An Analysis of the Appeal Court Opinions Concerning the FLDS Children
This chapter examines the opinions of the Texas Appellate Courts concerning the children taken into custody by state authorities after the raid on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints (FLDS) at the Yearning for Zion Ranch. It first considers contemporary concerns about children in new religious movements (NRMs) and other minority religions that often find themselves subject to efforts of social control by authorities of the dominant society. It then discusses two problems that are associated with accusations about child abuse in NRMs and other minority religions in America: the very definition of child abuse and the issue of “collective child abuse.” It also looks at a number of cases that highlight the difficulties dealing with allegations of child abuse in communal religious groups. It also presents a time line and brief description of the unfolding events regarding the FLDS raid and court actions taken in Texas. It suggests that the FLDS secured an apparent victory based on the Appellate Court ruling in Texas but at the expense of basic civil liberties.
Keywords: new religious movements, Texas, Appellate Courts, Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, Yearning for Zion Ranch, minority religions, social control, child abuse, collective child abuse, civil liberties
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