Thursday, April 24, 2008

Texas Hostage Crisis, Day 21

Salt Lake Tribune Bagley Cartoon

Culture Shock: Plyg Kid Hostages Face Tough Adjustment

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

The youngsters are being moved out of the crowded San Angelo Coliseum and will be placed in temporary facilities around Texas - some as far away as Houston, 500 miles off - until individual custody decisions can be made.

Those decisions could result in a number of possibilities: Some children could be placed in permanent foster care; some parents who have left the sect may win custody; some youngsters may be allowed to return to the ranch in Eldorado; and some may turn 18 before the case is complete and be allowed to choose their own fates.

So if parents renounce their religion and leave the sect, they may win back custody of their kids.

How much of their religion do they have to renounce?

Do they have to prove they're legally and properly married, not just spiritually married? If they're not legally married, will that disqualify them, and why would it?

Will they have to show excommunication documents, or copies of letters resigning their membership in the FLDS Church? Will they have to affirm that they no longer believe in the doctrines of the FLDS Church? Or will they be allowed to affirm only that they won't do anything illegal, such as consent to allow their underage children to be married or engage in sexual activity, i.e., spritual marriage. Will they be required to renounce polygamy as a doctrine they believe in?

There is so much about this case that is just plain wrong. The US Supreme Court has ruled that authorities can regulate religious practice, and that was settled in the 1890s. But to regulate religious belief is wrong, and flies in the face of the First Amendment.

The US Supreme Court has also ruled that consenting adults have a constitutional right to sodomy. If that's the case, then it seems reasonable that consenting adults have a constitutional right to fornication and adultery. Consenting adults can have sexual relations with as many adult partners as they want, but they can't marry more than one of them (at a time).

Prohibitions against polygamy were enacted with the intention of enforcing them against the Mormons and their offshoots, and no one else. I've never heard of Muslim polygamists being prosecuted in this country. And it seems insanely schizophrenic to give constitutional protections to consenting adults who want to commit fornication and sodomy with multiple partners, while denying other consenting adults the privilege of engaging in plural marriages as part of their religious beliefs. That alone has made laws against polygamy unenforceable. To enforce them makes a mockery of the Constitution.

Either repeal the laws against polygamy, or enforce them. Don't leave them on the books if they're not enforced. If you repeal polygamy laws, do so with the resolve that illegal activity such as underage marriages (child rape), child abuse, torture, welfare fraud, racketeering, tax evasion, etc. will be vigorously prosecuted, and then follow through.

And let's do something about the immunity that CPS has from Constitutional prohibitions against illegal searches and seizure of property and kids on the basis of fraudulent or false information by calling it a civil action instead of a criminal one. The potential for abuse of power is obvious.