When Texas Child Protective Services seized the children of mothers belonging to the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, I wondered if the Independent Republic was turning Yankee.  The seizure was an abuse of power against the fundamental institution of all human societies—the family.  Fortunately, the ruling on May 23 by the state’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals (confirmed by the Texas Supreme Court on May 29), which condemned the action as illegal, restores my faith in the sanity of Texans.

Naturally, the feminist child-savers at the TCPS are appalled by the ruling, but what did they expect?  Their case rested on the allegation that on the FLDS ranch there was a pervasive atmosphere of abuse of children and minors, which entitled them to seize all the children without proving in any one case that a particular child had been abused or even was in imminent danger of abuse.  The smoking gun in the case was a telephone call from a girl who claimed to have been abused. When she turned out to be a middle-aged ex-member with a grudge, the case should have fallen apart, but like our Texan President, who kept on changing his excuse for invading Iraq, the prosecutors moved on to other allegations.

I do not know why such a strange religion as Mormonism was ever tolerated outside of Utah, but I do not make the laws.  Mormonism is legal, and so is Fundamentalist Mormonism.  However repulsive we may find polygamy or marriage with young teenage women, let us remember that the Fundamentalist Mormons are hardly much different from polygamous Mormons down to 1890, when under very serious pressure from the federal government, the LDS renounced—for the time being—polygamy.  I have read remarks from so-called Christian conservatives who compare polygamy with homosexuality.  Where did such people go to school?  King David was on a moral plane with homosexuals?

In America today, I do not see that there is any basis for outlawing polygamy.  It certainly cannot be Christian moral law: Christianity can scarcely be mentioned in a public school or government building, and there is hardly any aspect of Christian morality that is enforced by law, even if there are still statutes on the books that retain the impress of the Christians who passed the law.  When is the last time that adultery or fornication was punished as such?  Prostitution is illegal in most places—with what justification I cannot imagine—but two consenting adults can do pretty much anything in the privacy of one of their homes.  Military officers are occasionally punished for adultery, usually with someone under their command or at least in the same service, but that is a question of military discipline.  A Michigan court has ruled that the penalty for adultery could be a life sentence, but I know of no one in Michigan serving time for seducing his neighbor’s wife.  After Lawrence v. Texas (2003), adultery became a dead letter.  If adultery is not a crime, how can polygamy be punished?  A bigamist who lies to his wives is one thing; he may well be regarded as having tricked his second wife into a contractual relationship.  But a man who lives openly with two women has, in the eyes of American law today, committed no crime.

Critics of the FLDS also claim to be shocked by the marriage of underage girls with men in their 20’s and 30’s, but if they knew anything about the marriage customs of other ages, they would hardly be surprised.  In colonial Virginia, parental consent was necessary for a minor to get married, but with consent a girl of 12 could become a bride.  Even in America today, while marriage laws vary from state to state, it is simply not true to say that it is illegal for a girl of 16 to get married.  In Pennsylvania, girls and boys under 18 need parental consent and have to pay a fee, while minors under the age of 16 need the consent both of the parents and of a judge of the orphans court.  In Utah, parental consent and permission from the juvenile court is required.  In Texas, where the alleged abuse took place, parental consent on an official form or an order from the district court is sufficient.  All this noise about the marriage of 16-year-old girls is a complete canard.

State governments routinely promote teenage promiscuous sex in the sex-education programs in government schools and in government-funded counseling centers.  Condoms are routinely provided to children on the pretext of preventing the spread of STDs, when everyone knows that the purpose is to encourage teenage sex.  And yet, here we have a state agency seizing a large group of children on the grounds that teenage girls are having sex with a man they regard as their husband and to whom they have promised fidelity.

A recent Chicago Tribune featured an article entitled “To many girls, sex with adults just part of life,” in which Mary Schmich interviews many young Chicago girls who openly talk about their sexual relations with older men.  The young women she interviewed were mostly from the lower strata of society, but our entire culture, from top to bottom, is saturated with images of sexuality and promiscuity.  From a little girl’s first Barbie to the social pressure to engage in sex games in middle school to TV shows, such as Desperate Housewives, designed to justify and promote adultery, American women are given a consistent message: Do it!

America, as a society, is dedicated to the sexual exploitation of women.  The only “crime” committed by the Fundamentalist Mormons is their commitment to marriage.