Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Religious Freedom and Parental Rights

Let me begin this by saying that I don't agree with polygamy or the religious beliefs of the FLDS church, but I have been so upset by everything that has been happening in Texas. I believe in the freedom of religion, and I believe in parental rights and that the Bible supports parents being ultimately responsible for their children. I am mostly upset by the precedence that this sets for the future. What is so crazy to me is that 400 children would never have been ripped from their mother's arms if they weren't part of a religious sect. The authorities claim that a girl reported that she was being molested, but now they think that the call was a fake. Why in the world would they take EVERYONE'S children away? Why didn't they just take the men away until they figured out what was going on? How many 13 or 14 year old girls get pregnant in our country every year? Are their parents arrested? Are all the children in their school or neighborhood taken from their parents because that happened? How many dad's out there have children by 3, 4 5 or more women? Puff Daddy comes to mind. None of these things are okay, but they are not prosecuted. Sexual abuse is never okay, but is this the best way to deal with it? Is foster care a better system to put vulnerable children into? How many foster care children are sexually abused? I know that kids in the system are much more likely to end up teenage moms, drug addicts and convicts. Foster care can't possibly be the answer. They are saying the kids have been physically abused. Is this the next step to outlawing our parental right to biblically discipline our children? This is not a far off concept, look at Europe where some countries have already adopted this ban. I even heard that the authorities were thinking of vaccinating the children because they called them a "danger to society."

If this is an issue of religion, it has no place for the authorities, unless the law is being broken. Teenagers getting married, although not common in our society today, isn't uncommon throughout history. If the parents allow it, it isn't a crime. I am not sure what the law says about age and marriage, but 400 children taken from their families, COME ON!

We need to be fighting for the right of religious freedom because it affects Christians and our right to worship the one, true and living God. Men died and wars were fought for us to have these rights, we should not be giving them up so easily. No, I don't agree with the FLDS, or militant muslims, or most other religions out there, but they have the right within the laws of our land to practice their religion as I do mine. Freedom of speech guarantees us all the right to say what we want, and I personally would rather know what my enemies think about me than have them thinking it in private. Making speech a hate crime if we don't like what is being said doesn't make people stop hating, it just allows them to do it secretly, and catching us off guard when we are attacked.

I will get off my soapbox now, but I write this because I can imagine a time that my children would be stripped from me because we homeschool, or disagree with the government, or practice a conservative religion. This should not be so.


momma's heart said...

I, too, am upset that all the children were taken.

We homeschool also and I think the State acting so aggressively sets a dangerous precedent. The National Educational Association is strongly against homeschooling, and they have a very liberal, powerful lobby presence in Washington. I shudder to think of the damage they can do to homeschool freedom.

Now that the children are out of their FLDS parents' hands, though, I choose to look at it glass-half-full. God is mighty enough to put the children in contact with Born Again Christians, who will give them a saved-by-grace salvation message. Hopefully, for the twelve to eighteen months they are in care, they will also see that salvation message of grace played out in people's lives. It saddens me so much to know they are so entrenched in a good-works religion.

I just read today that they are probably not going to be put in traditional foster care, as the State wants to limit their exposure to mainstream society, and keep siblings, families together as much as possible. It sounds like they have a boarding house-type vision in mind. Remains to be seen.

A lot of ex-polygamists are coming out in the last week telling stories of patterns of various types of abuse, within the lifestyle. Who knows what is really true, and what might be mere bitterness. Anyway, God can use it all for good. Everyone involved, right down to the media, can be moved by God's grace.

Enjoying your blog. Found out I was pregnant, at age 42, a few weeks after I last posted on your blog, about having children into the forties.

As you add to your own family, you might find the website helpful, as you homeschool with babies and toddlers around. The husband and wife team co-authored Managers of Their Homes (Steven and Teri Maxwell, parents to eight homeschooled children). It is an invaluable tool in scheduling the many aspects of your day, so that homeschooling, quality time with baby, laundry, etc., can all be done without you feeling like you're losing your mind. Perhaps you already have their materials?

Teri Maxwell also wrote Homeschooling With A Meek and Quiet Spirit, which I am just getting into and really enjoying.

Kristen Borland said...

i hate that these children were taken from their mothers. no, i personally don't think a 13-year-old should be getting married. but i totally side with the moms on this. they are taught that this is the way life is, and i do not doubt that most of them are probably great moms. i have to say i'm angered by the men, that they have enforced this lifestyle of polygamy and underage marriage. what say do these moms even have? so why are their children ripped away from them? i agree, they should have removed the men, not the children, while they figured this all out. i actually even feel sorry for the young men, the men brought up in this lifestyle, who know nothing else. i have a hard time blaming them when they were forced to marry young girls because that is what they were taught since infancy. the whole thing is a mess, and while i feel strongly about religious freedom, i also feel strongly about protecting these women and children. my thoughts on the subject are all over the place, as you can tell!

Jodi said...

I totally agree with your post. As the mama of a 7 month old it breaks my heart to think of those tiny nurslings taken away from their mamas to go live in a strange place. I do not agree with polygamy or some of the things that I have heard about from that particular sect, but I just can't think about those babies without wanting to cry.