Sunday, December 14, 2008

Three Amigos, Accountability for Flora Jessop, and the Suffering of Children

First, from a truly sad tale of a boy who, while being held captive by the Texas CPS, lost his father. Such suffering in children is the direct result of abusing the rights of parents. It is a clear indication that government has far overstepped it's bounds.

Second, there are some interesting results coming out of the Warren Jeffs trial. One is that Flora Jessop is being forced to give a deposition without publicity. The judge clearly takes into account the apparent compulsive desire of Flora to obtain publicity without counting the cost to others in her crusade of self-promotion.

A second part of the depositions in the Jeffs trial comes courtesy of the excellent "I perceive" blog by Kurt Schulzke. He points out that, contrary to the predictions of various posters and bloggers, Texas law enforcement will have to give depositions as well. Little by little, Texas is being held accountable for some of their abuses. It is an encouraging start. The photo below, courtesy of the article, seems quite appropriate.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Utah State Legislature to hold hearing investigating whether Shurtleff acted improperly in not arresting Dan Fischer

There is sworn evidence that Dan Fischer committed child abuse, child abandonment, theft, and lied under oath. Further, Fischer himself confirmed that he was abusive in newspaper reports. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has said he will prosecute crimes related to polygamy. However, Shurtleff has let Fischer off the hook, despite sworn evidence that Fischer has committed felonies.

Normally, this would be considered lax enforcement, at the evidence was presented to a congressional panel. However, Shurtleff has political connections with Fischer. Remember how Shurtleff admitted that inappropriate underage drinking went on at Fischer's "lost boy" parties, but excused the violation? How much has Fischer directly or indirectly contributed to Shurtleff's campaigns? What are the connections between lack of enforcement and political support?

This is clearly a matter for the Utah State Legislature to investigate. I would encourage all citizens of Utah to write your legislator, and call both Shurtleff and Fishcer to account for their deeds. Also, those of you in Salt Lake need to organize a protest around his dental practice. Signs like "Dan Fischer is a child molester," "Dan Fischer steals from his own children," and "Dan Fischer is a fraudster" would be appropriate and accurate. Fischer has done the crime, now he needs to do the time.

I have also thought the FBI should be investigating whether there is political favoritism by the Utah State attorney general's office in prosecuting FLDS but not anti-FLDS figures. Why was Jeffs convicted on flimsey charges, but not Fischer on solid, sworn evidence?

FLDS need to fight for their rights

I have been encouraged to see the FLDS fight for their rights. They have done a wonderful job in slowing the abuses of the state of Texas. It is important for the rights of everyone that they However, I was really disappointed with how few of them registered to vote. This is even more frustrating as they need to register to sit on juries. I have also been disappointed that the FLDS have seemingly not been as active in legal attacks as I think they should be. I think they should be much more agressive.

In the meantime I will try to be agressive in writing my state congressional representatives pushing for more parental rights. As US citizens we must be strong when confronting legalized bigotry.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Move to Virginia

I have moved to from Arizona to Virginia, and will now inform my elected representatives of the Commonwealth of that this voter insists that the rights of parents be protected, and insists on a "Parents Bill of Rights." I am encouraged by what I see are positive developments in the FLDS situation, such as most of the children being set free, and multiple Texas officials resigning. I still find it troubling that they have not done anything to bring Swinton to justice, despite the fact that 911 coverage for cell phones requires position triangulation. Very frustrating.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Victory in Home Schooling Rights

Looks like California has come to it's senses regarding parental rights in homeschooling. The LA Times reports:

Governator Schwarzenegger:
This is a victory for California's students, parents and education community. This decision confirms the right every California child has to a quality education and the right parents have to decide what is best for their children. I hope the ruling settles this matter for parents and home-schooled children once and for all in California, but assure them that we, as elected officials, will continue to defend parents' rights.

Phillip Long:
Educating your children in your own home preexisted these buffoons that sit on the 2nd Circuit. It preexisted this state. It preexisted us. Parents have been teaching their own children since the beginning.

British Newspaper Questions Logic in FLDS Raid

Andrew Stephen has written and article for the New Statesmen entitled "Danger to the Nation?"

Yet, almost certainly uniquely in Hoover's 58-year-old Most Wanted programme, Jeffs was never accused of killing or hurting anyone himself, of stealing, drug-running or arms-running, or of personally committing any violent crime. He became one of America's top ten most wanted fugitives for one overriding reason: he sought the freedom to practise his religion the way he wanted, but discovered instead that there was a catastrophic irreconcilability between the traditions of his church and the law.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Another letter on the Senate Hearings

I sent similar letters to both my senators, my representative, the state Attorney General, Governor Napalitano, Obama, and President Bush. Please reach out to your legislators with letters. Feel free to use my letter as a base.

Senator Reid has called for a hearing on the FLDS that seems to be nothing more than federally funded hate speech. Reid has included only anti-FLDS bigots that are proven liars and profiteers of sensationalism. No pro-FLDS individual has been called to testify, reminiscent of Hitler, Mao, and Stalin.

Meanwhile, the Texas raid has proven that the FLDS have much lower rates of welfare, underage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and rape than the general U. S. population. Senator Reid should either grant equal time at the hearings, or be forced to resign for using taxpayer money to promote religious persecution. As president of the Senate, please compel Senator Reid to include equal time for the FLDS at the hearings, and personally attend the hearings to insure that the FLDS are fairly represented.
I have written, and will write again. My representatives, the president, and the vice president can not say "we haven't been asked."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Letter to Arizona Attorney General, Terry Goddard

On the Arizona Attorney General site, there is a link for the civil rights division: . There is also a link to a civil rights complaint form. I wrote the following letter to the Civil Rights division. I would encourage polygamists in Arizona to file a civil rights complaint form, demanding that Goddard stop his hate speech.

I would like to report hate speech. The Attorney General himself, Terry Goddard, has engaged in hate speech toward the FLDS. Not only has he participated in exagerrated claims of lawlessness and abuse, but he has granted the bully pulpit to others that have used it to promote outright lies and advertise their books. Such behavior is truly reprehensible.

It has been reported that Mr. Goddard has been invited as a witness to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the purported crimes of the FLDS in the coming weeks. However, it is also reported that not a single representative of the FLDS has been called to testify, though a number of proven slanderers and profiteers will testify. The current makeup of this hearing amounts to nothing more than federally sanctioned hate speech. Mr. Goddard would not be representing Arizona, or defending the constitution by attending. As a citizen of Arizona, I demand that he recuse himself from attending, or recuse himself from being attorney general. His continued religious persecution should not be allowed to continue.

Letter about the hearings scheduled by the Senate Judiciary Committe

I was really frustrated when I read what Harry Reid was up to, and I sent this letter to my senators. Please let your senators know about this miscarriage of justice, and do not let them get away with it.

Senator Reid has recently proposed holding a senate hearing on the alleged crimes of the FLDS. As the situation in Texas has demonstrated, the detractors of the FLDS have been shown to be liars, bigots, and profiteers. Yet, Senator Reid has so far not allowed any FLDS representatives to testify.

I implore you to insure that the FLDS have at least one representative at the hearings. It is against every principle of justice to have what amounts to a trial without the accused even allowed to be in the courtroom. I heartily encourage you to take a stand against this religious bigotry.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some Web highlights

I am only linking a few articles that I feel are either important or rare. You can get most of the mainline stories from newspapers or other blogs.

