Our New Neighbors
Horrendous dilemma: I would be less concerned about the polygamists in El Dorado if their actions were just between consenting adults ["Big Love, Texas-Style," by Keith Plocek, April 27]. Big extended families usually provide benefits to individuals and society as a whole. However the "Big Love" style of the polygamists in El Dorado produces several evils, such as defrauding the welfare system, bringing children into the world with birth defects (caused by inbreeding), no birth certificates and the marriage of underage girls. Also, like many religious organizations, they evade paying their share of taxes, thereby leaving the rest of us to pick up the slack.
I am not a lawyer, but it is my understanding that although religious freedom is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, it cannot override the compelling interest of the state to uphold laws giving equal protection to all citizens.
Unfortunately, law enforcement officials face a horrendous dilemma if they wish to apprehend or arrest any of these cult members. As in the cases of Jim Jones's People's Temple (1978), Marshall Applewhite's Heaven's Gate (1997) and David Koresh's Branch Davidians (1993), there is a strong possibility that the leaders are ready to die for their cause (or their own egos), even if it means their followers die with them.
Change the law: I am constantly told, "What part of 'illegal' do you not understand?" ["Cover Controversy", Letters, May 4.] Well, it's the part that says that our laws are not always just and need to be changed. Just like at one time the law clearly stated that African-Americans were property and had no rights. The law had to change. Laws have to change when they are unjust, and it's time to change an unjust immigration law that criminalizes economic refugees.
Hold Your Horses
My little pony: Your article missed the whole point ["Horse Flesh," by Josh Harkinson, April 13]. Regardless of whether you feel there's something wrong with eating horses, these slaughterhouses are buying and butchering people's stolen pets.
No one is raising horses for slaughter. So where do those fat, healthy horses come from? Forty thousand horses are stolen every year in this country. Where do you think they go?
People also "adopt" wild mustangs, keep them for the minimum required time per the adoption, then sell them to be butchered. And this is a program designed to protect the mustangs.
Over the years, we've had two horses stolen and two attempts on a current horse, resulting in two dead dogs as well. The first was a childhood pet we'd had for more than ten years; the second, a horse we raised and trained from the time it was a six-month-old colt. It was an amazing, much-loved and irreplaceable horse.
My advice to anyone considering horse ownership: Never, ever get a big one.
Good call: Josh, thank you for writing about the decision to close the horse slaughter plant in Kaufman! This has been a looooong, hard battle that has finally won some justice for the horses that are killed but not eaten in the United States. It's no different from if we had dog- and cat-slaughtering plants to feed people in China or Korea. If the Belgians want to eat horsemeat, they can eat their own. (Of course, I don't like that idea either. I also don't eat dog or cat!)
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Beyond words: Do you, or does your ad department, even glance at the ads placed in your publication?
The outright propaganda displayed on page 19 [April 20] is beyond words. The Houston Coalition for Life purposefully took a quote of Margaret Sanger out of context, placed it below an image of a noose and a baby, with a word in large bold text that would elicit emotion in any sane person, and you printed it. While I don't hold Planned Parenthood in the highest regard, thanks to the support they lend to politicians who are in direct opposition to their cause, they play an important role in the lives of young women that goes far beyond abortion. I understand HCFL's passion for what they believe, but I can't respect the validity of their beliefs when their resorting to subterfuge erases any credibility they might have gained through thoughtful debate and responsible dialogue.
You have the ability to demand less deceitful ads from these organizations. Why don't you do it?
Name withheld by request