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May 22, 2008

Higher Courts Say FLDS Children Should Not Have Been Removed

The 450 plus children that were taken from the Yearning for Zion Ranch, a property that is operated and owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, should not have been taken according to a higher court ruling. The lower court that found it fit to remove the children and place them in protective services is being questioned by the panel of judge that passed down the ruling today. The ruling only applies to the 38 women that decided to take the case to court.

The Texas 3rd Court of Appeals says that the FDLS church does not promote child abuse in their beliefs. The children were not imminently in danger, they say, and therefore should not be taken. There was no prove that the children were in danger. However, there were five minors that were or had been pregnant when Child Protective Services went onto the ranch to investigate a claim of abuse made by a 16 year old.

This is an interesting, though not terribly surprising ruling. Proving there children are in danger can be difficult, especially when there are few signs of abuse. Also, it seems like individual cases should be have been investigated before all children were removed. Now that the State of Texas has already made the leap to remove all of the children, those that might be getting abused may wind up being returned to their abusers.

Minors that are pregnant and married to old men sounds like abuse to me. I can not imagine being married at 15 or 16. I am now just thinking that marriage and children sound like a good idea and I am twice as old as some of the girls that are already married and with children. I think that investigations into the lives of the minors that were pregnant or had been pregnant would have produced information about abuses and since they were minors, the men that impregnated them are abusers. There is religious freedom in this country but there are also laws in place to protect children. No matter what your religion is, you should not be allowed to abuse young girls.

However, there were families on the ranch, I am sure, that were not practicing any type of inherent abuse, but breeding young girls only to grow up to marry old men is a form of abuse. If there are some young girls that grow up on the Yearning for Zion ranch and go on to live a life that does not include being a child bride, or if this is just the belief of some on the ranch, then maybe abuse is not a part of the religious belief system. However, if girls are born on to be married off to old men, then I think that there is a case for abuse and a case that the religion is teaching abuse. The court ruling today gives the lower court ten days to vacate the order to put the children in state custody.

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