Saturday, April 05, 2008

Another Bad Idea from Texas

Texas authorities have kidnapped (using mechanisms that purport to be legal) 52 girls of all ages (up to 17, naturally) from a fundamentalist Mormon (LDS) compound, which appears to be the entire female population under 18 in that place. This seems to be a remarkably bad idea, done with good intentions. There are few things that one can do to radicalize a population of men than to steal their women, and especially their daughters. There are few things that one can do to anger women than to take away their children, especially their daughters. If the authorities had done this to a compound of fundamentalist Muslims, one would expect immediate violent consequences. I think these Mormons will be somewhat more restrained.

The basis for the mass kidnapping was that a single girl aged 16 had alleged physical abuse. From this tenuous and dubious thread, the authorities apparently took every last girl they could find from the compound. Quite possibly the authorities had the best intentions of trying to do good to these girls. Fundamentalist (and mainstream) Mormonism is an evil cult, and promotes illegal marriages. It is even possible that the allegation of physical abuse by the single 16 year old girl was a true allegation.

The major problem, however, is that this sort of action fundamentally interferes with the sphere of authority of parents in raising their children. It is not the government's right or responsibility (in Texas or anywhere) generally to interfere with parents raising their children. This kind of event is easy to dismiss, because the government is interfering with a fairly oddball cult.

The problem is that if this sort of precedent is upheld, we can expect to see the same mechanism applied to other religious groups - including both Muslim and Christian religious groups, depending on who is the prevailing group controlling the government.

I hope that the Texas government will realize their mistake and rectify it quickly. This persecution of the Fundamentalist LDS folks may be well intentioned, but it is improper and heads us down a slippery slope. I'm not sticking up for the LDS in any way. Their religion is corrupt and false.

By God's grace, perhaps some of these kidnapped girls will end up in Christian foster families where they will hear the gospel and be saved. If so, God be praised! He can use the sinful acts of men for His own glory. Indeed, I hope that will be the end result of the process. I hope souls will be brought to Christ even through this debacle.

As a practical note, we should be prepared for the opposite situation. We should be prepared that our children - the children of our churches - may someday be taken from us and scattered above. With that in mind, we should do what we can to give them the gospel early and often - to put the word of God in their hearts and minds, so that if they are placed in a gospel-free environment they will be a salt and light to it, as opposed to absorbing the teachings of their new captors.

Perhaps this is a one-off occurance that will never happen again. I am not suggesting that the end is near or the sky is falling. I certainly do find the actions of these Texas officials to be most imprudent and unlawful. I certainly can see how anti-Christians governments could apply this sort of precedent to shatter Christian communities, and that is troubling.

One of the most troubling things about the situation is that it is eerily reminiscent of the situation that transpired in Waco, Texas with the Branch Davidian cult. In that case, the results were much more dramatically bad in terms of their physical consequences in loss of life. I am very thankful that the FLDS folks did not defend their rights with guns, because it would probably have meant their immediate extermination.

Let us pray for the Texas officials that God will give them wisdom to do what is right, and for the broken families that they will be brought to the truth of the gospel.



GeneMBridges said...

Over in the SBC Outpost archives you'll also find two other recent stories.

1. A Santiera priest was told by the courts that he could not offer his animal sacrifices in the Dallas/Ft. Worth city/county lines per the city's ordinance.

2. The same judge that ruled against the Santiera priest subsequently ruled that SWBTS is within its rights to call itself a "church" and thereby terminate the employment of Dr. Sherri Klouda based on nothing more than Paige Patterson's interpretation of the BFM on women pastors.

Here's the logic: SWBTS is, for legal purposes a church according to the courts. Patterson is the de facto senior pastor. He gets to use his "ecclesiastical judgment" to interpret the BFM2k, which prohibits females from being "pastors." No female pastors = Dr. Klouda (whom SWBTS awarded a Ph.D. I might add, and who professes to be not only an inerrantist, but against females as pastors!)can be fired for teaching Hebrew. So, he was w/in his rights to terminate Klouda for being female, even though the civil law prohibits gender based discrimination, and, get this, even though his own wife is a professor at SWBTS. She just doesn't teach theology or languages.

So, it seems that in TX, some religious practices and beliefs are more worthy of government protection than others-and the federal courts support this too.

So, when the tide turns against conservative Christianity in TX, as it likely one day will, we can expect these very precedents to be used against the Christians of TX.

Turretinfan said...

As to (1), the application to transubstantiation is too easy. So, I'll leave it at that.

As to (2), that sounds just odd.

Ah well. I would really not want to live in a Muslim Texas.

Anonymous said...

Ummmm. I don't know what a Santiera priest is but it sounds archaic. Tx seems to always be exaggerated.

GeneMBridges said...

Santiera is basically a form of voodoo worship. They sacrifice animals, usually chickens, as part of their ceremonies.

(Yes,the application to transub. is way too tempting, given Catholicism is rampant in TX.)

So apparently the FLDS' and Santiera rituals are not protected in TX. Fundamentalist Baptist beliefs that allow men to dismiss female professors for teaching Hebrew to men are protected.

Don't mess with Texas!

Turretinfan said...

Reginald is unhappy with one of my comments above.

I've responded to his complaint here.

Turretinfan said...

One Mormon blog pointed out that this is not the first time this sort of mistake has been made. (Arizona in the 50's)

That blog (and some other news outlets) have noted that the new problem is that it appears that perhaps the 16 year old that sparked all of this and her alleged husband may have taken refuge in the FLDS temple (link to pictures of outside of temple).

As you might expect, if you know anything about LDS views, it's not permissible for non-Mormons to enter the Temple, and that includes Sheriffs, Rangers, and their deputies.

In short, permitting the government to search the temple is akin (in the FLDS view) to permitting Pilate to enter the Jewish Temple. It is sacrilege and desecration, and the FLDS are not currently permitting it. Meanwhile, the government forces are apparently stockpiling medical supplies against the contingency of having to use force to get what they want.


Carrie said...

I have seen new stories on this group and at first glance I don't think I would have been overly bothered by this. But you bring up some excellent (and scary) points.

I see from the story that some women were taken, I hope that these are the mothers of some of these children? I have a softspot for tough measures against these types of female-directed abuses (assuming the allegations are true), but I do hope the gov't didn't overreact on this one.

Turretinfan said...


I have a similar softspot.

This story, though, gets more and more odd the more one digs in.

For example, apparently the person whom the 16 year old accused of physical abuse is the group's leader.

But the group's leader isn't in Texas - he's in Arizona. So even if he were a threat to young girls ...

oh well.


Turretinfan said...

The odd news continues, with a freak tornado striking the town (not the ranch) just after the search was officially ended (link).

Recall my previous warnings, though, about reading too much into Providence (link).