The only blog that can factually claim to shift the Bell Curve, along with the hearts & minds of America, to the right.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
If you haven’t heard, a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) community in Texas was raided a couple weeks ago. I am not sure about the exact reason their community was raided, but it stemmed from an anonymous phone call that reported child abuse. If you don’t know who the FLDS are, don’t worry. The media has done a great job doing the same smear job they did on the Branch Davidians. According to the media, the FLDS are a "cult" that live in a "compound" and have "wacko religious beliefs". Or, if you are fairer, you could say they are a "group" that lives in a "tight knit community" that has an "alternative lifestyle".
There is already some backlash against what has happened, but it is definitely a minority view in the media. The original phone call that voiced the complaint to the police of which the raid was based off of has turned out to be fraudulent. Not to mention, just because one person in a particular place is accused of a certain crime does not (or at least should not) give the right for the authorities to separate EVERYONE from that community from their children.
To give an example, the US has an illegal immigration problem, but that does not give the right of the police to storm in to immigrant communities and detain everyone until they can prove their innocence. If that was done in the US, there would be (with little doubt in my mind) violent retaliation. I don’t see the difference from that scenario and what has happened to the FLDS.
Back to the media…It is interesting how the media changes terms for certain situations in the news. The term cult is a subjective one. What is the definition of a cult? The real definition is debatable. However, it seems people are generally willing to use the term for any group of people they don’t particularly like. For instance, I recently saw a protest outside one of the Scientology “churches” in which one of the protesters had a sign that stated “Scientology is a cult.” If you listen to talk radio, I am sure you have heard the conservative commentators refer to the Obama followers as a cult. I would personally consider environmentalists as part of a cult. Sure they don't have a charismatic leader, but they have a lot of weird beliefs that defy logic. They certainly have a stronger and much more negative affect on society than the FLDS (as has been demonstrated by the recent food riots/shortages).
The fact is that the media uses the term cult in a derogatory manner. The question is why? Why not use it for environmentalists? Why not use it for scientologists? Why not use it for the jihadists? I am not saying they should use the term cult for all these groups. What I am saying is their willingness to use it in one instance over another does not seem to make sense. There is no rhyme or reason behind it.
You may think I am kidding, but I am not. Let's look at some of the things the FLDS are accused of...it is an impressive list, but I have included by rebuttals to give everyone perspective.
1. The men have sexual relations with more than one woman
All sorts of men have sex with more than one woman. In fact, the hypocrisy here is almost absurd. Let's say I am a normal everyday guy. I can go out and have random sex with as many women or men that I want, and nothing will legally be done to me. However, if I decide to commit to multiple consenting women in a serious long term relationship, my house will be raided by heavily armed police who will break up my community and take my kids away. To paraphrase one conservative radio host said (I forget which one) Hugh Heffner’s living arrangements are good enough for its own cable TV show, while the FLDS living arrangements are good enough for a police raid.
2. They are weird
They sure are a bunch of weirdoes. That is true. But is anyone weird enough to have their kids taken away, their homes referred to as a compound (so if the police decide to shoot and burn everyone inside, it won't sound as bad...it was a compound for goodness sake!), and their community slandered all across the American media without a trial (yet), fair or otherwise?
3. They dress funny
Seriously, why do the media even bring this up? It is almost embarrassing. It is irrelevant. Did they expect to find them dressing like Paris Hilton? In fact, anyone who has kids that dress like Paris Hilton should have THEIR kids taken away.
4. Teenage girls are having sex
First of all, I am not sure how much of this they have actually proved. That being said, I don’t think young and underage girls having sex is a problem that is isolated to the FLDS. Furthermore, I think it is very safe to say that underage girls having sex with older men is definitely not exclusive to this particular community. Has anyone been watching the sex epidemic between teachers and their students? It seems like there is a new case every month. One case of an underage girl having sex with an older man does not justify raiding an entire school and slandering every teacher at that particular school (or taking away the children from every teacher from that school for that matter). So why raid the entire FLDS community?
5. Underage girls are getting married
Last time I checked, 16 year olds could get married in Texas as long as they have the consent of the parents. I could be wrong about that, but I am pretty sure I am not.
6. We don't agree with their lifestyle
Most people would find the marriage arrangements the FLDS are accused of to be troubling. Minors sexually involved with adults, living situations where the people involved cannot legally be married, and the general creepiness of it all. The problem is none of this exclusive to this group of people and they are getting undue stigma for one reason or another. For instance, can you think of any other institutions that have been involved with rather large sex abuse scandals involving minors? Bill Maher mentioned the Catholic Church as a culprit on his HBO show. That is true, but there is also another institution that has had problems recently: our public school system. Story after story of teachers having sex with underage students have bombarded the news cycle the last few years. Some would say it’s different because it’s not systematic. That is true, but there have been systematic cover-ups in which teachers known to be sexually involved with students are simply asked to leave their school district but do not lose their teaching license.
The most interesting parallels can be drawn with gay marriage. Gay marriage and polygamy are both not legally recognized. It is interesting that the government would choose to invade houses of polygamists but not the homes of gays. The argument I hear gays use is that you cannot stop people from living with each other, loving each other, or having sex with each other. I agree with all of those statements. The government should not be involved with any of those issues no matter how demented and perverted the people involved are. It gets gays off the hook, why not polygamists?
So let’s play devil’s advocate. Let’s say everything I just listed is irrelevant. Let’s say the only thing that matter is that there are underage girls sexually involved with adult males. If that is all that matters, the media needs to stop talking about all these other issues because it is then irrelevant.
Also a fairer pursuit of justice should be followed for all adults who are sexually involved with minors. That means all these catholic priests and public school teachers should have their churches and homes raided. It also means NAMBLA (now these people are creepy) should have their headquarters raided with armed police.
Why does any other this matter? It matters because we are supposed to have equal protection under the law. It is not right to target certain groups just because they may be outside the mainstream, especially for circumstances, motivation, and evidence as ambiguous as in this particular case. If the “weirdoes” of the FLDS can be essentially persecuted for being “weird”, then you open an ugly door for future or already existing “weird” groups.