ON APRIL 3, 2008, the state of Texas committed one of the most egregious acts of kidnapping in modern history.
Acting on an anonymous tip, 463 children at the Yearning for Zion Ranch near Eldorado, Texas were taken from their homes by Texas officers — armed for a Waco-style confrontation — and placed in the custody of foster parents. The Texas Department of Family Services claims girls and young women at the ranch, the home of a fundamentalist Mormon sect which believes in the polygamous practices of the Old Testament, lived in an “environment that left girls at risk of sexual abuse and raised boys to become sexual perpetrators.”
And this makes the FLDS different from the rest of America how?
When one runs the numbers, it appears that girls at the YFZ Ranch were actually safer from such predation than young girls in most major American cities. And if the state of Texas really cared about the welfare of teen and young adult women, the apparent honor killings near Dallas in January should have prompted raids on mosques all across the state. (I don’t want my daughter to emulate Britney Spears, either, but I’m not going to shoot her if she does.)
That didn’t happen, and it won’t. Muslims have wealthy and powerful supporters, like the Saudi royal family. All that oil money buys a lot of PR and official cooperation.
Members of the FLDS Church, on the other hand, appear to be just getting by, and in our modern, post-Sex In The City culture, you don’t find many people, especially politicians, willing to stand up for subservient women in polygamous relationships.
Which makes the April 3 raid a convenient test case for government.
Even news that the complaint which led to the raid was apparently fake — the original warrant was quietly dropped last week — wasn’t enough to convince Texas authorities to return the children to their parents. There has been little outcry from otherwise patriotic Americans, who haven’t mustered any outrage over this blatant disregard for the constitutional rights of fellow citizens because they just don’t like the lifestyle of the victims.
This is a dangerous precedent. Let’s be sure we understand what happened here: Hundreds of American children were taken from their parents at gunpoint and placed them in foster care without enough reasonable cause to support a warrant.
What’s chilling is that this desire by government to take child-rearing decisions away from parents appears to be shared in other parts of the country.
- In Colorado, a SWAT team forcibly removed a boy from his home because his parents opted not to take him to an emergency room for a bump on the head suffered in a fall while horsing around.
- Last fall, a New Jersey couple discovered that their 8-month-old son was being held in the hospital against their wishes by order of the state’s Division of Youth and Family Services because they’d followed the medical advice of their pediatrician over that of a hospital doctor.
- Parents in Arlington, Virginia lost a two-year court battle to regain custody of their infant daughter, who was taken by the state after an anonymous accusation that they were starving the then three-week-old infant. The judge ruled against the couple, even though they’d been exonerated by Child Protective Services nine months earlier, because he deemed returning the two-year-old girl to her biological parents too “traumatic”. In other words, the judge used the girl’s inappropriate removal as justification for making the separation permanent!
The right of parents to decide what’s best for their children is at risk. Today, the government is picking on members of a cult who have few friends in our society because of their isolationist, contrarian ways. But the legal precedent set here could have serious implications for homeschoolers, Bible-believing Christians, and parents who object to having their children injected with every new vaccine developed by Big Pharma.
If Texas can make the kidnapping of the FLDS children stick, then we’ve entered a new era in America: an era in which an anonymous, fraudulent phone call can bring a paramilitary unit to your door in the middle of the night to take your children away.