A scripture often quoted in my childhood in fundamentalist polygamy read, "Thy sins shall be shouted from the rooftops." I suppose our parents and teachers intended to warn us that there's nowhere and no way to hide dark deeds forever. Now, it seems that some patriarchs in the FLDS community will have their sins "shouted from the rooftops" via television antennae and satellite receivers.
A Texas Grand Jury indicted five men of various crimes involving underage marriage and child abuse. The appropriate use of the law in this and other polygamous communities will protect the innocence and integrity of children . . . up to a point. But as long as children of polygamy feel compelled to lie about their family situations, they will be subjected to psychological abuse and participate in the isolation which shelters men like Warren Jeffs, who abuse their unrestricted power.
Good move, Texas. If only the state would take advantage of this opportunity to provide extensive education and counseling for the women and children, these travesties may not reoccur. If Texas is content to prosecute only perpetrators, these men will become "martyrs" in the eyes of the people-and the justice system/government will remain the "adversary." Then the whole community will go underground again, making way for worse violations. But if the minds of women and children are broadened to the point that they see the world in terms of their own human rights, the repressive paradigm of the FLDS culture will be broken once and for all.
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