Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Stop Child Abuse In Cults But Do It Right

(MOVE Child Bride the daughter of Pam Africa)
(FLDS Leader Warren Jeffs With Child Bride)

"While I'm no fan of polygamy, and definitely oppose the sexual abuse of anybody"-Mumia Abu-Jamal

In case anyone out there was wondering, I don’t spend my days in giddy anticipation of the latest article from everyone’s favorite death row resident.

Aside from the fact that his moral hypocrisy reeks to hell, his articles are so utterly predictable that you need to go no further than read the title of them to know what the score is.

Therefore, when I saw Mumia’s column on the Texas Polygamists kiddy round-up by Texas bureaucrats, I knew that the light that shines bright for the “great unwashed” that would be critical of the government’s handling of the situation. As if we needed yet another sermon from the cop-killer pulpit.

The inescapable irony of this to me is just how similar MOVE is to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS). A similarity that Mumia just doesn’t care to notice, but this is hardly a surprise

So Mumia opposes “sexual abuse”? One has to wonder just what exactly “sexual abuse” means to Mumia. Perhaps, as a resident of a “correctional institution”, Mumia has his own ideas of what sexual abuse constitutes, but for the rest of us, the group he claims allegiance to certainly abuses children sexually.

Pam Africa, who leads Jamal’s chief support group knows a thing or two about the abuse of children in MOVE. She has two children “in MOVE” and both of them serve as living testimonies of her devotion to John Africa. Like so many groups of it’s kind, MOVE demands more than just the submission of the self, but also all extensions of the self. Your money becomes their money, your home becomes their home, your children become their children and by “they” I mean the leadership of MOVE.

Arranged marriages to older male move members is the fate of barely pubescent girls in MOVE and Pam’s daughters were no exception. I was not around when her first daughter was forced into this barbaric union, but I was when her youngest daughter, Pixie Africa was. Overnight she was transformed from a little girl just starting on the long road thru puberty to a pregnant, soon to be married, and completely controlled cult member. The bright effulgence of youthful wonder was replaced by a dulling realization that her life would amount to being a storage unit for future MOVE members, of children that deep down that she knew would never be hers in any real sense.

It is one thing for an adult to willingly enter into such a situation. But a child, who has no choice, or even the cognitive ability to consider choices, while the adults who run and ruin their lives, claim they made a free choice to be victims is absurd. It is next to impossible to explain the kind of intellectual and moral deprivation these children are forced to endure. What compounds the tragedy is that when you speak with these children who are lost in the world of MOVE, there comes the realization that they are as naturally as curious and full of energy and life as any other child their age. The difference of course, is that for all of the problems of society, kids at least have a chance and a good chance of succeeding. In MOVE such opportunities do not exist. And than there is the child-rape, which serves to break down the will of the child in a physical sense. This ultimate violation of the body is generally accompanied by a lifetime of “MOVE meetings”, the purpose of which is to create an army of emotional cripples as one’s individuality is seen as an enemy in need of being purged. You might think that MOVE would steadfastly deny that such things occur in a group so supposedly obsessed with “protecting innocent life”. Occasionally, however, even MOVE members tell the truth.

MOVE’s Minister of Communication admitted the rape of girls in MOVE last year when she articulated MOVE’s position on the matter:

" 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."

While the above confession is an admission of a policy of moral terror that is all the more creepy in it’s matter-of-fact, it is important to note that it is just one of many mechanisms of control. Certainly, a way to control a young girl who has no education and nobody around her who is on her side is thru sex by forcing these girls to have children of their own serves as a means to anchor them to the group. The other side of course to the sexual predation coin is thru the cultivation of fear. While MOVE members do not have the threat of hell to hang over the heads of their children, they do have a secularized version with demons not inhabiting some amorphous Hades, but rather a hell on earth that MOVE is an island and fortress against. So long as you stay in MOVE, it is said, you will be able to be safe from fear and the wickedness of the outside world that MOVE children are taught to fear.

There is a fear placed in the head and hearts of children of MOVE members. It is a fear
that there is always the chance that the “perverts” (MOVE speak for non-MOVE people) will come in and take their children from them. Of course what these children dare not think and never say is that the “perverts” are already in their midst. These “perverts” enforce MOVE’s policy of boot-on-the-neck ignorance that bans knowledge of anything outside of a few selected teachings of John Africa, fused with the “teachings” of MOVE’s current leaders who twist and manipulate their dead leader’s words as yet another way of keeping order. The sickest example of this to me remains when I observed another MOVE supporter attempting to teach some of the younger children of MOVE members how to read a Dr. Suess book. The ages of these children ran from about 11-17 and they could simply not read the book. The scene is even more surreal when you are seeing the children of these children playing around on the floor, evidence of one intellectually crippled generation following right behind them.

It is hard to say just what kind of cumulative effect that this kind of fear-mongering will have as these children grow. Without a doubt, they will likely always carry on their shoulders a kind of paranoia as they must inevitably interact with the outside world at some point or another
There is however, hope for these children. In a way, a major way, the fight of the late John Gilbride to ensure an education for his son did have a kind of ripple effect within the cult and there were the beginnings of changes with regards to how “some” of the children were brought into closer contact with educational institutions.

