Civil Liberties

Texas Supreme Court Rejects Seizure of FLDS Children

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The Texas Supreme Court has unanimously upheld last week's appeals court ruling rejecting the state's wholesale removal of children from  the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado. "On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted," the justices said, agreeing with the lower court that Child Protective Services could not justify taking custody of more than 450 children by citing their parents' religious beliefs, which the state claimed encouraged underage marriage.

The text of the Texas Supreme Court decision is available here. Here is my first column on the case. Here is this week's follow-up column about the appeals court ruling.

Addendum: Although the justices agreed that taking all the children was not justified, three said the state would have been justified in removing just the girls who had reached puberty and who might therefore be in danger of sexual abuse. These girls were a small minority of the 468 children seized by the state, many of whom were boys and half of whom were 5 or younger.

[Thanks to Derek Levisay for the tip.]

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  1. I guess the only good thing that can be said about this mess is that they did not burn the place down, this time.

  2. Or ram it with an armored bulldozer.

  3. Or both.

    There, we found 3 things in under 5 min. Who says all news must be bad?

  4. Polygamy: 1
    Nancy Grace: 0

  5. The Texas Department of Family Services has a new logo.

  6. I guess the only good thing that can be said about this mess is that they did not burn the place down, this time.

    The State did have an armored personell carrier present in case things got out of hand.

  7. I have a few thoughts on this decision (actually quite a few) over at Liberty and Power.

    Snippet:

    “However much we might dislike the specific practices of the FLDS and however much some on the left might think giving the state that power in this case would so some good for the possibly victimized girls, we know all too well that such a precedent and giving the state such power will hardly mean that it will be used only when “we” think it should. To the contrary, it is most likely to be used against groups the left is much more sympathetic to and whose practices and beliefs are seen as “out of the mainstream” and potentially threatening.

    The problem with giving states the power to do what you think is right is that they won’t always agree with you.”

  8. I’m starting a new religion. Sacred tenets are doing blow, getting blown (by multiple “wives”), blowing shit up, blowing people’s minds (Dave’s not here, man), and staging blowouts (5 keg minimum).

    Who’s with me? I need a name, though. Blowentology?

  9. Troy,

    By “out of hand” do you mean if they had actually defended themselves Waco style?

  10. I’m starting a new religion. Sacred tenets are doing blow, getting blown (by multiple “wives”), blowing shit up, blowing people’s minds (Dave’s not here, man), and staging blowouts (5 keg minimum).

    Fox News calls this “secularism” and those nasty Hollywood liberal elites do this all the time – so saith Bill O’Reilly, their patron saint of Nothingness.

  11. Episiarch,

    Give me a minute. I’m googling right now.

  12. As insane as the justice system is here in TX, at least they got this one right. I’d still like to seem some kind of sanctions against the idjits who were in charge of all this, but I expect that’s asking too much.

  13. How about the Order of Saint Episiarch? Best I’ve come up with.

  14. By “out of hand” do you mean if they had actually defended themselves Waco style?

    I just remember seeing one of the news site that showed how much fire power the State brought to the compound. I would be happy to be corrected if wrong, but I assume that they brought it with the intent to use it if need be. It was a simple M113, but it was still an armored personell carrier.

    I don’t see this religion as being any more crackpot than any other bullshit religion like catholcism (3=1 trinity stuff) and southern baptists (speaking in tounges with snakes behavior)

  15. Who’s with me? I need a name, though.

    Libertarianism?

  16. Religions named after their founder take too long to not be considered a cult (see: Christianity). However, I would like to take a page from L. Ron’s book (the turn-of-phrase one and not Dianetics) and name it something vaguely scientific and ologistic.

    Blowddism?

  17. Episiarch,

    Taintism?

  18. three said the state would have been justified in removing just the girls who had reached puberty and who might therefore be in danger of sexual abuse.

    Am I the only one puzzled by this reasoning? Are boys and pre-pubescent girls inherently free from danger of sexual abuse in a way that adolescent girls aren’t?

