Sunday, April 27, 2008

Who's to blame for the Eldorado mess? How about the Apostle Paul?

The Washington Post today called the Eldorado case an "unusual prosecution of a way of life." The story focuses on the crux of my own discomfort with all this - that past the bogus headlines about abuse, this case (we still need to settle on a name for this quagmire) is really about a national discomfort with a culture in which a girl's highest calling is to start bearing children early and often. The Post called it:

a legal fight with a twist. The state will argue that the sect's children are at risk at the compound, but not because every one of them has been physically or sexually abused.

Instead, they will say that the culture of the church, which encouraged girls to marry and bear children in their early teens, was a danger to any child immersed in it.

"There was a pervasive belief that children having children was what they were supposed to do," said Patrick Crimmins, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

To those who study polygamist cultures, the crackdown seems like something out of the distant past. Something that, in the past, had reliably backfired.

That's been my take from the get go: Officials were initially worried the raid would turn into "another Waco," but they had the wrong analogy. They should have been worried it would become "another Short Creek," the 1953 raid in southern Utah that ripped women and children from their homes for 2-3 years before finally returning them all.

To help me think about our core discomfort with this culture's version of a girl's role, choices, and self-determination, this morning I went searching for biblical dicta on marriage, and the following passage jumped out at me:
"in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing doctrines and spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with hot iron; forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

"For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer."
1 Timothy 4:1-5

Of course, St. Paul's point of reference wasn't polygamous marriage, but marriage between Jews and gentiles, a point over which he disputed with Christ's disciples in Jerusalem throughout his various missionary journeys. (I've often wished we could have read St. Peter's rebuttal.)

The Apostle Paul can be blamed for a lot of the attitudes about marriage and child bearing that the state of Texas now aims to prosecute, starting with his admonition, "wives, submit to your husbands." Paul went on to say in 1 Timoth 5:14: "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, [and] give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully." (All quotes from the KJV.) That sounds a lot to me like the values CPS criticized among FLDS women that made them such a threat. (For that matter, as mentioned earlier on Grits, a case for polygamy, too, may be firmly established in the biblical canon.)

Most of Christendom doesn't consider the heretical religion founded by Joseph Smith in America to fall under the Christian umbrella, but Mormons accept the Christian Bible as canonical and a lot of criticisms about an oppressive ideology that too narrowly defines a woman's role (e.g., that her "highest purpose" is raising children, as the CPS investigators testified of FLDS women) can be applied equally to extremist versions of both faiths.

In mainstream culture, we've come to think of this debate playing out between feminists and Christian women, with the latter complaining the former want to "liberate" them against their will from a life raising children and running the household, as Paul advised to Saint Timothy.

The content of the complaint is similar to the backlash from conservative women when Hillary Clinton became First Lady and made derisive comments about "baking cookies." Partially for these reasons, Mormons overall have been drawn largely by the cultural conservatism of the religious right into the Republican party in recent years.

It's precisely this thread of belief, common to Christianity and Mormonism, that animates much of the culture war debate between feminism and religious folk. Quarkstomper over at Street Prophets recently lamented this common ideological thread:
My wife left the church long ago because she felt alienated by the attitudes towards women ... As far as she's concerned, all religions have the same attitudes as this group in Texas. I try to tell her different. I try to tell her that Jesus isn't about enslaving women; that God isn't about enslaving women; that the Gospel isn't about enslaving women. But people like James Dobson and Jerry Falwell and this Warren Jeffs guy tell her I'm wrong.
Most Americans today, whether religious or not, take it as gospel that a young women should have a range of options and the ability to choose among them. At the same time, everyone think some options are better than others.

Although the state didn't find many young pregnant teens at the YFZ Ranch, the outcry over FLDS practices has been widespread. The revulsion of 21st century sensibilities to what are essentially 19th century values, attitudes, and practices was painstakingly expressed recently in three posts on Orcinus: Secret Lives of Saints, Are FLDS Women Brainwashed?, and What We’re Not Talking About, Part I: Other Issues With the FLDS.

That baseline, essentially "feminist" position, though, errs when it fails to understand that liberation may come in many different forms, and that a life of service to family and faith may be as liberating, for some, as breaking glass ceilings and workplace barriers are for others. None of us possess any sure-fire recipe for happiness in this short life, and in the absence of such a formula, many still turn to God for advice on topic, as they understand Him, or whatever texts they believe represent God's views.

How odd it is, then, to see this attempt to forcibly liberate religious women from family and faith led by Governor Perry, Gregg Abbott, Rep. Harvey Hildebran (who changed Texas' marriage age to target FLDS), the Texas Rangers, and hundreds of armed police backed by helicopters and an armored personnel carrier.

The question in Eldorado, as in all feminism vs. religion debates, is whether women's call to marriage and child bearing is chosen or coerced. (We know their removal by the state was coerced.) But some who've left FLDS say the kids there are free to reject marriages or leave the community, and I've little reason to believe polygamous marriages disempower women any more than monogamous ones. Columnist Robert Kirby of the Salt Lake Tribune describes himself as "a Mormon descended on both sides from staunch the-federal-government-can-go-to-hell polygamists,"and tells this story about his own polygamist ancestors:
My great-great-grandfather Nathaniel married three women. Wife No. 1 was OK. However, I have a copy of the letter Wife No. 2 wrote to Brigham Young begging him to let her divorce Nathaniel because Wife No. 1 was so mean. See?

Wife No. 3 - my great-great-grandmother and one of Salt Lake's first female doctors - didn't bother with the letter. She threw Nathaniel out and became Wife No. 6 to some other guy a few blocks away.
Kirby's great-great grandmother doesn't sound too disempowered to me.

Even so, society's views toward a woman's role have changed a lot since Kirby's great-great grandma's time, much less since St. Paul wrote St. Timothy nearly 2,000 years ago. When feminism's ideological victory finally came, I never expected it would result in self-styled conservative pols using the brute force of the state to seize children from marriages "received in thanksgiving of those who believe." That odd role reversal is one of the things that make this debate so compelling.

A SELF-INDULGENT ASIDE: I couldn't help but think of the FLDS kids riding away from their parents in buses after spending part of yesterday evening entertaining the grandbaby. She's just beginning to talk, and with a little prompting picked up on the phrase "Yippie Ki Yay" from an old country & western song, with her and I repeating it back and forth to one another gleefully for several minutes. (You haven't seen cute until you've witnessed an 18-month old dancing and shouting "Yippie Ki Yay," flinging her arms into the air with a big grin.)

When she left, I wrote this and nearly added it to yesterday's post, then re-read it and found it a little hoakie. As the missus occasionally reminds me, I'm no poet. But on this blog what gets written ultimately tends to get posted sooner or later, so with that caveat and background, here you go:
I'll never forget that sad April day
When the Baptists brought buses and
Cops hauled us away
From our home on the ranch
Where the kids used to play
And sing "Ki Yi Yippe Ki Yay"

I'll never forget how all we knelt and prayed
While men with machine guns
Filed in like a parade
By the hundreds, an army
Swarmed God's holy place
Singing "Ki Yi Yippe Ki Yay"

I'll never forget hearing Judge Walther say
That my parents' beliefs were
Abusive per se
And I needed protection
From them and their faith
She sang "Ki Yi Yippe Ki Yay"

So they brought in more buses and swept me away
Into foster care, now the Judge
Says I am safe
But I don't feel that way
All alone and afraid
Singing "Ki Yi Yippe Ki Yay Ki Yay"
Singing "Ki Yi Yippe Ki Yay"


W W Woodward said...

Grits Said, “How odd it is, then, to see this attempt to forcibly liberate religious women from family and faith led by Governor Perry, Gregg Abbott, Rep. Harvey Hildebran (who changed Texas' marriage age to target FLDS), the Texas Rangers, and hundreds of armed police backed by helicopters and an armored personnel carrier.”

A great lady died 5 September 1997, A lady who was totally indoctrinated by her church. She spent her entire life in service to others. She saw no higher calling. She lived in poverty, by choice, and died poor. She was not concerned with the “glass ceiling”. She believed her ceiling consists of a completely different substance. Most of the world’s peoples have at least heard of her - born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu - but know her only by her “assumed” church name. Did Mother Teresa miss her calling? Should she have been a corporate CEO pocketing $ millions while her employees earned minimum wage? Good thing she wasn’t a child whose parents and church were under the scrutiny of today’s Texas CPS and hard line christians.

Unknown said...

John Walsh says that the reason why men are more likely to leave these communities is that women simply find them more appealing. The men are simply much more likely to want to live a life thats not centered around fasting, praying, raising children, and having sex with your clothes on.

I mean theres two basic ways you can have the kind of sexual imbalance that polygyny requires, you can use force or you can create a community in which women want to stay and men want to leave. This community is doing the latter.

There may be some areas of genuine male control, and there may be lots of superficial deference to male authority, but the picture (admittedly totally incomplete) thats emerging is one of a community centered almost entirely around female interests, female values, and female strengths.

Unknown said...

And by the way I think you're absolutely right to see feminist ideology as a driving force behind all of this, the forces at work seem to by a combination of just plain old baptist religious bigotry and feminist moral revulsion at the fact that women are dedicating their lives to their children and families.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think that your poem is wonderful. I particularly like the stanza about the judge.

It is really hard to find a better appellation for this fiasco than the cluster_____ one.

Anonymous said...

