I'm going to talk about a different type of predator today. The kind who hides behind the law of the land. As a Texan, I join the rest of the world is being appalled by the Polygamist Sect that has sprouted up in my neck of the woods. If you're new to the subject, let me fill you in, whip quickly over the story. Let me start by saying American's enjoy freedom of religion. Worship how and who they choose yet now we're faced with a major dilemma in the form of the FLDS off-shoot of the Mormon church. It is a polygamist society where men, who are rewarded for their contributions to the faith, are allowed numerous wives.
That in itself is just...well, weird. What makes it criminal is that many of those "wives" are 12 and 13 year old girls. EWWWW.
Recently, authorities were contacted by a 16 yr. old girl who supposedly made several frantic calls to police claiming abuse. Naturally, they investigated, a raid on the "compound" ensued. Over 417 children were taken from the place along with the many women in residence. You might have seen this craziness on television. The women in pioneer style clothing, the odd hairstyles, etc. Now, this is a rural area and it's beyond strange to find media vans clogging the streets and lawyers from every part of the state converging on one small town (each child had to have legal representation).
Bottom line: authorities found that some of the "mothers" taken from the compound were 16 and under. One 16 yr. old had four children and was expecting another. Do the math. She wasn't alone in these circumstances. These men have multiple wives, many just teenagers.
Have they broken the law? Yeah, you'd think so. Men in their 40's and 50's are having sex with underage girls but there's a catch. They are protected from the law because of their right to religious freedom and the taking of multiple wives is part of their religion. There are "age laws" in every state and laws against bigamy but they get around this little problem by only legally marrying the first wife. Subsequent marriages are called "spiritual" marriages.
To add to the ick-factor here: when authorities went into their TEMPLE, they found a bed. Ummm. Ewwww. Sick. The people who live here have given no explanation for THAT.
So here's the question. The search for religious freedom was one of the things that brought our forefathers to these shores. It's important. Necessary. But how far are we willing to take it? Once we've started interfering in religious freedom, where does it stop? Should fringe religions be allowed to practice what amounts to legalized child abuse?
I wish I had an answer.