Follow-up failure in Texas from notes that the original raid recieved much more media attention than the Texas Supreme Court forcing the children's release.
The drop-off in coverage from the initial raid to the Supreme Court decision occurred across all media sectors. Online and network news saw the greatest decline in coverage.
Plural Marriage is Among Consenting Adults by James A. Marples in the Albert Lea Tribune (Minnisota and Northern Iowa) as a Letter-to-the-editor
If all those in the relationship were consenting adults and no abuse, incest or coercion takes place, and if all the children are happy and healthy, I say: Let those people live quietly in peace. It was good enough in Old Testament days of the Holy Bible. And that scriptural precedent should be the legal foundation or precedent for revisions in America law today.
Monogamous Deception Letter to the Editor by Thomas McCabe in the Cape Verde (AZ) Bugle
The lower courts have spoken; the Supreme Court of Texas has spoken. Yet the quasi-dictatorial government agency, the Texas Child Protective Services, defies the courts to impose 'their' own brand of 'law.' On March 29, Texas State Police armed with assault rifles, attacked, without cause, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and forcibly removed 416 children. What is considered kidnapping in Texas? Doesn't the Bill of Rights apply to all citizens?
CPS Actions Damaged Children Editorial by Johana Scot and Richard Wexler in the San Angelo Standard-Times.
Instead, CPS opted for the mass amputation of the mothers from their children. They were taken from the foggy and distant danger they faced and thrown into the clear and present danger of foster care. ... Instead, CPS opted for the mass amputation of the mothers from their children. They were taken from the foggy and distant danger they faced and thrown into the clear and present danger of foster care.
Home Schoolers Threaten our Cultural Comfort by Sonny Scott in the Northeast Mississipi Daily Journal.
Indications are that home schooling is working well for the kids, and the parents are pleased with their choice, but the practice is coming under increasing suspicion, and even official attack, as in California. ... Now the kid is raising hell again, demanding the latest Play Station as his price for doing his school work … and there goes that modest young woman in the home-made dress with her four bright-eyed, well-behaved home-schooled children in tow. Wouldn’t you just love to wipe that serene look right off her smug face?
You can now purchase FLDS clothing! Provide modest and functional clothing for your children while helping the famalies recovery from the raid.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Lawyers taking a stand against abuses

Kurt S. Schulzke, an attorney from Woodstock, GA, wrote a powerful editorial in the San Angelo Times, and commented about it on his blog.
Let the government violate the law today to "protect children" and you empower it, tomorrow, to violate your rights in pursuit of other objectives. How will you redraw the line once you have crossed it "just this once"?
This isn't just a case about child endangerment; It's about the rule of law and the American system of government. Those who commit such crimes against the rule of law - whatever their office - should pay a price in court or at the ballot box. If they don't, the rest of us someday will.
Another attorney, this time Gregory Hession in Springfield, Missouri wrote an excellent article entitled "Whose Children are they, Anyway" in The New American.
This episode should be a warning to all families that an arbitrary attack by the state against a family can happen to any of us and that a court will likely not protect the family from overreaching state social workers or false reports of child abuse.
The Christian Science Monitor has an article on an appeal to the U. S. Supreme Court to invalidate illegal tactics that the Illinois CPS has been using.
The offer: Agree to a safety plan or your children may be taken away. Parents are not given an opportunity to know the substance and source of an abuse allegation, nor are they given an opportunity to challenge the safety plan before a neutral decisionmaker.
With the slur "cult" back in the news I found a great link to quotes on what comprises a cult. I encourage everyone to continue to fight the bigotry of those who use "cult" as hate speech.
  1. " person's cult is another's religion; all religions begin life as cults. An alternative definition is that a cult is a religion which you happen to dislike." Anthony Campbell
  2. "Cult is a word without much use outside the realm of religious mudslinging." Philip Kennicott
  3. "When someone uses the word 'cult,' it usually says more about them than the group," J. Gordon Melton, founder and director of The Institute for the Study of American Religion.
  4. "It's easy to tell the difference - a cult is someone else's religion. Corollary: "A fanatic is someone who believes something more strongly than you do." Jim Heldberg
  5. "I have often thought that the difference between a cult and a religion is an IRS ruling." Ron Barrier

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Calling Harvey Hilderbran to resign

I think "Hairbrained" Hilderbran needs to be held accountable for his abuses of power and position. As part of this I sent an email to him, as well as a letter to the local newspaper of his district that closely followed the letter I sent to him. I encourage you to send your own.

The Kerrville Daily Times Letter to the Editor

Representative Hilderbran:

I am calling on you to resign. You have tried to use the apparatus of the State to persecute an unpopular religion. This clearly violates the "Establishment of Religion" clause in the constitution. You have also engaged in religious persecution, using a religious slur in the public media. This form of hate speech is indefensible. Finally, you have abandoned your long-standing political principles of property rights and personal liberty in an attempt at political popularity, showing a huge defect in your character. Resign so that you may remove the beam in your own eye, and spare the 53rd district from a bigot and demagogue.


"I Percieve" blog, email to Judge Walthers church

Recently found this blog, which carries powerful and rather incendiary prose. I usually don't dedicate an entire post to a blog (otherwise I would have to do it every day for Grits and Brooke) but this has some interesting articles that I've never seen before.

Texas TRO: Separate CPS & Walther from FLDS
I smell a rat. Having read both draft orders in the FLDS case, my view is that neither draft complies with the order of the Texas Supreme Court... The drafts suggest that these unfortunate victims of government abuse are beginning to legitimize — in their own minds — the misconduct of their government captors.
First United Methodist of San Angelo burns cross, prays for Judge Walther
I have a feeling that with the atrocities she has inflicted on FLDS families, Walther will need those prayers. ... Why don’t the FLDS appear on First United Methodist’s prayer page?
I thought that was a good question. While they did have a listing for "Eldorado Situation" that could mean anything. So, I wrote to the email addresses on their Prayer Request page:

I respectfully request that you add to your prayer list that the FLDS parents and children be protected from the abuses of power of the State of Texas, and be protected from those who desire to persecute them.

It was a good reminder for me to say my prayers - both for the FLDS, and also to keep the CPS far away from me and my family.

CPS a national “empire built on taking children”, Georgia Senator Schaefer warns
As the Texas CPS horror unfolds, some American parents watch passively as if it couldn’t possibly happen to them. Be warned. What Texas CPS did to the FLDS en masse, other states’ CPSs do every day across the country to individual families.
Walther signs extortionary FLDS order
A house is only a home if you enjoy the protections against search and seizure that all Americans are supposed to enjoy. This distinction is obviously lost on the judge who — for what reason God only knows — continues to preside over the case. Because of their religion and the venomous bigotry of Judge Barbara Walther, these Americans citizens are being denied their basic constitutional rights.

