Friday, April 25, 2008

That situation in Texas . . .


I'm beginning to be disturbed by the situation in Texas--you know, the one where the government took over 400 children from their mothers and has farmed them out to foster homes. I'll admit that I don't know everything about this situation, but it's beginning to look like the original "tip" that alerted authorities to possible child abuse and "child marriage" was a fake.  If it was, then why in the world are we allowing the government to take toddlers from their mothers?  They're not in danger of being married off.  

I don't agree with what these folks believe, doctrine-wise, but I had certain standards for my children, particularly when they were small.  IF I had chosen not to have a TV in my home, I would be horrified to know that my children were being placed in homes where they'd be exposed to influences that I had worked so hard to keep out of my children's environment.  I may not shelter my children to the extent that these people did, but parents do have a right to shelter their children. 

In our country, the home is supposed to be a sacred place.  The government must have a warrant to enter, to search, or to violate.  And yet it's beginning to look like the government entered these homes on false pretenses. All right, it was a mistake, so make sure there's no child rape going on and return these children to their mothers!  

The fathers may be polygamists and yes, that's against the law, so prosecute the men. Charge the women for polygamy if you like, then get the women out on bail so they can be with their innocent little ones.  Investigate the charges of underage marriage and statutory rape. 

But it's no crime to want to wear modest clothing and not cut your hair. And from what I've seen of these mothers (from my admittedly limited perspective), they are loving mothers, and children are children. To tear a three-year-old from his mother's arms is a crime in itself. 

~~Angie


10 comments:

Accidental Poet said...

A. Men.

Doni Brinkman said...

Agree completely!

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking a lot about this too. I do think there is child abuse or endangerment in the sense that girls in this sect are forced to marry at age 13. While this doesn't affect younger children, I think the abuse for them is in the form of brainwashing, as is true in any cult.

However, I agree with you that separating mothers and children is a terrible mistake. I wondered from the beginning why they didn't leave the women and children there and just round up the men for investigation! Nothing good can come from this awful trauma they are putting those children through.

I watched the Larry King interview with several of the mothers. While they appeared somewhat programmed in their responses to some of his questions, there was no doubt about their love and sincere desire for the well-being of their kids. My heart went out to them. I sure hope this gets properly resolved soon

Mocha with Linda said...

Thanks for this. I have been concerned about this too, and of course being right here in Texas it's been on the news a lot. While I am of course very concerned regarding any potential abuse and the polygamy, it raised all sorts of red flags in my mind regarding religious persecution.

And while there is no doubt that child abuse and polygamy are wrong, what else might someone decide is illegal but that we as Christians believe is a fundamental part of our faith?

Scary precedents, indeed.

Anonymous said...

This is, indeed, a troubling situation. I have worried about the young women/mothers who look so programmed. It's even hard to tell how old they are. Their answers are "canned", but they appear not to be afraid. What worries me is the fact that no-one is admitting as to which child is whose. The DNA testing may prove that there are young ones in their early teens having these babies. There are pretty strict laws about this, and yes, the men should be on the first line of questionning. However, farming these children out to families who, despite all good and honorable intentions, are still "of the world" is also quite frightening. I don't know which trauma is worse - being separated from their only known "family" or being subjected to watching the evening news on TV! Especially seeing as they are quite often the topic! Clyde

Leslie said...

I read a CNN article yesterday that CPS (yes I am in Texas, and no its not called CPS here, but most places call it that) - are making sure that they placed the children in homes without children and with families that could continue the homeschooling so the kids aren't mocked and teased. They've even done their best to get the children's clothing and asked the families to mimic the food the children have been eating to the best of their ability.

And then to top it off - considering that all of the foster parents that I know of are Christians (though I am in East Texas) I've been praying that the homes they were put into are Christian.

Just think - over 400 kids who have not been tainted by a lot of the immorality of the world being cared for by Christians who might be able to show them who Jesus truly is?!? I pray that is the case so that when they are returned to their mothers something huge can happen.....

The CNN article is http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/04/23/polygamist.retreat.ap/index.html?iref=newssearch

Angela said...

Thank you for that perspective, Leslie. As I said, I don't know anything about Texas social services, so if the things you describe are being done, that will do a lot to ease the trauma of separating from mothers.

In my state, they're always talking about the lack of foster homes, so it's hard to imagine a system that has an abundance of them. (My state once LOST a child in the system. Shudder.)

Let's pray that this situation is resolved as quickly as
possible.

Angie

Christy Lockstein said...

Hi Angie,
I've read Carolyn Jessop's book Escape, and I highly recommend reading it to anyone interested in the situation. This group scams the government of hundreds of millions of dollars a year in food stamps and rental assistance. The men eat steak dinners and drive big new vehicles while the children literally starve. Their schools do not teach anything that is adverse to their beliefs, so the kids learn absolutely nothing about how to survive in the real world. They are taught that we are Satan's minions. The abuse suffered by all children within this community makes it well worth investigating. For more info, watch the documentary Banking on Heaven. It's absolutely shocking.

Rachel said...

I haven't been closely following the situation, but as a homeschool grad I am *intimately* familiar with the so-called "anonymous tip" that usually has no basis in reality. Hundreds of homeschooling families have had their lives ripped apart by CPS, anonymous tips and social workers who refuse to acknowledge that Due Process and warrants apply to them. If it weren't for Mike Farris and the HSLDA, many of these parents would be in jail for crimes they never committed. The bulk of their caseload since Day One has been anonymous tips. Thankfully the numbers are going down as more homeschooling families are made aware that CPS can NOT come into their home without a warrant.

My own childhood best friend was affected by an anonymous tip and their entire family was turned upside down. That process did damage to the family that they have never recovered from and began the process that eventually destroyed our friendship.

This whole situation is not something that's unique to polygamists. Homeschoolers are persecuted by state governments for many of the very same things. I'm incredibly lucky to live in one of the most homeschooler friendly states in the country.

ElizabethMThompson said...

I am praying for all those involved in this case as well. My dear friend Irene Spencer wrote a best-selling book, Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's Wife. Irene's book really tells you what polygamy is like. And it is not good! There are a lot of abuses that take place in polygamy. I believe the authorities need to protect the children in this case.

My concern with what is happening in Texas is this: the erosion of religious freedoms. Where does the government draw the line between what is harmful to children and what is acceptable under the protection of religious freedoms? I live in California where our freedoms are being constantly (and strategically) eroded.

Watching and praying,

Elizabeth