Hands Off The Mormons!
I thought I was done talking about Mormons for a while after the demise of Mitt Romney’s Republican presidential campaign, but apparently not. At that time I spent not a few words on Mr. Romney’s family history, including an admiring comment on the executive ability of his great-grandfather in presiding over a household with five wives. I mentioned at the time that, in the old days, I had my hands full when I has more than one girlfriend. I also have in the past expressed an interest in Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS), not for his finding golden tablets, or whatever, out in the wilds of upstate New York in the 1820's but as a Free-Soiler (anti-slavery advocate) and presidential candidate in the mid-1840’s before his murder by the rabble in Illinois. Today, though I have to speak of more serious issues, even though belatedly.
We have all become painfully aware over the past several weeks of the plight of several hundred women (mostly mothers) and children of the separatist Fundamental Church of Latter Day Saints as they were hounded and rounded up by a phalanx of Texas legal and social service authorities over some sexual abuse that was allegedly going on at their rural ranch. This sect, which has no direct relationship to Mitt Romney’s mainstream LDS’ers, holds the practice of polygamy as one of their central tenets, a tenet given up by the mainstream Mormons in 1890. Since that roundup which eventually scattered the children all over the state in foster homes and state institutions, a series of Texas court actions, including a successful appeal to the Texas Appeals Court, the state’s highest court, has finally gotten the children back with their kin. There are, however, still rumblings by the state authorities about their self-ordained right to carry out such invasions at will.
But here is the real issue for socialists and just plain civil libertarian types. Why was this sect being so readily prosecuted by the state on what, at best, were flimsy and unsubstantiated charges that proved to be laughable in court? As distant as I am from the beliefs of this seemingly harmless, reclusive and isolated sect and as distant as I am from either wanting to have several wives or being one of several husbands of a woman (polyandry) for that matter, I find it that it is necessary to defend these fundamentalist Mormons against the ravages to their personal lives by the state actions. As long as the question of effective consent is given, the only real criteria that should govern such relationships, it is nobody’s business, especially the state’s what social relationships people enter into. For all those shocked by the notion of so-called "child brides" look to the history of marriage regulation or for that matter the common law of your locale (if in a common law state).
I think that the way that the state of Texas has handled this matter has outraged more people than normally would be the case, unlike the Waco governmental invasion under Bill Clinton, and that is to the good. As the old adage goes- if they can get away with carting off the helpless and reclusive then what about the rights of rest of us- is fully operational here. But this episode should also make us aware, very aware, of why we leftists support the slogan- Government out of the bedrooms! Hands Off The Mormons! And Keep Them Off!