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.