Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More on the FLDS Children, and a few thoughts on our rights...or lack thereof

My mom sent me the URL for this site which offers a timeline of what has happened with the FLDS children in Texas, as well as photos and videos--including videos of the children being herded into buses to take them away from their home, and the conditions that these children and some mothers were held in. Tonite the news is that the children have been moved to foster care. The article I read made it sound like they would be in state "care" until at least early June. I just pray for these children and families. It must be a very painful situation for all of them.

I am still just shocked and outraged at how this situation is being handled. Swat teams with guns coming into this community to take away children. Armored vehicles. If the concern was that underage girls were being forced into marriages, THAT should have been handled. Nursing babies and little toddlers and school aged children were not included in that group of concern. Removing these children from their parents IS abuse, and placing them in state care is to place them in a situation that certainly has the potential for abuse. This type of huge influx of children into the state foster care system cannot be handled wisely or safely, I fear.

I hate to think what kinds of questions and tests these poor children have had to endure. No doubt what they have gone through IS abuse and is extremely tragic and will have long term consequences in the lives of these families. So, while there may be a problem with underage girls being married off, which many people would consider abuse, now 100% of these children have been abused and traumatized, courtesy of the state of Texas and all of the taxpaying citizens of Texas.

It is easy to think that this sort of thing could only happen to other people. Unusual people with lifestyles that are outside the mainstream in America. Yes, people in those categories are more easily mistreated, but it could certainly happen to any of us.

Back in October 2007 a woman on one of my egroups, Mary Anaya, has police burst into their home and snatch away her newborn baby for a state mandated blood test that the Anayas objected to because of their religious beliefs. These people came into their home with guns, scared all of the family including their many children. Not only were the Anaya's sincere religious beliefs ignored and violated, but their baby was taken into foster care, Mary was prevented from easy access to her son to be able to breastfeed him as she normally would, and I believe that the baby was not released from foster care for over a week. You can read more about this case here, here, and here, as well as google Mary Anaya for more information.

You may not agree with the relgious beliefs of the Anaya family. You may not have made the same choice that they made. That's fine. What you need to understand is that at some point in the future it might be MY beliefs or YOUR beliefs that become an issue big enough for the police to come barging into our homes with guns. I don't know what the answers are, but I think that sitting up and taking notice and asking questions and expressing our opinions about situations like this one in Texas is a place to begin.


Marilyn said...

This whole situation is like driving past a horrible accident - not wanting to look but compelled to look. I have watched many of the interviews with the mothers and fathers involved. One interviewer asked 3 fathers if they thought it was "right" for a girl to be married and having sex at 18. I couldn't help but wonder if she was in favor of supplying middle school students with condoms because we all know they need them. Several times she asked them if they thought girls should be having sex at 18. In another "interview" the interviewer was more concerned with getting an answer as to why the women wear their hair the way they do and why they wear the dresses they do. One older woman that I have seen in several situations was wonderful - she said that it's just a choice (note THAT pro choice folks), The interviewer continued to press the issue and the woman said that they like their hair long and wearing it up keeps it out of their face so they can see. Then they were asked about their dresses and she replied again that it was a matter of their choice to dress as they do. Good grief!! I guess it would be less strange to have a ranch full of families that were covered in tatoos, had nose rings and hair dyed blue. OR, perhaps a MUSLIM group. I can imagine that the situation would have been handled quite differently. The mothers have asked for arrangements to have prayer together and the judge is trying to figure out how to do that without them being able to talk to each other and who she can get to supervise them. If they were MUSLIM the judge would be running around getting them prayer rugs, putting in foot baths and making sure they had enough copies of Koran. I don't know what the truth is about what is going on at this compound but it would seem that allowing these mothers to care for their children with supervision - even at their own home would have been the best answer. I think they are VERY fortunate that they didn't end up like the Branch Davidians. It's obvious that the police were ready to do whatever was necessary to take these children. Fortunately the FLDS group did not resist these attempts to the point that lethal force was used but I'm sure it could have been.

As a parent and grandparent I cannot imagine going through this. For these precious children, they have certainly been abused by the state of Texas and will bear the scars of that forever. I cannot look away but I want to!!

Amie said...

Good post! So very true. Never know when your going to be the weird one on the fringe.

Stephanie M said...

This is a very diffiCULT issue. Having grown up in Utah and being around an FLDS community - I think it is a horrible situation of brainwashing going on with lots of little victims. Polygamy is against the law, and is not an issue of religious freedom. But as a mother, I absolutely feel for those women and children.

Marilyn said...

I have never been around FLDS members so I cannot speculate on their faith or any "brainwashing" that may be going on. I can, however, think of times in my own life that I have been involved in churches that did a bit of "brainwashing" that were much more mainstream protestant denominations. My children were once taught by a Sunday School teacher that neon colors were sinful and therefore should never be worn. In another church women were instructed not to cut their hair and to only wear long dresses to church. Theres the famous Jerry Falwell hit on Tinky Winky (or whoever it was). Doctrines of other churches would have the members believe that they are the only ones going to Heaven, will go to hell if they dance, drink alcohol or smoke. There are communities where it is illegal to sell alcohol. In communities like the Amish or the Mennonites there are rules and regulations that the members are supposed to adhere to. They dress a little differently than I do, and wear head coverings. Are their children suffering because they have no buttons on their clothing? Are they brainwashed? I don't know if they are or not. I do understand that polygamy is against the law. The children removed from their homes may be the products of polygamous relationships. At this point we don't really know. I don't see alot of difference in children from these "marriages" and children that are born out of wedlock - one father having children with several different women. It's happening every day in every city in this country. For my money, I see children that I think are living in some questionable circumstances seeing their mothers in relationships with numerous men, being raised by grandmothers because the parents are drug addicts, in jail etc etc. Social services will tell you that we cannot judge their morals, we can only make judgements as to whether the children are abused or neglected. Many of these children are being supported by all of us who pay taxes. Many of these mothers are teenagers. Does it matter if the baby daddy is 17 or 27 or 37 or 47? I see alot of similarities.