Sunday, April 20, 2008

Freedom's just another word....

 

I'm not going to make any judgements on these ladies' religion. I believe that people have the right to worship in the manner which they choose, although I find the whole polygamy thing a little...oh, I don't know...ILLEGAL. I also have to admit that I have a problem with extremely young girls being married to older men, which I find a little...oh, I don't know...illegal AND disgusting.

I haven't followed this story extremely closely, but I'd bet that it's extremely likely that underage girls are being forced into marriages by their parents. I saw the group's lawyer saying that teenage pregnancies in the compound were not high, and are comparable to what goes on in mainstream society. I think there is a key difference, though. This group lives by an extremely rigid code, and I'd be willing to bet that some of the diddling going on is that of close family ties variety.

Now that I think about it, I think I will be a little judgmental about this kind of thing. It's not only illegal, it's putting young girls in roles that they should not be in, and it's taking away their right to choose. This type of insular society is cult-like and does not allow freedom of choice, whether it's religious or otherwise. There is no exposure to other ways of life or worship.

We have a large Amish population here, and while they are also somewhat insular, they interact with other members of the community, and they allow their children the freedom to explore the world. They do not live in a compound, they live among us and with us, and are part of our community.

These women may be--and in fact, probably are--very good mothers, and I am sorry for them that their children have been temporarily taken away from them. However, I have to wonder about what kind of childhood these kids will have in this type of restrictive environment. Our country is founded upon freedom of religion (some seem to have gotten away from that, but that's another tale), but when kids are in danger, that's just not acceptable. This group might argue that these kids are not in danger, they are just adhering to their religious philosophy. Young teen girls being offered up in polygamous marriages to older men is pretty much what I would consider the Danger Zone.

 

I also have to bring this up. I'm probably not the first, so don't shoot me. What is with that HAIR?

It's like Gibson-Girl-on-steroids hair! But Gibson Girls were the 1890's version of the ideal woman. It's 2008, for Pete's sake. Even Gibson Girls wore dresses that were fitted about the torso and waist, but these FLDS ladies are wearing what are essentially sacks with poufy shoulders. They do have the cutesy little collars, though. (Any adult woman who wears Peter Pan-type collars is in need of a serious fashion makeover, in my opinion.)

I don't condemn these women for their beliefs, but I do wonder at how they became so brainwashed. I'd say that the real villains here are the husbands and patriarchs who have kept this going for so many years. Hey, can't fault 'em too much, though, because what a sweet deal they've got going! Multiple wives AND a bunch of 'em are underage! Jeez, haven't we gotten past that? Apparently not, at least for a scattered few. That's where we come back to that insular society, because any young girl or woman who gets a taste of what life is like without being under the thumb of her religion and/or her husband will run away screaming and never look back. To stop any kid from knowing what kind of freedom they have is utterly abhorrent to me.

Freedom of religion is one thing. Keeping children from the freedoms available to them is something else entirely.

13 comments:

cayasm said...

The same kind of thing happens in India, also we have a lot of it here in arranged marriages, young girls married off to much older men as it is part of their culture, we've had several cases over the last few years of girls being murdered by parents or older male siblings when the girls who have been brought up here in the west refuse to go into the arrangements. Family honour is the key and also the dowry involved, these girls put up with incredible hardships are treated like babymaking slaves, physical violence is also prevelant in these marriages. These girls/women have no way out of these situations and are often disowned by thier families if they somehow manage to escape.

Yasmin

luvrte66 said...

Yasmin, I find it so dismaying to know that things like this still go on around the world. Just when you think we've come so far....

Beth

madcobug said...

I feel like what these people are doing to the younger girls is a form of slavery. But as things stand now where are these people going to work to make a living if they stay away from the compound? The women and children are probably the ones working there and making the living anyway. Get those men out of there and let the women run the place. I think the long hair styles have something to do with their type of religion. Helen

buckoclown said...

I agree, that arranged and underage marriages are atrocious.

