Friday, April 18, 2008

Even Religious Freedom Needs Limits

With the recent stories of children being removed from the compound of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) in El Dorado, Texas, it screams for limits on what religions can or cannot do in this country.

The mothers who have been separated from their children are pleading to be reunited, but this seems to be an attempt to gain sympathy from Americans, who may not want to see a child separated from its mother. But, we need to look very closely on what this sect is really doing, and if any behavior violates US laws, then the law needs to react appropriately. It seems clear from news stories – and not just recent stories but those that have surfaced over the years – that this sect practices polygamy. It also seems very evident that underage children are being forced into sex and childbearing, by men much much older than they. I consider this child abuse. And if the women in this sect are allowing this to occur and are turning a blind eye, then they are enabling the child abuse and do not deserve to be reunited with their children.

While I do think that people have the right to practice religion in the United States, I also think that US laws should supersede religious law. For example, if a religion decides that murder is OK, well, sorry, then it can’t practice that part of their religion here.

I believe that we live in a country of many freedoms, and freedom to abuse children is not one of them. Religious freedom does not mean "anything goes".

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1 comment:

Geoff Brown said...

Regardless of the religious and polygamist issues, I think we all agree that child abuse needs to be detected faster and prosecuted more vigorously. Does anyone know of any especially innovative ways to do this? We've created an online role-playing course that lets teachers (who often notice signs of abuse, but fail to act) practice a conversation with a possible child abuse victim. It gives expert feedback after every choice. If you know of other innovative programs (using technology or not), please let us know. Thanks!