Continued Coverage

Looks like there is now an official in Canada trying to prosecute polygamists. However, the two prosecutors he has hired have both declined to prosecute. Hopefully he gets the message some day, but it might take the Canadian Supreme Court, just like it took the Texas Supreme Court.
It's proving difficult to prosecute polygamists by Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun
B.C. prosecutor weighs polygamy charges by Wendy Stueck, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Tellingly, the articles never quote a current Bountiful resident, only repeating allegations of government officials and a former FLDS member. Bigotry and slanted media are not just US problems when it comes to religion.
The mess in Texas, Pancho Villa and "usos y costumbres" on The Mex Files
International coverage continues, with the article discussing Pancho Villa being a polygamist, as well as many Mexican immigrants to the United States currently practicing polygamy.
The claims of abuse were overblown, and the State of Texas has not been particularly interested in pursuing child or spousal abuse cases that involve more "mainstream" sectarians.
Whose Kids Are They Anyway? by Mike Gallagher, nationally syndicated radio talk show host
He joins Micheal Savage as major radio talk show hosts who have spoken out on this issue.
But the mantra of "protecting our children" shouldn't give a state agency the ability to shred the constitutional rights of each and every adult who comes into CPS's crosshairs. ... Everything about this story is rotten. It's the textbook example of a zealous government destroying the United States Constitution in order to grandstand and pretend that they are only interested in protecting the children.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Links to Editorials

The National Coalition for Child Protection Reform has a blog, and they ran a piece entitled The unbearable vindictiveness of Judge Walther. It has a number of good snippets.
Ever since the first three judges, on an appellate court, ruled against her, Judge Walther has made her displeasure clear. But apparently her vindictiveness knows no bounds. ... She decided to impose a series of extra conditions of her own, which appear to have no purpose other than harassment. ... As far as I can tell, since the appellate court ruled, that brings the number of editorial pages from outside Texas and Utah condemning Texas CPS to 11. The number supporting CPS: 0.
It also contains links to two more editorials.
The right decision - Texas court rules state overstepped authority by the Worcester Telegram.
It still may be weeks or months before many of the children and parents have been reunited. Nonetheless, in declaring state officials overstepped their authority, the Supreme Court took a welcome first step toward righting a wrong that defied logic, compassion and the law.
Texas went too far in case by the Leaf-Chronicle in Clarksville, TN.
No government agency in the United States should simply round up hundreds of children and take them from the arms of their mothers without just cause. This is still a nation of laws and individual rights, and the nanny-state doesn't always know best.
The blog also links to other articles in earlier posts.
Sect Mothers Say Separation Endangers Children in the New York Times.
Many child-welfare experts across the nation ... say the raid on the polygamist ranch diverged sharply from the recommended practices both in Texas and elsewhere in the country.
Child Welfare — Think First in the Topeka Capitol-Journal.
The Texas case brought to mind an incident in April in which a man temporarily lost custody of his son for buying him a lemonade at a baseball game.
Polygamists' Kids in Their Own Private Gitmo by Richard Wexler in The Nation magazine
When children are needlessly put into foster care, they lose not only mom and dad but often brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, friends and classmates. For a young enough child, it's an experience akin to a kidnapping.
Overprotective in Texas from the New Jersey Star-Ledger
By overreacting, Texas officials may have hurt what they described as their primary mission: protecting children.

News Stories on the release

Was polygamist raid doomed from start? from the Seattle Times.
Investigators listened to a lot of misinformation and allowed themselves to be kind of captivated by these anti-FLDS people.
US sect children set to go home from the BBC demonstrates international coverage.
But last week the state's Supreme Court said officials had failed to prove the children faced immediate danger.
Critics say CPS failed to foresee nuances in the Houston Chronicle.
On the whole not a very good article, as it seems to try to cover the bias of the newspaper by trying to cover the CPS. But, I liked this quote about the CPS:
Their blundering and their hubris created this mess
Who's the real abuser? by the National Post in Canada
Unconscionably, the state agency clung to the YFZ children even after these facts were learned. The seizure, based as it was on a sincere belief that young children were being sexually abused and beaten, was one thing. But the refusal of the CPS to admit its mistake is quite another.
Tender Thoughts of a Lonely Mother by Maggie Jessop on Truth Will Prevail
I liked the pictures in this article. But, in regards to the picture at the bottom, please remind the boy not to touch the optics on the binoculars! (a pet peeve of mine ;)
Still I wonder just what will they do next to create "evidence" during the next ninety days, since they are requiring our subjection to their ongoing investigations. How could I possibly give these people my confidence after the atrocities heaped upon us and our innocent children during the last two months? It is not a matter of our unwillingness to cooperate and comply. It is a matter of betrayal. It is a situation of government officials destroying my trust in the ability of the State to govern justly, lawfully, and appropriately. How thankful I am to see the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the State of Texas beginning to bring injustice to a halt.

At long last -- Justice!

Finally! Parents start re-uniting with children! (Picture from AP article) Congratulations to the FLDS, their lawyers, and supporters of parents rights everywhere!

"It's just a great day," said Nancy Dockstader, whose chin quivered and eyes filled with tears as she embraced her daughter, Amy, 9, outside the Baptist Children's Home Ministries Youth Ranch near San Antonio. "We're so grateful."

Online Petition to Impeach Judge Walther

I was surprised and disgusted when Judge Walther acted in a vengeful and adversarial manner regarding the return of the children. I have no problem with a judge having an opinion. I have a big problem with a judge abusing their power. I wonder if she is acting to appease her ego, after 12 judges have unanimously condemned her decision? If so, she should recuse herself, and let someone else handle the case. Here is an online petition to impeach her:

Impeach Texas District Judge Barbara Walther Over FLDS Fiasco

Whereas Texas 51st District Judge Barbara Walther has violated the constitutional rights of more than 400 children and their parents of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Church (FLDS);

and whereas Judge Barbara Walther took an oath to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Texas and has violated that oath;

and whereas both an appellate court and the Texas Supreme Court have sided with the FLDS children and their parents against Judge Barbara Walther;

and whereas the actions of Judge Barbara Walther have resulted in a great financial cost to the State of Texas and its taxpayers;

and whereas Judge Barbara Walther's actions constitute one of the greatest violations of constitutional rights in the history of the State of Texas;

and whereas Judge Barbara Walther should have known ahead of time that what she was doing was unconstitutional, since the Island Pond Raid in the State of Vermont in 1984 was almost identical, and there are other similar cases on record where judges refused to support unconstitutional raids by Child Protective Services;

and whereas Judge Barbara Walther has impeded the reunification of parents with their children, even after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that they should be reunified;

we ask that proceedings begin immediately for the impeachment of District Judge Barbara Walther of the State of Texas.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On the web

Some Muslims in U.S. Quietly Engage in Polygamy by Barbara Bradley Hagerty on NPR
I do, I do, I do. The last taboo and GTA's secret world of polygamy by Noor Javed in The Star (Toronto)
All of these articles discuss Muslim Polygamy. None of them talk about how removing criminal offenses for polygamy would greatly help the situation. Bringing it above board would do considerable good, especially for abused women.

FLDS mom, 18, says state wanted her baby from CNN
The state apparently agreed that Jessop was not a minor. A caseworker signed a statement saying Jessop gave her age as 18. Her birth certificate says so, along with a "bishop's list" collected as evidence from the sect's records.
Birthdays without Pressure
I don't know how many times I have been to a birthday party where the parents spent over and above their means to overindulge children and impress the parents. I wish people would chill a little where birthday parties are concerned. It should be about the kids having fun, not spoiling them or impressing parents.
If you think children’s birthday parties are getting out of control, you’ve come to the right place. We want to raise awareness of this problem and offer alternatives for parents and kids who want birthdays without pressure.
The savage travesty is unraveling from Wendy McElroy, self proclaimed feminist and Libertarian
As the media ceases to tiptoe like scared mice around the blatant, raging abuse of power that is the CPS in Texas (and elsewhere) other details might emerge. ... Is anyone in Mudville's media brave enough to inquire WHY the removal of children is entrusted to bureaucrats who can't even count how many children they kidnapped on one particular day? ... Are we going to have a State-imposed purity test for ideology before allowing parents to raise their children? ... Frankly, sometimes I don't like the fact that human rights are universal. But I always find solace in the fact that universal rights are tremendously better than the alternative.
"Heroes In Error", Again (Media Update) by William N. Grigg on Pro Liberate Blog
If they're looking for a slam-dunk criminal indictment, they could have one against Flora Jessop: She has publicly confessed to making a "False report regarding [a] missing child or missing person," as defined by Chapter 37, section 081 of the Texas Penal Code. Given that Flora Jessop appears to be the proverbial poisoned tree in this entire matter, she is the only legitimate target for a criminal probe -- unless, of course, the probe turns up tangible evidence of deliberate criminal misconduct on the part of CPS officials.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More links for today

