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Tough custody decision

Posted Saturday, May 31, 2008, at 2:37 PM

Should the children of parents belonging to the polygamist sect in Texas be returned to their parents, as the state's supreme court has ruled?

I tend to think 'no' based on the allegations of sexual abuse by The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which denies the claims.

But how much of a "church," as compared to a "cult," is this group? The court may have had this in mind, along with the judges' belief that abuse had only been proven against five children.

News reports indicate the FLDS teaches that polygamy brings glorification in heaven. Federal law states that polygamy is illegal.

Quite a contrast.

Child custody cases are tough enough to handle without bringing the added consideration of parents' religious beliefs.

I think any child's welfare should always come first. As far as religious beliefs which go against the law, let these children make their own decisions on that as adults.


Comments
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At the risk of sounding sensationalistic,I must mention that the way we treat those we oppose can wind up being the same way we are treated.

Some day,some negative forces could get in power.

(Some evil,some just foolish)

Before they can ride roughshod over our liberties,they're going to have to work within the systems we've set up.

If it becomes easy to turn a McMartin pre-school,Branch Davidian or FLDS situation into a witch hunt,the next targets could be people belonging to our ways of life.

The fact that we had literal witch hunts led to the McCarthy era and our current Homeland Security.

The Native American children taken from their families and denied their culture are proof that a tyrannical society could steal our children to make its drones.

I am not such a doomsayer that I think we should forego the benefits of microchips,bar codes,debit cards,the Internet,global positioning Systems or the National Guard.

I do think that we should make doubly sure that our enemies and alleged criminals are treated fairly and humanely.

Otherwise,those who find us a threat will begin where we left off and the situation will only worsen from there.

We've already set a precedent for genocide,slavery,invasion of privacy,unfair imprisonment and "selective justice".

We need to work hard to institutionalize some fairness and compassion to counterbalance internments,lynchings,etc. before future powers-that-be arrive to follow our example.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 9:24 AM

rebelrose - I don't think that, generally, children in foster homes receive less love than if they were with their parents. It might be different than what they had in their homes, but I don't think that the love that foster (and adoptive) parents feel for their foster (and adopted) children is any different than how a parent feels for their natural child.

That said, if the children weren't really being abused, then they should be sent back to their parents. If they really were being abused, they should stay in foster homes, and the DCF in TX should come up with a long-term plans for these children. I also think that they should be allowed supervised visitations with their parents.

-- Posted by cfrich on Sun, Jun 1, 2008, at 5:05 PM

I'm glad to see some familiar names back again.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Sun, Jun 1, 2008, at 12:25 PM

Evil Monkey are you saying that the only part of the New Testament we are to accept are Jesus' direct words? If not what is your understanding of the first chapter of Romans as it relates to homosexuality?

-- Posted by devan on Sun, Jun 1, 2008, at 11:48 AM

WOW this is a tuff one...I just hate to see children taken away from mothers that love their children and put into a foster home were maybe they would not get the same love...This is a tuff call....

-- Posted by rebelrose on Sun, Jun 1, 2008, at 11:27 AM

AMEN!!!!!!! It's called, PICKING AND CHOOSING WHAT YOU WANT TO BELIEVE.

-- Posted by jesuslovesevery1 on Sun, Jun 1, 2008, at 9:44 AM

Michael,

So, let me get this straight, In the old testament you can have many wives, but in the new testament, you can't. BUT when you talk about homosexuality, you always refer to the Old Testament, but Jesus never mentioned anything about homosexuality whatsoever. How do you answer that?

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Sun, Jun 1, 2008, at 9:07 AM

Jesus mandated one man and one woman and that is the only acceptable way of marriage.

No multiple wives or husbands or spouses of the same sex.

-- Posted by michaelbell on Sun, Jun 1, 2008, at 7:20 AM

Jesus mandated one man and one woman and that is the only acceptable way of marriage.

No multiple wives or husbands or spouses of the same sex.

-- Posted by michaelbell on Sun, Jun 1, 2008, at 7:20 AM

Is anyone surprised that Texas isn't paying much attention to laws, I mean it is where George W. calls home.... And we know he has no clue what laws are, or is above the laws he is aware of.