I have kept up with the Eldorado Debacle on Grits and in the MSM. It appears to me there was no investigation of the repot of abuse, which we now know was a hoax, before the raid on the YFZ Ranch. The rush to judgment leads me to believe the report of abuse was more an excuse than a factual reason for the raid by state officials. The recent change in legislation relating to the FLDS in Texas also lends creditability to singling out of the group at YFZ Ranch.

I have a degree in Theology from a fine Texas Baptist University and this entire event is beyond my personal belief. This one of the largest Anti-Christian, Anti-American abuses I have seen in my life time. If there had been an investigation and the call was legitimate then I would have a different opinion. Some how the hoards of pregnant teens evaporated after the investigation had run a few days. The caller was arrested for the false report and the hoax was revealed. The state laws were changed to target the FLDS. I also remind readers of the shocking headlines released by the Texas agencies to the media before the true facts became known. The inflammatory nature of the headlines was the Texas’ best spin doctors pandering for public support to carry out their unethical and illegal behavior.

The family unit has changed drastically during my life time. Mothers stayed home if there were children to raise and fathers supported the family when I was a child. Juvenile crime was low and the divorce rate was low. There were not as many pregnant unwed mothers or single parent households. We did not need armed guards in our schools. I could ride my bike all over town and not be mugged or molested. We did not need huge police agencies to protect the public. I guess people were not satisfied with the choices God had made for them and started to do their own thing. The desire of more and more stuff and a big house in a better school district drove the wife to work, leaving someone else to raise the children. If progress has been made by women it has come at great cost to our children and the family unit. As a nation of people we are on our way to ruin for our defiance of God’s direction for us. My guess is the Texas officials were not doing God’s work on the day of the raid; they were serving the Prince of this world to destroy a group of people who were trying to live in the past and follow God’s direction as they understood it.

Kathy G said...

I think your poem is wonderful as well, bless your heart.

I agree with every word that's been written so far here today. I wish I could express my feelings and thoughts as beautifully as each of you do.

The way these people are being treated certainly isn't the way the God I believe in would have us treat others.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

I think your poem would make a great folk song, much like the protest songs of the old Wobblies.

blog648 said...

johnnyboy nailed it when he said: "the forces at work seem to by a combination of just plain old baptist religious bigotry and feminist moral revulsion at the fact that women are dedicating their lives to their children and families."

Grits, don't take your wife's criticism too much to heart. I love the poem or song or whatever you want to call it. I'm going to quote it in my own blog and, BTW, I've already linked to this one.

Thanks for the work that you're doing here. Please keep at it.

kbp said...

This Eldorado Hoax is looking like the beginning of an effort to brainwash the children so they can realize and understand how they are victims.

"Officials were initially worried the raid would turn into "another Waco,""

They claim success by preventing injuries a battle with the sect could have created, claims absent support of any record within the past few decades of violent battles the FLDS has been a part of.

I see that as a lame cover for actions that I've suspected had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with saving "Sarah". (Sheriff Doran's 'I reckon so...' type response in an interview to the fact "Sarah" would have been 14 when she concieved her first child; "PROBABLY")

Sorry for the repeat to all that have seen this, but I feel it needs repeating (often).

(part of it)
In the Doran interview he mentions "CPS", often shifting responsibility to them (CYA). This little stirng of questions and comments illustrate it best;

Mankin: And, what was the nature of that call?

Doran: A 16-year-old girl called to say that she was at the YFZ Ranch and that she had been abused.

Mankin: Physical abuse, or sexual abuse?

Doran: She reported being physically abused, even to the point of needing medical treatment. And, I believe there was a second call from the girl.

Mankin: Didn’t she also claim to be the mother of an 8 month old baby?

Doran: I believe that to be the case. She also said she was pregnant again.

Mankin: Okay, if she was 16 and her birthday was in early January, as described in the warrant, calculating the age of her baby and an extra nine months for pregnancy, that would make her 14 at the time the baby was conceived.

Doran: Probably.

Mankin: Wouldn’t that also indicate that there had been sexual abuse of her as a child?

Doran: I can’t argue with that.

Mankin: So, that was enough probable cause?

Doran: The request from CPS was our probable cause, but we combined that with information that myself and others have gathered over the past four years. All of that went on the affidavit requesting a warrant.

He doesn't know much, but admits helping (as we all knew).

"...that would make her 14?" "PROBABLY"

Unknown said...

Would you please write an op-ed for the New York Times? This analysis is spot on. Living in a liberal community in the New York area, no one cares about these people because they offend the Gospel of Feminism. Well, you can bet I didn't bring up my daughter this way, but that's the point. The Great Texas Kidnap is an attack on culture (genocide), a Christian-right attack on an offending sect, a political attack by locally threatened officials. It is anti-American, anti-Constitution. What a joke that Mainstream America thinks it's figured out the REAL secret to successful living.

StapletonAndStapleton said...

Dear Grits,
I have really enjoyed your blog. I am writing about criminal justice issues in Brownsville, Texas. I thought you might be interested:

Anonymous said...

Grits, you mind if I pound out a melody for your poem? Donated of course. No strings attached. Then, if you want, someone else can arrange and sing it. Then it would be cool to use it as a backdrop for a YouTube moving picture video of the bad news. Nothing moves like a moving picture put to music.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

By all means, anon, I'd be flattered. :)

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To be a song, though, it probably needs a chorus, and maybe a bridge, so play with it however you need to - it was just sort of tossed out there. best,

Anonymous said...

If you are legitimately wondering if women in the sect are coerced or making free choices about their self determination, look at the real world disparity between how many people leave the sect, and how many people from the outside are flocking to join.

There is definitely a time and place for comparative philosophizing and theoreticals, but if a majority of FLDS members leave, as you say, but the religion isn't drawing a comparable or greater number of new recruits, it's obvious that people, by and large, aren't seeing a utopian Shangri-la in the FLDS way of life. And if being born into freedom is man's natural state, and he gravitates towards it and seeks happiness for his life, why has the FLDS way of life not become the social standard? Because it's highly undesirable and considered unjust to the majority of people. Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, and other major religions caught hold and flourished over time because a good number of people over history saw something in these religions they could relate to and benefit from.

That doesn't mean an undesirable way of life should be annihilated by the government. My only point is that when people are left to their own devices and reason, by and large, they do not seek what you're positing may be a legitimately free life. The sect offers the "freedom" of living in ideological isolation under authority, the same kind of "freedom" people have mistakenly sought in fascism.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To 6:43, good points, and I did not intend to imply there's some "utopian Shangri-la in the FLDS way of life." That's why I linked to the three Orcinus posts, to give as full a picture as possible of who we're talking about and the criticisms leveled against them.

However, your point could also be made of mainstream Christianity, which loses people every generation, too, like Quarkstomper's wife, who disagree with its view of women's role. The fact that more people leave the church than stay there does not invalidate the decisions of those who remain.

God gives us all free will and everyone must follow their own path. To the extent FLDS does not forcibly impose this lifestyle on their kids, that significantly undermines the "brainwashing" critique. To the extent they do, it's wrong. But from the evidence presented to the Judge at the 14-day hearingthat's not what's happening with most of these families.

More broadly than FLDS, there are many strains of fundamentalist Mormonism (see this pdf chart from the SLC Tribune) and also independents who left any given sect but continue to live the fundamentalist "principle." Are their kids next?

Not to mention if it's really possible to take a religious group's kids based on the arguments DFPS investigator Angela Voss' testimony, every Catholic or evangelical Christian who forbids their teen to use contraception would fall under her expansive (or as the WashPost said, "unusual") definition of "abuse." The values Voss criticized, and the arguments on which the judge's decision hinged, could arguably apply to many thousands of families across the state, not just fundamentalist Mormons, and not just theoretically.

Anonymous said...

DNA will tell the tale. Women who marry younger than the legal age and bear children are moleted. Point over. They do not have free will and this is called stutary rape no matter how much the girl agrees. When the DNA shows how young the mom was to some of these kids, maybe some of you bleeding hearts will reconsider. Religion or no religion, no one has the right to rape and force young children to have children.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

How does DNA tell someone's age?

Anonymous said...

Uhhhh, Mother Theresa was part of the problem in the world. The Catholic Curch tells people to accept their position in life, and submit to the Church. And don't wear condoms, they're bad for your health. Never mind that AIDS thing, it's the condoms that are bad.

I sincerely believe that if there is a Hell, Mother Theresa is roasting in it.

kbp said...

Who's to Blame?

...strategy for CPS

"...the Texas Department of Child Protective Services (CPS) has also provided written guidelines about what to expect and how to best care for these children...

The document points out that they "are socialized to believe that sexual activity with adults is positive."

Note to Grits;
These word verifications sometimes are impossible to read.

Kathy G said...

Also in the CPS strategy article:

"The documents note: "Electronics, including TV and radio, are prohibited" and "their only significant holiday" is "April 6th" - the birthday of another former FLDS leader, Joseph Smith."

Incredible. That is sooo NOT true it made me laugh. Joseph Smith's birthday is Dec. 23rd - if I'm not mistaken. They most likely celebrate April 6th as the birth date of Jesus Christ.

If CPS put this obvious falsehood in there, how can we believe any of it? The statement that they're "socialized to believe that sexual activity with adults is positive" is a NOT a fact. CPS seems to twist everything to suit their agenda. I don't believe a word they say.

W W Woodward said...

"I sincerely believe that if there is a Hell, Mother Theresa is roasting in it."

