Friday, September 14, 2007

I have a problem with this

I don't have a lot of stomach for what the "Mormon fundamentalists" have done with the tradition of plural marriage. I don't care what they do in their religious ceremonies, but marrying underage cousins should be outside the pale. (Not all the polygamists are into that sort of thing, but those who are are the ones that make the headlines.)

However, I see a disturbing precedent in the Warren Jeffs trial. Has anyone else noticed that the actual perpetrator of the alleged rape isn't being charged with anything? And that so far all "Uncle Warren" has been accused of is teaching that the marriage was Godly? I don't like the idea that a religious leader can be prosecuted simply for advocating the tenets of his faith. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to see clergymen down the road prosecuted for preaching that homosexuality is a sin, or the Catholic Church sued for prohibiting abortion. I know, those sound like paranoid scenarios, but suppose a gay person killed himself, because he was afraid of the church's condemnation. That would place the preacher in almost the same situation as Jeffs. Not quite, because it's still legal not to be actively gay, so the hypothetical reverend isn't actually advocating something illegal. But it's less of a stretch than it first appears. (Update: Looks like what Jeffs told the girl to do wasn't illegal either. I hadn't realized that the age of connsent in Utah was 14. So the scenarios are parallel.)

If the "bridegroom" were being charged with statutory, and Jeffs were tried as an accessory, that would make sense. But this smacks of lynching. And with the current climate in this country toward traditional religions, it could be just the first step.

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