Thursday, May 22, 2008

What Is Wrong With Texas?

Firstly there are far too many unutterably dumb religious sects. Secondly, there are apparently state appeals court judges who aren't any brighter. In the matter involving the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), the Mormon splinter group accused of the organized statutory rape of young girls, the Texas Third Court of Appeals has ruled that the state has failed to show that the 440 children seized in a raid last month were in any immediate danger. Apparently pedophilia, as long it's based on religious beliefs, does not constitute what this judge believes to be a danger to children.

New York Times:
"Even if one views the FLDS belief system as creating a danger of sexual abuse by grooming boys to be perpetrators of sexual abuse and raising girls to be victims of sexual abuse... there is no evidence that this danger is 'immediate' or 'urgent'," the court said.

I find this ruling stunning. I think this judge shows a remarkable indifference to civilized norms, I imagine as a response to some kind of badly formed idea of religious freedom - though I'd be hard pressed to prove that last assertion. I hope this ruling is overturned on appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, and I hope that reason is found to remove the idiot judge who issued it.


  1. Eponym,

    Certainly you don't believe that the government should have the power to remove people's children simply because it believes their religious beliefs to be bad. Certainly you don't believe that the government should be able to remove children even if we all accept that the religious beliefs are bad.

    The law in this area is clear that one needs an individualized finding of urgent and immediate necessity to remove the child. If the government has the facts to prove that a specific child, for example, is scheduled to be married against her will than it undoubtedly could remove her. But just to wholesale do so from an entire group is an outrage. It's the government who screwed up, not the Appeals Judge.

  2. Abu Noor, what I believe is that in cases where the children are in imminent danger of rape, regardless of religious belief, the state should act. My notion of imminent danger is satisfied if the children are charges of an organization whose members have already forced underage girls into marriages. I believe (and that's of course different from from what the law may be technically) that if the group has a policy, and it can be demonstrated that that policy has been carried out at least once, that the danger has been proven for each specific child.