The multiple marriage thing may have some merit though :o)

Just kidding, more than one would be foolish, stupid, a nightmare, insanity, ... take your pick <LOL>

luvrte66 said...

I concur, one spouse is plenty. :D

B.

frankandmary said...

That first short one looks like a young Ned Beatty.  This may have been the only way for her to marry AT ALL.  

Good Moms?  Chilly silence.  I'm thinking, not so much.  Doesn't anyone have even a brief flash of clarity that whispers:  I don't think I want my 14 year old daughter to marry a 34 yr old who already has to clip his nose hair & has a paunch?  I need an anti emetic just to read the articles about this.  That situation is moral & religious rectitude to them, really?  I highly doubt it. ~Mary

mpnaz58 said...

This has been in the news for a couple of weeks now, and until yesterday, no one had heard from the men!!  Like they were hiding behind those dresses, afraid to come out.  Do you notice the women all speak with the same tone of voice too?  Yesterday, they interviewed a man (I forget which news show it was), and he said, "now, the way I understood the law, a girl can marry in the state of TX at age 14.  Unless it was communicated to me wrong, thats what I understood".  So now, he's going to blame it on his ignorance!!  On another news show a couple of weeks ago, there is a halfway house (somewhere) that houses some young men who have left religious cults like this one, and they have no job skills, are at a below average IQ for their age, and drink to self medicate.  The community is trying to wean them in to society, but its difficult to undo years of brainwashing!
Interesting to see how this plays out!
xoxo ~Myra

sendflowers2me said...

The looks on these poor women's faces break my heart.  It arrouses in me a giant hatred for those responsible. And to think that there were hundreds of young girls (children) that were going through God knows what!  All in the name of religion!!

queeniemart said...

I feel that if ANY mother, including these women, allow their UNDERAGE daughters to be raped or married off at 13 or any age under the legal age, they should be prosecuted and deserve to lose their children. I do not care about their religion or beliefs or cult...screw all that...it is rape and it is wrong. All these men need sent to prison and left to rot.

HUGS

rdautumnsage said...

This creeps me out on so many levels. I haven't been able to read a whole lot about this. Perhaps because I've had to deal with the twisted beliefs of a overly zealous Penecostal mother who turned her back when her husband would rape and molest me....

My mother had waist length hair she used to twist into a giant bun on top of her head. We weren't allowed to wear anything above our elbows or knees (It was horrible in school being the only one not allowed to wear jeans). My hair was all the way down to my thighs before I finally left at 16. I never knew if the hair was her religious beliefs or a native one...

I'm sick for all those kids, you don't get past those memories ever...(Hugs) Indigo

aimer said...

Hey Beth, I have the same reaction to this as you do. I'm trying to step back and understand beliefs that are so radically different from my own but I'm not being very successful. I agree that the woman have been brainwashed over the generations that these practices have endured. They must view this as natural and ordained by their religious beliefs, how else can they live like this?

I also had the same reaction to the hairdos! Is there a rule taht they all must have the same do? I love your term, Gibson -Girl-on-steroids hair! Oh, and I totally agree about the Peter Pan collars!--Sheria

shrbrisc said...

I agree that we need to live strictor life styles but I believe it should be a choice and I don't believe anyone under the age of 21 is old enough to make that choice .and I think if a woman was doing this to a group of men she would of already been burned at the stake... I totally agree with you on thier appearence come on does that not take you back to the times before we were allowed to vote or what ..
hugs
Sherry

helmswondermom said...

It is hard to stay objective because of the children.  These adults have the right to choose how they want to live, and they even have the right to train their children up the way they choose, teaching them the beliefs that they believe are right, while they are minores.  But not when the children's welfare is at stake.  Since polygamy is illegal, they don't have the right to practice it.  Since forcing underage girls to marry is illegal and immoral, they don't have that right, either.  If it weren't for the young age of the children being forced into marriage and parenthood this group probably wouldn't even be on our radar.
Lori