  19. I’m starting a new religion. Sacred tenets are doing blow, getting blown (by multiple “wives”), blowing shit up, blowing people’s minds (Dave’s not here, man), and staging blowouts (5 keg minimum).

    Epi,

    I would love to get in on the ground floor of a religion like this. I could be like the patron saint of cunnilingus in this new religion assuming that the women will have every right to get blown just as the men.

  20. Muff diving for all!

  21. Am I the only one puzzled by this reasoning? Are boys and pre-pubescent girls inherently free from danger of sexual abuse in a way that adolescent girls aren’t?

    Its the “conception/snowflake” concept where Gawd personally imparts a “breath of life” into every new zygote.

    The Christ-Nuts are all about this.

    Boys don’t get the breath breathed into them.

  22. Episiarch,

    Got a point . . . but blowddism is odd sounding. Should have a pinch of credibility already . . . lay blowddism? Final answer.

  23. Don’t listen to Epi, your mom told me his cock tastes like shit.

    I’m leading the first schism.

  24. Its the “conception/snowflake” concept where Gawd personally imparts a “breath of life” into every new zygote.

    shriek (purposefully misspelled), your hyperventilation over Xians would be amusing if it weren’t so dumb.

    The reason they are drawing a distinction between pre- and post-pubescent is that the group wouldn’t marry a pre-pubescent girl to someone, but they might with the post-pubescents, so by removing them there wouldn’t be an opportunity to consummate a marriage and commit statutory rape.

  25. Don’t listen to Epi, your mom told me his cock tastes like shit.

    Well of course it did, dude, I had just finished cornholing your grandma.

    I’m leading the first schism.

    Right, you want to get blown by multiple “husbands”.

  26. SugarFree,

    I’ll need to hear more details about your heresy before I subscribe.

  27. The Tao of Blow

  28. The difference in my religion is that we reject the Trinity of Epi, Dan T., and Edward. We don’t believe that they are one person. And Epi’s jizz doesn’t turn into Grape Crush.

  29. Shrike,
    You make no sense. The only abuse alleged was the marrying (and subsequent consummating) of young teen girls. Thus only the pubescent girls would be in any danger of abuse.

  30. You are clearly a heretic as your understanding of my religion is utterly flawed. My jizz turns into Orange Crush and any “trinities” (threesomes) would involve various Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders or Olympic figure skaters (for starters).

  31. Brian Boitano and Scott Hamilton?

  32. Just stay away from the Devil’s Threesome and I’ll call down no more calumny upon you.

  33. What the court said:

    Down, Baptists! Down! Give the kids back! Not yours! No! Bad Baptists…

  34. I explained it from the Christ-Nut perspective, boys.

    Never get in between a fundie and an embryo. They will shoot you down to save their precious Gawdly omelet.

    These people are the fucking enemy to your freedom – just as the Allah-Nuts are.

  35. Brian Boitano and Scott Hamilton?

    It’s just as you hit the Submit button that you realize you have left the barn door open.

  36. Ahh, I get it. shrike is another Cesar sockpuppet. It all makes sense now.

  37. Blowvianity (includes Southern Blowtists, Reform, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic… etc)

    Blewish

    Blowslam

    Blowindu

    Blowdist

    Blowviationism

    Blowveisticness

    Blogblowerism

    Blow-deo-dee-oh

  38. I’m not sure what’s more troubling, you walkin around with your barn door open? or me knowing 2 male figure skaters that quickly?

  39. Blowmetarianism?

  40. Blowenetics

    Epiblow (sometimes inverted to Blowepi)

    Epinism

    Epianity

    Blowh’ai

    Scientologyblows

  41. Epiphaniarianism

  42. Yes, NutraSweet. I like it.

  43. I win! Woo!

  44. I’d still like to seem some kind of sanctions against the idjits who were in charge of all this, but I expect that’s asking too much.

    Hmmm. Unionized government employees and accountability?

    You’ve lost me.

  45. SugarFree | May 30, 2008, 3:00pm | #
    I win! Woo!

    Didn’t say ya won, just said he likes it.

