So, first post of the blog's new direction.
The topic today? This charming piece about the trial of son of a bitch Warren Jeffs.
To summarize: Son of a bitch Warren Jeffs is a son of a bitch. He is the so-called "prophet" of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He likes to do things like tell 14-year old girls to marry their 19-year old cousins, and then submit to them "body mind and soul." Also his church glorifies and promotes polygamy, which is a felony in some places. The government sort of frowns on behavior, so now he is on trial for rape as an accessory. Oops.
So how am I defending this guy? Well, let me start out by re-iterating that Warren Jeffs is a son of a bitch. The bitch in this case being his father, the previous prophet of the church. Apparently, it's a hereditary thing, that kind of stern moral leadership.
But you know what? He's not doing a damn thing that's illegal, and he's not doing a damn thing that should be illegal.
First there's the polygamy business. For some reason people in this country can't deal with polygamy. Even people who support gay marriage can't put their arms around it. And this baffles the hell out of me.
If you're not a person who's okay with polygamy, imagine if one of your friends was into it. I'm serious. I think this gets skewed a little because it's something practiced by those weirdo people in Utah, and also maybe Sultans and Blackbeard. But if you had a friend who said, "Yeah, I'm polyamorous, and I think I want to marry two people, and they're both into that," what would you say to them? You'd say "Uh, good for you." That's what you'd say. I know that's what I'd say, because I've had polyamorous friends.
And yeah, that argument ain't gonna fly for the religious people who aren't down with gay marriage but... honestly, fuck them. If you can't deal with the fact that morally speaking we live in a post-religious culture, and that that's how it's supposed to be in a nation with freedom of religion, then you're not a serious person. Honestly, if you think your religious beliefs are grounds for law in a country with freedom of religion, you are an asshat, and we will never agree on anything.
As far as I can see, polygamy, if it is between consenting adults, should be perfectly moral. The only possible argument against it would be tax related, which is a massive cop out. Just fix the tax code for crying out loud.
But Kev, I hear you saying, what about the non-consensual part of all this? What about telling a -GASP! - 14-year old to get married to some guy she doesn't want to get married to?
Look, telling a confused 14-year old to get married is a pretty reprehensible thing to do. There's just one problem...
...The legal marriage age in Utah is 14.
So, all you can pin this guy on is telling someone to get married. You know, giving them advice.
And I'm sorry, but that's not rape. Advice ≠ Rape.
What Jeffs told this girl to do was creepy. It was wrong. It was probably evil. But guess what? People say creepy, wrong and probably evil stuff all the time. They say it to kids all the time. And we have to let them do it, because otherwise, we have not even the thinnest pretense of freedom in this country.
I know what you're thinking. You're saying, "Come on, Kev. We, as a society, can agree that this guy is a dirtbag. Can't we just lock him up and worry about the pretext later?"
And the answer is no, we can't. Not if the rule of law means anything. Because who exactly speaks for "we as a society"? You? Me? The government? The religious asshats? The prophets who are like as gods?
To a lesser extent, every 14-year old in the nation has had some adult tell them some fucked up thing. Questioning authority is a survival skill, and everyone has to learn it.
And we have to learn it, in the case of the State of Utah vs. The Son of a Bitch, Warren Jeffs.