Tuesday, April 22, 2008

what do you think...

about what's going on in Texas at the FDLS compound? We have a duty as a society to protect children. And so part of me says, YAY for the authorities stepping in and doing something. But it also feels like religious persecution... these folks do not live like us. They believe things we don't. And it makes us uncomfortable.

But where do we draw the line? I'm an atheist, more or less. And many folks in this country feel that is not only wrong, but intolerable. Should I be arrested for depriving my child of the BIBLE? There are folks that would argue YES, that I am endangering his well-being, and his soul.

I don't happen to have a problem with polygamy. I don't think it really works well for most folks, and it certainly wouldn't work for me, but if all the parties are consenting adults, go for it.

I don't agree with the FDLS stance on husband's rights, either. But if the adult women, and the adult men agree that the husband is ruler; again, go for it. I don't have to live that way, so no skin off my nose.

The issue comes down to choices and freedom, and how much we allow. My gut says adults should have all the freedom they want, as long as it doesn't bump into anybody else's rights. And children have the right to be protected from wrong-headed adults, until they are old enough to make their own choices.

as a side note, and I mean way aside the freedom issues, does anybody but me wonder where the FDLS folks get the money to support all those kids, and do all that building???


Kitten Herder said...

I think that some of the arguments against polygamy came about as a means of protecting young women. Many young women who entered into polygamist relationships were raised in families that told them that it was the right thing to do. They were told that they should bow to the will of their parents and then their husband.

I think that there is an assumption that polygamy is unfair to women, and that women who enter into such relationships were either coerced or were not raised to realize that it was unfair to them.

I'm of mixed opinion on the Texas situation. While I would normally side with the parents of the children, as long as the children were not exposed to physical harm, I do have a concern about the long term mental harm to those children, particular the girls. I would find it difficult to be comfortable with having female children raised in an environment that teaches them that they should expect to be subservient to a husband who can have many wives.

It may be easier for us, as a society, to come down on groups who condone honor killings of rape victims or who insist that female circumcision (re: mutilation) is within their religious rights. After all, we can point to the actual physical harm done to the women in those scenarios. However, those situations are not much far removed from one in which a group condones second-class citizenship for women subjected to the rule of their husbands.

It is a very thin line between physical and psychological battery, in my book.

Susan said...

Yeah, the whole thing made me think "yikes". I guess my biggest problem with it is that a lot of the girls are married off before they are old enough to think for themselves or have the will to defy their parents.

And what happens to the boys? It seems that many of them are effectively banished as they approach adulthood because the elders don't want competition for wives.

None of this seems like reasonable and responsible care for children. While I agree that religious practices should be left alone as much as possible, I think society has a responsibility to protect minors, even when the harmful practices are done in the name of religion.

And, of course, the whole thing just creeps me out.