Something Pretty Ugly: Cults and Bill Maher

Posted: Apr 18, 2008 12:01 AM
Something Pretty Ugly: Cults and Bill Maher

Imagine what it would be like to feel safe and secure in your home. Suddenly, armed law enforcement officials, carrying assault weapons and wearing body armor, come roaring into your house saying that an allegation of child abuse was made and your children must be pried from their mothers’ loving arms and held by the state, possibly even being shuttled into foster care, all while you tried to figure out how this could have possibly happened.

I just returned from San Angelo and Eldorado, Texas where I took my radio show to cover the bizarre story of the showdown between the State of Texas and the members of a peculiar polygamist sect called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

This sect lives, works and worships on a giant tract of land called the YFZ Ranch which sits in the middle of nowhere in West Texas. Everything about this group is odd: the way they talk, their belief in the illegal act of men taking multiple wives, pretty much everything about their lifestyle is downright unusual.

But I’m hoping we haven’t gotten to a point in America where a group of people who worship and live in ways we don’t particularly agree with or understand can have their children ripped from their homes by the state.

Before you accuse me of defending child molestation or abuse, let me assure you that I fully expect the authorities to prosecute, convict and jail anyone who has committed the heinous act of sexually harming a child.

However, doesn’t something feel ominous and wrong about the way the authorities have handled this?

Let’s examine a few pertinent facts. So far, not a single person has been arrested and charged with anything. Evidently, a female who claimed to be a 16 year old member of this group made several phone calls to an abuse hotline claiming that a man named Dale Barlow, her spiritual “husband”, impregnated her against her will.

While I was in San Angelo, I interviewed Barlow’s attorney, a man named Bruce Griffen, who emphatically stated that the allegation will be pretty difficult to prove considering the fact that his client hasn’t set foot in Texas since 1977 and has never been on the property in his life.

Besides, why haven’t the police arrested him?

Based on what callers to my radio show from all over the country are saying, there is a great deal of concern over the lack of due process in this entire affair. It seems reasonable to believe that if Child Protective Services believes that a bunch of men in a religious compound are molesting young girls, they would round up the men, not hundreds of screaming, terrified children. As one emailer put it to me, it seems like it’s the children who were arrested instead of the perpetrators.

Again, no one wants child molesters to get away with their evil crimes. But not every allegation of abuse is true. Prosecutors don’t always get it right. Does the Duke Lacrosse “rape” scandal ring any bells?

I just hope we’re not witnessing a process of stripping away any and all civil rights from a group of people who don’t appear to the outside world to be “normal.”

I’ve heard a lot of people say some pretty ugly things about this group. “Did you see those strange women on TV? Don’t they talk weirdly? I think they’re brainwashed. What a bunch of kooks.”

Those same kinds of things have been said about mainstream Christians for years now by prominent TV personality Bill Maher.

I think we should consider the vile, blasphemous Maher before casting aspersions on this religious sect in West Texas.

Last week, Maher stood up before his HBO audience and declared Pope Benedict a former Nazi. He called the Catholic Church a cult that routinely condones child abuse. He mocked the Pontiff’s arrival in the U.S. by saying, “He wears funny hats and hey, ladies – he’s single!” And he actually compared the sacrament of receiving Holy Communion to a homosexual sex act.

Bill Maher, who was dumped from ABC-TV after he suggested that the 9/11 terrorists were somehow braver than the U.S. military, continues to spew his filth and hatred on HBO each and every week. He is routinely interviewed by Larry King on CNN, as if this hatemonger has anything positive or instructive to offer anyone. Poor Larry leans forward and hangs onto every word Maher says as if he was listening to Albert Einstein explaining the theory of relativity.

The same kinds of things that many Americans are saying about the polygamist cult right now passes for the “wisdom and insightfulness” of HBO’s Bill Maher on the subject of Christians.

You know, Bill Maher loves bullying people of faith. But if he was really as tough as he wants people to think he is, he’d mock and ridicule the prophet Mohammed. It would be fascinating to watch what would happen to Bill Maher’s career if he attacked Muslims, Jews or blacks the way he bashes Christians.

Maher doesn’t have any more of a free speech right to slander the Pope and smear Catholics any more than HBO has a right to fire him. Being paid a ton of money to appear weekly on a cable TV network is a privilege, not a right. Let’s hope HBO comes to its senses. Let Maher spew his filth in a seedy comedy club for a hundred bucks a night, which is right where he belongs.

Meantime, let’s all watch the unfolding saga of the polygamist sect in West Texas closely.

I respect and love this country.

But the government doesn’t always get it right.