FLDS: Court victory but no closer to home from Austin News - KXAN
The couple also believe the raid was a form of religious persecution. Joseph Jessop said he remains convinced the state would not back off its case, no matter what evidence the couple might have presented that they were monogamous and their children were not abused.
Are FLDS sect's beliefs sufficient grounds for taking the kids? from The Christian Science Monitor
It also now appears that evidence about the sect's belief system that the state collected during the raid – and presented to a district court to justify its temporary removal of the children – is probably flawed.
Lawyers cry foul in FLDS seizures covered by many, including the Houston Chronicle
"They have created chaos. They don't know what to do. This case has holes in it the size of the Grand Canyon," said Laura Shockley, a Dallas family law specialist with six clients in the case. "There is no way to fix this." She and other lawyers say some of the seized people, especially those who it turns out are 18 or older, have potent federal civil rights lawsuits against the state.
Texas justice: Court says state acted illegally against FLDS Salt Lake Tribune editorial

In essence, here's what the court said: You can't grab people's kids and put them in foster care unless you first prove that each one is in imminent danger. And even if, for example, you have proof that an underage girl has been forced into marriage with an adult male, you can't then claim that every other child is likewise endangered and place them in state custody.
That's Texas law, the court said, and FPS didn't follow it. Nor did a district judge, who refused to return the children to their parents, even though the state hadn't proven its claim of systemic child abuse within the FLDS compound.
Texas' FLDS vendetta Robert Murton Letter to the Editor in the Salt Lake Tribune
Perhaps he has realized that Texas will not be able to justify the extreme actions of its Child Protection Services and some quirk in the Texas law will allow it to take some innocent people's property to pay for this government excess.
CPS commits moral crime against FLDS Alberta Spence Letter to the Editor in the San Angelo Standard-Times
I am not a FLDS member, just a mother and grandmother, but I know how I would feel as would most of you. We must all protest this type of gestapo action. We are not a third world country, but if we allow this to happen we are on our way.
Watchdog criticizes FLDS hearings in the Salt Lake Tribune
These people do this everyday for a living but CPS is going to give them training?

Friday, May 23, 2008

FLDS need to set their house in order

There are some things we can't change when we try to defend our parent rights. We can't change bigotry. We can't change books other people write. We can't instantly change past court decisions.

However, it is extremely, extremely important to take the legal protections that you can. I'm glad the FLDS are starting to do this. With the help of their lawyers they have appealed, and are now starting to register to vote. I hope they make it a "memorial day" activity to commemorate those damaged by raids.

But, I see a big, huge, gigantic way they can protect themselves. Right now they are still susceptible to the "one household" argument, and "one household" search warrants. How hard would it be to take the church parcel, and put it under a separate holding, deeding the land to the "YFZ FLDS chapel." Then, take the temple and give it to the "YFZ FLDS Temple." Finally, take the school, and put it under the "YFZ charter school." Not only would it force future warrants to specify those areas, it would allow them to be taxed as a church -- i.e. not at all. They will certainly need the money to pay for the lawyers. Finally, it greatly lowers the risk of the state seizing the buildings.

Then, they need to extend that to the homes. Put the homes, or at least the complexes under separate management entities. How can you possibly claim it is one community when each building or apartment is owned by a different entity?

If you are an FLDS member, or know an FLDS member, please remind them of these facts. They can protect their children, and what they have worked so hard to build, both now and in the future. What's more, they can pay the attorneys with the tax money they will legally save.

Walther out for revenge?

Walther has been, in my estimation, severely reprimanded by the appeals court - a unanimous decision voiding her judgment. It is clearly a great embarrassment, and political failure. It certainly impacts her legacy, and leaves her looking the fool on national TV.

When such things happen to humans (myself included), we tend to respond in a human way - revenge, and seek to strike out at whatever hurt us. It is the typical "fight or flight" defense, and since the judge has not stepped aside, I would suggest she is in fight mode.

Today, she heard the 14-day hearing of a set of parents. She was very careful, and said the hearing will take as long as it needs to take. She was also careful to avoid deciding the case before the long weekend, allowing the baby to stay in CPS custody another day. By taking her time, and allowing the appearance of due process, she is appeasing the appeals court, and reducing the chance that such a court will find she violated due process.

However, I fear it is all about appearance. There is no real justice. She has a fixed interest in seeing all FLDS placed in CPS custody to support her earlier ruling. There can be no real due process when the judge can unilaterally decide to support her earlier decision, and then put on a show trial.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Links for Today

Let's start off with some humor:

Dave's Political Satire has Polygamy Made Legal
Male politicians are also warming to Utah’s new offering. Rather than engage in risky extra-marital affairs and dalliances, certain high-needs officeholders can now satisfy their urges within the law.
FACT has Top Ten Signs You Are A Victim of Religious Persecution
9. Your religion is constantly referred to as a cult.
4. The state accepts birth certificates as proof of age for everyone
except those practicing your religion.
2. You have to prove to the State you can raise children, when you
have been raising them just fine.
Legal Documents relating to the reversal:
Appeals Court Decision
Amicus Curae letter of support
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid was the legal group that helped in the filing.
County Sheriff Travis McPherson - "I think that TRLA is the problem because they're supplying these people with the information and they're telling them all about the Federal laws and everything."
Polygamy? It's positively biblical on The Philadelphia Inquirer opinion page by Martha Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago
Yet in 1878, the U.S. Supreme Court would uphold an anti-polygamy statute with these words, extraordinary from justices who were supposedly Bible readers: "Polygamy has always been odious among the northern and western nations of Europe, and, until the establishment of the Mormon Church, was almost exclusively a feature of the life of Asiatic and of African people."
I would like to personally thank the FLDS for standing up to the state. You have defended the family rights of everyone!

Monday, May 19, 2008

What are you doing that could be called child abuse?

How can facts be twisted? What common activities sound like child abuse? Here are some things that I do that government agencies could likely construe as reasons to take away my children:

  • I endanger my children's life through illegal behavior. Sound like abuse? Reality – I exceed the speed limit.
  • My home has evidence of extensive criminal behavior. Sound like a bad environment? Reality – I have downloaded youtube music videos with copyrighted music.
  • I have encouraged my children to participate in criminal activities. Sound like I am a terrible parent? Reality – We sing “Happy Birthday to you,” a copyrighted song, without paying royalties.
  • I kick and punch my children, and yell at them. Can't get much worse than that, can you? Reality – As you may be able to tell from my blogger name and other blog, my children and I do karate together.
  • My children have to endure forced child labor. Sound like a third world dictator? Reality – I actually make my children clean their room, work in the yard, take out the recycling, and do the laundry.
Are you guilty of these same things, or similar things? I hope so. We need to change laws to protect good parenting.

Links for today

NPR has a nice little article on "The Merry Wives
Polygamy Cafe Feeds the Hungry and Curious
In trying to find info on it, I noticed that it has already been covered by Brooke Adams and the Deseret News. If you would like to visit, eat there, or ask a question, their phone number is (435) 874-1425, and here is a map.

