unastronaut*

Feet on the ground – head in the clouds.

Military contracts funded the West Texas polygamist sect

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In what feels like a twice-a-day occurrence, I have to say again this just proves why we need to have a more transparent government. Why people need to become aware and come to grips with the fact that our current administration has run amok with cronyism and selling privilege. This is why we need to utilize the greatest testament to human capability, the internet, to take power back from oligarchs. This is the reason for democracy, leaders like this. A byproduct of this leadership is this kind of moral atrocity perpetrated with US tax dollars.

Again, the freedom to practice religion as you see fit is a core American right. Anyone should be free to believe and worship as they choose, my concern The problem is when the “church” operates like this:

Under Jeffs’ direction, Wisan said, sect households are required to tithe at least 10 percent of their gross income to the church, plus an extra $1,000 a month.

This includes the Church of $cientology and any other group which takes tax exemption on religious grounds or gets federal grants and military contracts should be stripped of that money. There are also plenty of ancillary accusations about sects and cults like this to investigate. Religion cannot be a guise for evil and predatory business in this country. It hinders our democracy and actually hurts legitimate religion in this country. By legitimate, I ask the simple question: can I seek assistance and advice here, even if I’m dirt poor? It seems when you must tithe 10% + $1,000 you will have a hard time if you’re already poor. It seems like the $200,000 modest estimates for how much it costs for Scientologists to learn about the Xenu story is going to be a problem for anyone but the wealthy. It seems like these kinds of things being called a religion by our government says that starting a cult for profit is a legitimate business venture in this country.

UPDATE: Anderson Cooper from CNN has been covering the perspective of the mothers in this community. Their pain is very real and actually evokes a bit of sympathy in some ways. As parents they truly do not believe their children are in any danger at the compound. The entire sect is incredibly modest in very many ways, and former members do not agree that the bed found in the temple could have been used to consummate marriages of under-aged girls to men as old as fifty. Given the evidence before me, I can’t say the bed was used for this, but then again I’m not the first officer into that room.

UPDATE: Last night (04/30/08) Verdict with Dan Abrams ran with this story in the “Why America Hates Washington” segment. It’s true, reckless and unchecked no-bid contracts and out-of-control spending are part of why America hates Washington and politics in general. Imagine your church using your tithing to pay for someone’s meth habit, it’s basically the same idea with our government’s wasteful spending.

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