Poor Deprived Children

CNN laments:

“Many of the children [wept up in a raid earlier this month on the Yearning for Zion Ranch run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] have seen little or no television. They have been essentially home-schooled all their lives [and may be ahead of public-school students their ages]. Most were raised on garden-grown vegetables and twice-daily prayers with family. They frolic in long dresses and buttoned-up shirts from another century. They are unfailingly polite….[T]hey have little knowledge of pop culture”

Oh, the humanity! Those poor, deprived children! How ever have they survived? Have they any hope of being normal American citizens?

Give me a break. Say what you will about their familial circumstances, but I see absolutely nothing wrong with limited TV, home-schooling, home-grown veggies, and frequent prayer. Would that more Americans lived that way, myself included.

“‘We recognize it’s critical that these children not be exposed to mainstream culture too quickly or other things that would hinder their success,’ [Child Protective Services] agency spokeswoman Shari Pulliam said. ‘We just want to protect them from abuse and neglect. We’re not trying to change them.'”

Why expose them at all? Is there proof of abuse? What ever happened to presumption of innocence? The fourth amendment? Habeus corpus? I’m not saying abuse never happened, but I would think that unless there’s irrefutable evidence, the families deserved due process and should not have been broken up prior to conviction or indictment.

What are your thoughts? Am I off my nut?

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About Funky Dung

Who is Funky Dung? 29-year-old grad student in Intelligent Systems (A.I.) at the University of Pittsburgh. I consider myself to be politically moderate and independent and somewhere between a traditional and neo-traditional Catholic. I was raised Lutheran, spent a number of years as an agnostic, and joined the Catholic Church at the 2000 Easter Vigil. Why Funky Dung? I haven't been asked this question nearly as many times as you or I might expect. Funky Dung is a reference to an obscure Pink Floyd song. On the album Atom Heart Mother, there is a track called Atom Heart Mother Suite. It's broken up into movements, like a symphony, and one of the movements is called Funky Dung. I picked that nickname a long time ago (while I was still in high school I think), shortly after getting an internet connection for the first time. To me it means "cool/neat/groovy/spiffy stuff/crap/shiznit", as in "That's some cool stuff, dude!" Whence Ales Rarus? I used to enjoy making people guess what this means, but I've decided to relent and make it known to all. Ales Rarus is a Latin play on words. "Avis rarus" means "a rare bird" and carries similar meaning to "an odd fellow". "Ales" is another Latin word for bird that carries connotations of omens, signs of the times, and/or augery. If you want to get technical, both "avis" and "ales" are feminine (requiring "rara", but they can be made masculine in poetry (which tends to breaks lots of rules). I decided I'd rather have a masculine name in Latin. ;) Yeah, I'm a nerd. So what? :-P Wherefore blog? It is my intention to "teach in order to lead others to faith" by being always "on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful" through the "use of the communications media". I also act knowing that I "have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors [my] opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and [I] have a right to make [my] opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward [my and their] pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons." (adapted from CCC 904-907) Statement of Faith I have been baptized and confirmed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I, therefore, renounce Satan; I renounce all his works; I renounce all his allurements. I hold and profess all that is contained in the Apostles' Creed, the Niceno- Constantinopolitan Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Having been buried with Christ unto death and raised up with him unto a new life, I promise to live no longer for myself or for that world which is the enemy of God but for him who died for me and rose again, serving God, my heavenly Father, faithfully and unto death in the holy Catholic Church. I am obedient to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. That is, I promote and defend authentic Catholic Teaching and Faith in union with Christ and His Church and in union with the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of St. Peter. Thanks be unto Thee, O my God, for all Thy infinite goodness, and, especially, for the love Thou hast shown unto me at my Confirmation. I Give Thee thanks that Thou didst then send down Thy Holy Spirit unto my soul with all His gifts and graces. May He take full possession of me for ever. May His divine unction cause my face to shine. May His heavenly wisdom reign in my heart. May His understanding enlighten my darkness. May His counsel guide me. May His knowledge instruct me. May His piety make me fervent. May His divine fear keep me from all evil. Drive from my soul, O Lord, all that may defile it. Give me grace to be Thy faithful soldier, that having fought the good fight of faith, I may be brought to the crown of everlasting life, through the merits of Thy dearly beloved Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. Behind the Curtain: an Interview With Funky Dung (Thursday, March 03, 2005) I try to avoid most memes that make their way 'round the blogosphere (We really do need a better name, don't we?), but some are worth participating in. Take for instance the "interview game" that's the talk o' the 'sphere. I think it's a great way to get to know the people in neighborhood. Who are the people in your neighborhood? In your neighborhod? In your neigh-bor-hoo-ood...*smack* Sorry, Sesame Street flashback. Anyhow, I saw Jeff "Curt Jester" Miller's answers and figured since he's a regular reader of mine he'd be a good interviewer. Without further ado, here are my answers to his questions. 1. Being that your pseudonym Funky Dung was chosen from a Pink Floyd track on Atom Heart Mother, what is you favorite Pink Floyd song and why? Wow. That's a tuffy. It's hard to pick out a single favorite. Pink Floyd isn't really a band known for singles. They mostly did album rock and my appreciation of them is mostly of a gestalt nature. If I had to pick one, though, it'd be "Comfortably Numb". I get chills up my spine every time I hear it and if it's been long enough since the last time, I get midty-eyed. I really don't know why. That's a rather unsatisfying answer for an interview, so here are the lyrics to a Rush song. It's not their best piece of music, but the lyrics describe me pretty well.