The FLDS have started a website with news and opinions, Truth will Prevail, as has been noted by many others. This recent article makes a strong legal point:
YFZ Children Lived in Separate Homes
Anyone visiting the YFZ community and examining the conditions under which the children lived knows that this perception is false and is either the result of ignorance or of a purposeful distortion of the facts. Those attorneys for the women and children who actually made such a visit were surprised, after hearing the news reports, to find that the families lived in separate homes where each family was an individual entity. It might also be remarked that they found the homes all to be well built, neat, and orderly---a far cry from the facilities in which the children have been living for the last six weeks and hardly the type of environment one would associate with child abuse.
Finally, the CPS has admitted in court that, essentially, Sarah does not exist, by admitting that her child does not exist. It is about time!
Live from the Courthouse (Note that this link may only be temporary)
Revisiting a case that the court quickly reviewed at the start of the morning, Judge Ben Woodward signed paperwork to put a case on hold involving a child called "Baby Girl Jessop." Child Protective Services reported this morning that its workers do not believe the child exists.
I think the press should report this with the same vigor they reported the original phone call, as well as the many instances of CPS insisting that Sarah was real.

Taking Liberties by Akka Gordon
Talks about problems from her time with ACS in New York. It clearly shows that parents need a Bill of Rights to protect us from unchecked and arbitrary acts of governmental agencies that serve as both prosecutor and judge.
But it did not take long for me to see that there was no adventure here. Many of these families were harassed, their rights systematically violated by ACS. Their children were being swallowed up by an agency that too often operated on virtually unchecked authority, wielded arbitrarily. And I represented that agency.

"Cult" is hate speech

What does the word “cult” mean? Many people have labeled the FLDS a cult, and used it as justification for the State of Texas in taking the children away. Many other Christian religions have been labeled “cults,” perhaps the most ironic is various Evangelicals labeling Catholics as a cult. However, I am not sure if they actually know what the word means. I think it is used merely as a religious slur, just like “nig***” is used as a racial slur. Thus, the real definition of “cult” is irrelevant, as those who spew it forth are intentionally spreading hate speech.

I think cult could be used accurately in political and business circles. Perhaps it could be said that today Barack Obama and Warren Buffet have cults. This is not a denigration or judgment of either person, merely an observation that their followers are extremely loyal. In entertainment, it was often said that the Beatles had a cult following, and perhaps still have one today. Ideally, one could use the term “cult” in the religious sense. However, in the religious sense it has been used exclusively as a slur and a denigration. It is not meant to describe a religion but to persecute it, qualifying the use of cult as intentional hate speech.

If we want to move beyond religious hate speech, I think it would be very hard to accurately describe the FLDS as a cult, or Mormon Polygamists in general as cults. Their original leadership was by council, not by single leader, which certainly is not a form of cult leadership by any definition. The various groups have had multiple leaders pass away, and new leaders step up in their place. If these were truly cults, the groups would have ceased after the departure of the leader. Third, the principle they have taught, that of plural marriage, has survived as an intentional spiritual practice despite intense persecution, predates the formation of these groups by thousands of years, is practiced by other religions, and is legal in many nations. Fourth, their theology clearly indicates they worship God, not man.

It has been disturbing to see politicians and members of the media derogatorily labeling the FLDS as a “cult,” thus spreading hate speech. Supposedly, these people are educated, and should know the public deserves better than to have hate speech forced upon us. Their public bigotry is disturbing, but perhaps even more disturbing is that they have not been held accountable for such speech. I encourage you to oppose such bigotry, and to combat the entrance of religious slurs into what should be logical and reasoned conversations.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Here is the "Cattle Call" of daily links

A Chronology of Federal Legislation on Polygamy by Perry L. Porter
Hopefully, he will have some new, more positive legislation to add in the near future.
The beginnings of this chronology of the anti-polygamy bills for the Utah Territory, come from a hand out I received in a Religion or History class at BYU in the mid 1970's. I have significantly augmented it from 3 pages to about 29 pages, with additional line items from various scholarly History books and professional articles.
Sect mom allowed to stay with all her children from the Houston Chronicle.
While the judge denied the ruling on procedural grounds, she sounds quite sympathetic. It seems to me that the further the FLDS get from San Angelo, the more they are likely to find unbiased justice.
"If you think (Judge Walther) is biased, file a motion to recuse her. If you don't like the order, tell her to fix it. Don't ask another trial judge to fix it. I am not going to retry this case."
Addressing Daniel Jessop, who sat beside his attorney, Byrne added that she sympathized with his plight. "I know you don't think I do, but I do," she said.

FLDS Human Rights Violations are Fraud Reminiscient of KGB by Frank Staheli on Simple Utah Mormon Politics
While the article is not entirely current, it is certainly timely. The current abuses in Texas mirror other abusive dictatorships.
Texas is now in full damage-control mode for a heinous abrogation of human rights at Eldorado. The best damage control would be for them to admit that it was all a mistake.
More/Corrected info on Wilford Black by PligChild on FLDS View
Story of how the 1953 raid created long-term problems in at least one boy.
When he was returned to his mother, he stopped communicating with others and started wandering away. He would walk away from home and would have to be found and brought back. ... Wilford had begun attending school before the Raid, so he could do some things. After he was returned to his parents, they tried to send him back to school, but they could not get him to do anything. He couldn’t seem to concentrate.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

More Great Articles

There are so many great articles and bloggers out there. Here are a few more.

Governor Perry Stays the Course by Modern Pharisee
Did you honestly think he would do the right thing? No. He's a bureaucrat and a politician. Public opinion has not yet swung sufficiently for Governor Perry to abandon his constituency, that would be, by the way, his bureaucracy.
Mental Health Chair Goes to Rick Perry & Legislators on FLDS mistreatment by Free the FLDS Children
John Knight is determined to get the word out that Child Protective Services in Texas is out of control.
Child Theft, "Concentration Camps": It's Happening Here by ProLiberate
What made it so "scary"?
Well, according to Voss, "I heard a report that a tank was coming on the property.... It was a situation of a very huge magnitude with so many law enforcement officers around."
FLDS woman in custody though certificate shows otherwise by KXAN-Austin News
Jessop's family said they believe CPS has been holding her, so the state could have custody of the son she gave birth to on Monday. ... Yet the Jessops showed the certificate to CPS two weeks ago at their first hearing in Austin.
Abuse of FLDS Children in Texas by Day of Praise
Religious persecution is alive and well in the Republic of Texas. ... How long will America just look away as this abuse of power intensifies and expands???
Abuse of Power in Texas by Joseph Farah on
Question: What's worse for children than to have parents who are members of a polygamy cult?
Answer: To have the state be their parent.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Small Victory for Open Discussions

Earlier, I posted that our local library blocked They have now unblocked it. Here is the email I received.


Thank you for calling this to our attention. The Web Sense filter
blocked this site because of questionable content. Unfortunately, web
filters have their own mechanisms for determining which sites should be
blocked (and why), and sometimes their determination disagrees with our
own evaluation.

After reviewing, I agree that this site should
not have been blocked. I have instructed our I.T. department to remove
it from the blocked list for the library.

Again, thank you for notifying us.

Electronic Resources Librarian
Virtual Library

Possible (or Probable) Source for Sarah Story

Here is an "example incident" from the The Primer: Helping Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Polygamous Communities. This is the June 2006 edition - plenty of time for Rozita to plan her attack.