Well, Well, Rage, Since you seem to be so eager to pass judgment on people who do not agree with you, maybe you and she will have an opportunity to discuss this issue face to face some day.

Kathy G said...

Also, I don't think Joseph Smith was ever a leader of the FLDS church. The FLDS broke with the LDS church which he founded.

Ya know what? Just because they say it, doesn't make it true :-)

kbp said...


April 6, 1830 - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is organized by Joseph Smith, Jr. and others at Fayette, New York.

The Local Crank said...

"The documents note: "Electronics, including TV and radio, are prohibited" and "their only significant holiday" is "April 6th" - the birthday of another former FLDS leader, Joseph Smith."

Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate holidays, either. Nor do they believe in blood transfusions (taking Leviticus literally). Does CPS intend to apply this new standard to them as well? Catholics and many Protestants don't believe in birth control; couldn't that be argued as abusing sexually active children? Having the government "monitor" religions to see if they are suitable is a VERY slippery slope. Indians know this all to well; gov't paranoia over Wovoka's Ghost Dance led to the assassination of Sitting Bull and the Wounded Knee Massacre.

Anonymous said...

I've always consideered myself a feminist. I've worked hard to ensure that I have choices in my career and equal pay for my work. One of the main reasons for that is that I'm a divorced single parent and my main priority in life was to provide a good life for my Son despite the fact that there wan no husband around. The FLDS have few husbands so these women are pretty independent and I think it is great that they care so much about their children.

I was raised to believe that sex was a positive act. CPS however, seems to think that socializing children to think of sex as a posiive act is wrong. Do they think that by some miracle when girls turn 18 they will suddenly turn their thoughst 360 degrees and think of sex as positive and be able to fulfil their role as adults successfully?

This whole mess is indeed on very slippery ground!

Thanks Grits for all your careful writing about this issue.

kbp said...

Texas Nightmare?

"..."We can't seem to get anyone on the phone with authority to make that happen and the mothers don't even know the seriousness of the situation," said Amanda Chisholm, a [Texas RioGrande Legal Aid] attorney
The legal aid society, which represents 48 mothers, said one 2-year-old child lost a severe amount of weight while staying at the San Angelo Coliseum.
TRLA said the organization was told two days ago that the child was in shock and lethargic, but has received no new information since then about where the child is or regarding her current health situation."

Ron in Houston said...

Where to the FLDS find these women? I tried the whole Biblical submission thing on my wife and she told me I should just forget about that.

Anonymous said...

To the extent FLDS does not forcibly impose this lifestyle on their kids, that significantly undermines the "brainwashing" critique..

To what extent is the "brainwashing theory" even valid? Is this science or pseudoscience? Who's qualified to make such a diagnosis?

Anonymous said...

The document points out that they "are socialized to believe that sexual activity with adults is positive."

If this is true then caretakers will be witnessing the childen engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior.

lila said...

I have been reading your blog since the start of this debacle. Thank you for your continued updates.

A couple years ago I spent several months researching the FDLS and talked to members and some that left the FDLS.

The one thing I learned was that these people can not all be painted by the same brush anymore than my Christianity can be compared to others of my faith. Even though today's world wants to pigeon hole anyone of faith as "far right intolerant loons" or "cult members" with no will of their own.

To me--the TX case is an exercise to deprogram 400 plus children. The fact they had to trample the constitution to do it is scary.
Who is next?

I am not a fan of FDLS lifestyle and if they have actual cases then by all means--prosecute. However, this does not seem to be headed in that direction.

As far as the marriage argument goes--I am old enough to remember couples heading south to get married because there was no age limit.
Today--we pass out condoms to 12 yr olds and condemn those that teach abstinence.

We lie to our youth by telling them a condom protects when any adult knows it really does not.
We lie to our youth that anything goes and they are enlightened and forget personal responsibility.

Polygamy in this country extends to a large group of people--FDLS, Christians, Muslims, and many more. Heck--the Islamic culture in this country is down right barbaric to their girls--where is the outrage for them?

But what gets me is that people in this country--including the media--are ignoring the danger to all of our rights if this is allowed to stand unchallenged.

Not even conservative pundits are bothering to educate themselves. They get on TV and spout things like "a sex slave compound" with zero fact to back it up.

The public buys it because FDLS is unpopular. Well when they come after more main stream religions and they will--what then?

Anonymous said...

Is anyone aware of a mainstream religion in Texas whose adherents practice ritual mutilation of male babies? If there is such, are they in jeopardy of being raided by CPS, having their kids taken from them, and being labled child abusers by pundits and main stream media?

[Grits, your word verification program is going berserk. It is almost incomprehensible at times, and at times it requires me to pay attention to it twice, even when I get it right the first time.]

Anonymous said...

Doran Williams said:
Is anyone aware of a mainstream religion in Texas whose adherents practice ritual mutilation of male babies? If there is such, are they in jeopardy of being raided by CPS, having their kids taken from them, and being labled child abusers by pundits and main stream media?

Doran Williams, I mentioned female genital mutilation as an unacceptable religious practice that has been made illegal, and you called it a fantasy.

You're a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:38.

I really do try not to be hypocritical, and will appreciate all feedback indicating that I have slipped into it. So, please, show me just where I called it -- female genital mutilation as an unacceptable religious practice that has been made illegal -- a fantasy.

Anonymous said...

Scott, I was greatly moved by your grandfather experience and like your Ki Yi Yippee Yippee Yay. And my heart aches for the YFZ children who are currently bereft of parents and grandparents to love them as only parents and grandparent can.

How about this takeoff on "Git along little dogies"?

Yippee ki yi yay,
Git along little Mormons.
It's your misfortune
And none of my own.

Yippee ki yi yay,
Git along little Mormons.
You know CPS will
Provide a new home.

Peace from a Baptist brother who resents linking "Baptist" and "bigot" as though they were synonymous.

Rev. Charles Kiker

Anonymous said...

"I really do try not to be hypocritical, and will appreciate all feedback indicating that I have slipped into it. So, please, show me just where I called it -- female genital mutilation as an unacceptable religious practice that has been made illegal -- a fantasy."

Earlier Doran Williams said:
You have allowed your imagination to run amok with fantasies of genital mutilation, child porn, systematic sexual assault of girls and boys, massive, systematic inpregnation of children, and so on. And then you use your own fantasies to beat up on those of us who think that decisions about the welfare of children should be based on facts and evidence!! Please, get real!!"

I had pointed out that our country had made female genital mutilation illegal, even though it was a religious practice, because it was socially unacceptable. I was making the point that religious belief doesn't legally protect a practice absolutely.

Anonymous said...

Ron in Houston said...

Where to the FLDS find these women? I tried the whole Biblical submission thing on my wife and she told me I should just forget about that.

That's weird. She was OK with it when I asked her.

W. W Woodward said...

Well, Well, Rage, Since you seem to be so eager to pass judgment on people who do not agree with you,

Now there's some irony right there. I've been supporting the civil liberties of these FLDS folks, and have been called a pedophile lover, idiot, and numerous other things by people who are no doubt "christians."

Anonymous said...

Right, you were fantasizing about female mutilation at the Eldorado Ranch. And using your fantasy to support the removal of the kids from their parents, and criticize those of us who insist that decisions about the welfare of children be based on fact, not fantasy.

I did not characterize as a fantasy "female genital mutilation as an unacceptable religious practice that has been made illegal".

Now, explain how my question about ritual mutilation of male children by a religious sect makes me a hypocrite: "Is anyone aware of a mainstream religion in Texas whose adherents practice ritual mutilation of male babies? If there is such, are they in jeopardy of being raided by CPS, having their kids taken from them, and being labled child abusers by pundits and main stream media?"

Anonymous said...

Really, Rev. Charles:

Yippee ki yi yay,
Git along little Mormons.
It's your misfortune
And none of my own.

Is it that you consider the misfortune of those Mormon kids to be of their own making? Is that what you are saying?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Doran, in Rev. Kiker's rendition, the zealous state of Texas is the singing cowboy, and the Rev is lampooning their insensitivity treating Mormons as cattle.

Also, the "misfortune" language tracks the original song lyrics. I actually thought it was brilliant, and better than mine!

Anonymous said...

"Where to the FLDS find these women? I tried the whole Biblical submission thing on my wife and she told me I should just forget about that."

I have to say that I find it difficult to believe that the men in these polygamous relationships are really as "in charge" as has been assumed. In one-on-one relationships, we (women) are very good at arranging things so that men THINK they are the boss, when they really aren't. Dr. Laura has a best-selling book devoted to how women can make men think they are the boss.

Do you really believe that a man who is so completely outnumbered by wives is the real boss? I don't.

kbp said...

The Baptists say; "They need most of all to be placed in homes where they'll be taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and released from their religious bondage."


"Other than the polygamy thing, which we see as immoral, they're honest people, hard-working. There's a lot to admire about them. They're clean, have well-behaved children ... "

At times I'm sensing they have a different Jesus here.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I'm with you, Jerri, a man with three or more wives seems highly unlikely to be in charge of anything. In the SLC Tribune column linked in the post, Kirby observes, "I could have held my own with two wives. It's possible to play two wives - two of anything - against each other. Three's a different story. Three's the start of a mob." ;)

kbp said...

Missing children, but... "But Crimmins reiterated Sunday that DFPS can account for all the children. "There are no unaccounted for children. Our list reconciles," he said."

