Trying to walk the line between religious freedom and societal concerns has never been easy. Some scholars say the line is drawn at polygamy. This article explores that option, but is the line even better drawn at child abuse? What about "legitimate" serial marriages and divorces? This issue may gain some traction in the next few months. Admin

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By Brooke Adams,
Peg McEntee
and Jessica Ravitz
The Salt Lake Tribune

For more than a century and a half, Americans have seen polygamy from a distance and through a filter of silence.
But in recent years, the view has become more distinct: a prophet in prison, jail terms for men who marry underage women, a precision raid on a ranch in west Texas. And this is where the social imperative of protecting the young and the vulnerable collides with the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion.
This past week, the raid on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Eldorado, Texas, has once again brought polygamy into focus, especially among scholars and legal experts who've studied the phenomenon for years.
Marci Hamilton is frankly shocked it had not happened sooner.
"Nobody's had the guts to do what Texas authorities did," said Hamilton, a church-state scholar and attorney who lives in the Philadelphia area. "We so often ignore what's happening to children in religious communities . . . finally a group of authorities realized they couldn't let it go on any more."
She has a history with abused children, particularly the sexual assault victims of priests or ministers, and she has no patience for those who argue that the autonomy and privacy of adults is more important than protecting children.

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