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.
And that’s just what has happened in Texas following the state’s raid on the so-called polygamy compound.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, a misnamed bureaucracy if ever there was one, has demanded the children seized by the state and placed in foster care be immunized immediately against the wishes of their mothers, who fear negative effects.
Ahh, but those mothers are no longer mothers, explains Patrick Crimmins, spokesman for the department. "We’re the legal parents of the children, and we would like for them to be immunized," he said.
Now, I’m the first to recognize the mothers in this case have made some objectively poor decisions about their lives. However, does anyone really believe Crimmins and his state bureaucrats really care more for these children than their mothers do? How have these mothers abrogated their parental rights? What crime have they committed? With what are they being charged? Why are they losing custody of their children? Have these children been abused or neglected? All of them? How?
All the public has heard since the raid on the compound is that the children seem to be in good health. Questions were raised by early pregnancies among some of the girls. I have news for you: Teenage girls are getting pregnant and having sex with older men throughout American society today. If these mothers are going to lose custody of their children as a result of that kind of sexual activity, what about the high percentage of teen pregnancies in our inner cities? Can we expect Texas and the other states to begin seizing millions of kids — both girls and boys — in those families?
This situation in Texas is looking more and more like heavy-handed abuse of power by government. Is the state trying to make an example of these parents? Are all the parents being punished collectively for the crimes of a few? Is that the new American way?
When I hear a government bureaucrat claim to be the parents of children he never has met, it sets me off. It is an explosive statement. It is the kind of offensive and officious statement that only will serve to create more fear and distrust of government — the very conditions that lead to the creation of compounds such as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Frankly, the state does not even know whether the children have been immunized or not. In some cases, the mothers say their children have had shots, but the records are in Utah, not in Texas. But these parents are hardly alone in our society when it comes to rejecting inoculations of questionable safety.
Who’s next? Will Texas decide it is also the lawful parent of children who are home-schooled and whose parents made conscious and well-informed decisions not to immunize their kids because of the potential for dire health risks?
Why does the public accept the need for the state to intrude in this jackbooted manner when it comes to these parents and children?
Again, what were the individual crimes committed that warrant this heavy hand? Or are they being punished collectively for the guilt of a few?
If Texas authorities looked at certain neighborhoods in Houston and Dallas, they likely would find teen pregnancy rates at least as high as those in the FLDS compound. Why is it that the parents of those children are not being rounded up and their offspring being placed in foster care homes?
The answer is obvious: It would be wrong to do so.
If it is wrong in those neighborhoods, it is equally wrong in the FLDS neighborhood.
Again, I don’t like some of the things that went on in that community. I don’t approve of them. There even may have been some laws broken. But there is no evidence being made public to suggest every mother in the compound abused or neglected her children — or to suggest these poor kids would be better off with the state of Texas as their parent.