#5: Romney Is More Presidential … and Does His Homework

Watching the third presidential debate made it pretty clear that Romney acts in a more presidential manner than Obama. The lowlight of nastiness and contempt occurred when Obama tried to explain why he does not believe that the Navy needs more ships.

I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships. It’s what are our capabilities.

In addition to being condescending during the third debate and in this segment in particular, Obama also suffered the misfortune of not having done his homework before launching this attack against Romney.

Even though Obama only said that we have fewer bayonets today, his tone and body language and the fact that he tied bayonets with horses all clearly indicated – at least to me – that Obama considers bayonets to be antiquated weapons. Unfortunately for Obama, bayonets are still a significant part of the American military arsenal. The army has over 419,000 bayonets, the Marine Corps has over 195,000, and the Marine Corps has plans to order an additional 175,000.

Obama mentioned Osama bin Laden by name six times during the debate, commenting once that “we killed bin Laden.” It seems to me that if Obama really values military personnel the way he says that he does, it would have been more chivalrous to explicitly acknowledge the role of the Navy SEALs in that operation. Or, perhaps Obama – as Commander-in–Chief – might realize that the Navy SEALs under his command still use weapons such as bayonets.

Weapons of the Navy SEALs by Fred Pushies points out that each Navy SEAL is allowed to choose his own “edged weapon” and indicates that those choices include the M9 bayonet. The book concludes that “The Navy SEAL is as comfortable – and as lethal – with a knife as he is with any firearm.”

Standard Marine training teaches Marines how to make deadly use of bayonets. A former Marine passionately defended the value of bayonets in an on-line post:

As a former U.S. Marine, I can attest to the value of bayonet training. When out of ammo, out of touch or in close, it is best to have a bayonet…. It is not archaic or a throwback to the past that the Marine Corps still trains with bayonets. It is not archaic that the U.S. Army and Marine Corps has an active hand to hand combat training program that includes knives and bayonets. For the military and the idiotic few who seem to think that a knife or bayonet or [enthrenching] tool is an ineffective weapon of last resort then I hope they find themselves without one when the situation warrants…. 

On first read, one might think this post was made in response to the final presidential debate, except for the fact that the designation “142 weeks ago” appears above the post. Apparently, Obama has company in scorning the use of bayonets. However, it seems unwise of Obama not to have done his homework before jabbing Romney with his bayonet line. In what some have speculated was a pre-planned line, Obama kindly gave Romney an opening for an effective campaign ad and gave thoughtful indepedents an opening for contrasting the two candidates.

During the debate, Romney proposed increasing the number of ships in the Navy:

The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now down to 285…. I want to make sure that we have the ships that are required by our Navy.

Romney seems to have done his homework on this one. The Naval Sea Systems Command Strategic Business Plan for 2009-2013 says:

We are accountable to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) to deliver, modernize and maintain a 313-ship Navy that meets the requirements of our national security plan. If we continue to operate with a “business as usual” approach, this goal will not be achieved; we must change.

The Navy’s plan for 313 ships does include the “things called aircraft carriers” as well as “ships that go underwater.” It begs the question of how Obama could appear to be unaware that the Navy’s own plan for 313 ships includes aircraft carriers and submarines. Humorously, my copy of the game Battleship also includes aircraft carriers and submarines, and, so, even that part of Obama’s jab missed the mark. Even the game Battleship is not just a matter of “counting ships.” It t has different ships with different capabilities.

It seems ironic that during the foreign policy debate, Obama’s  tone of voice, smirking, and body language showed him to be the less dimplomatic of the two candidates.


Election Diversity: We’ve Come a Long Way … or Have We?

With the four leading candidates in this year’s presidential contest having been an African-American, a female, a Mormon, and a 72 year-old, the diversity envelope was certainly stretched this year. A USA Today/Gallup poll reported last year on the willingness of present-day Americans to select a non-traditional candidate for the presidency compared to responses to a similar survey 40 years ago. The results indicated that the percentage willing to vote for a black or a woman had increased signficantly in the last 40 years, moving from 53% to 94% for a black candidate and moving from 57% to 88% for a female candidate. Given that an African-American candidate and a female candidate were the top Democratic contenders this year, it would seem that we’ve come a long way.

