Religious Tolerance, after they take the kids

After Texas raided the Yearming for Zion compound of a small religious minority, the Fundementalist Church of Latter Day Saints, I wrote:

The Texan Raid against the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is an example of religious persecution. Combining the unsubstantiated allegations of the Crystal Gale Magnum hoax with mass persecution of a religious minority, the attack on the FLDS Church will probably be seen as the disaster it is for decades to come.

I then asked:

a) When does the government’s case collapse?
b) When are people fired over this?
c) Which government employee is the first to serve jail time?

The answer to the first part is, “today“:

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) – A state appellate court has ruled that child welfare officials had no right to seize more than 400 children living at a polygamist sect’s ranch.

The Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that the grounds for removing the children were “legally and factually insufficient” under Texas law. They did not immediately order the return of the children.

Child welfare officials removed the children on the grounds that the sect pushed underage girls into marriage and sex and trained boys to become future perpetrators.

The appellate court ruled the chaotic hearing held last month did not demonstrate the children were in any immediate danger, the only measure of taking children from their homes without court proceedings.

Obviously, as in any criminal case, time may provide new evidence and change the situation. But the fact remains that Texas’ bizarre raid against FDLS, in which large numbers of children were seized from their parents, makes the Elian Gonzales debacle look a day at the circus.

If you’re a WASP with weird folkways, stay away from Texas.

6 thoughts on “Religious Tolerance, after they take the kids”

  1. Dan,

    The answers to questions to 2 and 3 are never and no one, respectively. Governments have learned from Janet Reno that “Roll tanks” orders have no consequences. It would be nice to see that change.


  2. I don’t know, the teenage-girls-being-married-off-to-old-men aspect of the sect seems like it should warrant intervention.

  3. fl, true, but at what level? They took everyone’s kids. Not just the teen aged ones(which, if I remember the reportage correctly, were only a dozen or so, and they took hundreds. I’ve never heard an allegation that they were forcing 9 year old girls to have sex, so why take the 9 year olds?). And why not go thru the courts? Why not show probable cause, get a court order, and then do it? Process matters. We don’t get to toss aside constraints enshrined in rules on some things(this case) and then hold fast on others(like when they come for me, or you, or complaints about bad confessions from torture or ‘severly long interrogations sessions’ in Chicago). That’s just gaming the system to get what you want when you wnat it and not really rule of law at all. and it was the rule of law that I understood as what Dan wanted all along. They wouldn’t do this to a Moslem community, and that’s abridgement of the ‘equal protection before the law’ clause. That’s where he gets the ‘religious prosecution’ thing, because if it was another ‘minority’ religion the authorities would’ve had to jump thru a million hoops. They should’ve had to jump thru that same million here. Not because we side with pedophiles and polygamysts, but because that’s how the system is supposed to work to protect the innocent(rather a Blackstone type argument.).

  4. ry,
    I do agree that the government’s actions should have been more targeted. And any community that “marries off” teenage brides against their will should be prosecuted — the US unfortunately sometimes values “freedom of religion” over all else (including, say, “freedom to not be abused”). I hope that something can be done about this sect and all groups that would force young women into marriage against their will.

  5. Mike,

    Sadly, often true. Mike Nifong’s slap on the wrist [1] is probably the best that can be hoped for.


    A much better explanation of my thinking than what I have provided!


    One of the spookiest part of the government’s actions concerns will, and the idea that girls may have had the wrong will implanted in them by their parents and community. This thinking is antithetical to a free society. A government can rightfully limit actions much more than it can regulate speech or beliefs.

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