mode for a heinous abrogation of human rights at Eldorado. The best damage control would be for them to admit that it was all a mistake.
Abductions Based on Fraud. Ironically, the entire Eldorado escapade is based on a fraud. The supposed sixteen year old who called authorities claiming abuse has not been found. However, a woman by the name of Rozita Swinton has been found--with strong evidence that it was she who impersonated the sixteen year-old known as "Sarah".
Not having been able to locate the reason for their search warrant (because Sarah does not exist), the Texas officials should have apologized and left the community, right? Not if you're the Keystone Kops, because these FLDS people are really weird, so we need to set them straight. Ed Firmage at OneUtah has it right on when he says:
And now the Texas judge tells me that “Sarah” is a metaphor? What a ghastly admission of the absolute failure of the Texas system of justice.Here are some other facts surrounding the fraudulent case.
Dale Barlow as Alleged Abuser. Sarah, aka Rozita Swinton, alleged that Dale Barlow was the man who had abused her. Unfortunately for the case, Dale Barlow had not been to the Eldorado community for several years. Yet the Texas KGB plowed on with its community-building intent anyway.
Eldorado is valuable land. As Firmage rightly points out
”Sarah” v. Texas is a case, like those in Utah and Arizona, where millions of dollars in land are at issue. In a very limited sense, and different by an order of magnitude, this is similar to the Japanese Relocation cases of early World War Two. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese Americans lost their land to greedy folk in California and elsewhere.The Fundamentalist LDS are not nearly as weird as we might think they are. We watch far more and far stranger people every night of the week on television.
The Myth of Abused FLDS Children. The best "evidence" so far given in the news about alleged abuse at Eldorado is that one of the upper floors of the FLDS temple has beds in it, and in one of the beds was found a human hair. Oh my heck! I'm surprised they haven't called in the FBI for a Branch-Davidian style conflagration yet!
In reality, the FLDS children appear to be more well balanced than most Nintendo-addicted children I know--as well as a host of others. Furthermore, it cannot be disputed that their lives will be torn apart as these 416 children are forced into foster homes, the proprietors of which will, with good but different religious intentions, attempt to fix all of them. Once again, I agree with Firmage, who says
I don’t doubt the Texas ‘judge’s kindly intent. Nor the sadness and the professional care of the police, the Texas Rangers, and surely not the loving kindness of Baptist mothers and fathers who have stepped in to help, as saviors. But kindly intended but ill-informed people can produce havoc and death.Taking Away their Cell Phones is Supposed to Help What? In an effort to try and further "help" the FLDS children, the Texas authorities have taken away their free choice to communicate with the parents from whom they have been separated. In a shorter opinion piece for the Deseret News, Firmage states:
This atrocity, shocking in its initial sweep, hugely overbroad, of children and their parents, gets worse day by day. Now the pitiful last means of parents to communicate with their children and children with their parents by cell phones has been ended by confiscation of all phones.No Abuse Has Been Proven, Only Speculated Wildly. It is very unlikely that the FLDS communities abuse their children or wives--if at all--with anything near the frequency of main street America, let alone to mention those, like Britney Spears, who belong to the Hollywood demographic.
. . .
Can't we just leave these people alone? Better yet, can't we get to know them and respect them for who they are? Contrary to what you may believe, they would let us if we tried. I know because I have tried, and the polygamists I have met are fine people.
Most of us are too smugly wrong that we know everything about them, and that they are irreparably weird--so they need to be made normal. So it's somehow okay with a lot of us that Texas law authorities break their own laws in an attempt to fix something that we in our blessed ignorance are 100% certain is broken.
As I've said before, the raid on the FLDS community at Eldorado is a travesty of justice. It reduces both the inhibition and the proximity for the next such human rights violation against the next religious community to be deemed too weird for our version of normalcy.
Ed Firmage put it best when he wrote
The Fundamentalist Mormons of four or five clans have been frozen in time, to some extent, by being marginalized, like gays, or at an earlier time, marriage between different racial or ethnic groups, sent into the badlands...If you'd rather not ever that it be "your turn", I suggest you begin rallying for liberty and justice for the Eldorado community. Because they aren't getting it now.
If Texas can do that to Fundamentalist Mormons, when will it be your turn?