    …pouts…

  46. Oh, KD… turn that frown upside down, little buddy. You had good ideas too.

  47. I’ve no love for theists of any flavor* and believe the FLDS is among the leaders in religious fuckedupedness.

    Yet I’m extremely pleased with the Texas supremes decision.

    Go figger.

    * I have recently dicovered that the UU church would accept me as a member without conversion. That’s A-OK by me.

  48. I’m starting a new religion. Sacred tenets are doing blow, getting blown (by multiple “wives”), blowing shit up, blowing people’s minds (Dave’s not here, man), and staging blowouts (5 keg minimum).

    Go for a symbol. Like O

    Then bow down and worship The Great O

    And people will misunderstand, and ask, “Is nothing sacred?”

    And The O shall answer, “Yea verily! Nothing is sacred!”

  49. I have recently dicovered that the UU church would accept me as a member without conversion. That’s A-OK by me.

    The UU is a social club for people who like the idea of belonging to a religion and going to church but don’t want the bother of having a doctrine or beliefs or having to actually change their behavior in some way.

  50. Is that the same people that would drink Near Beer?

  51. I call bullshit on that being a religion. What if I said that my religion believes in sacrificing women because women don’t have souls? Or men? Or how about vigilante killings of child sex abusers? Would that be protected in the name of “religion”?

    Texas screwed this up, but those children are being abused, and shouldn’t be sent back on a technicality. It’s nothing more than a bunch of nerdy old men wanting some young stuff and locking their women up in order to keep them producing more and more young girls for them to have sex with on the church “bed”.

  52. “but those children are being abused”

    Not the pre-pubescent girls or any of the boys.

  53. The UU is a social club for people who like the idea of belonging to a religion and going to church but don’t want the bother of having a doctrine or beliefs or having to actually change their behavior in some way.

    I possess no superstitious religious beliefs and no other “church” will accept me. I’m not gonna join, but the offer is appreciated.

  54. melissa, many cultures accept arranged marriages between younger women and older men. I think it’s fucked up, but outlawing it is a step I refuse to take.

    Some would say preaching about eternal damnation for the outsiders (non church members) is a form of child abuse. People who were raised in many fundamentalist religions will testify to that. Do we go after the Pentacostals next?

  55. I knew it was a scam from day one. First the war on drugs (failure), then the war on terror (massive failure), and now the war on polygamists (triple failure).

    Globalism doesn’t work.

  56. next up, african muslim polygamous heroin addicts?

  57. There is a reason why polygamy is outlawed. Polygamy is inimical to the mutually supportive and healthy family relationships promoted by the constitutional right to marry, according to the California Supreme Court.

  58. Whatever makes Nancy Grace angry, I’ll support – that fascist, anti-freedom, pro-state bitch needs a lesson in humility.

  59. Jesus christ. Give me a break. A lot of cultures do a lot of things. Doesn’t make it ok. Some cultures embrace racism and hate crimes and think that’s their cultural right. Should we be excuse them of those things because “it’s their culture”?

    Or is this just because it’s sex?

  60. Melissa,

    I’m not from around here. Would you be kind enough to list off the things that ARE ok?

    Thanks

  61. Not so fast:

    Snag in deal to return Texas sect kids to parents

    It seems the original hearing judge wants to amend the agreement to return the children between the state and the parents…

  62. I am nearing my 52nd birthday this year. I was never in a cult or whatever these Yearning for Zion people claimed to be however, as a victim and survivor or YEARS of child molestation and rape from birth until I was 12 years old, or at age 15 when I was held down by one man and raped by another then robbed of my hard earned $65.00 I had saved from my job as a waitress. I would have given my LIFE if SOMEONE, from SOMEWHERE had rode in on a BULLDOZER, white horse or anything to have rescued me during those times and just make it STOP.

  63. Some cultures embrace racism and hate crimes and think that’s their cultural right. Should we be excuse them of those things because “it’s their culture”?:

    No, but we shouldn’t use those things as excuses to take their children away, either.

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