Texas judge Barbara Walther, who is over the FLDS case in Texas, revealed Monday how she is completely out of touch with the FLDS and LDS cultures.
Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Salt Lake Tribune:
Judge Barbara Walther did rule that the women and children currently staying at the San Angelo Coliseum could meet twice a day to pray without being monitored by state workers.
Instead, she asked Texas Child Protective Services to find a member of the mainstream Mormon Church to oversee the sessions or some other “appropriate religious person” who would not be seen as “making their service less sacred.”
This ruling came after complaints by FLDS women that they could not pray without being monitored by CPS , and that at least one time a CPS worker vacuumed while women were in prayer.
I’m happy Walther realized the need to rule on this issue (unlike the breastfeeding issue, which I will comment on below). However, her suggestion to find a person “of the mainstream Mormon Church” is both laughable and deeply troubling. THIS is the woman who is entrusted to preside over what could be seen as one of the most culturally sensitive and landmark court cases in years? Is Walther really daft enough to think that the FLDS women would be relieved by having “mainstream” Mormons supervise them, rather than the CPS workers?! And what is with the “appropriate religious person” remark? Oh, just throw a “religious person” in there to watch them — those religious nuts are all the same anyway!
Let me be clear that I, a “mainstream” Mormon, do not approve in any way of the polygamist or abusive practices of certain FLDS members. Considering this, I can guarantee that the FLDS mothers and children in question would likely not be any happier having someone like me watch them while they pray.
I am completely blown away by Walther and her ruling and suggestions. She appears to be completely out of touch with the culture she is dealing with. Does she not know that the LDS and FLDS have essentially no affiliation whatsoever?!
Speaking of being out of touch, let’s move on to the whole breastfeeding fiasco. From the Tribune:
The Texas judge overseeing the polygamous FLDS sect’s case refused Monday to make any ruling that would allow breast-feeding mothers to remain with their children in state custody….
The state plans to separate adult mothers from their children later this week, after it finishes collecting DNA samples that will be used to determine parentage.
Attorneys for the women asked the judge to consider letting nursing mothers remain with their children after negotiations with CPS on the issue stalled. They asked the judge to let the mothers stay until DNA results are in, likely to take up to 40 days.
Walther acknowledged the nutritional and bonding benefits of breast-feeding.
“But every day in this country, we have mothers who go back to work after six weeks of maternity leave,” she said….
On Friday, child psychiatrist Bruce Perry backed the state’s concerns about the group’s practices but said the youngest children are in the least danger of being harmed by any “unhealthy” beliefs held by their parents. He also said that “the younger you are, the more destructive it is to be removed from your home environment.”
The judge’s decision drew a rapid response from breast-feeding proponents, who began rallying around the FLDS mothers. Nicole D. Hoff, a certified lactation counselor in Texas, set up an instant Web site – http://fldsbreastmilk.blogspot.com.
“While we may not agree or understand the circumstances, I think we need to fight for the right of the children to have the best care and nutrition, which includes breastmilk,” she said in a message on the site.
Now, I don’t wish to comment on the nutritional value of breastmilk, though I will say that I generally and tentatively agree with the basic claims of the breast-feeding proponents. I wish, rather, to touch upon the rich irony between Walther’s working-woman views of motherhood and those of the FLDS women. Indeed, we might ask, which group is most concerned about the health of their children? I’m not providing an answer here, but I think the question is a provocative one.
At any rate, there are many people, myself included, who are deeply troubled at these children under 2 years of age (and there are 77 of them) being separated from their mothers.
Some would even call it abuse.
Filed under: Comparative Religion, Politics Tagged: | Barbara Walther, breastfeeding, child abuse, civil rights, families, FLDS, Law, LDS, Mormons, mothers, Polygamy, prayer, San Angelo Coliseum, Texas FLDS raid, women