New World Man He's a rebel and a runner He's a signal turning green He's a restless young romantic Wants to run the big machine He's got a problem with his poisons But you know he'll find a cure He's cleaning up his systems To keep his nature pure Learning to match the beat of the old world man Learning to catch the heat of the third world man He's got to make his own mistakes And learn to mend the mess he makes He's old enough to know what's right But young enough not to choose it He's noble enough to win the world But weak enough to lose it --- He's a new world man... He's a radio receiver Tuned to factories and farms He's a writer and arranger And a young boy bearing arms He's got a problem with his power With weapons on patrol He's got to walk a fine line And keep his self-control Trying to save the day for the old world man Trying to pave the way for the third world man He's not concerned with yesterday He knows constant change is here today He's noble enough to know what's right But weak enough not to choose it He's wise enough to win the world But fool enough to lose it --- He's a new world man...
2. What do you consider your most important turning point from agnosticism to the Catholic Church. At some point in '99, I started attending RCIA at the Pittsburgh Oratory. I mostly went to ask a lot of obnoxious Protestant questions. Or at least that's what I told myself. I think deep down I wanted desperately to have faith again. At that point I think I'd decided that if any variety of Christianity had the Truth, the Catholic Church did. Protestantism's wholesale rejection of 1500 years of tradition didn't sit well with me, even as a former Lutheran. During class one week, Sister Bernadette Young (who runs the program) passed out thin booklet called "Handbook for Today's Catholic". One paragraph in that book spoke to me and I nearly cried as I read it.
"A person who is seeking deeper insight into reality may sometimes have doubts, even about God himself. Such doubts do not necessarily indicate lack of faith. They may be just the opposite - a sign of growing faith. Faith is alive and dynamic. It seeks, through grace, to penetrate into the very mystery of God. If a particular doctrine of faith no longer 'makes sense' to a person, the person should go right on seeking. To know what a doctrine says is one thing. To gain insight into its meaning through the gift of understanding is something else. When in doubt, 'Seek and you will find.' The person who seeks y reading, discussing, thinking, or praying eventually sees the light. The person who talks to God even when God is 'not there' is alive with faith."
At the end of class I told Sr. Bernadette that I wanted to enter the Church at the next Easter vigil. 3. If you were a tree what kind of, oh sorry about that .. what is the PODest thing you have ever done? I set up WikiIndex, a clearinghouse for reviews of theological books, good, bad, and ugly. It has a long way to go, but it'll be cool when it's finished. :) 4. What is your favorite quote from Venerable John Henry Newman? "Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt." 5. If you could ban one hymn from existence, what would it be? That's a tough one. As a member of the Society for a Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Haas, there are obviously a lot of songs that grate on my nerves. If I had to pick one, though, I'd probably pick "Sing of the Lord's Goodness" by Ernie Sands.

