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Monday, April 21, 2008
Farah Sorta Defends Polygamist Cult
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his April 19 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah offers a somewhat convoluted quasi-defense of the polygamist cult whose children have been taken into custody by the state as part of a child abuse investigation.

While he repeatedly claims that "I don't like polygamy. And I don't like child abuse," he seems willing to tolerate both in the name of religious freedom and to serve as a poke in the eye to what he considers to be overreaching government officials. 

Because the raid on the cult semmed from an "anonymous call" made by someone who has yet to be identified, Farah claims he is "left wondering if the action by the state was excessive." He adds:

I don't doubt that some horrendous abuses took place within the walls of the YZR Ranch. Please don't label me as an apologist for this false religion, which I detest.

What I do doubt is that it was appropriate and legal to seize more than 400 children on such skimpy and non-specific evidence of real criminal abuse.

Is there a community in America where child abuse is not taking place?

Don't we normally arrest individual suspects and try them for their crimes?

Do we normally and preemptively round up all the children in a community where it is suspected abuse is taking place without specific evidence?

When a government school teacher is arrested for abusing one student, are all the students in that school assumed to be victims?

That last point is a laugher, since WND arguably makes a similar claim about "government schools" -- better known to the rest of us as public schools -- on a regular basis by regularly and falsely portraying something as innocuous as showing students that homosexuals merely exist as irrefutable evidence of "indoctrination."

Farah essentially admits that. After claiming that "neither do I want to see children abused at the hands of the state," he immediately adds, "It happens in government-run schools." He then follows with the usual litany of liberal-and government bashing, concluding with "It happens when officials in states such as California actively try to ban homeschooling."

Two points:

1) Farah distorts the California court ruling to which he is referring. There was no "active ban" of homeschooling; it merely pointed out that California has no provision for homeschooling.

2) Farah ignores the fact that there was, in fact, child abuse happening in the family at the center of the California homeschooling lawsuit. As we've detailed, courts have found that the father, Phillip Long, "has a long history of physically abusing the children and mother has a long history of not protecting them from father."

But WND has virtually ignored the abuse aspect of the Long case. Why? Because it has decided that promotion of homeschooling is more important than the welfare of the Longs' children.

In the Longs, we have a perfect example of what Farah described as "crimes that need to be prosecuted individually." But he won't call for that to happen because Phillip Long is more useful to him as a homeschooling poster boy.

Instead, Farah complains: "But cults aren't illegal, and polygamy and sexual abuse are crimes that need to be prosecuted individually, not collectively on a community that may have allowed them to happen." Farah ignores the closed, insular society in which the polygamist cult operated, making it nearly impossible to gain knowledge about individual cases of abuse. When an entire society is based on that abuse, a collective approach may be the better one.

Thus, like the abuse of the Longs' children, Farah is willing to condone the abuse of the cult's children to prove a larger point. Which seems to put the lie to his claim that he doesn't like child abuse.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 21, 2008 1:14 PM EDT

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