Saturday, April 26, 2008

Child-Snatching Nightmare...

I do not know how many people out there in the blogosphere are following the situation in Texas right now, concerning the FLDS and their children, but there are several things I find disturbing to this whole fiasco. I in no way condone anything that this religious group has been accused of, but I am not sure the State of Texas' solution is any better either.

For those who are living under a rock, or in the wilds of Siberia, The FLDS otherwise known as the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (an offshoot of the Mormon Church), has had their children removed en masse by the State of Texas. This sect has been widely accused of many outragious things, including pedophilia, and in fact their leader has been convicted and currently sits in prison for crimes of this nature. I agree this sect is doing and has done many bad things in the past, and getting the children away from that place is something that definitely needs to be done. What I disagree with is the manner in which it has been done.

The State of Texas recieved a phone call from a young girl, presumed to be a member of the sect, implying that organized abuse was taking place and she wanted to escape. The state of Texas in it's infinite wisdom swooped in and took all 400 children from the sect, placing them in local gymnasiums until their identity could be sorted out. It was later determined that the girl who called was most likely NOT a member of this group, and was just seeking attention. I agree that something has to be done, but this is the equivalent of coming into a small town and taking everyone's children because a jealous neighbor, pretending to be a local child, says someone is abusing him. These women and children are victims, and should be treated as such. The latest move is to send these poor children to foster homes scattered throughout the state, and prevent all contact with the parents, a process that is in essence raping these abuse victims again. When will the abuse stop? These young children, AND their mothers need help.

The finger pointers and conformist zealots want these children to "save" them, and in the process these poor children will be destroyed. I do not condone any of the activities that the FLDS is accused of, but I think Texas deserves some blame as well. I do not believe they are truly acting in the welfare of these children and their mothers. I think many special interest groups and narrow minds want these children to mold them into good "christian" Texans, and to point blame instead of giving help where it is needed. These people should be treated as the refugees they are and should be given help, as many of them have never lived in the "normal" world of which they are being held accountable. It seems as if guilt has already been decided "en masse". It has become another case where the juggernaught of the child protective system is crushing the very children it was designed to protect, leading to more broken children and ruined lives which did not nescessarily have to be. I am not saying it shouldn't have been done, it just seems like they are using a sledgehammer, when maybe a smaller instrument is called for. A little sensitivity and victim advocacy should be the order of the day, but it appears to have been overlooked.

This also has other implications as well. If you are a member of a splinter group or alternate religion, what is to stop them from taking your kids if some crackpot decides to make a phone call? Your kids can be taken and placed in foster care, awaiting outcome of a multitude of trial dates over an undetermined amount of time. All the while, your kids will be exposed to goodness knows what, and told all sorts of stuff by individuals with seemingly good intentions that could damage them or their opinion of their parents. Even if you are found guiltless, they will be permantly affected and everyone's lives damaged.

I hate to see any inoccents hurt, whether it be from an abuser OR from the system which should be protecting them. Reforms of this rigid Child Welfare system seem to be called for.

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