The poll also delved into questions relevant to the Republican ticket, asking voters about their willingness to support a Mormon or a 72 year-old for president. The survey results indicated that the Republican front-runners also faced significant demographic obstacles, with only 72% of the respondents indicating willingness to vote for a Mormon and 57% indicating willingness to vote for a 72 year-old. Gallup reported that the sentiment about electing a Mormon was “essentially unchanged” in 40 years, which seems to indicate that maybe we haven’t come such a long way after all. Add to that the way the topics of race and sex played out during the primary campaigns and it would appear that even the poll numbers from the Democratic primary mask some uncomfortable realities.

Let’s look at some presidential trivia for starters. How many Americans know the middle name of any of the four front-runners, other than Senator Obama? (The other middle names are Diane, Sidney, and Mitt). How many Americans can name the former pastor of more than one of these presidential contenders? Or how many Americans can name any biographical facts about any candidate’s great-grandfather other than Mitt Romney?

Or, if you want even more ridiculous trivia that hopefully fewer Americans can actually answer, what brand of men’s underwear did one journalist claim had been spotted in Mitt Romney’s master bathroom? And, if that seems a bit too ridiculous to believe, a Washington Post staff writer treated us to a discussion of Senator Clinton’s cleavage, and an MSNBC anchor speculated that McCain would be comfortable switching from a discussion of the economy to a discussion about “buying more Depends.”

While we’re on the topic of age, how many Americans can correctly answer the question “Who was the oldest major-party presidential candidate?” If you go to WikiAnswers, you might think it was McCain, though it was actually Ronald Reagan. Or, how many Americans could name the last election in which the president who was elected died before reaching his 80s? (That would be 40 years ago, when LBJ was elected: Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and G.H.W Bush all lived long enough to reach 80, though in fairness, the jury is still out on whether Bill Clinton and George W. will live into their 80s).

Of course, we have debates to help keep candidates focused on substantive issues, right? The only problem is that our debates are a bit different from the old-fashioned variety. One hundred fifty years ago we had politicians such as Lincoln and Douglas who, in their famous Senatorial debates, gave lengthy speeches on the pressing topics of the day – including slavery and its relationship to both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, states’ rights, the Dred Scott decision, and racial equality. Lincoln collected these debates into a book of more than 250 pages which was published in advance of the presidential election of 1860. Today, by contrast, we allow for sound-bite answers in response to questions chosen by moderators or audience members. Questions this year have included ones such as the question posed to the Republican candidates regarding whether they believe every word of the Bible, even though one would think it might be more appropriate to ask a presidential candidate whether they believe every word of the Constitution or, even more simply, whether they would defend all the rights guaranteed in the Constitution. I think Clinton had it right when she proposed switching from moderated debates to a format more reminiscent of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. We can only hope that McCain and Obama adopt that idea during the general election.

A snippet from a John Quincy Adams campaign song shows the venom that played a part in historical elections:

Little know ye who’s coming if John Quincy not be comin’ … fears are comin’, tears are comin’, plague and pestilence are comin’, hatin’s comin’, Satan’s comin’ if John Quincy not be coming.

So, how far have we come? If the Voting for Satan website is used as a yardstick, it seems we haven’t entirely outgrown the type of political venom in the John Quincy Adams campaign. Admittedly, that website was not an officially endorsed website. However, through the miracle of modern technology, that website probably had more hits than the John Quincy song had listeners. But perhaps there has been some progress after all: our modern electronic media do allow far more people to be reached by debates and written content. Now, if we can only figure out how to spend more time on the Constitution, civil rights, and the economy than we spend on briefs, Depends, and cleavage.

“We’re Not Going to Violate Their Civil Rights until We Get an Outcry”

State of Texas 45, King George 28

45. In what has to be one of the most notable quotes of the Eldorado fiasco, the Schleicher County Sheriff said, “This is the United States…. We’re not going to violate their civil rights until we get an outcry.”

Here’s a little more context for the quote, as reported by the Tucson Citizen:

I have no regrets because we never received any outcry, a complaint. There was no evidence of illegal activity nor an offense in plain view. You can always suspect something, but until you get something that puts you on that property, there’s not a whole lot you can do…. But there again, this is the United States. We are going to respect them. We’re not going to violate their civil rights until we get an outcry.

