Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's About Time! FLDS Justice is Served in Appeals Court

The entire two-month saga of captivity and abuse of members of the FLDS Church at Eldorado, Texas at the hands of Texas authorities didn't ever have to be, I've said several times in these pages. Finally, the Texas Third District Court of Appeals agrees. It's about time. I hope that these families, molested by their government on unsubstantiated charges of molesting each other--can put their lives back together, healthy and whole.

I don't like what the Fundamentalist LDS Church teaches. I don't appreciate the fact that they use my

I don't like what the Fundamentalist LDS Church teaches. But I can't believe how many people cheered as the FLDS had their rights trampled in the mud and excrement. That kind of abuse is something that anyone, regardless of religion, should stand up against.

Book of Mormon in claiming that theirs is the only true Church of Jesus Christ when they've never even been a part of our church.

But I can't believe how many people cheered as the FLDS had their rights trampled in the mud and excrement. That kind of abuse is something that anyone, regardless of religion, should stand up against.

The Texas Third District Court of Appeals ruled today that warmed my heart and almost brought tears to my eyes. There is still at least some justice in the world. The Appeals Court ruled that
"The existence of the FLDS belief system as described by the department's witnesses, by itself, does not put children of FLDS parents in physical danger," the three-judge panel said.

The state's Department of Family and Protective Services "did not present any evidence of danger to the physical health or safety of any male children or any female children who had not reached puberty," the judges ruled.
I am frankly rather shocked at how so many Utahn Mormons seemingly thought the FLDS community had received a proper come-uppance, when in fact their rights were violated in an egregious matter that would have made the KGB proud.

The case was tenuous from the very start, but a multitude of unthinking people, perhaps lacking confidence in their own religion, perhaps having unwavering confidence that legal authorities in the United States could never be wrong, submitted like sheep to the illogical decrees of Texas law enforcement and child services officials.

If only one thing comes out of this whole vile episode--that something as egregious and unthinking as the travesty perpetrated on the FLDS people never happens again--it might have been worth it.



It wasn't long before we found out why Texas officials would not classify the ages of those mothers who were under 18--because, in fact, they weren't.

The claim that the Eldorado children had an unusually high frequency of broken bones was a joke. FLDS numbers corresponded quite closely with national averages, and may have been slightly lower than those averages.

Maybe somebody from the State of Texas went to the Appeals court and pleaded for the court to bail them out, because the sticky wicket that they had put themselves in was becoming more embarrassing by the day.

If only one thing comes out of this whole vile episode--that something as egregious and unthinking as the travesty perpetrated on the FLDS people never happens again--it might have been worth it.

That is, if these families' lives--torn to shreds by the dogs of discrimination--can be put back together.




20 comments:

  1. So you believe it is okay for these dirty old men to molest children?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nope. If they can find real abuse, the abusers should be prosecuted. Warren Jeffs was prosecuted, because there was evidence of abuse and collusion. That was proper. The abduction of nearly the entire Eldorado community was not.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "I am frankly rather shocked at how so many Utahn Mormons seemingly thought the FLDS community had received a proper come-uppance..."
    Frank, I am not shocked. Although I wish I was. Utahn Mormons are unfortunately very closed minded, and on many issues. One person, after expressing my feelings about this incident, asked if I was condoning thier practice. (I will let you imagine how upset that got me.:)) Apparently showing any kind of sympathy to discrimination by the government makes you unworthy to a temple recommend, at least in that person's eyes. I kindly explained to them in more detail how I felt and I think they eventually got my point. But this is not the only thing that "Utahn Mormons" are blind on. There are a number of issues that they don't want to open their mind to for some reason unexplainable to me other than "Utahn Mormon." I might fall in this catergory from time to time because I was born and raised here but in general, it really bothers me the way people judge way to quickly as "Utahn Mormons." They need to get out more and see the real world. I think that is the main issue with them but I digress...

    ReplyDelete
  4. rldavis70,
    I agree with Frank in this respect and have a similar question for you. Do you believe that it is okay for those dirty old men(Texas Government officials) to abduct innocent women and children, and seperate families because of a few bad people in the community? If in your neighborhood, there was a man or two that did these atrocious acts to children, Would you find it fair to have the government officials take your family away? I know my answer.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Now it will be interesting to watch how quickly the government acts to undo the wrong they perpetrated very quickly at the beginning.

    I fear this may not be quite as over as I would like it to be.

    I wouldn't say I was shocked at the lack of empathy by the Utah community of Utah, but it was very dissapointing to see how very little empathy was had for those having their constitutional rights so blatantly violated.

    Some heads definitely need to roll in Texas because of this...

    ReplyDelete
  6. I finally understood today why Texas officials throughout this mess have tried hard to portray the FLDS with specific code phrases. They were essentially saying that their actions were justified because the entire ranch was a single household. It is common when abuse is discovered to remove all children from a household. The court saw this broad interpretation as patently ridiculous. This meant that Texas had no basis for its broad-based actions.

    Where there is evidence of abuse it should be aggressively prosecuted as an individual crime. But even after all of their terroristic actions and investigating, Texas found only five or six cases that could be construed as abuse. Fine, prosecute those cases according to the law. But, let's not punish an entire community simply because we don't like the way they live or how they raise their children.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think you guys are painting "Utah Mormons" with a pretty broad paintbrush. I have run into a fairly broad spectrum of opinions among Utah Mormons that I know. I have run into a broad variety of opinions just in my own ward, many of them quite well informed.