Look at "incident #3" on page 50:
3. A 16-year-old girl, Sarah, has run away from her fundamentalist community and contacted authorities, alleging physical abuse by her polygamous father and claiming that her father had just told her she was to become the second wife of a fellow member of the community. She has 23 siblings and her older sister was married at 16 and now lives in Canada. There is no physical evidence of abuse, but Sarah’s story is very compelling. She begs authorities not to return her to her parents. What is the potential impact of returning or not returning on Sarah?
Does any of that seem to line up with the "Sarah" calls? It seems to me that Rozita used the primer to develop her story. Which also means that the Attorney Generals for Utah and Arizona should have picked up on the hoax call hate crime much earlier -- after all, they were responsible for the writing of the primer.

On the same page is an exercise that Texas should have finished before starting the raid:
Ask participants to brainstorm stereotypes associated with fundamentalist groups
Ask participants to list characteristics that they have seen or heard attributed to women and men from fundamentalist groups
Ask participants to cite sources of these stereotypes (ie, the media)
Discuss what information they have acquired that counters these stereotypes
Perhaps they would not have been so eager to violate the constitution if they knew more about the FLDS than "what was preached in the cult awareness seminar at my church."

Something Positive in the Deseret News

It seems to me that the Deseret News editorial board has taken a rather decided stance against the FLDS, and in their coverage and editorials have mostly tried to distinguish between LDS and FLDS. Thus it was encouraging to see this article:

Long litany of legal disputes begins in FLDS raid

It contained this tremendous one-liner:

Speculation does not suffice

I wish that saying were stamped in the minds of all judges who are trying these cases.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More News Stories and Links

There are a bunch of good links and stories out there. I really want to include more, but these are just some I happened across today.

Do the FLDS in Texas Deserve Due Process? I Mean, Polygamy’s Worse Than Murder, Right?
It’s easy to pick on people that are different — and, as far as I can tell, that’s what’s happening to the FLDS in Texas. There’s been no court proceedings that have shown the individual parents of the abducted children have done anything untoward to their kids. (None that’ve been even suggested publicly, at least.) What there has been is a religious group that has different practices than are observed in the “mainstream”. And since they’re different, well then, there’s not going to be much of an outcry if we strip them of their rights, right?
Where's the evidence of abuse?

The Grit's blogger comes through in this very excellent op-ed piece.
Excuse me, Judge? You issued a sweeping, house-to-house search warrant based on a highly questionable anonymous call that turned out to be phony. You refused to allow individual hearings for children, grouping them together like cattle. You accepted the testimony of an expert on "cults" who only learned about FLDS from media accounts, rather than an academic who'd studied them professionally for 18 years.
A Vermont Expert's Take on Polygamy
Lyndon State College Professor Janet Bennion
If you can establish abuse, of course intervention must be made, but use an intervention that doesn't break the constitution and that doesn't violate all these civil rights laws
Life on the rock: A different brand of polygamy
It's simply a place where we strive to respect each other's differences
Polygamy in Islamic Law
Dr. Jamal Badawi examines polygamy in the Muslim, Jewish and Christian traditions.

Texas judge's 'concern'
Editorial by Ed Firmage Jr., Salt Lake City
Why? Because Walther thinks that membership in a religious group alone is grounds for ripping your children, even your nursing babies, from your arms and giving them to proper parents. Her justification: Belonging to your religion may - may - lead to abuse.
Parents Bill of Rights
WE THE PEOPLE do hereby insist on a Parent's Bill of Rights as an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to protect in perpetuity the family.

Some of these are rather old, but I wanted links to them for the record.

Monday, May 12, 2008

News Articles this morning

Here is a collection of some interesting items that have popped up in the news. Thanks to Grits for Breakfast and The Plural Life and their comment sections for the original links.

Mental Health Workers Rip CPS
Houston Chronicle
San Antonio Express News
Dallas Morning News
Summary: Previously, FLDS complained about their treatment from CPS, which has often been dismissed as the FLDS trying to wage a "propaganda campaign." However, in this story nine different workers from Hill Country Community Mental Health-Mental Retardation Center sent anonymous letters to the Hill Country MHMR board, who made them public. One board member, Jack Dawson, is also a Comal County commissioner.

This illustrates a few points:
  1. It is not just the FLDS who thought the conditions at the shelter were poor, or that CPS mistreated them, lied to them, and lied in subsequent press releases/press conferences.
  2. These reports are coming from at least one Texas politician, and various Texas mental health workers. Thus, it shows that Texas is not unanimous in condemning the FLDS, and people are willing to support fairness of unpopular religions.
  3. The State CPS are not above reproach, and more evidence exists that they have lied.
  4. Criticism of the CPS are coming from multiple sources, and not just the FLDS. It is much easier to dismiss the opinions of an unpopular religion than experienced mental health workers and county commissioners.
Editorial from Maggie Jessop in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Here is an editorial from an FLDS mother. She attacks head-on some of the many negative rumors, slanders, and lies that have been published about the FLDS. I think I liked this line of sarcasm best:
However, I may not have it within my psychological or emotional capacity to communicate appropriately due to the widespread "fact" that I belong to an uneducated, underprivileged, information-deprived, brainless, spineless, poor, picked-on, dependent, misled class of women identified as "brain-washed." But, I'll give it my best shot.
She certainly lets loose some emotion. It is a rather potent denunciation of the actions of Texas, and the media for spreading unsubstantiated, incorrect, and sensational rumors.

Child protection law and the FLDS: There's a better way by Linda F. Smith, professor and clinical program director at the University of Utah's S. J. Quinney College of Law.

Here is the final two paragraphs:
If there are families within the FLDS community who do not impose under-age "marriages" on their children, the CPS workers should return their children to them and solicit their help to change this dynamic within the community.
Such an approach would more likely lead to eradicating what society clearly considers abusive than will a full-scale assault on the community's practice of plural marriage.
It seems to be a well-reasoned and well-informed article. She lists possible means of appeal, and what amounts to the really terrible method of the initial hearing that deprived the parents of their children without due process. It has encouraged me to once again write my state legislators and appeal for parental rights and the support of the constitution in child welfare cases.

What does Texas church raid say about us? USA Today editorial by Mary Zeiss Stange, professor of Women's Studies and Religion at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Here is an official USA Today editorial ripping the situation in Texas, and bringing up the bigotry aspect.
What is clear, however, is that there is no objective justification for brushing off the mothers as a bunch of prairie-style Stepford wives, let alone for leaping to the conclusion that mounting an armed raid to take their children away was indeed proper to do on the strength of a metaphor grounded in a religious stereotype.
This is a professor and a feminist saying this, not a member of the FLDS, and probably someone who has no contact with them. From this I pick up a few important points:
  1. Feminists, who tend to extremely oppose polygamy, and are generally considered a hostile witness, oppose the actions of Texas. It is hard to argue that it is just the FLDS, religious extremists, "Utah Mormons," or pedophiles that oppose the raid.
  2. A professor opposes the actions of Texas, and says so in an editorial. Professors have many things to write about. That they would write about the Eldorado raid signifies that it is important to them, and that intelligent people oppose the actions of Texas.
  3. Problems with the Eldorado raid are recognized nationally. Just like Jim Crow laws and civil rights, those outside Texas saw the problems, and opposed the abuses.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Very Touching Video

I found this video to be extremely touching. It rather disproves much of the slander that has been slung at the FLDS. I like how it destroys that "relic of barbarism" -- bigotry.

FLDS Children

Tucson Public Libraries Block Principal Voices!