If he had said, “We’re not going to move against the FLDS until we have evidence” or “We’re not going to ask for a search warrant until we have a credible complaint,” I would have been right with him. Or even if he had said, “You cannot go in and bust in someone’s house if there’s not probable cause to do so,” as the Texas attorney general said, I can still see the imprint of the constitution in such a statement. But, if you take the Sheriff’s quote literally, he’s essentially saying that after there’s an outcry or a complaint, it’s OK to violate civil rights. I can only hope that comment didn’t come out the way he intended.

The sheriff’s statement, even in the form it came out, is not as scary as some of the comments about his statement. I have found multiple posts on the internet by people complaining that the sheriff felt constrained to wait for an outcry. These sentiments remind me of Lincoln’s great speech at the Young Men’s Lyceum in which he addressed the subject of “the perpetuation of our political institutions”.

When men take it in their heads today to hang gamblers or burn murderers, they should recollect that in the confusion usually attending such transactions they will be as likely to hang or burn someone who is neither a gambler nor a murderer as one who is, and that, acting upon the example they set, the mob of tomorrow may, and probably will, hang or burn some of them by the very same mistake. And not only so; the innocent, those who have ever set their faces against violations of law in every shape, alike with the guilty fall victims to the ravages of mob law; and thus it goes up, step by step, till all the walls erected for the defense of the persons and property of individuals are trodden down and disregarded.

But all this, even, is not the full extent of the evil. By such examples, by instances of the perpetrators of such acts going unpunished, the lawless in spirit are encouraged to become lawless in practice; and having been used to no restraint but dread of punishment, they thus become absolutely unrestrained. Having ever regarded government as their deadliest bane, they make a jubilee of the suspension of its operations, and pray for nothing so much as its total annihilation.

While, on the other hand, good men, men who love tranquility, who desire to abide by the laws and enjoy their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense of their country, seeing their property destroyed, their families insulted, and their lives endangered, their persons injured, and seeing nothing in prospect that forebodes a change for the better, become tired of and disgusted with a government that offers them no protection, and are not much averse to a change in which they imagine they have nothing to lose. Thus, then, by the operation of this mobocratic spirit which all must admit is now abroad in the land, the strongest bulwark of any government, and particularly of those constituted like ours, may effectually be broken down and destroyed-I mean the attachment of the people….

I know the American people are much attached to their government; I know they would suffer much for its sake; I know they would endure evils long and patiently before they would ever think of exchanging it for another-yet, notwithstanding all this, if the laws be continually despised and disregarded, if their rights to be secure in their persons and property are held by no better tenure than the caprice of a mob, the alienation of their affections from the government is the natural consequence; and to that, sooner or later, it must come.

Yes, those who don’t want the government to wait for an outcry are justified in expecting that the FLDS honor the laws, but we must also insist that the government honor its own laws. Otherwise, if it becomes popular for the government to move against unpopular groups without being restrained by law or constitution, we will be reduced to government-sponsored mobocracy, which – as Lincoln reminded us – in only a step away from anarchy.

Top Ten List of How CPS Could Try the Shoe on Their Own Foot

Here’s what it would look like if CPS wore their own shoe. CPS workers would:

10. Be required to take parenting classes.

9. Be required to obtain job training so they could become gainfully employed.

8. Move to a historic fort with no air conditioning and inadequate restroom facilities.

7. Allow the FLDS to visit their homes at any time of the day or night to interview them – and any of their family members – in order to collect evidence for civil rights lawsuits.

6. Have their prayers supervised by Latter-day Saints to make sure they don’t coach family members.

5. Provide DNA samples to determine whether their children were the products of extramarital polygamy – in which one member of the married couple listed on a child’s birth certificate is not the child’s biological parent – or the products of serial polygamy – in which different children in the same family come from different married couples, even though those married couples were never part of the same family at the same time (these are the two most common variants of polygamy that have been accepted historically even by some of the most vociferous folks who claim to oppose polygamy).

4. Be required to describe not just how they would behave toward children in the future but also to describe why their treatment of the FLDS children constituted child abuse.

3. Lose all of their children because of an obvious culture of child abuse within their organization.

2. All be treated the same, regardless of whether a given CPS worker showed compassion to the FLDS children or not.

1. Be told over and over again that what is being done is for their own good and for the good of their children.

Seriously, I would not wish Texas’ CPS techniques to be used even against CPS workers, but I do think Texas should seriously evaluate recommendations by groups such as the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform.

