An inviolable religious obligation

I wonder how that cop feels.

Elizabeth Smart’s ordeal as a kidnapped polygamist child bride could have ended weeks after her abduction when a policeman challenged her captor to lift her veil.

But he backed off when Brian Mitchell insisted that it was an inviolable religious obligation, condemning the 14-year-old to another eight months as a sex slave.

When a police detective approached an oddly dressed teenager in a Salt Lake City library and asked her to lift her veil, Mr Mitchell refused, saying their religion only permitted her husband to see her face.

“He said he was looking for Elizabeth Smart,” Ms Smart told an engrossed courtroom…

Smart said that the policeman “asked if he could be a part of our religion for a day, just so he could see my face, just so he could go back and say, ‘No, it wasn’t Elizabeth Smart’.” When Mr Mitchell refused, the detective gave in.That moment she felt “like hope was walking out the door”, Ms Smart told the jury.

He was looking for her. He saw a girl of the right sort of size, with a veil over her face. He tried to check her identity. The kidnapper said no, citing an inviolable religious obligation. The cop gave it up. Smart got eight more months of misery as a result.

Maybe people should start to learn that a woman or girl with a bag over her head is a sign of something seriously wrong. That particular “inviolable religious obligation,” where it exists, is a symptom of a systematic social abduction of women. It hides powerlessness and helplessness.

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