I have been quite busy the last few days. I came to the library, and was using their wireless to access the internet. I checked up on the news, which I hadn't done for a few days, and found that Principal Voices was blocked by their filtering software. I sent them this complaint:

Right now is blocked. However, it provides important information on the entire Eldorado raid debate. I've never seen any obscenity, hate speech, nudity, or calls to violence on the site. It is completely and utterly ridiculous to have this site blocked. Please unblock it immediately.

Hopefully, I will be able to report in a few days that access to the site has been restored. I wonder how many other libraries block the site.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Letter to Governor and Attorney General about Hate Crimes

I wrote these letters in response to remind our elected officials that many hate crimes have come from these raids, and that false reporting is a serious matter that needs to be attacked.

Subject: Hate Crimes in the wake of the FLDS raid

As a citizen of Arizona I have been concerned with a possible pattern of hate crimes. As you know, the FLDS compound in Eldorado, Texas was raided around a month ago, and much slander and false rumor has been circulated in press reports. Perhaps as a result, Mormons of all kinds in Texas have been targeted for hate crimes – LDS missionaries being threatened with weapons, LDS homeowners having their home vandalized, and anti-Mormon graffiti. Unfortunately, some of the same type of thing has been happening in Arizona, as an LDS missionary in Mesa was beaten up the day after the Eldorado raid.

Recently, a potential anti-Mormon hate crime also occurred in Tucson. The Binghampton Chapel was the first LDS chapel in Tucson, and has become a local icon. Recently, glass doors and windows were smashed in this historical building. The state should investigate this vandalism as a possible hate crime, given the recent prevalence of anti-Mormon sentiment.

Secondly, I would like to address another hate crime – that of false reporting. Just as the calls that sparked the Eldorado raid came from a false-reporting hate crime, the media reported that the State of Arizona received similar calls, and have received multiple such calls this year. I am wondering what is being done to prosecute these callers, and bring them to justice? For example, the penalties for setting off a fire alarm are very strict. However, calls such as these can deny parental rights without any due process, trial, or actual crime. Given the huge damage that can be inflicted by these calls, the state should aggressively prosecute and penalize hoax callers who do so with criminal and hateful intent. Perhaps Rozita Swinton would never have had the chance to destroy a community had Arizona treated false reporting with the seriousness it deserves.

In conclusion, I would like the Tucson vandalism to be investigated as a possible hate crime. I would also like to see the fraudulent phone calls that have already happened in Arizona to be prosecuted.


Some more good links

"I am not a member of the FLDS. I am a leftist radical. I care about the FLDS because they are human beings and their rights are being violated. I also care because I cannot avoid the question: "Whose rights next will be disregarded?" You should care too."

"This site has been created to Promote Due Process, Religious Liberty, Human Rights, Constitutional Rights, and Freedom for the FLDS Community and All Of Us! "

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Second set of letters to United States Legislators

I have once again written to my US legislators. Once again, I hand delivered to my representative, and used the online forms for my senators. I hope everyone else is writing to their elected representatives as well.

I sent different letters to my Senators who are republican, and my representative who is Democrat. It just so happened that partisan politics helped my arguments, as opponents have been Democrats in the Senate, and Republicans in the house.

Once again, I would encourage everyone to write to their legislators and other elected officials. This is much, much more important than newspaper comments. We have to reach the actual decision makers.

Honorable Representative G:

I am writing you to express my concern over Civil Rights violations that appear to be happening in the aftermath of the Eldorado raid in Texas. However, I am not the only one, as the Texas ACLU and many national commentators and journalists from both parties have condemned the Civil Rights violations.

As you may recall, the raid was started by a hate crime – false reporting of child abuse for the specific intention of religious persecution. Since that time there have been other hate crimes throughout Texas, such as threats of violence against Mormons, anti-Mormon graffiti, vandalism of Mormon homes, and teachers in Texas public schools spreading anti-Mormon propaganda. Thus, the wildfire of hate crimes has spread far beyond the initial match, with even U. S. Representative Kay Granger (R-Texas) directly supporting religious discrimination in an official request.

Such an intolerant atmosphere makes the protections of the Bill of Rights even more important, as violations of rights are most likely to happen to unpopular people. In Nazi Germany it was the Gypsies and Jews who were first persecuted, and a similar pattern seems to be emerging here. Parents need a federal Bill of Rights to protect them from unreasonable seizure of their children without due process of law. As one of your constituents, I would appreciate it if you would do the following:

1- Sponsor a resolution in the House reprimanding Representative Granger for advocating religious preference in government contracts. The resolution should also call for an end to religious bigotry, and call for supporting first amendment rights for unpopular religions.

2- Start a Parent's Bill of Rights that protects families from unreasonable seizure of children, especially when anonymous reports may be given due to religious bigotry, racism, or political gain. (Note that the Texas CPS seizes a much higher rate of Latino than Caucasian children.)

Thank you very much for your consideration,


I changed "Representative Granger" to "Senator Reid," included more about citizens of Arizona being subject to religious persecution, and deleted a line about Texas CPS seizing Latino children for the letter to the Senators.

I am writing you to express my concern over Civil Rights violations that appear to be happening in the aftermath of the Eldorado raid in Texas. However, I am not the only one, as the Texas ACLU and many national commentators and journalists from both parties have condemned the Civil Rights violations.

As you may recall, the raid was started by a hate crime – false reporting of child abuse for the specific intention of religious persecution. Since that time there have been other hate crimes throughout Texas, such as threats of violence against Mormons, anti-Mormon graffiti, vandalism of Mormon homes, and teachers in Texas public schools spreading anti-Mormon propaganda. Thus, the wildfire of hate crimes has spread far beyond the initial match, with even U. S. Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) directly supporting religious discrimination against Arizona citizens.

Such an intolerant atmosphere makes the protections of the Bill of Rights even more important, as violations of rights are most likely to happen to unpopular people. In Nazi Germany it was the Gypsies and Jews who were first persecuted, and a similar pattern seems to be emerging here. Parents need a federal Bill of Rights to protect them from unreasonable seizure of their children without due process of law. As one of your constituents, I would appreciate it if you would do the following:

1- Sponsor a resolution in the House reprimanding Senator Reid for advocating religious intolerance of Arizona citizens. The resolution should also call for an end to religious bigotry, and call for supporting first amendment rights for unpopular religions.

2- Start a Parent's Bill of Rights that protects families from unreasonable seizure of children, especially when anonymous reports may be given due to religious bigotry, racism, or political gain.

Thank you very much for your consideration,


Friday, April 25, 2008

Response to "Give System Time to Work"

I recently came across an opinion article posted in the Houston Chronicle. It is impossible to respond to every inaccurate story, but I did respond to this one. I felt it appropriate that since Mr. Shields is the Executive Director for Justice for Children, it was important to make an attempt with this article. While writing to your legislators is more important, leaders of organizations such as this should not get away with bigotry and ignorance.

Subject: Children Being Emotionally Abused

Jim Shields:

I am emailing to report child abuse. The State of Texas has systematically abused almost 500 children. I "want protectors of children to have as few obstacles as possible to do their jobs," which is why the children from the FLDS compound should be returned to their best protectors, their parents.

As you have said, "more than 75 percent of the cases where CPS knows there is imminent danger to a child, CPS returns the child to the dangerous home." Yet in this case, the state's witness testified in court that no child under 5 was in imminent danger. Thus, we see a dangerous precedent where children are taken from their best protectors, and subjected to emotional waterboarding at the hands of the CPS.

You should know that the FLDS has been subject to false accusation, as the evidence proves the first warrant was based on a hate crime. But, the second warrant was only based on the appearance of teenage pregnancy. The same flimsy evidence would also convict high schools, projects, trailer parks and barrios.

