Imagine this dispatch from the New Yuck Times:
“Tumbleweed, NV, April 21st: Government officials raided an offshoot Baptist compound yesterday following an alleged 911 call from a 16-year-old girl claiming that her husband had beat her with a one-inch-thick stick. In all, 500 women and children were evacuated.
“Said Mustangranch County Sheriff Darius Dust, ‘We had to move. The founder was already convicted of statutory rape and incest. We just couldn’t afford to have any more abused kids.’
“Dust was referring to the founder/pastor of the First Redneck Baptist Church, Reverend Jerry Lee Lulu, convicted last month of marrying his 13-year-old first cousin. Lulu founded the Church because he was concerned that the Redneck traditions of the Old South in Appalachia was becoming lost in the rapidly-modernizing world. Lulu’s group fled their original settlement in Lorettalynn, WV, after local authorities announced a probe of illegal activities. In addition to allegations of statutory rape and spousal and child abuse, Coaldust County, WV District Attorney John B. Goode claimed that there were credible charges of “moonshining,” or making illegal alcohol. However, the group fled the jurisdiction before charges could be filed, and Goode declined to press the matter further. ‘I just figured that it was now Nevada’s problem,’ Goode explained.
“At the request of state authorities, the Tumbleweed Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints assisted in the evacuation by providing a caravan of busses and cars, and housing the evacuees in their Mustangranch Nevada Stake Center. Said Bishop Harry Dingy, of the Tumbleweed Ward, ‘What a wonderful opportunity to minister and show hospitality to our non-LDS neighbors!'”
If the details of the above story disturb you, maybe you can see why this article disturbs me.
I see that I generated some good comments. Many of you saw exactly what I was driving at, others found that I was somewhat obscure, and still others thought I was offensive. So, let me explain some of the obscurities:
a. I changed names in order to not disparage anyindividual persons or religious group. It is the principle I wish to discuss; not to condemn anybody.
b. My use of some far-out names had two purposes:
1. It is a tool to avoid heavy-handedness in discussing those issues. I found in an earlier post that, in a matter so serious, it is easy to get “carried away,” and to “lay it on thick.” I want to avoid repeating that mistake.
2. I wanted to illustrate Point I, below.
These are some of what I’m driving at:
I. The media–and politicians–have an agenda, and use overstatement to cause people to believe that agenda. Fearmongering about global warming, for example, was designed to induce people to accept drastic political control to avert an alleged catastrophe when it would be smarter to take advantage of global warming’s good points (They DO exist!! Two benefits are fewer frostbite and hypothermia deaths, and a longer growing season.), while mitigating its bad ones.
II. I reversed roles, because most people are not LDS, and could more readily see potential church-state issues in a group that is less-than-popular than one that is in the mainstream. Perhaps that is why, in real life, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declined court offers to participate in Texas’ efforts.
III. Why did the State of Texas evacuate ALL of the women and children? True, there was a 911 call, allegedly from a 16-year-old girl who claimed to be abused and statutorily raped, but did that–and Warren Jeffs’ conviction mean that ALL of them were victimised in that manner?
IV. Is the fact that the target is an unpopular religion an “entering wedge” for an assault on more mainstream faiths? EVERY faith has aspects that seem bizarre to others.
V. What about members of the group that are innocent of wrongdoing? How are they going to clear their names? There ARE instances of false accusations.
VI. What about the psychic costs of separation from one parents–when neither did anything wrong?
VII. Finally, what happened to due process? The kids were innocent–by Texas authorities’ admission. Why weren’t they given legal representation?