    The Mormons I know that totally agreed with Texas' actions are generally big government types anyway. But a few others feel compelled to oppose polygamy in any form -- especially by Mormon splinter groups -- because it tends to reflect badly on the LDS Church.

    Let's be careful about using broad generalizations on "Utah Mormons."

    ReplyDelete
  8. But a few others feel compelled to oppose polygamy in any form -- especially by Mormon splinter groups -- because it tends to reflect badly on the LDS Church.

    Only because it reflects on the church?

    What about the truth of GOD!

    2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

    5 "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. 6 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am now waiting for the raid on the Texas Family Services Department and have them all arrested for kidnapping. When they get hauled off to jail we will see them wailing in grief as their children are sent to foster homes.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Doesn't anyone recognize the flagrant flaunting of the law against poligamy? My heart goes out to the Mothers and Children but if they are breaking the law and bringing their children up in a manner that breaks the law, then they are abusing those children by teaching them to be criminals. There is little excuse for that - they know better!

    ReplyDelete
  11. But I can't believe how many people cheered as the FLDS had their rights trampled in the mud and excrement. That kind of abuse is something that anyone, regardless of religion, should stand up against.


    BINGO. Nice post--good analysis

    ReplyDelete
  12. RU, You are probably right, I did paint "Utahn Mormons" with a broad brush. But I do find it generally true. Still, my apologies, I hate it when others do that. The close mindedness of some people that would be classified as "Utahn Mormons" is just one of those things that get my blood boiling.

    ReplyDelete
  13. It's not just Utah Mormons. Unless you count Harry Reid as one. It's the entire country that felt Texas's actions were appropriate.

    Reach has got it right in that Texas viewed the FLDS as a single household, a household where child abuse was rampant and self perpetuating. That was their excuse for taking all of the children. They were "saving" them.

    Unfortunately, it turns out that much of the information that Texas has revealed over the last couple of months has been false. Many of the children weren't actually children. Many of the "child mothers" were actually of age.

    And now the appeals court has ruled that the FLDS community can't be viewed as a single household. It would seem that Texas's house of cards is crumbling.

    That is, until they appeal this appeal and get another ruling.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Way to Go Texas! You messed up and now the FLDS are going to sue you. Unfortunately Texas CPS won't be the one paying the penalty, it will be the Texas taxpayer. (including the FLDS who were the victims in the first place)

    ReplyDelete
  15. But what is the consequence of breaking that law? The whole point of Frank's argument is that Texas really overstepped the bounds of the law.

    "Anonymous said...
    Doesn't anyone recognize the flagrant flaunting of the law against poligamy? My heart goes out to the Mothers and Children but if they are breaking the law and bringing their children up in a manner that breaks the law, then they are abusing those children by teaching them to be criminals. There is little excuse for that - they know better!"

    ReplyDelete
  16. As I have said before, go ahead and aggressively prosecute abuse. But do it within the confines of the law. Texas had other (legal) options, but it chose to ignore them. Nobody wins when government exceeds its legal mandate.

    ReplyDelete
  17. That FLDS story is probably the biggest CPS screw-up and abuse of power in history. I`ve covered hundreds of case of abuses by the CPS system but I`ve never seen any as large and vicious as this one.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Danny,

    You're right. I wish I could say truthfully that I am shocked, but many Utah Mormons really are very closed-minded--perhaps afraid that if they think very much they'll lose their exaltation...?

    UK,

    It wasn't until today that I heard that authorities have 10 days to follow the direction of the appeals court, and that they are in the process of "interpreting" what the court said. You're right--the saga is not over.

    Reach,

    In the paper this morning I read about the "single household" theory. It surprised me at first, and then I started thinking about all the other theories that have been floated in the past few weeks--a plethora of underage mothers, too many broken bones, intent to search without a warrant, etc. In the end, color me not surprised.

    Ken, Cameron, Ron & Jessica:

    I wish that justice could be as poetic. But you're right that when individuals masquerade as government they are seldom held accountable for their draconian actions. Maybe that's why power is so intoxicating!!

    Anonymous ("...biggest CPS screw-up"): I am interested in your experience with other egregious violations of rights by CPS and other government entities.

    Anonymous (polygamy "flagrant flaunting of the law"): Now you know what happens when you prosecute polygamy--loving families are ripped to shreds.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I know that I am getting in on the a little late, but I have to say. That I am getting the types of comments as the first, for taking your position on this.

    The accuse me of being a polygamist support, a pedophile supporter, and an idiot. All of this because I believe that this is a violation of our civil rights.

    It is a good thing that one judge has seen through this escapade of CPS, DFS, or whatever acronym you want to give them.

    I don't condone polygamy. I absolute abhor child sexual abuse. But I am also concerned with the treatment of legal rights here in America. To think that you could take my children away because one of their hairs was found in my bed. I guess I can't comfort my child from a nightmare anymore for fear that the government will take them away.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous,

    Participants in a polygamist marriage are not legally recognized as married except for the first wife. The rest instead are "spiritual wives" and not legally entitled to the benefits extended to a marriage. It's similar in status to a gay marriage or just 2 people who are living together out of wedlock. Thus although polygamy is illegal, unfortunately the only consequence of polygamy is not having the marriage formally recognized.
    I do know that having all of your kids and all of your neighbor's kids taken away is not a legal penalty for breaking this law.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting. If you have a Google/Blogger account, to be apprised of ongoing comment activity on this article, please click the "Subscribe" link below.