-- Posted by jesuslovesevery1 on Sun, Jun 1, 2008, at 12:04 AM

The problem with the whole case is that the Texas DHS did not follow the Texas statute. The law states that the state can take take custody of children if the there is suspicion of abuse but only in that specific household. DHS loosely interpreted the law and decided since there was question of paternity throughout the compound, the entire compound is one household. That's not only bad interpretation, it's just lazy and allowed DHS to take the short route. Obviously it didn't pass the sniff test in the appellate court.

Bottom line, we're either a nation of laws or we're not. Texas DHS officials can probably answer that one for you.

-- Posted by Tim Baker on Sat, May 31, 2008, at 11:58 PM

I just hope and pray those children are not being abused...

-- Posted by nascarfanatic on Sat, May 31, 2008, at 11:52 PM

No contradiction there.

IF David's wives and concubines were not enough,God would give him more.

A king who has the responsibility of providing for a thousand women (and their offspring) hasn't the time or energy to do much for the rest of his people.

He has the equivalent of a city-state in his own household.

If he can even call them all by name,he has obvious proof that he is blessed by the Almighty.

(Think of how many fellows cringe at the idea of supporting one wife,2.5 kids,a dog and a station wagon.)

Some have suggested that most of these "marriages" were in-name-only political mergers or ways of insuring that the women were provided for.

Even then,the potential for trouble was obvious.

How much heartache would have been avoided if Abraham,Jacob,David and the rest had loved,nurtured and respected each member of a nuclear family instead of failing at the task of giving the people under their care their due?

I find it ironic that our society can shrug at the idea of a person having several lovers-but not several spouses.

Our children can be sexually active outside of marriage-but not within it.

Somehow,issues such as health,chastity and exploitation are taken more seriously when there is a suggestion that a relationship other than one grown woman and one adult male could be legitimized by the term marriage.

Would there be as much alarm if this were a set of polyamorous "swingers" at a country club or even a "free love" commune instead of a mutation of mainstream Christianity?

The matter of the culture imposing itself upon helpless children might not have been addressed with the same urgency.

While we are addressing the subject of cults,freedom of religious expression,etc. we might want to ask what marriage and family mean to us and how devoted we are to the protection of our youngsters.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Sat, May 31, 2008, at 6:10 PM

It must be because you aren't reading it thoroughly ...

In 2 Samuel 12:8, God, speaking through the prophet Nathan, that if David's wives and concubines were not enough, He would have given David even more. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (essentially wives of a lower status) according to 1 Kings 11:3.

Then you have this, In Deuteronomy 17:14-20, God says that the kings were not supposed to multiply wives (or horses or gold). While this cannot be interpreted as a command that the kings must be monogamous, it can be understood as declaring the having multiple wives causes problems. This can be clearly seen in the life of Solomon (1 Kings 11:3-4).

So which is it, because if you read the Bible as a whole, then Sharon, you can not ignore the obvious contradiction.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Sat, May 31, 2008, at 4:19 PM

Yes, in the Bible there are lots of instances where a man has multiple wives, but when you take the Bible as a whole, I don't see anywhere God approves of it. The creation story speaks of Adam and Eve to where Paul gives instruction on marriage, one man/one wife. The many instances of multiple wives in the Bible shows lots of heartache, even King David, who was the first King of Isreal.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Sat, May 31, 2008, at 4:12 PM

I find the irony of Christian laws making polygamy illegal, yet in the very own Christian Bible we see over and over again where God saw it as acceptable for men to have numerous wives and concubines... Obviously the times have changed, but many Christian's feel God never changes, or does he??? (Hmmm)

In the interest of the children, yes, if there were just ONE child being made to marry or have children against their own will, then they should not be allowed back...

But here is the other side of even that argument. Throughout history, yes even recent American history many of our ancestors (great great grandparents) got married at ages between 12-18, and had begin producing children soon after. Ironically enough, just like the men having numerous wives, this particular behavior was also largely acceptable in this very country for generations.

Just quite odd to watch biblically proclaimed instances taking place before our eyes, and the laws of man intervening because most now feel this isn't acceptable. Since when did we decide at what point God changes his mind on things? (In the instances of polygamy itself... not abuse)

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Sat, May 31, 2008, at 4:03 PM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.