Feature

The rights of polygamous moms

Texas sent home the mothers of many of the 416 children seized from a polygamist compound, said Hilary Hylton in Time.com, and it will be tough to decide what to do for the "well-being and the future of these boys and girls." Ripping them from t

What happened
Texas officials on Monday sent home the mothers of many of the 416 children they took from a polygamist compound in one of the biggest child-custody cases in U.S. history. Only women with children 4 or younger were allowed to continue staying with them; the rest were returned to the Yearning for Zion Ranch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

What the commentators said
It was clear what “the secular power” had to do when a teenage girl phoned in a report of routine sexual abuse at the ranch, said Hilary Hylton in Time.com. But, now that the children are in the custody of child-welfare officials, the question facing state authorities is a much tougher one: “What is Texas going to do for the well-being and the future of these boys and girls?”

Leaving a “cult” you grew up in is never easy, said Tim Guest in the London Telegraph. I know: “I grew up in communes around the world under the guidance of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the notorious Indian guru who advocated sex and celebration as a path to enlightenment.” These children were raised to be married off to older men as soon as they reached puberty, and it will take a long time for them to overcome the “apparent horror” of such a childhood. “As I know from my own childhood, when we set out to build heaven, we also build hell.”

There has to be a better way than ripping these boys and girls out of the arms of their mothers, said the blog Body Parts. “Texas is leaping to conclusions that because the women and children lived in a polygamist society, they were in a state of abuse.” It hasn’t been established that any of these mothers abused their kids, and putting them into foster care “would exponentially increase the harm already inflicted on the children by removing them from their mothers.”

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