Another positive development is the exposure of the polygamist compounds that have been the subject of raids and official inquiries. Though the FLDS members may have won some legal victories, but in doing so, they have had the kind of scrutiny that no authoritarian sect enjoys. For me, it is just one more step, in the long journey towards freedom for the children of MOVE. One day, and I hope it is soon, that people in Philadelphia will no longer tolerate the rape of children under the guise of religion in their city. People need to understand that such crimes are not just relegated to obscure polygamist groups in the American outback.

Readers of this site might be surprised to find out that I agree with the courts in Texas that ruled that most of the children seized from the group be returned to their parents. And while the return of the children has hit a snag, it is only a matter of time before nearly all of them will return back to the cult compound

As horrific as life in a cult that essentially exists to feed the egos and sexual appetites of vile old men who scare and molest children is, the state did botch the job and did not properly make the case to take the children away.

While I find groups like the FLDS and MOVE to be essentially criminal enterprises that operate under the auspices of religion who have learned to manipulate our love of freedom while they pursue an agenda of authoritarianism. This while they preach hatred of the very system that guarantees their freedom to believe the absurd, wear their silly costumes, and generally live as backwards as possible.

That said, our freedoms are measured by how they are applied to the most loathed amongst us and the idea of an army of bureaucrats sweeping into a community, as odd and oppressive as that community may be, is more than troubling.

I am not one for the slippery sloop argument, but if any case screamed bad precedent it was this one. The state of Texas essentially seemed to want to criminalize the cult out of existence. An idea that might sound good to all of us who are not down with worshiping at the alter of Warren Jeffs and juggling a half-dozen wives. However, in this situation, the road to legal embarrassment was paved with good intentions of bureaucrats who grossly overstepped their bounds.

To be sure, the states who harbor groups such as the FLDS and that have allowed such groups to flourish and spread under the radar deserve nearly as much scorn as the cults themselves. For years, these cults have built literal cities around their organized crime outfits while the authorities have turned a blind eye. And now, with the pundits excoriating these groups on a nightly basis from their basic cable desks, there is an all of a sudden sense of urgency to uproot and “save” the children from the cults. But what has happened is that too much too late trampled over one too many laws and the kids are going back to the cult.

Hopefully, the powers that be will lick their wounds, learn their lesson, and soon head back to the child raping cult, this time with the resources and proper procedures in place to do the job right. The alternative is that yet another generation will be raised under the oppressive thumb of religious fanatics and sexual predators.

Yet, what if the Texas judges had not ruled in the way in which they did? The children would be free from the cult, but at what cost to our collective freedom? Who would be next? Would the state feel comfortable in snatching children away from any parents who maintain a lifestyle which is deemed “criminal”?

Should children of Rastifarians be taken away because a part of their religion is smoking pot? Christian Scientists eschew modern medical care and Jehovah’s Witnesses routinely deny their children blood transfusions, should their children be taken away? Some Hasidic fundamentalists still have the ritual of circumcision done to their infant boys by Rabbis who end the procedure by taking the penis in the mouth and sucking off the foreskin. What should become of these parents?

While I have heard many a pundit argue that the children should “come first” in any situation, this, without regard to the rule of law, it is not an argument I am willing to roll over for. Certainly, due process and the Constitution must be preserved

These are just a few examples, I am sure you could provide your own examples of horrors done in the name of God, certainly for me, the most germane example remains MOVE’s policy of forced rape of barely pubescent girls. I am steadfast in my view that those responsible for carrying out these acts be held criminally accountable, but that does not justify, nor could I support, the wholesale rounding up of every child cursed with parents in MOVE.

That said, I am certainly open to discussion of this issue and would like to hear from people what they think about this either directly via email or thru the comment section of this blog. For me, the issue of abuse of children within MOVE is a primary concern and with the issue of cults abusing children becoming a national issue I think it a worthy discussion to be having.


At 9:23 AM , Blogger Nas Dawud said...

This indeed is a tricky situation. Espically in deciding when a group is simply living in a way that not accepted by many, but also not harmful to the children (the Rasta example is a very good one).

I will be honest, I'm really not sure how those lines can or should be drawn. But no matter how it is carried out, much more due dillignece should be put forh then has been in the case in Texas.

At 11:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The irony of all this, FLDS aside, is that Move's entire mythology revolves around the "system's" constant victimization of Move. It's the strategic story that keeps what little support the organization still has alive today.

When in reality, no matter what mistakes have been made in the past while dealing with Move, the same "system" bends over backwards and turns the other cheek whenever dealing with Move so that they can get away with things that hardly no one else can get away with.

Far from being oppressors in this case, this "system" supports and enables Move to keep up harmful activities.

I don't know where the line is either and that is a debate that perhaps will never be solved, but I do know that when a 12 year old girl is forced into pregnancy in America, that is clearly a crime. And everyone who makes excuses for that... Move, liberal "activists", the government... should be held accountable as such.

At 7:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is not accurate. The man in the photo kissing the young lady is NOT Warren Jeffs, That man is actually that young girls cousin and warren jeffs sanctioned this marriage.

At 2:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whats not accurate?


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