Warren Jeffs has brought Polygamy onto the front page of news media in recent years. The effort by law enforcement entities to build a case against Jeffs has been fairly successful, but the problem goes deeper than that.
The real problem with Polygamy in the american Southwest, is that it is a cultural value based on the male need and desire to have sexual access to multiple females and to father numerous children. This reality ultimately has nothing to do with religion at all- though long ago polygamy was rooted in the early practices of the Mormons in Utah. Do not blame the Mormons now, because they are very much opposed to polygamy now.
Polygamists of course claim divine inspiration, but the reality is just simply ugly. It's a bunch of old guys living on a secluded rural ranch getting all the underage sex they crave, and exiling their younger male relatives as they reach the age of sexual maturity. Gross? Well yes, what is the point to sugarcoating it, it is gross.
In the most recent case, authorities raided a West Texas ranch inhabited by followers of Warren Jeffs. They were responding to reports of physical abuse involving a 16 year old girl who apparently bore a child to a 50 year old guy after a forced marriage. The law enforcement raid ended by removing 52 children, ages 6 months to 17 years, from the ranch.
As I said, I do not perceive this as a religious issue. I perceive it as a human rights issue involving the status of women in the modern world. I blame the polygamists, and I blame the women who tolerate their behaviors and continue to live with them. Though it should be noted that in recent years there have been a number of women who have souoght to escape these secluded ranches despite considerable personal danger.
Perhaps I should not get too political here, because this should not become a conservative/liberal issue- everyone should see that statutory rape is a bad thing. I think it needs to be mentioned that David Koresh, the crazy leader of the Branch Davidian cult, demanded sexual access to every female on the property, and got it. Still believe that Waco was a matter of religious freedom? If we are critical of the excesses of islamic fundamentalism and the enslavement of women that accompanies it, should we not do more to eradicate such values and behaviors in our own land?