Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Is This Freedom of Religion?

MSNBC has an article about the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a splinter group from the Mormon church, builing a temple in Eldorado, Texas. Fair enough? Churches and temples are built all the time, right? From the start though, we're told-

"They're a church whose presence in West Texas continues to create concern, and attract the interest of the nation's law enforcement community."

Why? Are the law now keeping tabs on all religious activities? Are they keeping a close eye on mosques too, or is this just a Christian thing? The article is quick to point out the potential of another Waco.

The local newspaper, the Eldorado Success "first exposed the compound, which was originally represented by the FLDS as a "hunting retreat" for church leaders."

In the past two years, the publisher of the paper and his wife have taken thousands of aerial photographs of the compound. He is quoted as saying,

"The women all wear long dresses, the little girls all do the same," he pointed out on one photo. "It's a different world, a different environment."

My goodness, what an outrage! Wearing long dresses! What would he have to say about a Sikh group, where the men wear turbans, or a Muslim group where the women wear burquas? The interest is not only from the local paper, the Sheriff is also keeping "a very close watch on what's happening on the group's 1,700-acre ranch."

The leader of the group is a wanted man- in Arizona- for arranging for children to marry adult men- there's no indication that he has ever been to the new facility in Eldorado. However the Sheriff stresses that in Eldorado, no crime has been committed "at this point".

The Eldorado newspaper publisher, obviously keen to promote his "big break" story, insists, "It's like they're just one step ahead of the law all the time. And you just wonder, 'is this going to be where it happens? Is this going to be where they caught?' And, 'why did they come to Eldorado?' I still don't know."

Is this America? No crimes have been committed, no laws broken and yet this church is garnering the attention of the entire nation's law enforcement community, this church is being closely watched by the local Sheriff and is being kept under surveillance by the press. Has this church group ever threatened to break any laws? Has it ever sanctioned any violence, advocated the overthrow of the government? Done anything to deserve this attention?


Anonymous said...

The leader of the group is a wanted man- in Arizona- for arranging for children to marry adult men.

Yeah no breaking of laws there...

Jay.Mac said...

So by the same reasoning you'd have no problem with local police conducting surveillance of members of, for example, the Catholic Church because some of their members have committed crimes- even though there's no evidence that they are currently engaging in any illegal activity themselves. Guilt by association- some priests are paedophiles so it's reasonable to watch all members of the church in case they are engaging in the same reprehensible behaviour?