Monday, May 19, 2008

Slate on Polygamy

William Saleton is right 99% of the time; this article is no exception. He writes:
In reality, most polygamist communities are authoritarian and push girls into marriage before they're old enough.

"Authoritarian" doesn't mean abusive; marriage of a girl under the age of 18 is in no way proof that she has been raped or abused. And, I assure you, there is no evidence whatsoever that any girl in the FLDS compound has been abused. Having a child before age 18 is not only not indicative of abuse, it's hardly uncommon. 36 out of every 1000 Texas girls under the age of 18 gives birth each year; nationally, it's only 21/1000.

The purpose of the article, though, is the legal status of polygamy; read up.


Anonymous said...

I think you miss the point... while I think mature adults can pretty much do whatever they want, I think these girls are likely very impressionable and may not realize the options they have. I think society should protect children from being prayed on by adults.

And just because 36 out of 1000 girls in Texas, it doesn't mean it is a good thing.

Go-To Girl said...

The idea that these children are necessarily being preyed on by adults is predicated on the notion that polygamy, and the fundamentalist mormon faith, are somehow wrong. And unfortunately for the state of Texas, religious belief that does not violate the law is protected by the constitution. And there is a balance that must be maintained between protecting children from predation and providing recourse to those who are victimized. And this is a case of the state of Texas violating the first amendment rights of a group of people to protect children without proof that any children have actually been victimized.

Anonymous said...

it is actually predicated on my belief that when a girl under 18 is in a relationship with a male over 18 there is not an equal power dynamic and the male can take advantage of that.

Anonymous said...

Religious belief is one thing but coerced marriage is another. The FLDS has every right to practice plural/celestial marriage--as long as the participants are consenting adults. What happens in (at least one section of) Colorado City and Yearn for Zion Ranch is forced and therefore against the law.

sandychronic said...

what about the fact that now the state of Texas said it shouldn't have taken the kids? do you think that's evidence that the YFZ group has been victimized/persecuted by the state? I do.

I also agree that girls under 18 (or 24) should not be credited with fantastic decision making abililties in romantic relationships with older men. And clearly it appears that these girls are not presented with a choice of lifestyle. But here, I think that the State overstepped its authority and revealed its biases towards different lifestyles.

some folk may jump at the chance to say that these girls need to be protected, (which I think is true, by the way) but would you feel the same if the kids were being raised by a gay family and the state felt that was some sort of child abuse and took those kids away? I think this issue really needs to revolve around the law. and the State of Texas' overstepping the law.

maybe the crime here is in not permitting these kids to attend a normal school, or expose them to any non YFZ kids so that they can learn of the choices in the world before they get marrried and knocked up at 16.