I’ve not paid a lot of attention to the news this week, but this particular story piqued my interest. A detailed version of the events can be found on myway.com.

Most of the people I’ve seen on the news or with whom I have spoken about the abduction of over 400 children by the state seem to be in favor of the government’s actions. I think at first glance, it would seem that the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saint Church is strange, if not downright creepy, and most assume that they’re probably abusing their children. Those with young teenage girls are the first to say, “I can’t imagine my daughter getting married to some old man at her age!” What many are forgetting, though, is that the FLDS culture is drastically different from ours.

While I’m not condoning forcing 13-year-old girls into marriage with much older men, I’m not sure that I understand why Americans have adopted this arbitrary age limit at which point one is mature enough to get married. I know 40-year-olds who aren’t at a mature enough point to marry. Then again, I know 16-year-olds who could feasibly get married tomorrow. It is a result of our culture that most believe that children are still children when they’re teenagers – and, in “normal” US culture, they are – however, under different circumstances, there are 13-year-old girls who are more mature than I am.

Again, I’m not defending the “child brides.” What I am trying to point out is that our government has decided to take on a culture that is so drastically different from ours that it cannot possibly be understood from the outside.

My major concern with the whole situation is with the fact that the state actually has the authority to go in and take children from their homes due to suspected abuse. No hard evidence. No real facts. Simply based on a, what has now been determined to be false, phone call and the fact that this particular group of people live worlds differently than the rest of us.

Of course I want to side with the children. I want children to be protected, and it is our job as a society to make sure that the weakest among us are safe. Is this, however, a job that I trust the government to do? Hardly.

Obviously, if these children are truly being abused – raped, beaten (not merely “spanked,” but real physical abuse), neglected – then actions should be taken to protect them. Merely disregarding what our society deems “normal,” however, is no good reason to take 416 children from their parents. What’s next? Taking kids away from their parents because of spankings? Putting kids in state custody because some D.A. thinks their parents’ religion is “oppressive of women?” This is not a power I am comfortable with our government having.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for those children to be dumped into a culture that they don’t understand. How scared they must be. And how their mothers must feel knowing that their children are being faced with a big, scary world without them.

All of this thanks to our government who, at some point in the last 100 years or so, decided to deem itself “rescuer of the universe.” Whatever happened to Superman? I’ll take him over our government any old day.

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