Posted by Nicholas at April 21, 2008 08:29 AM
I haven't had the time to thoroughly read up on the case, so I don't yet have an opinion of the propriety of the police action. If Scott Henson's take is correct, I guess my opinion would be that given what we now know, the tactics seem excessive, the justification for the raid iffy at best, and the cult in question is unquestionably icky.
Ickiness alone isn't illegal, of course. And if Texas law says parents can marry their 15-year-old daughters off to 60-year-old men, perhaps we should talk about the wisdom of that law, not arrest the people who still manage to stay within it, repugnant as they may be.
I have seen other reports in which police do claim to have found evidence of girls on the compound being pregnant while as young as 13. So I guess we'll have to wait and see how it all shakes out.
In the meantime, here's something to mull over: Should we allow parents to give consent for a child under 18 to marry, or to have sexual relations? If 18 is that state's age of consent, I think I'd be inclined to argue that we shouldn't.
Radley Balko, "Big Love and Big Government", Hit and Run, 2008-04-18
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