Suffer The Children
(Polygamist Cult Leader Warren Jeffs)
"Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightiest still the enemy and the avenger."
"Give yourself over, mind, body and soul to your husband."
That's what prosecutors say Warren Jeffs, the 51-year-old leader of the largest polygamist group in North America, advised a 14-year-old girl who had earlier got down on her knees and begged not to have to go through with an arranged marriage to her 19-year-old first cousin.
Referred to in court as Jane Doe, the young woman was married in a 2001 religious ceremony officiated by Jeffs to the cousin, then 19. She said she disliked him because he once had sprayed her with a water hose on a freezing day.
"I preferred to stay away from him," she said.
Later, miserable in her marriage, she testified she sought a meeting with Jeffs, and she told him she couldn't see herself having a family with her husband and "could not do what they expected me to do." She begged to be released from the marriage, she said.
But Jeffs told her she needed to repent and to "go home and give myself to [my husband]," she testified, and he gave her a book of teachings.
Afterward, she said, she was extremely depressed, saying Jeffs "was the only one who could get me out, and he wouldn't."
Jeffs, 51, who leads the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is charged with two counts of rape as an accomplice for using his church authority to coerce the unwilling juvenile into marriage.
There is much controversy surrounding Warren Jeffs and the case made against him. With polygamy being made a part of pop-culture through the HBO series "Big Love" and it’s very dark side being chronicled in the stunning book "Under The Banner Of Heaven", the issue of "plural marriage" is one that should not be ignored.
For me, the parallels between the abuse of children in polygamist communities and that of MOVE are impossible to ignore.
Of course, the FLDS and polygamist cults are far more numerous and much more "successful" than MOVE could ever hope to be. There are whole expanses of land in the Midwest, Canada, and Mexico and perhaps thousands of people that are under the thumb of various polygamist sects that are offshoots of Mormonism.
Yet the tactics of brutality of authoritarian entities are sickeningly similar.
The grotesque image of grown-ups scaring the children in their charge with stories of "hell" and "damnation" in order to bolster faith is as common as it is vile.
But it is the lengths to which certain sects go to in order to push kids into accepting the nightmarish world of the adults who claim to "love" that demands a response from people with even a vague concern for the plight of children
There was near universal condemnation (except of course in the Muslim world) of the child-directed propaganda on Al-Aqsa TV. The immediate victims of that attack on the life of the mind were Palestinian children. The Islamists used a figure of Mickey Mouse in order to preach Hamas ideology. An death-cult with no scruples that inculcates children with a barrage of hatred of the outside world that is endemic within the world of Islam, both "mainstream" and "radical"
So to has there been a fury of scorn directed towards polygamists to the point that Mormon Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has felt the heat, despite the fact that his church disavowed "plural marriage" back in 1890.
But what of Philadelphia and MOVE?
I can honestly say that I have done my part. I have not just written about this issue. I have spoken to the District Attorney’s Office, to journalists of prominence, and anyone else who will listen. And nobody will lift a finger.
It is hard to say exactly why this is the case. Is it the ominous specter of another multi-million dollar confrontation, dead cops and kids if MOVE is confronted? Perhaps it is pure out and out racism. I really don’t know.
What is frustrating, and I don’t mind admitting it, is that MOVE has never denied that the cult "marries" off it’s young girls to sightly older "men" in order for them to become illiterate breeding machines for the cult.
In fact, they have admitted it.
Ramona Africa wrote this over a year ago:
" Women in MOVE do marry and have babies at what this american society might now consider to be a young age but we follow the coordination of Mother Nature who coordinates it such that she determines when a woman is ready for marriage and babies, which is when a woman has her monthly period, then she is ready to have babies and be married. It's just that simple."
It really is that "simple". Rape is rape. Child abuse is child abuse. That it is done under the auspices of "faith" or "religion" should be no defense. Those MOVE leaders who enforce this barbarity along with the "supporters" of the cult who act as enablers need to be held accountable for their actions.
The question that begs to be asked is just who will be the one in power to start the process of bringing the abusers of the children of MOVE to justice?