13 thoughts on “Poor Deprived Children

  1. Jerry

    I’ve been watching Nancy Grace and all her “experts” are basing their prejudicial comments by qualifying them with “from what I’ve heard” and ” from what I understand”. Great journalism! A 100 years ago, before it was outlawed, you could have someone committed to an insane asylum with the signatures of just 2 people. Today, you can put 400 kids in foster care based upon a single crank call by someone previously convicted of the same thing.

    If anyone has visited the Holocaust Museum they will see a similarity in what Hitler did to what is happening in Texas. If the government is allowed to get away with taking these children from their mothers then they can get away with doing whatever they wish to anyone who does not act like them. Are the Mexicans, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or even the Jews safe here? Where is the ACLU?

  2. Anon

    It is wrong to take these kids from their parents without solid evidence of abuse in EACH case. The families are being treated as GUILTY until proven innocent. If the children are to be taken away, then it should at the VERY LEAST be in a home of someone who shares the same beliefs.

    People have different views about foster care. I have seen excellent foster parents but I have also seen foster parents who do not take the best care of their kids, parents for which there is a financial motivation.

    It’s a shame that this is happening.

  3. Emily

    If you are off your nut, then I am as well. I had the same exact thoughts upon reading the CNN.com article. God forbid parents seek to protect their children from the depravity of American culture. Depravity inside the community is not something I have followed the story enough to comment upon.

    I’m sure I’m thinking about it too much, but I find it sort of humorous that the line is “they frolic” in dresses and buttoned-up shirts. In my mind, frolic conjures up a particular image, perhaps of a lost time, sort of a “Sound of Music” kind of image. Frolic, to me, means something slightly different than “play”. There is a carefree aspect to frolic that leads me to believe that these kids aren’t as concerned about what they are wearing as the reporters are.

  4. Keith

    Uh dude, they have found evidence that children as young as 13 were forced to wed older men. That’s illegal. They have found that girls under 17 years of age were mothers. That’s rape. That’s illegal.

    The act of raising a polite child does not negate the other atrocities.

    As for those of you who are saying “But it’ so wrong to take away the kids with out SOLID PROOF of abuse.” you are basically enforcing a catch-22.

    Children are more likely to be open and honest when the abusive parent is not around. But we can’t get them to be honest and open with out removing them from the abusive parent. But we can’t remove them from the abusive parent without them being open and honest. Are you seeing a pattern here?

    Lastly, if the adult men of the FLDS have done no wrong then why have I read numerous reports that most of them have fled the state in order to avoid prosecution? They are guilty as hell. The FLDS is nothing more than a way to hide child abuse and pedophilia behind a religious context.

    It’s absolutely disgusting and they need to be shut down.

  5. Gwen

    You aren’t innocent until proven guilty in abuse cases. Whereas in the criminal justice it is assumed to be better to let 10 guilty men go free than imprison one innocent man, when dealing with child abuse it is better to err on the side caution and remove children from potentially dangerous situations until we know it is safe. There are pregnant minors who were married underage. That is at least two different types of crimes committed and tolerated by the community. That is unhealthy.

    And anyone who thinks that these kids shouldn’t have been removed needs to read any of the books written by women who fled the FLDS communities. “Escape” by Carolyn Jessop is one. Then tell me if you would want your kid living in that kind of situation.

  6. Funky Dung Post author

    A delicate balance must be maintained. I think habeus corpus and due process are essential to a free and just society. Nevertheless, I recognize the need to protect people from abuse. I’m not sure what actions would serve the greater good in this situation. As for erring on the side of caution, Gwen, why aren’t you innocent until proven guilty? Why is it better to let 10 guilty men free than wrongly imprison 1 innocent man in cases of murder, rape, and other heinous crimes, but not in abuse cases?

    Also, I should have been clearer in my post to point out that this particular CNN article seemed to be written in such a way that the way these kids were raised, independent of abuse they may have experienced, was so weird as to be unhealthy.

  7. Jay

    Teenage girls pregnant? How terrible! Lets tear those poor children from that environment.

    Better they get pregnant in state funded schools, where they don’t get an education and they end up being a single parent, making it by on welfare or working 2 jobs.

  8. Sue

    According to the recovering FLDS members who have left the Cult: The Females are constantly trained “brainwashed” that if they do not take part in the Poligamy that they will be damned and go to Hell. As soon as a female reaches Puberty she is “Married” off to one of the OLD GOATS. The teenage boys having attained the age of contesting the OLD GOATS plans are promptly cast out of the CULT and told to repent, go to work, and send the OLD GOATS money to prove they are repenting. THE PATTERN KEEPS GOING ROUND IN THE SAME MANNER. The children may not be abused except when they reach puberty then they surely will be.