Instead, you seem to be want to encourage further hate crimes by the unsubstantiated allegations in your Houston Chronicle Viewpoint. You say that "escapees from the FLDS compounds" have reported all manner of physical abuse. However, only YFZ Ranch can be described as a "compound," showing one factual error. Second, the stories of the escapees conflicts with the CPS workers testimony, the witness for the state, the attorneys for the children, and the public statements of the medical personnel who examined the children. Tales told to sell books is much less reliable than testimony under oath.

Your spreading of inaccurate and slanderous rumors does have real consequences for children. Though you may not be aware, there have been multiple hate crimes and threats against non-FLDS Mormons in Texas. While the persecution of adults will reach the media, bigotry against Mormon children will receive much less press, even though it likely to be much more prevalent. The FLDS children also face the threat of bigotry, persecution, and gang violence in foster care due to the many false rumors. Thus, your inflammatory remarks contribute to an environment that threatens the children you claim to want to protect.

Finally, you mention how stress can destroy the brain. But, you fail to point out the great deal of stress that the state has caused the children. How can you say that being forced at gunpoint to leave your home is not a stressful situation? How about having your cell phone unlawfully taken away, being cut off from the outside world, not being able to even see your attorney, or have no say in whether you are sent to a foster home or returned to your family? While you cannot prove your allegations of emotional abuse, I have plenty of evidence to support my contention.

In conclusion, the state has emotionally abused both the parents and the children. It is clear we need to save the children from the state.


I would sign my name, but I don't want an anonymous caller from Texas to call CPS and have them take away my children and confiscate all my property. I don't get enough time with my children, and I need my computer to finish my dissertation.

Every moment we have with our children is precious. The state should be given "time to work" on acquiring actual evidence, not in tampering with our children.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Links to Blogs

Here are links to three excellent blogs that give you the inside scoop combined with excellent analysis. I have found them to be much more accurate and informative than the mainstream media.

Ideas for a Parental Bill of Rights

The abuses of the FLDS in Texas show what a slippery slope we enter when we deny constitutional rights. I am in the process of writing my state representatives, encouraging them to enact a "Parent Bill of Rights" that would protect us from unlawful seizure of our children. Such a measure would return the burden of proof to the state, and require greater oversight on the activities of various "protective" organizations. It would also require greater proof than accusation in cases of alleged abuse.

I am posting this here because I really want your feedback before writing these letters, and possibly circulating a petition. Please comment on what you would like to see.


Emails to Texas ACLU

Before the Texas ACLU entered the fray, I wrote to them, encouraging them to take a stand. Hopefully, many people also wrote them, and that may be part of the reason they are now involved in the case.

Texas ACLU:

I am truly appalled at the abuse of civil and religious liberties that took place at the recent raid on the YFZ ranch. It is a much bigger and more systematic discrimination than that faced by Muslims after 9/11. Yet, I have read nothing of the ACLU assisting the victims. Perhaps you are already addressing the situation, and I have overlooked it. But if not, you surely must step in and help these people. There is simply no bigger abuse of government power right now than this situation.

Texas ACLU:

I am once again writing to implore you to protect the rights of the parents in Eldorado, Texas. This is the biggest violation of civil liberties since Waco. This type of action has a huge chilling effect on public discourse and free association. The effective emotional waterboarding of the children and parents is a huge abuse of power. This case deserves immediate attention and emergency action.


Letter to the Eldorado Success

The Eldorado Success is the local paper in Eldorado, Texas, and apparently the editor/owner is also on the City Counsel. Thus, bigotry in his position is doubly harmful to families he doesn't agree with.

This letter is very crude and under-developed. I just whipped out a short email, I didn't intend for it to be published, and looking back the quality is embarrassing. However, since it may give some people good ideas, I am posting this rather terrible bit of writing.


I am interested in the FLDS situation going on in Eldorado, so I checked your paper. However, I noticed that in your "Worship Link" section you didn't even have a link for the FLDS worship service. Looking back over your articles, the editorial board seems to take a decided stand against the FLDS, always offering them a rebuttal, but never asking a hard question of their persecutors. I would advise you to check out Charlie Rose or the News Hour. Both shows are freely available, and though I may not agree with their politics show good journalism in asking tough questions. For better or worse the FLDS have helped you sell papers, and it is only proper that you give them a fair treatment.


Email to the Dave Ramsey show

Dave Ramsey is a well-known financial counselor with a radio show, and also is unapologetically Evangelical. His main mission is helping people get out of debt.

In an effort to stop the widespread intolerance and misinformation I observed in the media, I wrote Dave an email pointing out that while the FLDS lived the principles he claimed to support, most Christians do not live them, getting into significant debt. Citizens are much more likely to have their children unfairly confiscated when they are demonized in the media.

Dear Dave Ramsey:

After reading "The Total Money Makeover" I stopped taking out student loans, and worked extra jobs to help support my wife and two sons. Through the Grace of God and a tight budget, I am on track to graduate with a PhD this August, and shout "we're debt free" soon after.

One interesting fact from the recent raid on the cultist compound in Eldorado Texas is that the cult members lived debt-free, with their main community having over 90% of homes mortgage-free. Perhaps this question is rhetorical, but if poorly educated cultists with limited opportunities are "debt free," why are so many well educated Christians with unlimited opportunities "broke?"
God Bless,


Link to mortgage data:
I use the word "cult" here to mimic typical Evangelical language, as well as other stylistic elements to both mimic Evangelicals and listeners to the Dave Ramsey show. I believe parents have constitutional rights -- regardless of religious membership, or unproven allegations.

I also emailed NPR. Though I seem to have deleted that email, it thanked them for trying to cover both sides, and asking what would happen if 400 Black, Latino, or Jewish children were forcibly separated from their parents.

Letter to my Senators and Congressmen

I sent the following to Senators Kyl and McCain through electronic submission, and delivered a signed copy directly to my local representative, Raul Grijalva:

April 17, 2008

Honorable Representative Grijalva:

I am very concerned about constitutional violations in the recent raid on the FLDS compound in Eldorado, Texas. Texas has a long history of “Jim Crow” laws and religious persecution, raising the possibility of a systematically corrupt state legal system. For example, though Arizona authorities checked the same charges and found them to be without merit, Texas authorities acted without first performing due diligence. Reports on the raid indicate the parents have been denied constitutionally guaranteed due process, have had their rights of free speech suppressed, have been illegally stripped of parental rights, and have been subject to unlawful search and seizure.

These violations happened to a small and unpopular group, but it is exactly these types of situations in which constitutional protections are needed. Nazi Germany also started with the persecution of small and unpopular groups such Jews and Gypsies. Such erosion of liberty when laws are used as tools of intolerance affects everyone. I would encourage you to take the following emergency actions:

1- Encourage the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice to officially examine the actions of the state, and determine whether the civil rights of the parents were violated, and whether religious discrimination has played a role in the proceedings.

2- Hold Congressional Hearings on the raids, requiring accountability of the Texas authorities.

Thank you very much for your consideration,


I encourage you to write your own letters to your own congressional representatives.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Welcome to the blog!

One of the United States flags was a snake with the saying "don't tread on me." That is the message I would like to give to the government workers that are treading on parent rights, and the elected officials that rubber stamp their actions. With the recent situation in Eldorado, Texas, it is clear that state agencies have the ability to violate constitutional rights, even when motivated by religious bigotry or an attempt to score political points. I have set up this blog in an attempt to combat the unconstitutional actions that are taking place.