Government Raids and Child Abuse Allegations in Historical and Cross-Cultural Perspective
This chapter presents brief case histories of government raids on four relatively obscure alternative religious communities: the Doukhobors (“Spirit Wrestlers”) of British Columbia, the Apostles of Infinite Love, the Children of God/Family International, and Ogyen Kunzang Choling. Like the 2008 raid on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints (FLDS), these raids were launched to investigate child abuse and to “rescue” children. In all four cases, the authorities were quick to assume that an alternative religious social environment was unwholesome for children. This chapter examines the causes and consequences of the four raids, along with the cultural opposition and conflict involving the groups as well as the aftermath of the raids. It argues that the authorities failed to unearth evidence of the widespread abuses of children that were claimed in each case and cites the role of the media both before and after the raids.
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