  9. Tim

    Kieth wrote:

    “Children are more likely to be open and honest when the abusive parent is not around. But we can’t get them to be honest and open with out removing them from the abusive parent. But we can’t remove them from the abusive parent without them being open and honest.”


    Gwen wrote:

    “You aren’t innocent until proven guilty in abuse cases. Whereas in the criminal justice it is assumed to be better to let 10 guilty men go free than imprison one innocent man, when dealing with child abuse it is better to err on the side caution and remove children from potentially dangerous situations until we know it is safe.”

    What is next? Are they going to start to take children away from Catholics. There are proven instances of sexual abuse of minors by priests. The best way of finding out what priests are abusing the minors are taking all of the children away and talking to them. Well hmmm… that would work great, how about taking all the kids away from parents and finding out what parents are abusing their kids? No. we shouldn’t let them have them back they might abuse them.

  10. Stuff

    I especially appreciate Jay’s thoughts on this matter, and I think I agree with the main reasons for the post. If you take away the accusations of abuse and polygamy, the descriptions given in the article would fit any number of homeschooling families, Christian and non-Christian alike. The skew of the article is unmistakable – the accused parties are almost universally referred to as “the polygamists,” a label which immediately sends the reader an emotional red flag. It is in this context that things like raising children who are academically advanced, polite, modest, and well-fed are presented, suggesting these things are part of the overall criminal activity.

    In no way do I want to defend child abuse or criminal behavior. As a homeschooler, I get pretty heated when these sorts of scandals take place and give the rest of us a bad name. I just wish such a thing as unbiased reporting were a reality – you know, where abuse accusations are associated with typical signs of abuse (like anti-social or withdrawn behavior) instead of things that some conscientious parents would view as actual positive goals for their children.

  11. gbm3

    I’ve started reading The God Delusion by R. Dawkins. I started commenting on it over at my blog.


    He along with other atheists suggest (not nec. in so many words):

    Regarding the accusations of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, deplorable and disgusting as those abuses are, they are not so harmful to the children as the grievous mental harm in bringing up the child Catholic in the first place. http://www.christianthinker.net/serendipity/index.php?/archives/197-Dawkins-jumps-the-shark.html

    The commentator then said,

    So in Dawkins’ worldview, raping kids is morally superior to teaching them to sing “Jesus Loves Me.” I think it’s safe to say that Dawkins can no longer be taken seriously. Such misguided fanaticism does not deserve a shred of respect, especially academic respect. I believe that after these comments all reasonable people – atheist, Christian, and Darwinist alike – are justified in labeling Dawkins a myopically-inclined idiot.

    And yes, I did just coin the term “bulldogmatist.” Maybe I’ll get a patent for it. http://www.christianthinker.net/serendipity/index.php?/archives/2007/08.html

    This attack on a parent’s God given right (yes, rights come from God) to teach their children will only get louder when the militant atheists get more bold (when as Dawkins pens, “atheists come out of the closet”).

  12. EEEEEE

    “Is there proof of abuse? What ever happened to presumption of innocence? The fourth amendment? Habeus corpus?”

    Child welfare proceedings are civil, not criminal, so the Fourth Amendment and traditional habeas law don’t really apply, or at least certainly not in the same way that they do in the criminal context… Also, typically the standard for removal of a child is only probable cause that the child is being abused/neglected and that the child will suffer immediate harm if not removed.

    One thing that has been mentioned very rarely in the news coverage is that Texas (as well as nearly every other state) has a law permitting removal of all children in a family when there is evidence that one sibling has been abused. The rationale behind this is that if one child has already been victimized, the other siblings are at risk of being victimized too. Given the epidemiology of abuse, this is often a decent assumption…

    Under Texas law, because it had proof of abuse of at least some underage girls, the state had authority to remove all children from the families in which children were abused. Because Texas is unable to figure out the family relationships among the FLDS members (and it’s not like the members are helping, either, by giving false names or ages etc.), and because the children are generally raised communally, Texas has chosen to treat the entire community as one big family.

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