17 Aug 2007

Bountiful horror show

August 17, 2007

By LYN COCKBURN, EDMONTON SUN

FREELANCE


For years, various B.C. governments have thrown up their judicial hands in confusion over polygamy in the religious hellhole that is Bountiful.

"Religious freedom" is the rallying cry around which successive attorneys-general have excused themselves from shutting down this fundamentalist Mormon cult. This in spite of the fact that polygamy is clearly and unequivocally against the law in Canada.

Wally Opal, the current AG, has the dubious distinction of becoming the first to consider referring the anti-polygamy law to the B.C. Court of Appeal, asking it to determine whether the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom renders the Criminal Code offence invalid.

And as usual, pundits and private citizens alike of the same-sex-marriage-is-of-the-devil persuasion have begun blathering on about "if same sex marriage why not polygamy?"

Extremists insist that allowing same sex-marriage opens up the door to not just polygamy, but sibling marriages and inter-species wedlock. Still, I do wonder what panda would want to marry a wacko human. Surely, having to put up with human incursion into bamboo territory is bad enough.

What Opal and the opponents to gay marriage seem to forget is that in communities like Bountiful, children are involved. Girls as young as 14, and some suspect younger, are forced (what other verb could be used?) into marriage with men in their 40s or 50s in the name of religion - one that dictates a man must have at least three wives in order to make it into heaven.

Is that belief less or more sophisticated than the extremist Muslim view that seven virgins wait in paradise for any man who becomes a suicide bomber?

But, said Opal in his recent announcement, the problem is that all of the young girls interviewed by RCMP during a two-year investigation said they were willing participants and were not under the influence of the much older man who had sex with them.

According to Opal, that makes prosecution impossible. Of course, these brainwashed kids who've never been allowed to experience the outside world will say exactly what their "husbands" tell them to.

These are children. In the real world, any father approached by a 50-year-old man asking to marry his 14-year-old daughter would immediately call the police. In Bountiful, it is one 50-year-old man giving his young daughter to another 50-year-old man who already has at least two wives.

For example, Winston Blackmore, former bishop of the Bountiful cult, is reported to have 26 wives and 105 children. And it is not just young girls who are mistreated in places like Bountiful. It is also young boys who are treated like certain animals.

For example, in elephant herds the young males stay with their mothers until they reach maturity and then they are kicked out.

Elephants have good reason for doing this; the herd in Bountiful does not. Unless of course, you count the fact that the 50-year-old men who want young virgin brides don't want competition.

Where do these teenage boys go? They have an inferior education and no idea of life on the outside, so it is no wonder some of them end up on our streets or back alleys.

There can be no doubt that polygamy is an archaic practice which is already against the law in Canada. And there can be no doubt that religious freedom does not include the right to inflict dreadful injury upon children.

Indeed, does the phrase "child abuse" mean nothing any more?

We won't find out until, at the earliest, February 2008 when the Bountiful horror show may actually make it to court.

http://www.edmontonsun.com/Comment/2007/08/17/4424687-sun.html

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