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.

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