On the one hand it is a genetic mess, from the DNA up. Inbreeding, incest, and all the rest. I feel an atavistic horror for what they have created when I think about it.
On the other hand, in the past the mass raids resulted in many of the people returning to the lifestyle or leading broken lives. I know from having served as an ad litem that there are many, many hardworking and good CPS people. At the same time, I also know that once a kid is in the system, the chance that they will be exploited, sexually abused and turned into a displaced person can be very, very high.
In addition, huge parts of the culture in Texas (and other places) now feature "Baby Daddies" -- that is an older man who has impregnated someone, but who doesn't have much of a relationship, probably pays no child support. The girl (most are younger teens) will often have children by several baby daddies before she is old enough to graduate high school. The men, all older by almost a generation, will have multiple mothers of their children.
Nothing is being done to end that cycle. Laced with drugs, exploited girls, broken family units and multiple STDs, it looks even worse than the FLDS mess.
But does that mean that the FLDS should have a free pass to exploit and discard children? As Paul would say, God forbid. But is this the best way to intervene or the fairest?
I'm at a loss for a bottom line, other than to be terribly sad.
I may be a lawyer in Texas, but that doesn't mean I have any answers that are better than what others have had to say. Sometimes all I know is that I don't at present know the best answer.
For others writing on the topic:
- Mormon Matters
- Grits for Breakfast (an ACLU type lawyer)
- The Local Crank
- The Polygamist Files,
- The Polygamy Files
- Messenger and Advocate
- Trent Nelson, Photojournalist
- Texas Polygamy
- Some Thoughts on the FLDS