Both of these stories were right beside each other in the Post and I couldn’t help but connect them.
First, the Death Penalty for non-murderers is being put to the test in Louisiana:
[O]n Wednesday the court will consider whether a person who rapes a child is different. Louisiana prosecutors will argue that the same societal mores that have persuaded justices to spare certain categories of criminals lead in the opposite direction when it comes to child rapists, demanding an expansion of capital punishment, not a retrenchment.
So, the question here is: Is the death penalty appropriate for someone who hasn’t taken a life themselves? Raping a child is probably as close as it gets, and my first instinct is to say, “Yes.”
Second, of course, is the raid on the FLDS compound in Texas:
[Warren] Jeffs dubbed those chosen for the ranch as the “elect” or “heart’s core,” selected to live in the “holy land,” as he called the compound. The adults were his most loyal followers and the young children were the least “contaminated” by the outside world, former church members say. According to court documents, adherents living at the ranch practiced the most extreme tenets of FLDS doctrine, including forcing girls as young as 13 to “spiritually marry” older men for the purpose of bearing their children.
And the question I have here is: At what point has polygamy and marrying 13-year-old girls been lumped into one bag?
And of course the uniting questions are:
What role does the state play in protecting children from their parents, and how much should our laws value the safety of our children enough to a) take them from their families, and b) punish those that violate their innocence equally to those who take their lives.
I remember a conversation I had with someone about abortion rights. A familiar line came up: “The Government should stay out of our bedrooms.” Hmmm. I wonder.