By Ann Ivins
In 2005, the state of Texas passed one of the quickest bills in decades, changing the age at which young people with parental consent could legally marry from 14 to 16. Why the hurry? Warren Jeffs and the FLDS had come to town.
Hereâ€™s a quick, easy definition of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints: â€œThe FLDS practice polygamy in arranged marriages, sometimes between underage girls and older men.â€ This is the accepted tagline used with almost no variation by AP, Reuters, the Post, the Times, Fox News… palatable. Neutral. Not too upsetting to hear during breakfast. Not nearly as hard to think about as the truth, which is simple enough for even the Texas Legislature to grasp:
An underage girl is a child. A child cannot consent to a marriage, arranged or otherwise, or to the sexual consummation of that illegal marriage, nor can her parents consent for her. Non-consensual sex is rape. Jeffs, his father before him and two generations of their fellow predators had created, maintained, financed and grown a system of induction centers, internment camps and breeding facilities for new victims, using religion as a cover and barbed wire, isolation and the threat of damnation as controls. Not for years, for decades. If prosecutable evidence was difficult to obtain, the basic tenets and practices of FLDS were no secret. Jeffsâ€™ 2002 conviction on accomplice rape charges certainly confirmed the rumors, if confirmation were needed. Now an entire nest of the same maggots has been exposed to view… and still the mealy-mouthed coverage of the FLDS persists, with a fresh infusion of images of prayerful, modest womanhood cruelly separated from beloved children.
When those weeping mothers in quaint cotton dresses appear on the morning shows again tomorrow, when they show the world the squeaky-clean classrooms and community kitchens of that compound in El Dorado, try to see past the home-baked bread and the tear-stained faces. Try to see what those pathetic, brainwashed women, victims and perpetrators themselves, are truly showing all of us: the daylight side of a world of nighttime terror, the mechanics of a rape camp.