Issues Raised in Texas Supreme Court Decisions

State of Texas 35, King George 28

34. The Texas Supreme Court minority opinion appears to complain about use of the Fifth Amendment.

When the Department arrived at the YFZ Ranch, it was treated cordially and allowed access to children, but those children repeatedly pled “the Fifth” in response to questions about their identity, would not identify their birth-dates or parentage, refused to answer questions about who lived in their homes, and lied about their names.

There are valid reasons for the Fifth Amendment being part of our system of constitutional protections. The main motivation for that amendment was derived from religious prosecutions in England in which people were pressured to testify against themselves.One such victim of religious prosecution was John Lathrop, who arrived in the American colonies in 1634 after spending two years imprisoned in England for refusing to take the “ex officio” oath, which was the tool used by the Court of High Commission to compel religious dissenters to testify against themselves. Lathrop had been caught holding a religious gathering in a private home, which was against the law at that time in England. He spent two years in prison without ever having been convicted, merely because he refused to take the ex officio oath and testify against himself. It is not surprising that the founders, remembering their English history, made certain to protect the citizens of the new nation from such powers.

When CPS “arrived at the YFZ Ranch,” law enforcement possessed a search warrant that was limited in scope to the abused girl named “Sarah” (now presumed to be fictitious) and her alleged abuser, Dale Barlow (now presumed to be innocent of the abuse allegations, since he has never visited the YFZ Ranch).

CPS had no legal authority to be engaged in the line of questioning that they directed at the children when they arrived at the ranch, and I believe that the FLDS community would have been within their legal rights to refuse to discuss any issues not directly relevant to “Sarah” or to Dale Barlow (see item 30 in a previous post). I am disappointed that the minority opinion did not acknowledge the context in which those CPS interviews were conducted.

35. According to the Supreme Court’s majority opinion, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services “took possession of all 468 children at the Ranch without a court order.” With 468 cases of what essentially amount to kidnappings, it looks like someone could be in danger of having the pants sued off of them for civil rights violations…

Digest of Abuses

Almek Manning was living in the United Monarchy of Europe when he was deposited by the Child Rights Police in the bombed-out ruins of London, but he had a dream to reach for the stars. He hoped to escape from London Proper with the help of his squad of fellow detainees, join the Solar Fleet, and jump to the Stars!
The Zochtil
(Almek Manning Book 1)

State of Texas v. King George III

The contest begins, in which the state of Texas attempts to topple King George’s longstanding record of governmental abuses by stripping all 468 children from their parents in an unpopular community.

The Fourth Amendment Goes in the Recycle Bin

1. Legal action should be directed at individuals, based on evidence of specific actions committed by those individuals, rather than being directed against a community.

2. The government actions against the FLDS appear to violate the first amendment guarantee of freedom of religion.

3. The government actions appear to violate the fourth amendment “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Children Seized Using APC, Police, FBI, Rangers, and K9

4. The government actions appear to violate the fourth amendment requirement that search warrants be based “upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

5. A CPS spokesman said it doesn’t matter if the calls that provided the excuse for the raid were genuine.

6. The government actions appear to turn the fifth amendment guarantee that citizens shall not be “deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law” into an empty promise.

Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You: Elimination of Fourteenth Amendment Protection

7. We can only hope that the government actions against the FLDS violate the fourteenth amendment guarantee of “equal protection.”

8. Apparently, one of the key reasons for taking all the FLDS children into custody was that the FLDS encourage early sex. Even if that is true, it is at least somewhat hypocritical to pretend that the same does not happen in the mainstream culture.

9. The government actions ignore the benefit of historic precedent.

10. The Texas approach to civil liberties demonstrates that colonial Rhode Island benefited from a more enlightened approach to civil liberties 350 years ago than Texas does today.

The Grinches who Stole Mother’s Day

11. With the FLDS children having been in state custody for over one month, state officials still have not enabled a comprehensive program of parental visits.

12. The fact that several state laws were created specifically to place the FLDS religion in the crosshairs of Texas family law appears to fit with the other indicators that point toward a religious motivation for the government actions.

13. There was a deplorable lack of due diligence taken by government officials before initiating the raid.

The Risks of Foster Care

14. Weighing allegations of sexual abuse by the FLDS community against known problems with the Texas foster care system, it is not clear that removing all the children from their homes and placing them in state protective custody was the lowest risk option for these children.