Bean Counter;
'This list reconciles with itself, and my previous list reconciled with itself, and... NO, you can't see my list'

kbp said...

"We didn't invite them here, but by God we are going to make sure they follow the law," Hilderbran said. "This violates Texas values and our lifestyle and the way we see traditional relationships. We are not going to tolerate it."

Harvey Hilderbran picture
Looks like he's spotted one of them multi-wife fellas that lack "Texas values"!
(Sorry, google does not allow pictures to be tagged into Comments, only links)

Anonymous said...

"I could have held my own with two wives. It's possible to play two wives - two of anything - against each other."

To me, even that is naive. Look at the Old Testament patriarchs. Both Abraham and Jacob were whip-sawed between their two wives. They were in charge of complete tribes, but not their own homes.

Anonymous said...

At times I'm sensing they have a different Jesus here.

Bingo. Anything written by Paul is vastly different than the message Jesus actually spoke. Directly contradictory, in many ways.

blog648 said...

I think it's interesting that Rev. Kiker resents linking Baptists and bigots, but doesn't mind blurring the line between polygamists and mainstream Mormons who don't preach or practice polygamy. Your little ditty about little Mormons reinforces stereotypes that don't fit, and confuses people who don't know (or care) about the distinctions.

The reason it's of concern is because many are confusing mainstream LDS with this FLDS sect, and persecution has already begun. A group of LDS missionaries eating lunch in a San Angelo restaurant were threatened by a man brandishing a knife. An LDS couple in Victoria were shocked to find that neighbors had vandalized their property by spray painting anti-Mormon slogans and threats.

Judge Walther demonstrated her own ignorance about the distinctions when she suggested mainstream Mormons be called on to monitor FLDS prayer sessions, a request that baffled and offended many mainstream Mormons, who resent being tarred by the same broad brush. And with the combination of the Baptist Church buses and this little ditty about little Mormons penned by a Baptist minister, it looks pretty obvious that the Baptists are at the center of this bigoted crusade to stamp out this strange, unorthodox sect. Furthermore, there's a former FLDS lady who's converted to the Baptist Church and has received a calling to the FLDS, and is eager to receive as many of these FLDS children into her care so she can begin deprograming them and converting them to be Baptists. Sure looks like persecution and bigotry to me.

Anonymous said...

johnnyboy - You couldn’t be more wrong about feminism being the force behind this! Feminism isn't about forcing women to leave their families, all accusations by Pat Robertson aside. Feminism is about choice - women being free to choose work or family or both, and about not being expected or coerced into either. Just like men. To frame this mess between FLDS and CPS as a feminism v. religious issue is just plain wrongheaded, ignorant, and insulting to feminists everywhere. Feminism may not agree with FLDS teachings regarding the role of women in the world, but it wouldn't force those women and girls to assume certain other roles. The idea that feminism is a driving force behind this - are you kidding me?! Rick Perry and all the conservative bearcats have nothing, NOTHING, in common with feminism. This is about what conservative ideologues are always about - self-righteousness and forcing their beliefs and what they think is moral and right on other people. Definitely not feminism. And another thing – by viewing FDLS as a “community centered almost entirely around female interests, female values, and female strengths,” you make it very clear that you know nothing about feminism to begin with. Feminists would never claim a certain set of values or belief are inherently female or feminine. That kind of narrow-minded, archaic thinking is the sole providence of patriarchy.

Furthermore, feminism is not always the antithesis of religion. Some of us feminists go to church and believe in God. We just think all those conservative right-wing types are wrong in their interpretations of the Bible.

As for you, grits –
As with johnnyboy, framing this as a feminism v. religion debate is an incorrect dichotomy. You can’t really have an in-depth analysis of this debacle when you don’t ever have the parameters right. But, I continue - "When feminism's ideological victory finally came..." when was this? I hope you're not about to fall off the edge into some screed about how we're in post-feminist times! I’ll be a post-feminist in the post-patriarchy. Stating “baseline, essentially ‘feminist’ position, though, errs when it fails to understand that liberation may come in many different forms” is again plain wrong. It’s not the feminists that misunderstand this. It’s the pious religious right that is running this whole show. This isn’t feminism v. religion. It’s religion v. religion. Get that straight. I have never been more disappointed in this blog (with which I usually agree). Blaming feminism for this debacle is disgusting and misogyny of the worst kind. You can join every conservative male in blaming the evil feminist monster for destroying the moral fabric of our society.

Lastly, I will openly say that I do not speak for all feminists – we are far too diverse a group to have our beliefs codified into one code or set of beliefs. It would be presumptions of me to act as if I spoke for all feminists – and it is of you. It seems to me that if you fellas want to have a discussion about this, you might want to start by getting a basic grasp about what feminism is.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Anond.

You write here about feminism as though there is one and only one strain of feminist thought and philosophy. Do you want to try for some intelligent nuance in another post?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

It's naive to think this isn't about BOTH feminism and religion, and I'm sorry if saying so engenders your disappointment. The blogger at Orcinus is no Christian Right advocate, and IMO feminist sympathies for Angela Voss' arguments are a big reason why folks like ACLU and others on the traditional left aren't speaking out: Forced to choose between feminism and a civil libertarian view, the former frequently wins out or else cows the latter into silence. This is partially IMO because modern liberalism itself as an ideology has lost its bearings.

The tepid definition of the "feminist" I offered in the text was "that a young women should have a range of options and the ability to choose among them." I don't think that's misdefining my terms.

In the 'agree to disagree' category, IMO the state's justification for what they did in court was simply NOT a religion vs. religion argument, it's a pretty boldly feminist one.

I've been accused of many things since launching this blog but I think this is a first for "misogyny of the worst kind"! I don't presume to speak for anyone, much less all feminists, and feel I've caveated my statements here adequately. But I also don't think you can talk about this case and the reaction to it by the public without examining this twisted confluence of interest and ideology. best,

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Whoops, meant to say ... tepid definition of the "feminist position"

Anonymous said...

Doran Williams said:
"Right, you were fantasizing about female mutilation at the Eldorado Ranch."

No, I wasn't, and never did. Simple as that. Go actually READ and learn for yourself. If you choose not to, at least don't continue to willfully lie, as I have informed you that I never said or implied that. It makes you, not me, look stupid, so I'm not sure why I'm even doing you the favor of pointing out your error.

I said:
"Some cultures or fundamentalist religions believe in female genital mutilation, and our country and states had to pass laws to address the needs of women and children who were being physically mutilated at the hands of the devout. Was it persecutorial and unconstitutional for legislators to place females' and children's rights above the rights of others to force physical religious compliance from the helpless?"

Anonymous said...

Grits, isn't is also naive to think that feminism is an issue specific to women, when it's actually a cause meant to shed light on human rights disparities between the male have's and the female have-not's?

Do you think it's mere coincidence that the FLDS was originated by men, has only male prophets, and gives younger women to elder men?

I agree with anond's disappointment in Grits' and others' blaming feminism for people's attitudes towards the FLDS sect. If a woman, given every opportunity in the world to educate herself, chooses to enter a polyamorous relationship, whether she's making a mistake or not, at least she had a reasonable opportunity to weigh the pros and cons of singular versus plural relationships.

But that's not what we have in the FLDS sects. Why? If FLDS believers think their way of life is best, why don't the allow it to be tested by its individuals engaging in experiences outside their communes? Why don't those in power and those who make the rules trust the followers to experience the outside world in a curious manner, then make the decision for themselves as to whether or not they still believe in fundamental Mormonism?

It's not only the outside world these people don't trust. Those in power don't trust their followers to make the best choices for themselves. This is the opposite of Democracy and the American idea that our reason and the public forum of competing ideas are what make America great.

It's contradictory to say that choosing freedom (i.e. predictability) through fascism is still freedom. That's like saying electing a dictator means you're free because you chose the dictator, or you're free inside a prison because you chose your own cell.

It is not freedom, not for women or men, so it's anti-female in that it's anti-human rights as understood through American values.

Mike Chapman said...

Grits, You got some sick people hangin' out around here. Mother Theresa should burn in Hell? Female Genital Mutilation is a fantasy? That's just a sampling of what I just scanned. You become like the company you keep eventually. Careful.

What I'm really picking up is that this isn't a serious forum on the topic of sex slavery and the situation with the YFZ compound.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Mike, if you want to discuss "sex slavery" you're simply on the wrong topic and discussion string entirely. That's not discussing the YFZ case "seriously," and is certainly not responsive to my post: it's just spin.

As for the company I keep, you're here. What does that say about me?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Re: "isn't is also naive to think that feminism is an issue specific to women"

Where did I say it was?

Mike Chapman said...

Fair point on me being here.

New information coming out right now about underage pregnancies on the compound.

This is ridiculous.

TxBluesMan said...

Fox News is reporting that of the 53 14-17 year old girls taken into the state's protective custody, 31 are either pregnant or have already had children.

The Texas teen pregnancy rate in 2001 was 4.6%.

According to the above figure, the FLDS teen pregnancy rate was 58.4%.

But there is no indication of abuse.

Anonymous said...

How many were 16-17?

Anonymous said...

"How many were 16-17?"

If they were impregnated by men who were already married, it's abuse, or rather, sexual assault.

If they were impregnated by men older than them by three years and they were not married to them in a single partner marriage, it's statutory rape.

If they were impregnated by boys their age, sexual assualt would still be possible, but it would depend on the facts of the case.

