Friday, April 11, 2008

Degree, Not Kind

The news reports are frank and grim when discussing the latest Christian sect to get into high-profile legal trouble:

All their lives, the girls in the polygamist sect in the West Texas desert were told that the outside world was hostile and immoral, and that venturing beyond the brilliant white limestone walls of their compound would consign them to eternal damnation.

Now, if the state gets its way, hundreds of the girls could be put in foster homes, in what could be a wrenching cultural adjustment that may require intensive counseling.

"What they are up against is having to deprogram an entire community," said Margaret Cooke, who left the sect with seven of her eight children near the end of 1994. The children "are so naive and they have been sheltered to the point that they don't even trust their own judgment."
Exactly. Since this sect lacks political power and majoritarian appeal, it is freely labeled a cult, and a routine wire news report like this takes unabashed notice of its filthy rapine -- subjecting members to mental and physical suffering; systematically inducing fear of outside people and novel ideas; convincing followers that using their own judgment is immoral and dangerous.

These disgusting practices and observances differ from mainstream sects in degree, not in kind. And the degree is not as great as the alarmist tones seem to suggest.

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