15. Outside of the other traumas the FLDS children will face in foster care, a large number of the FLDS children are statistically likely to be placed on psychotropic drugs while in foster care.

When CPS is Let Loose in the FLDS China Shop

16. Court testimony indicating that Child Protective Services relied on information from a former FLDS member and from a psychiatrist familiar with the Branch Davidians appears to indicate that CPS knew the conclusions they wanted to reach before moving against the FLDS community.

17. Mental health professionals who helped at the shelters in San Angelo where the FLDS children were initially detained have complained about the way the FLDS were treated.

Doubt about Key CPS Claims Raises Doubt about All CPS Claims

18. At least twenty-six of the “children” CPS took into custody are actually adults.

19. The Bishop’s List, a set of church records that was used in the initial court hearings, has now been released, and it is most shocking for its lack of corroboration of government claims.

20. In the continuation of what appears to be a government trend to air unsubstantiated allegations, DFPS reported as a “cause for concern” that at least 41 of the children had at some point suffered from broken bones.

When FLDS Children are MIA or WIA

21. The children seem to be suffering significant health issues since entering state care. As of 28 April, nine of the children had been hospitalized.

22. Comments made by a CPS spokeswoman the day after the FLDS children aged five and over were separated from their mothers grossly oversimplifies the grieving and recovery process in the wake of the children being separated from their parents.

23. CPS appears to be having a hard time keeping track of all the children. An 11 year-old boy and a 16 month-old boy were reported missing as of 27 April, but “child welfare workers in Texas say they’re not worried.”

Big Tab for Big FLDS Raids

24. The Utah Attorney General, who has experience dealing with polygamist groups, has questioned the approach of Texas authorities.

25. The massive state actions will be expensive to taxpayers.

Sanity of a Court, Insanity of the State of Texas

26. The Texas Court of Appeals, Third District, found that evidence to support the CPS claim that the FLDS community constituted a single household “was not legally or factually sufficient.”

27. After announcing publicly that Dale Barlow was wanted for the rape and physical assault of “Sarah,” Texas officials later dropped charges against him, without even having the decency to state why the charges had been dropped.

28. Although the district judge who presided over the initial custody hearing permitted nursing mothers tostay with children who are twelve months old or younger, she did not grant that same privilege to mothers nursing infants older than twelve months.

Texas Takes the Lead against King George

29. The first search warrant against the FLDS and its associated affidavit appear to be constitutionally weak.

30. The fact that Texas officials performed interviews while executing the initial search warrant that had no relationship whatsoever to the initial search warrant leads to significant questions about the manner in which that warrant was executed.

31. A CPS supervisor’s testimony about her experience while interviewing girls in the FLDS community on 3 April demonstrates an irony too strong to not find disappointing.

FLDS Child Crying Himself to Sleep

32. A three-year old FLDS boy has been “crying himself to sleep every night, according to the attorney representing him.”

Fourteen Year-old FLDS Mom … Not a Mom and Not Pregnant

33. The youngest girl who CPS claims is an underage mother is, indeed, underage but is neither a mother nor even pregnant according to the lawyer representing her.

Issues Raised in Texas Supreme Court Opinions

34. The Texas Supreme Court minority opinion appears to complain about use of the Fifth Amendment.

35. According to the Supreme Court’s majority opinion, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services “took possession of all 468 children at the Ranch without a court order.”

Judge Persists in One Household Approach

36. Even though the appeals court explicitly rejected the CPS interpretation that the YFZ Ranch constitutes a single household, Judge Walther persisted in treating the FLDS in a manner that remained, essentially, a one-household approach.

CPS Subjected FLDS Kids to Outrageous Living Conditions

37. FLDS children and parents had two restrooms to share per 141 people in the early days after the raid.

CPS Living in Fantasyland?

38. CPS turned Warren Jeffs into the new villain who must not be named – or quoted – and whose signature must not be seen.

Texas Governor Not Worried about “Fine Legal Lines”

39. Texas Governor Rick Perry says he is more concerned about the welfare of children than observing “fine legal lines.”

FLDS Kid: “You’re the police, help us. Help me get my mother back.”

40. In addition to the separation of mothers and children being unnecessary, the manner in which the FLDS children were separated from their mothers was inhumane.

