By now, I'm sure that everyone knows about the polygamy case in Eldorado, Texas. More than 416 children are now in state custody, after being taken away from their parents at the Yearning for Zion ranch, during a raid.
Authorities were searching for victims of possible physical and sexual abuse after receiving a tip from a 16-year-old, who said she had been beaten and forced "to be a man's spiritual wife."
I think this whole situation is pretty interesting, and if you ask me, it has nothing to do with religion.
I believe that anyone should be able to choose to be a part of any organization or religion that they choose. It is solely up to them. But, when you include children, who are possibly being harmed, the situation is totally different.
Every adult was a child at one point in time, and as a child, you look up to your parents. They are your first role models. But, if your parents have chosen to take the wrong path, where does that leave you?
I think that this is definitely the situation when it comes to the children in the polygamy case. There is no telling what these children have been exposed to. A lot of people feel that the public doesn't know for sure if these children are victims of physical and sexual abuse, and think that the media may be blowing the whole thing out of proportion.
I don't think that's true. If the ranch contained girls that are under the age of 18, who are pregnant by grown men, that's all the proof you need. The entire environment is messed up.
You've got a male-dominated environment that is teaching boys that's it's okay to have more than one wife and to commit adultery. And then, on the other hand, you're teaching young girls that this is the way it has to be, and they have no choice. That is wrong, no matter which way you look at it.
I watched a special on CNN about the case last week. The cameras took the viewers into the ranch and the women of the cult were showing the viewers where the children slept and ate. I think the whole reason why the women of the cult agreed to allow the cameras into the ranch was simply to play on the emotions of the viewers.
Every now and then a mother would gaze into the camera with a tear or two and tell about how much she loved her children. This pathetic moment didn't move me at all. I think this case should be treated like any other child-protective-service case and the whole religion concept shouldn't even be considered.
I feel sorry for the children, but if there are other responsible adults out there who can better care for these children, I think they should be allowed to do it.
Jaya Franklin covers government for the Henry Daily Herald. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.