Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Busy Bodies

If you had a job interview and you knew that the field had been narrowed to a shortlist of two final candidates - - you and another person -- would you go and kill the other applicant in order to make sure you got the job?  Probably not.  You might feel like this is your dream job - a job you were born to do.  You might feel like your very life depends on landing it.  But then again, maybe God doesn't want you to get it.  Maybe He has something else even better for you just around the corner, and He needs you to be patient, to relax, and trust in Him to work things out for your good.  Maybe He cares about the well-being of the other applicant almost as much as He cares about you!

Since you wouldn't kill the other candidate, you might feel powerless, but also perhaps a little tempted to do everything humanly possible to secure the position - almost taking matters into your own hands, forcing the issue - "playing God", shall we say?  Do you ever feel that some outcomes JUST HAVE TO BE, almost to the point of wanting to "interfere" with the natural course of human events, just so that you can have your way? 

I occasionally hear the term "Lost Boys".  It is such a potent term.  It conjures images of abandoned teens lying at the side of the highway - cold, hungry, lonely, stoned on marijuana and who-knows-what-else.  What caring, compassionate human would not want to swoop in and rescue the poor things and place them in a nice, devout Christian or Mormon home where they can be freed from their Fundamentalist beliefs and upbringing?  Arizona showed us the way in 1953.

I have observed an interesting phenomenon occurring in Arizona and Utah over the last few years.  There are certain individuals who just can't abide the continued existence of Fundamentalist Mormon families and their religion.  Not long ago, Flhora Jessflop abducted/kidnapped two teenage girls in the middle of the night from their parents' homes - all videotaped for national TV.  Flhora had a string of supporters - Carmen Thompson, Vicky Prunty, Rowenna Erickson, Laura Chapman, Andrea Moore-Emmett, to name a few.  Thankfully, most have moved on, but many more have moved in to take up the crusade.

I am reminded of the pathetic story of Laura Silsby, the do-gooder from a Baptist church in Meridian, Idaho.  She and some other passionate church-goers kidnapped a dozen or so children in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.  They swooped in with missionary zeal to rescue the poor little children (despite the wishes of the parents).  Silsby ended up in a sweaty jail in Port-au-Prince for breaking the law.

An organization has emerged in Utah by the name of "Holding Out Hostages".  Its express goal is to "help" people from polygamous families.  It all sounds so innocuous, right?  The group's leader, Sonya Tool, is entrenched in an evangelical Christian church.  She and her fellow crusaders solicit donations through the media and other means to fund their operations.  They offer money, lodging, blankets, food, employment, and the opportunity to convert to their local Christian church, often with the blessing of other agencies and organizations.  This is a wonderful, caring, non-profit, private, faith-based program, right?

So, if you had a troubled (minor) teenager who didn't want to honor your family's rules or faith anymore, you would want that organization to rescue and harbor your teen, right?  You would want them to sneakily whisk her away to another state so that you would have no idea of her whereabouts for months (until the crusaders went to court and got her emancipated) right?  After all, if that organization had proper training, proper DOPL licensing and certifications to provide such intervention, then it wouldn't be breaking the law, would it?  It wouldn't be aggressively enticing and recruiting happy and unhappy teens to run away from their homes and families if only to assuage the cravings, or justify the continued funding of the organization.

What is the law?  Well, here it is: - If a minor teenager comes in to your care or sphere of influence and you desire (or she desires) to put some distance between her[self] and the parents, you have exactly eight (8) hours to turn her over to any of the following:

1.  The parents
2.  Youth Services
3.  Law Enforcement

If you fail to do this, then you have committed the crime of kidnapping/abduction. Maybe you think that's okay, though.  Maybe you feel that your viewpoint is just so much worthier than the viewpoint of Fundamentalist Mormon parents.  Maybe the parents don't want the teen to run off and have sex with an older guy.  Maybe the parents don't want the kid to stay out all night and take drugs.  Maybe the parents don't want their child to get spirited away by a bunch of religious zealots and alienated from her siblings.

Of course, I guess that many groups of busy-body do-gooders have been swooping in and "rescuing" children throughout history.  In South Dakota, the kidnapping of poor Native American children is a vast, lucrative industry.  Though unconscionable, it's not really a crime when the state does it, but it sure is when private individuals do it, imposing their superior, condescending will on an innocent minority in cynical violation of the law.  Maybe common decency, and respect for the rights and liberty of others don't matter when you simply know best, and your interfering passions are nobler than those of your victims.  Maybe your religion puts you on a par with God, and lets you take matters into your own hands.  What's in the child's best interests (according to my personal opinion)?

Are you a liberty lover or a liberty taker?


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