Texas Allegedly Knew Barlow Not at Ranch before Raid

41. Texas officials allegedly knew, before entering the YFZ Ranch, that the only person who was suspected of causing harm to one of the FLDS children was not present at the ranch, leaving the officials with no valid constitutional reason to enter the ranch.

CPS Didn’t Allow FLDS Kid with 104 Degree Fever to Be with Mom

42. CPS didn’t allow an FLDS mother to be with her child, even though the child was hospitalized with a 104 degree fever and the child’s doctor had requested the mother’s presence.

Catch and Release Rules Apply When Prey Taken Unconstitutionally

Foster Care Personnel Invade Privacy of FLDS Childbirth

43. Foster care personnel insisted on being in the labor and delivery room while one FLDS “child” (who wasn’t a child) gave birth.

Texas-Sized Double Standard in Dealing with FLDS

44. The State of Texas just can’t make up its mind whether teenage sexual activity is right or wrong.

Initial Service Plans Didn’t Follow CPS Procedure

45. A CPS worker admitted that CPS procedure calls for service plans to be based on evidence, even though that procedure wasn’t followed in dealing with the FLDS.

King George 28, State of Texas 10

7. We can only hope that the government actions against the FLDS violate the fourteenth amendment guarantee of “equal protection.” I believe the only way the State of Texas can dodge the charge that the fourteenth amendment has been violated is to start treating all its citizens the same way as the FLDS have been treated … a rather unsettling prospect, indeed.

8. Apparently, one of the key reasons for taking all the FLDS children into custody was that the FLDS encourage early sex. Even if that is true, it is at least somewhat hypocritical to pretend that the same does not happen in the mainstream culture. If the state of Texas starts treating other citizens with the same standard used in dealing with the FLDS (see previous item above), shall we next expect that if the police receive an allegation that a child in a particular neighborhood watched a movie glamorizing teen sex, that the state of Texas will take all the children in the neighborhood into protective custody so that they can identify the right child and find a few bonus suspects in the process? Again, this case would rest on a constitutionally more secure foundation if it was based on evidence of specific crimes committed by specific individuals.

9. The government actions ignore the benefit of historic precedent. In 1953, an FLDS community in Short Creek, Arizona was raided by the Arizona government because of allegations of underage sex, and 263 children were taken into custody. That government move has been judged by history to have caused more harm than good, and the governor of Arizona suffered the consequence of supporting that move. He credited the raid with having ended his career as governor.

Didn’t we learn from McCarthyism that we must still honor civil liberties even in the case of groups we fear or distrust, because of the extreme hazard of harming innocent individuals?

Didn’t we learn from the Salem Witchcraft trials that a hysteria may seem innocuous to respectable society because it initially targets people on the margins of society, but eventually it can expand to include respected men (like Captain John Alden – son of  Mayflower passengers John Alden and Priscilla Mullins – who was accused of witchcraft) and respected women (like Mary Spencer Phips – wife of the governor of Massachusetts – who was also suspected of witchcraft).

10. The Texas approach to civil liberties demonstrates that colonial Rhode Island benefited from a more enlightened approach to civil liberties 350 years ago than Texas does today. In the 1650s, the United Colonies asked Rhode Island to banish members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) from within its boundaries. The response – signed by the President of Rhode Island, Benedict Arnold (not to be confused with his descendant of Revolutionary War fame), and by the Assistants of the Rhode Island government – stated that Rhode Island had no law to punish people for religious beliefs. The response went on to state that the Quakers would be less likely to prosper if “opposed by arguments” rather than being persecuted by the government. The Rhode Island officials further stated that – though they shared the concerns of the United Colonies that the Quaker “doctrines tend to [the] very absolute cutting down and overturning relations and civil government among men” – they believed that allowing the Quakers to be entertained in Rhode Island was less dangerous than the policy adopted within the United Colonies to exile them. With the perspective of history, it seems evident that the Quakers never overturned relations and civil government, and that the principled stand of Rhode Island was better than the proposed alternative.

One could only wish for such wisdom among Texas officials today. Persecution creates martyrs, martyrs build group cohesion, and persecution can also lead to social isolation. The State of Texas is only furthering the process of creating martyrs, building group cohesion, and reinforcing social isolation.

Click image to enlarge