If they were impregnated by men within three years of their age who were not already married, the prosecutor would have discretion in determining if anyone should be prosecuted.

Age alone is not the only deciding factor in whether or not a crime has been committed.

Anonymous said...

Some of you may be able to shed some light on this. Orthodox Jews in Texas have been practicing ritual circumcisions on baby boys for a long time. I attended a ceremony of that nature in Austin in the early 70s.

Why hasn't CPS paid that on-going, historical practice of aggravated assault against minors as something worthy of their attention? Based on CPS justification for taking kids away from parents at the Eldorado Ranch, CPS and The Texas Rangers could raid certain temples or synagoges where ritual circumcision is both taught and practiced, looking for records of whom has been circumcised there, and then remove the kids from parents and prosecute the Rabbis.

Why hasn't that happened? Here -- as a way of stimulating discussion -- are my Three Theories Of Why Ritual Circumcision Is Not As Bad As Plural Marriages to 14 Year Old Girls: [1] The Jewish Community in Texas is as strong as the Baptist Community, making it just too difficult for the Harvey Hilderbrans to commit mischief; [2] Republican lawmakers and governors need the Jewish vote, pursue the Jewish vote, and so do not want to offend them; [3] Slicing the foreskin from a baby boy's penis without anesthetics does not offend the prevailing feminist dogma at CPS.

Pile on.....

TxBluesMan said...

The prosecutor always has discretion on prosecuting or not.

In Texas, statutory rape falls under the Sexual Assault and Aggravated Sexual Assault statute.

In any event, a rate that is more than 12 times the state average is indicative of a problem.

With this information, combined with the very limited information in the affidavits, a pattern is beginning to emerge. Remember, the second affidavit of Ranger Long named names of the children along with the 'husbands.' None of the husbands mentioned were under age 30, while the girls were all 17 or younger.

It looks like a teenage girl had a 3 in 5 chance of being impregnated by an adult male, over 10 years their senior.

And the parents were allowing this to happen. As soon as the younger girls 'came of age' the same would happen to them. Thank God that CPS stepped in.

It also is a point of concern that of the children, a vast majority is reportedly girls.

TxBluesMan said...

What would you prosecute the Jews for?

You have to have an offense.

Anonymous said...

hey doran - try reading the last paragraph of my post. or was it not nuanced enought for you? As for the circumcism argument, I agree with your logic. You can also add to the list of why that is not prosecuted that many non-Jewish people have their sons circumcised at the hospital not for religious reasons, but to avoid “social stigma.”

and no hard feelings to you grits - i'll keep reading your blog daily as i find it stimulating. although i was disappointed in this post, i am continuously disappointed in discussions of feminism in society. i haven’t seen any information suggesting that feminist sentiment specifically had kept the aclu from acting as it should have. there's no excuse for that. As for the debate over whether this is a feminist v. religious issue or, as I suggested, a religion v. religion issue, I still think it’s religion v. religion, with one side being the so-called “enlightened” religious (who have issues with total female subordination but not with making husbands the head of the house or forbidding women from entering the ministry, as Baptists do) and the other so-called backwards.

i want to distance myself from the anonymous posting that came later than mine - i am not advocating for state intervention in the FLDS compound, just trying to clear up a few issues on feminism. should have made that clearer. or maybe that was a little too off topic.

Anonymous said...

Here's the AP story on the high percentage of pregnancies among girls age 14 to 17 at the Eldorado compound.

If TxBluesman's math is correct - and there's no reason to suspect it's not, there were a significantly large number of teen girls being impregnated by older men.

I agree with TxBluesman that was apparent good cause for CPS to step in and remove the kids.

Though I doubt the emerging facts will change many minds around here.

Anonymous said...

I am compelled to respond to blog648's post. Blog 648 obviously does not know me. I do understand the distinction between mainstream Mormons and FLDS. All FLDS are Mormons but not all Mormons are FLDS. I was pastor of a church in a small town in Idaho where Mormons (mainstream) constituted a plurality of the population. I participated with Mormon leaders in funerals and weddings. I spoke at one of their Wards at a Thanksgiving service. I appreciated their family values, and respected their religious beliefs. My little take-off on "Git along little dogies" certainly had no intention of confusing mainstream LDS and FLDS, and it was castigating the rounding up of these little FLDS children and herding them off to
CPS care like little dogies being herded off to Wyoming. My first thought about the Eldorado thing was that it was (and remains) at best a terrible blunder and at worst a trampling on the constitutional rights of people whose beliefs and practices I do not share, but for whom I will stand in defense of their first and fourth amendment rights.

Blog648 gives the impression that he/she paints all Baptists with the same brush. He/she needs to learn a little church history mingled with American history and discover that these awful Baptists had a great deal of influence in getting the religion clauses in the first amendment. He/she needs to meet some Baptists, maybe starting with me, and meet some of the Baptists at Texas Freedom Network, and at the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and understand that there is a host of Baptists who are not at all like Jerry Falwell, et. al. I noticed on TV news church buses from some First Baptist Church at the compound to help haul the kids away, and suspected that it might be something of a religious inquisition that instigated the whole mess. But there is as much distance between me and Baptists of similar mind and heart to mine, as there is between mainstream LDS and FLDS.

So I am and will continue to be highly offended when posts link bigotry with Baptists. And I await an apology from blog648.

Rev. Charles Kiker
retired Baptist Minister from
Tulia, Texas

PS and BTW, I was one of the original whistle blowers on the Tulia drug sting fiasco and am well acquainted with Scott aka Grits.

Anonymous said...

One of my last sentences was incomplete. I should have said that I and Baptists who share my heart and mind are as different from Baptist bigots as mainstream Mormons are different from FLDS.

Rev. Charles Kiker, Tulia

Anonymous said...


If a Rabbi, who is not a licensed physician, slices the foreskin from a baby boy's penis, he has assaulted that boy. It is an aggravated assault either because of the sexual nature of the act, or because the victim is a minor, or both.

The parents who deliver a child to a Rabbi for that purpose could be prosecuted as parties to the offense, just as a woman who delivers a female to a man for non-consentual sex can be prosecuted as a party to the offense of sexual assault (rape), or prostitution if the sex is consentual.

There is no rational legal distinction to be made between plural marriages to 14 year old women and ritual circumcision of baby boys. Let me put this differently, for clarification, as the statutes addressing these acts do have some rational distinctions.

Both acts are claimed to be at the command of God. The actors in both situations claim biblical, or the Jewish equivalent, support for the acts. Both kinds of acts are defended as being the exercise of religion. But at law, in Texas, both acts are assaults. Both acts arguably constitute child abuse under current law.

So, there is no rational distinction that CPS can make to justify taking kids from FLDS parents, but leaving boy kids with Jewish parents who accept the religious practice of ritual circumcision by a Rabbi.

If there is no rational distinction to be made by CPS, the Long Ranger, or Mr. District Attorney, then why is one religious group being hounded by the State of Texas in all its armed glory and the other is left alone?

Hint, hint. Politics. Someone at a very high level in Texas State Government went to CPS and told them they needed to get going on the FLDS in Schliecher County. Whoever it was said "jump," and CPS management and DPS Long Rangers said "how high, boss?"

Given that the entire State government is run by Republicans, it shouldn't be too hard to figure out who the movers were.

Anonymous said...

31 of 53 teen girls at FLDS ranch are pregnant or had baby

On Monday, CPS also revised its total count of children in state custody to 463, up one from Friday. Azar said the change resulted from finally getting the children out of the San Angelo Coliseum and into foster facilities around the state, where they were able to get a more accurate count.

Of those 463 children, 250 are girls and 213 are boys

These children seem to keep multiplying, even in captivity.

Interestingly, while CPS didn't clarify the population demographics of the children taken into custody, they certainly made it appear as if there were a far greater number of girls than there were boys. This kind of misinformation led many to believe the FLDS were "culling their herd" of young males.

The initial stories seemed to focus on a relatively small portion of the children as the "lost boys" (males that were carted off to a "youth camp for troubled teens"), and certainly implied that those were the only boys in custody. Today we learn the percentage of males to females were much closer to 50/50 than before.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Dave, Nothing they find now can be considered "good cause" for what they did when they didn't have that information, if it turns out to be accurate.

This new information could change my mind on some aspects of the case if it turns out to be true. I'd like to hear these claims made in court, though, instead of just on Fox News.

Speaking of which, Txbluesman, from the beginning CPS has one set of hyped allegations they make in the press, then they get into court and the numbers get dramatically scaled back. They'd made all sorts of hyped allegations in public before the 14 day hearing, then got to court and claimed only five girls were pregnant or had kids between 16-19.

Did they really miscount the number of pregnant teens by 600%? Maybe. They didn't know how many kids they'd seized for two weeks, so it's possible we're witnessing such an extreme level of incompetence.

If this new count turns out to be accurate, it makes the whole overreaction even more tragic, since their zeal to move in with an army with no complaining victims will make it difficult or impossible to prosecute.

TxBluesMan said...


I'm afraid you will have to do better than that.

The 'offense' you described does not meet the elements of the offense of Aggravated Assault, TPC 22.02.

First, under Texas law, it is not a sexually based offense unless you have penetration of or by genitalia, etc; or you have the intent to arouse or sexually gratify any person. Neither of those apply here.

Second, the fact that the so-called 'victim' is a minor has no bearing on Aggravated Assault.

