Flannery O’Connor! Thou shouldst be living in this hour.

According to this article, Polygamous Sect’s Children Begin to Return to Parents, the polygamists’ kids who spent two months in foster care were plied with pizza, bicycles, and information about space travel in an attempt to make them “normal.” While the children apparently enjoyed some of those perks of modernity, they were glad to return to their parents, who were required to take “parenting classes” as a condition of getting their kids back. (Doesn’t this bother you?) Also, during the two months that the children were kept from their parents, the older boys took on the task of organizing regular prayer meetings for the young refugees. They also exerted religious discipline, going so far as to excommunicate some five-year-olds for not paying attention (making them sit outside).

[What work am I alluding to in the title to this post? And why am I saying Flannery O'Connor should be writing about all of this?]

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • WebMonk

    Last evening, I heard about the various requirements for reuniting parents and children and it bothered me. The judge required that the parents take ‘parenting classes’, that the FLDS set the marrying age to 18, that CPS be given full access to inspect homes at any time, and that the parents do notifications of any travel over 100 miles.

    The whole process of taking the children away was invalidated by the upper court, so why does the judge have the right to put conditions on giving the children back when the parents are not charged with anything except for being under a general cloud of suspicion by the CPS?

    Judge Walther’s new order is essentially what would happen if the CPS brought a specific suspicion of sexual abuse before a court. That hasn’t happened though; Judge Walther has set aside the standard legal steps that the Texas CPS must go through in order to gain the right to unlimited inspections. He usurped the legal right of the parent and set aside the legislated restrictions on the CPS.

  • WebMonk

    Last evening, I heard about the various requirements for reuniting parents and children and it bothered me. The judge required that the parents take ‘parenting classes’, that the FLDS set the marrying age to 18, that CPS be given full access to inspect homes at any time, and that the parents do notifications of any travel over 100 miles.

    The whole process of taking the children away was invalidated by the upper court, so why does the judge have the right to put conditions on giving the children back when the parents are not charged with anything except for being under a general cloud of suspicion by the CPS?

    Judge Walther’s new order is essentially what would happen if the CPS brought a specific suspicion of sexual abuse before a court. That hasn’t happened though; Judge Walther has set aside the standard legal steps that the Texas CPS must go through in order to gain the right to unlimited inspections. He usurped the legal right of the parent and set aside the legislated restrictions on the CPS.

  • WebMonk

    Oh, and I am at a loss as to what O’Connor would have to say about this topic. I’ve read several of her short stories, started one of her novels (didn’t finish it), and am vaguely familiar with her life. (southern, Catholic, died young of lupus)

    One of the things I associate with her is the clueless ‘foreigner’ trying to understand the natives of a place. (northern guy trying to understand things about the South – capital S)

    I give up, why should she be writing about this?

  • WebMonk

    Oh, and I am at a loss as to what O’Connor would have to say about this topic. I’ve read several of her short stories, started one of her novels (didn’t finish it), and am vaguely familiar with her life. (southern, Catholic, died young of lupus)

    One of the things I associate with her is the clueless ‘foreigner’ trying to understand the natives of a place. (northern guy trying to understand things about the South – capital S)

    I give up, why should she be writing about this?

  • http://poststop.wordpress.com Ethan

    State parenting classes…appalling.

    No idea on the Flannery reference. I am reading a few short stories now and I am impressed. Thinking of loaning the book to a young man I know who is a budding film maker and apparently an aficionado of “horror” genre. Any other resources one would recommend in developing a “healthy” view of horror (I am not suggesting that Flannery is exactly horror).

  • http://poststop.wordpress.com Ethan

    State parenting classes…appalling.

    No idea on the Flannery reference. I am reading a few short stories now and I am impressed. Thinking of loaning the book to a young man I know who is a budding film maker and apparently an aficionado of “horror” genre. Any other resources one would recommend in developing a “healthy” view of horror (I am not suggesting that Flannery is exactly horror).

  • http://poststop.wordpress.com Ethan

    Just listened to “This American Life: Prom”

    http://tinyurl.com/6d4gxh

    Depressing, really depressing. Listen if you get a chance (adults only). The folks (state approved of course) providing the parenting classes likely think the kids featured in this episode of American Life are perfectly healthy and happy.

  • http://poststop.wordpress.com Ethan

    Just listened to “This American Life: Prom”

    http://tinyurl.com/6d4gxh

    Depressing, really depressing. Listen if you get a chance (adults only). The folks (state approved of course) providing the parenting classes likely think the kids featured in this episode of American Life are perfectly healthy and happy.

  • Bethany

    Flannery O’Connor wrote about the grotesque figures and dysfunctional families (cf. A Good Man is Hard to Find) so I would say the dysfunction comes into play with the “normalization” and the resistance to it. Then again, I’ve just started digging into O’Connor’s work… That excommunication bit is oddly reminiscent of Lord of the Flies too.

  • Bethany

    Flannery O’Connor wrote about the grotesque figures and dysfunctional families (cf. A Good Man is Hard to Find) so I would say the dysfunction comes into play with the “normalization” and the resistance to it. Then again, I’ve just started digging into O’Connor’s work… That excommunication bit is oddly reminiscent of Lord of the Flies too.

  • http://viz.tumblr.com tickletext

    The allusion is to one of the Romantics, though I forget which.

  • http://viz.tumblr.com tickletext

    The allusion is to one of the Romantics, though I forget which.


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