Friday, June 13, 2008

FLDS update

Having written extensively about the raid on the Texas polygamist sect in April, I got an e-mail today from James Spencer, author of Beyond Mormonism, who has followed the story. He has put online the latest issue of his four-page newsletter, which makes an interesting point about the difficulties entailed by postmodern relativism:
Further, I do not see how we can prosecute anyone for polygamy per se. Polygamy is a federal crime, but America has losts its moral right to prosecute it. Why do I say that? Because we have decided as a nation that "private sexual practicies" will no longer be prosecuted. If we do not prosecute a man for adultery . . . then how can we prosecute another man who has plural relationships just because he intends to commit himself to them for life?
This is a point that can be applied to much else about the El Dorado raid. After Texas officials sent armed officers swooping down on the FLDS compound, the essence of their "abuse" justification for the raid was that teenage girls were getting pregnant. Yet as I said at the time, if every pregnant 15-year-old in Texas is now sufficient cause for a massive police raid, Texas is going to need a lot more SWAT units.

Since Texas teenagers routinely have sex, get pregnant and give birth without triggering criminal prosecution, what Texas authorities seemed to object to most was that these FLDS girls were getting married. As much as we might abhor polygamy, how can the FLDS teen brides automatically be labeled victims of abuse, while Jamie Lynn Spears is on the cover of celebrity magazines?

Considering the everyday sexual realities of 21st-century American life, it is hard to locate any solid logical, moral, or legal justification for the way Texas officials went after the FLDS. In a society where adultery and fornication are tolerated, and where sodomy is declared a constitutional by the Supreme Court (in a Texas case, coincidentally), it becomes increasingly impossible to use the law as an instrument to enforce any societal standard of sexual conduct without incurring the accusation of arbitrary prosecution.

As a society, America long ago stepped off the Solid Rock, and now we're far down the slippery slope.


  1. Kennedy's obiter dicta in Casey will be the governing language when polygamy, polyandry, and marriage-to-woodchucks is legalized.

    Scalia and Santorum were right...

  2. Don't you understand that these children are forced to marry men 30 or 40 years their senior? Plus, these little girls are taught nothing at all about sex then at 14 they are told to marry some man who has 10 other wives and is expected to consummate their marriage on their wedding night?!?!?