Since Aggravated Assault is not a possible charge, again, where is the offense.

(Rather than shoot down all of your arguments at once, I would prefer for you to try and cook up another bogus charge, and then I will shoot that one down too)

Try and find a charge that fits - you can't just make it up as you go...

Anonymous said...

If this new count turns out to be accurate, it makes the whole overreaction even more tragic, since their zeal to move in with an army with no complaining victims will make it difficult or impossible to prosecute.

I don't know if this is true as far as a criminal investigation and prosecution goes. It would be interesting to see, however, if any people at the compound or with the FLDS ends up suing high ranking FLDS members for various damages.

kbp said...

Same link Anon 6:37 put up;
A total of 53 girls between the ages of 14 and 17 are in state custody after a raid 3½ weeks ago at the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado.

If accurate, the testimony reported was not accurate.

Proceed carefully with this story. It could change the picture on how the entire ranch was viewed, if every household was involved.

kbp said...


It hit an unbelievable number of papers within the last hour!

All from the same source, "Child Protective Services spokesman Darrell Azar".

Texas better hope they did it all correct if there can be that many cases!

kbp said...


The way they count at the CPS, I'll wait for something more to come along to confirm this number.

Anonymous said...

Re: "isn't is also naive to think that feminism is an issue specific to women"

Where did I say it was?"

Grits, I take you to have this attitude because you rightfully point out that if we don't stand up for the marginalized among us, we are inviting oppression unto ourselves. Yet when a fascist group has customs and ideas that are most burdensome to the women and female children in that group, you don't seem to question what it says about our society as a whole if we don't speak out against that form of oppression once it reaches criminally and civilly unacceptable conditions.

blog648 said...

Rev. Kiker:

I don't agree with how the FLDS have chosen to interpret their doctrines or how they live their lives. I believe that crimes that have been committed should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Prosecute the guilty, but don't punish the innocent, and I'm afraid that much harm is being done to these kids, who are in no way guilty of whatever wrongs have been committed. Because this case has been so badly mishandled, very few real crimes will be successfully prosecuted, and that's part of the tragedy. Also, constitutional freedoms are being trampled, and that harms all Americans.

Incidentally, 40 years ago today, 28 April 1968, I boarded a plane in San Antonio Texas and flew back to my home in Utah after serving a two year LDS Church mission in Texas. I had served in Dallas, Kingsville, Kerrville and Orange. A few months earlier, when I was transferred from Kerrville to Orange, I got on the bus, hid my face in my hands, and cried all the way to Comfort. I must have loved it there, I sure hated to leave. I've always had fond memories of the time I spent in Texas and the great people I met there. Come to think of it, some of them were Baptists. :)

Now that I see where you're coming from, I agree, I painted you with too broad a brush, and I apologize. This is really an inflammatory, emotional issue, and understanding and tolerance is something that seems to be in short supply. I regret that I have contributed to some of the misunderstanding, and I'm sorry I offended you.

Jack Petersen

W W Woodward said...

Bluesman & Doran - Just for information

Texas Penal Code


(a) In this code:

(8) "Bodily injury" means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.


(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly by omission, causes to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual:

(1) serious bodily injury;
(2) serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury; or
(3) bodily injury.

(c) In this section:

(1) "Child" means a person 14 years of age or younger.

(f) An offense under Subsection (a)(3) … is a felony of the third degree when the conduct is committed intentionally or knowingly.

Anonymous said...

With regard to the new count of teenage girls having children, I really wonder if and how many of them are really of age and are lying to the authorities to stay with their children. I know that I would lie like a dog to stay with my child and would tell the Leviathan that it can take its positivist "laws" about lying to government goons and shove them.

Anonymous said...

To Jack Peterson, Blog648

I can see how my "ditty" could easily be misinterpreted by people who do not know me. I accept your apology, and offer one of my own for being unintentionally offensive with my "Git along little dogies" thing. You have probably suffered much at the hands of Baptist bigots. I have too. So we have that in common.

Who knows how all this is going to come out? But I have the feeling that many innocent mothers and children are suffering. Maybe fathers as well.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:02 is me, Charles Kiker. And I apologize, Jack Petersen, for misspelling your name in that comment.

Anonymous said...

Dear Txbluesman:

I suspect you are a great example of why lawyers will always be with us, and always have clients who need to get out of trouble with The State. I have a 2006 Texas Penal Code pamphlet; if you have a 2008 edition, be sure to compare the following with yours.

Sec. 22.01 Assault

"(a) A person commits an offense if the person...intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another...."

Sec. 22.011 Sexual Assault

"(a) A person commits an offense if the person...intentionally or knowingly...causes the penetration of the sexual organ of a child by any means...."Child" means a person younger than 17 years of age who is not the spouse of the actor."

Sec. 22.02 Aggravated Assault

"(a) A person commits an offense if the person commits assault as defined in [sec.] 22.01 and the person...causes serious bodily injury to another..."

Sec. 22.021 Aggravated Sexual Assault

"(a) A person commits an offense...if the person...intentionally or knowingly...causes the penetration of the sexual organ of a child by any means...."

Sec. 22.04 Injury to a Child....

"(a) person commits an offense if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly...causes to a child...serious bodily injury...or bodily injury."

Now, there is no doubt in my mind that if you were to slice off the foreskin of a child's penis, you will have "penetrated" the sexual organ of that child, by means of a razor, scalpel or whatever it is you might chose to use.

There is no doubt in my mind that slicing off the foreskin of a child's penis causes both bodily injury and serious bodily injury. If you think not, then you would have to agree that slicing off the tippy-tip-tip of a child's left pinky would also not constitute an offense.

I strongly recommend that you not act upon your reading of the Penal Code. If you do decide to do some experimenting along this line, be prepared to spend a lot of money on a lawyer. And don't, DON'T do it in Williamson County, as the prosecutors there just luuuvvve to put people who do such things away for years and years and years.

kbp said...

Guessing here, as I suspect the CPS has often, it looks like the 31 of 53 comes from the recent additions to the numbers.

JL Ward may have something there, it's just so difficult to know what to believe at this point.

Anonymous said...


It hit an unbelievable number of papers within the last hour!"


It has occurred to me that this report is calculated to counter the stories about the hospitalized children--especially the one in intensive care. If something horrible happens to one of these children, do you suppose the government will come up with something which, essentially, boils down to:

"Better Dead than early Wed"?

W W Woodward said...

The AP story HAS to be TRUE. After all, it was printed in more than four papers. I did happen to notice the story didn't say if any of the pregnant girls are under 16 years of age.

kbp said...


There's no tellin' WTH the truth is at this time.

I can see the ill child as a reason, response to counter all the recent hits, SOP to stir stories...

or even the truth! (tough to believe from them but maybe)

If they get caught in a lie here, it will be tough to recover from, IMO. Many seem to ignore the pride factor today, but I don't.

The Local Crank said...

I'm curious as to where this factoid comes from (and if it's true):

"...but none of these girls is believed to have a legal marriage under state law"

Because obviously any criminal case hinges on the answer. If they weren't legally married, and they were younger than 17, then it's sexual assault of child, no doubt about it. If on the other hand, they were legally married, then there's no crime. And, incidentally, no justification for this entire fiasco. I'm curious though as to how CPS can state definitively how many teenage girls were or are pregnant, given their claims that they have no idea how old the children are, there's supposedly no documentation, etc. etc..

The Local Crank said...

"If on the other hand, they were legally married, then there's no crime"

Unless, of course, force was used. Texas does recognize spousal rape.

Anonymous said...

I would suspect the latest count and revised total of girls whom have been pregnant to be more of a rebuttal against the news story of merely a few days ago which stated that there were only 3 girls who were pregnant or had children (1 whom had recently reached the age of majority but was still being held, 1 who refused a pregnancy test so she was assumed pregnant, and 1 who was confirmed pregnant). As I recall, the backlash of that revelation by media and followers of this action was severe criticism against CPS. The general sentiment was "if that's all they got, they ain't got nearly enough". Thus, this "new" count was released to compensate. As Grits so finely put it when he sharpened his pencil on the subject, I won't believe it until I see it testified to in court.

A few things are obvious so far, one of them being that CPS has been waging a propaganda war in this matter since the start. Their comments to the press have rarely reconciled with their testimony to the judge. If the situation were not so tragic, it might be almost amusing to witness how CPS has repeatedly crawfished their way around. It has also not escaped my attention how they appear to be very skilled in their rhetoric, as if they've gotten away with this type of thing many times before, though perhaps never before on this scale or with this amount of media attention. I do find it unusual how to date, this case has remained "unsealed" and open for all to follow.

TxBluesMan said...

Much better Doran.

Assault with Bodily Injury is a possible charge, unless the person or his parent consented to the act, i.e. you can't file Assault on someone for a football injury...

Neither Sexual Assault or Aggravated Sexual Assault would fit. An incision is not considered to be 'penetration' for the purposes of that statute.

Aggravated Assault won't fly either - you have to have Serious Bodily Injury, and circumcision doesn't meet that level of injury - not even broken ribs necessarily meet that level. To have serious bodily injury in Texas, you have to prove that the injury caused:

a - a substantial risk of death (nope)
b - protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ (again, nope - the organ will still work)
c - serious permanent disfigurement (yet again, nope - minor scars are not considered serious, although they are disfiguring)

Injury to a Child is possible, but it has the same problem that I will address below.

