Saturday, May 24, 2008

Trouble in Texas

A state appeals court in Texas has ruled that the seizure of hundreds of children from a religious sect was illegal. This is a victory for liberty.

Texas seizure of polygamist-sect kids thrown out

The ranch of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints was raided about a month ago by Texas authorities. The FLDS is a splinter Mormon group. It has some odd religious beliefs. But that hardly justifies what happened to them.

An anonymous tip, which has been shown to be fraudulent, led authorities to raid the ranch and take all of the hundreds of children away from their parents. The authorities made wild allegations of child abuse. But no one has been charged with a crime, nor has any evidence been brought forth to substantiate these allegations.

The FLDS is known to promote polygamy. Granted, this is not an ideal lifestyle. But taking children away from the only parents that they have ever known is hardly an improvement.

The foster care system is deeply flawed. Abuse occurs there too, sometimes children even die. It should be the absolute last resort. Taking children away from parents who love them, even flawed parents, might even be considered abuse.

The children taken away weren't just the teenage girls allegedly at risk of abuse. They were boys, babies, children of monogamous couples. All of them. Imagine if your neighbor hurt a child, so the authorities arrested everyone in the neighborhood and took their children away.

If there was any actual abuse, it should be prosecuted. As of now, there is no evidence that there was. Unfortunately, child "protective" agencies have broad powers to take away children whenever liberal social workers disapprove of the actions of parents.

The FLDS is an unpleasant group in many ways. But it isn't hard to imagine that the same thing that happened to them could happen to others of whom the government disapproves: fundamentalist Christians, homeschoolers, gun owners, etc. The principles of liberty must be defended even in the hard cases. That's why the judges' decision is commendable.

See this blog for more detail on the story.

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