Consent (see TPC Sec 22.06) - if the injury does not threaten or inflict serious bodily injury, the individual (or their parent in the case of a child) can consent to the use of force, and there is then no offense.

Sorry bout that, any more thoughts?

I can pull the case law if you want, I was just not in the mood to get on Lexis tonight.

Anonymous said...


How can you state so unequivocally that slicing off the foreskin is not penetration of the sexual organ? That act of cutting off part of the body is not an "incision", as you put it. That is a ludicrous statement. You can argue that the removal, with a razor, of a part of the foreskin is not penetration, but the Courts of Texas are going to interpret and apply that statute in the broadest possible way.

As for your parental consent argument, it stinks. Parents cannot consent to a criminal act against their children. If they do, they become parties to the offense. A licensed physician can "penetrate" or slice off some of the foreskin, because physicians are given a license to commit those kinds of assaults. Indeed, if you read the statutes strictly, every cut a physician makes on another human is arguable an assault. But society allows them to do so because the benefits generally outweigh the non-benefits. But if a doctor carves his initials into a woman's crotch area, after delivering a child, that can be considered an assaultive offense.

Your position on this might be modified if you do some research into the effects of circumcision. There is apparently a growing body of evidence, and concern, that circumcision results in a loss of sensation in the penis, which puts the act squarely within the definition of "serious bodily injury."

Of course, even if your position is correct, and assault with bodily injury is the only possible criminal offense that could be successfully prosecuted, the act of circumcision by a Rabbi could be the grounds for a CPS investigation and removal of a child from the custody of parents who particiapted in the act.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"Yet when a fascist group has customs and ideas that are most burdensome to the women and female children in that group, you don't seem to question what it says about our society as a whole if we don't speak out against that form of oppression"

Plenty of people are "speaking out" about FLDS practices. I's not as thought that point of view is being underplayed! The other side of the coin was stated aptly by an attorney friend of mine who's one of the ad litems in the case:

"If a 30 yr old woman looks me in the eye and tells me -- with determination and intelligence -- she chose this life what kind of feminist would I be to tell her how to live her life?"

Half of FLDS kids leave when they grow up. Half the marriages at YFZ were monogamous. Not every assumption about no options, etc., is verified in every case where kids have been seized.

Speak out all you want about their practices, but don't seize people's kids because of their beliefs. If there was criminal abuse, prosecute it. The rest is religious bigotry.

Mike Chapman said...


You live in a fantasy world.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

How odd, then, Mike, that you drop by every day to visit! What fantasy are you talking about?

Mike Chapman said...


First, I don't come by every day. That's typical of the exaggerative arguments you make. I initially found you because you were a guest op-ed in the DMN. I'm researching the general subject area and have been very disturbed by the happenings at the compound. I was a little incredulous that seemingly intelligent non-members of the cult would be defending their practice of statutory rape in the name of religion. Still am. Reading your comments and those of the some of the deviants you attract has helped me to understand. The little comments you make as rebuttal confirm my suspicions. Now, if you'll excuse, I'll leave you and the perp sympathizers to talk among yourselves with. Too sick for me.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Mike, you've been here every day recently, mostly to complain and contribute little but one-sentence accusations with little substance and sweeping smears (e.g., "deviants") of other commenters. You're welcome here, as is anyone who disagrees with me, but no one would miss you if you'd never shown up, and I won't lament your departure.

No one has defended statutory rape. I've repeatedly said where it can be shown it should be prosecuted, comments which you of course ignore. But three weeks in, there is no complaining victim and no arrests. What does that tell you?

Anonymous said...

It's worth repeating:

The official count of the children removed from the FLDS Church ranch is now 463, one more than previously reported. All 250 girls and 213 boys were ordered to be placed into state custody because of abuse allegations, including "a pattern of grooming girls from a young age to accept becoming married to middle-aged men."

New statistics released Monday indicate that 53 of the girls are between the ages of 14 and 17. "We believe that 31 of them either have children or are pregnant," Crimmins said. "In most cases, that's what the girls have told us."

Of those 53, Crimmins said 26 claim to be 18 or older. "But we don't think they are," he said.,5143,695274752,00.html

Even if we add the 13-year-old girls about to become of "marriage" age, there was no emergency that required the removal of the other 400 children. The state claims it was because of "grooming." Even if true, is that "grooming" a crime that requires emergency removal? That, I think, is the real issue.

It is standard rhetoric to claim anyone who fights for due process and the Constitution must be deviant. Maybe that is because our Founders were part of the patriarchal society, and wrong, wrong, wrong. Frankly, this new headline took some of the wind out of my melody writing sails, but after sleeping on it, CPS can't be trusted and trials by media is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Kathy G said...

Amen and a big THANK YOU, Grits and anonymous. Well said!! It's so nice to know that there are still rational and critical thinking people in this country.

Anonymous said...

"If a 30 yr old woman looks me in the eye and tells me -- with determination and intelligence -- she chose this life what kind of feminist would I be to tell her how to live her life?"

It needn't stop there. If the conversation were as simple as that, it wouldn't say anything one way or another.

But if you ask, "Were you raised to believe that polygamy and bearing many children is necessary for heavenly glory? Is there a punishment or something you'll lose if you don't believe and follow this practice?" "Were you ever offered the opportunity to receive a general education? How many books have you read or been given the opportunity to read that don't agree with the prophets' teachings?" "Are you allowed to read a mass publication newspaper of your choice every day?" "How many moral, financial, and educational decisions do you make that are in conflict with the beliefs of your prophet? What would happen if you made major life decisions in conflict with the prophets' teachings? Have you ever suffered violence, or screaming, or threats to keep you from straying from the prophets' teachings?"

Even if the woman in question does not accurately assess her own situation, it's not like she should be removed from her home, unless she's under imminent threat of suicide, death, or serious bodily harm. She is free to make a mistake, if she is in fact mistaken. People in abusive relationships will insist their abuser loves them, that their way of life is "normal," and that they're not victims for many different reasons, including shame, lack of education, lack of self-esteem, and codependency issues. Addicts say they don't have a problem and can stop any time they want. You're implying that because someone states they're making a rational decision, that makes it so. It's a lot easier to vocalize some words than it is to objectively assess one's own psychology, especially when psychology is forbidden from one's life.

From the Salt Lake Tribune:
"Attorney Tip Hargrove, who represents two FLDS women, elicited Perry's admission that he has never spoken with a leader of the FLDS nor read the church's doctrine. The courtroom broke into laughter when he said he has gained his knowledge through press accounts, though he takes them "with a grain of salt."

The psychiatrist said that after spending months counseling the Branch Davidian children, he has consulted on other isolationist groups such as the Moon children and Posse Comitatus.

Perry said he has found much to be admired about the FLDS. The mothers are loving and respectful of their children, he said. But, he said, the culture is abusive. "The environment is authoritarian."

The few choices that church members have are often false choices, he said.

Perry said a 17-year-old in custody told him how her father asked her at 14 if she wanted to go to Zion, the YFZ Ranch. He said she agreed, and when they arrived at the ranch, she was told the prophet had advised she should marry a particular older man.

The girl told the psychiatrist she had a choice in the matter, but he was dubious.

"The independent free choice ... doesn't feel to me like it's a true choice," Perry testified. "Young girls who are 14, 15 or 16 are not emotionally mature enough to enter into healthy sexual relationships."

Hargrove questioned Perry whether there would be anything the FLDS parents could tell the court that would argue in favor of sending the children home. Perry said parents could tell the court three things: that they do not believe girls should be married before age 18; that they are open to making more transparent boundaries between themselves and the outside world so the children are not so fearful of the outside world; and that they will increase true free choices for their children."

Grits, I don't even have a PhD in psychiatry, yet it has been obvious to me and many others that the core issue in this mess is that of self determination, discovery, and informed choice.

If I come to a fork in a road, and you tell me that I can choose either one, and they will take me to different destinations, but once I get to a destination after making my choice, I cannot backtrack and find out for myself where the other road leads, when, in fact, you know that both roads lead to the same destination, was my choice free? I took a decisive action that I thought was informed, but I was in fact ignorant, and my circumstances and understanding were led by you, and you prevented me from learning on my own if you were telling the truth. But if I trust you, and rely on you, and am raised to believe that you have direct access to God's truth, why would I doubt you? Even further, I might believe that your lying to me was actually for my own good, and that I should be grateful to you for making the "tough" decisions for me. On the other hand, what if my natural human curiosity got the better of me, and decided that I just really had to see where the other road went, so I backtracked, and followed the other road, and saw that you had lied to me, was I free in my choice *because* of how you led me, or *despite* your manipulations?

Degreed, experienced experts in psychiatry are testifying that people are not raised to have true free choices in the FLDS. I can't understand how you can imply that textbook Stockholm Syndrome is the same as an act of informed feminism. It's a bit worrying how little you seem to understand or want to understand about psychology within abusive environments.

From Wikipedia, Stockholm Syndrome:
"Loyalty to a more powerful abuser — in spite of the danger that this loyalty puts the victim in — is common among victims of domestic abuse, battered partners and child abuse (dependent children). In many instances the victims choose to remain loyal to their abuser, and choose not to leave him or her, even when they are offered a safe placement in foster homes or safe houses. This unhealthy type of mental phenomenon is also known as Trauma-Bonding or Bonding-to-the-Perpetrator. This syndrome was described by psychoanalysts of the object relations theory school (see Fairbairn) as the phenomenon of psychological identification with the more powerful abuser. A variant of Stockholm Syndrome includes cases of abusive parents and abusive siblings in which the victim, even after entering adulthood, still justifies the family abuse."

"But three weeks in, there is no complaining victim and no arrests. What does that tell you?"

That says very little when talking about group mentality and inculcated loyalty. If you think it's tough to get a child rape victim to speak up and not recant, imagine trying to speak honestly with a child who believes they'll lose their family and never reach Heaven if they speak to you.

Cults maintain homogeny by raising members to believe that the outside world is evil and always out to get them. The foolish thing is that they often engage in illegal activities that draw attention to themselves, and then they use their "prophecies" to explain that they were right about the evil world all along. Well, yeah, if you intentionally base your beliefs on illegal practices, you're inviting your own problems. How is that the fault of the outside world, and I've asked this before -- if these people are free to make informed choices, as you say, why are they not free enough to be held responsible for the illegal practices of polygamy? You say half the marriages are monogamous. That means half are not. Half of the general population is not polygamous, but you're arguing that these people's culture doesn't foster illegal practices. . . if I have a boarding school that cares for 100 kids, and I'm a drug addict, and half the teachers are drug addicts, and we teach the students that drugs are a legitimate way of life, so 50 of the kids are addicted to drugs after time at the school, are you going to argue that since I have 50 kids not addicted to drugs, that my drug addiction and teachings aren't steering the kids' beliefs overall? That level of deviant homogeny is not explainable by chance.

You're taking the specific (monogamous marriages) and trying to abscribe it to the general (the FLDS way of life), even though the specifics you mention are at odds with the general belief of FLDS. I'm not saying monogamous spouses should be arrested. But if they allow their kids to be raised in an authoritarian environment that teaches people to engage in illegal behavior that also turns a blind eye to sexual abuse, that is grounds for CPS intervention. And again, family law is not criminal law.

kbp said...

The most recent count...

There are a total of 463 FLDS children - 250 females, 213 males - in state custody in Texas. Here is a breakdown of that count:
* 0-2: 101, 49 females, 52 males
* 3-5: 99, 46 females, 53 males
* 6-9: 131, 68 females, 63 males
* 10-13: 62, 34 females, 28 males
* 14-17: 42, 27 females, 15 males
* Disputed age: 26 females, now classified as 17 or younger.
* Two boys who turned 18 while in state custody also have voluntarily chosen to stay with younger boys.
Source: Texas Child Protective Services

Going off of the initial reports of 12 CPS workers being involved, they'd only have 120 fingers & toes to count with. With Azar now telling us "caseworkers each have been assigned 15 children to represent", this more recent count should be more accurate!

I can only imagine how accurate the method used to determine which age groups to put them was; The Azar "by looking at the women" test.

Looking past the sorrowful humor this case has created (at least in my mind), it would be helpful if a credible source would provide a finite number of households there were at the YFZ Ranch.

Early on there was a number of 65 men at the ranch reported (accurate??). Using that and Azar's "31 of 53" count, it looks like there would be at least 34 households that did NOT fit into that "pattern" problem Walthers based her ruling child custody ruling on.

Using Parker's contention that "the state's new count includes 17 adult women who are being classified as minors", we'd be left with 51 household of the 65 that may not be within that "pattern".

Whatever number you use, it's still not looking good to just lock all up and work the individual details out later.

Another thing that gripes me some is how the CPS keeps throwing that "ages 14 to 17 " out there, always lacking any details of those they include in the <16 YO category within that claim. At least the range in age they push to the media has not included the "12" or "13" YO's they were so quick to announce early on.

kbp said...

Thanks Anon 9:47.

Here's a direct LINK to that article.

Linking tool:
< A href="LINK" >TITLE< /A >
-Paste the web address to replace LINK
-Leave the quotation marks (") there
-Type display words to replace TITLE
-Remove all spaces
(spaces allowed between words in TITLE)

kbp said...


Anon with the long post looks to have justified taking children from about any household in the USA.

Even those that show they do have a choice in lifestyle..., no matter how they have been taught, may have missed out on learning of other choices.

kbp said...

Both are previously linked articles.

evidence of a criminal "COMPOUND"...
"This includes that group of girls that once claimed they were 18 or older," he said. "It was determined they were not adults."
He said some women acknowledged being younger and the age of others was determined by their attorneys or by looking at the women.
"I have seen them myself," he said, "and I don't see any that look like an adult to me."

...because we "think" so
Of those 53, [CPS spokesman Patrick Crimmins] said 26 claim to be 18 or older. "But we don't think they are," he said.

Anonymous said...

"Anon with the long post looks to have justified taking children from about any household in the USA."

Um, no. I explained why intentionally raising children to accept and practice illegal acts is child abuse and should be investigated. Why don't you get in touch with the professional psychiatrist and explain to him how free the children he interviewed are? I'm sure your righteous indignation and lack of deductive reasoning skills can lay waste to his credentials and experience any day. Or maybe he was just lying, like all CPS employees and law enforcement are known to do. That's also a likely possibility.

From the Salt Lake Tribune:
"Earlier Friday, psychiatrist Bruce Perry of Texas testified for the state, saying the FLDS culture is dangerous to children because teenage girls are not emotionally mature enough for marriage.
The other children, he said, are at risk because their brain development could be impeded by an authoritarian atmosphere that discourages independent thinking.
Perry said there are many healthy aspects to the FLDS culture, but still recommended continued state custody. "This is just a lose-lose deal. There is no great way to make this come out."
Perry worked with children from the Branch Davidian sect, which was decimated in a 1993 FBI raid that killed 76 people, 21 of them children."

Anonymous said...


Anon with the long post looks to have justified taking children from about any household in the USA.

Even those that show they do have a choice in lifestyle..., no matter how they have been taught, may have missed out on learning of other choices.

That is the real danger here. The poster who posted the long post actually argues for taking away his or her own rights. When the same philosophy applies to those who get an abortion and other PC causes, the tune might be different.

Anonymous said...

"That is the real danger here. The poster who posted the long post actually argues for taking away his or her own rights."

No, I'm pointing out that every religiously motivated decision I make is not an absolute right if it's leading me into illegal activity, and if I use my illegal religious beliefs as a foundation for my children's rearing and a large number of them follow my example, I can be investigated for child abuse.

Maybe the judge will find a good middle ground that allows the kids and families to stay together, as long as they allow more interaction with general society and stop practicing and teaching polygamy and underage spiritual marriages. I'm not going to say that the FLDS parents should never see their kids again, but they should be held accountable for their generations of illegal and abusive activity. They are still part of our society of laws.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

In this case, 1:09, the laws were changed in 2005 to target the religious practices of this particular group. Their own state rep brought in the AG from Utah to testify on the bill, but never informed them about it. Also, those laws aren't universally applied (e.g., DFPS doesn't check DNA for the tens of thousands of pregnant teens in cities to prosecute the fathers), only to these folks.

These people are definitely subject to the laws, and if child abuse has occurred, it should be prosecuted and abused children given safe harbor. (Prosecuting polygamy is a slightly different legal question - states have avoided prosecuting it because they think the 1890 court precedent won't hold up; TX can try to do that if they like, but AGs with more experience on the topic shied away.) However the law should never be used to single out and persecute a particular religious group, and that's partially what's happening here with the law Harvey Hildebran passed that targets them.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried to connect the dots from this debacle to Rep. Harvey Hildbran who bragged about "putting the FLDS out of business"? The fictitious "Sarah" made the phone call March 31st and within 72 hours a raid was organized by 4 government agencies and perfectly coordinated. Law enforcement just happened to have a battering ram with them to bash the temple door, and CPS just happened to have all those buses and shelters ready, with staff and volunteers. All of that organizing would normally take several weeks, and at the risk of sounding like an amateur sleuth, that whole thing sure look pre-planned.

TxBluesMan said...

Uh, Grits?

Neither Texas nor the United States have an anti-polygamy statute.

Texas has a bigamy statute, which I know you are aware of, and have been continuously prosecuting offenders.

There were two more indicted this month (unconnected to the FLDS).

Gritsforbreakfast said...

What's your point, Bluesman?

Like I said, they can try if they want, but AGs with more experience on the topic have shied away.

It's true.

TxBluesMan said...

Hi Grits!

A couple of things first.

First, I am sorry to hear about your problems and wish you the best in getting them cleared up (and I have some ideas of what should be done to the bast**ds if they are caught).

Second, after having agreed with your position on another post, it feels much more natural to be back in the position of loyal opposition. :D

I believe that Utah and Arizona shied away for political, not legal reasons. Both of those states have a higher density of both mainline LDS and fringe (for lack of a better term) polygamist population.

It would be harder to seat a jury, so they try and cherry pick their cases instead of attacking the root of the problem. That's not the Texas way.

I don't think that Texas will have a problem proving the case. I can think of several in just the past couple of years:

Hawkins, 2008, pending, Callahan County (note, Hawkins is the leader of the polygamist religious sect 'House of Yahweh'), additional arrests of his followers are expected

Ellis, 2008, pending, Hardin County

Mitcham, 2008, pending, Hardin County

Peschel, 2007, 3 years - prob'd, Guadalupe County

Yates, 2005, 15 years, Nacogdoches County

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Bluesman, those bigamy cases had no religious freedom component.

TxBluesMan said...

The Hawkins case does.