I know, in this day and age, tolerance and understanding is seen as a virtue above all else. There’s a line that can be crossed with this kind of thing.
That’s a quote from conservative video blogger Roaming Millennial, from a post about the recent movement to normalize pedophilia. Is that happening? Yes. She shares a video from Salon from a year ago, featuring a man who refers to himself as a “virtuous” pedophile—a person with a sexual preference, or orientation toward children who knows acting on it would be wrong, so he is a non-offending pedophile.
|Roaming Millennial video blog post, screen shot|
Then, more recently, there was another step: rebranding, she calls it. They prefer the term Minor Attracted Persons, or MAPs, instead of pedophiles, since pedophile is an emotionally charged word.
Meanwhile, I also came across a TedX video from a month ago that attempts to normalize pedophilia as just another sexual preference that wasn’t chosen. The student at the University of Würzbrug, Mirjam Heine, who gave the talk received so much negative response that she asked to have it removed, for her safety, although others have resurrected it to make sure it can’t be hidden.
|Mirjam Heine, controversial TedX talk at the Univeristy of Würzbrug|
attempting to normalize pedophilia, screen shot
Here’s the transcript from a minute-long segment:
It is in our responsibility to reflect and overcome our negative feelings about pedophiles, and to treat them with the same respect we treat other people with. We should accept that pedophiles are people who have not chosen their sexuality, and who, unlike most of us, will never be able to live it out freely, if they want to live an upright life. We should accept that pedophilia is a sexual preference, a thought, a feeling, and not an act. We should differentiate between child sexual abuse and pedophilia. We shouldn’t increase the suffering of pedophiles by excluding them, by blaming and mocking them. By doing that, we increase their isolation, and we increase the chance of child sexual abuse.
Roaming Millennial refers to the movement, rather than this particular talk or the uproar it caused. But she says some useful things in her post. Offering the point of view of those who want to normalize, she says,
Some people argued that by destigmatizing pedophilia as a condition, we could encourage those who suffer from it to seek help without the fear of being immediately shamed and ostracized for an attraction they don’t have control over. It was posited that by bringing pedophilia out of the shadows, so to speak, in a way we would have a better chance of controlling and monitoring it.
Which she says she wouldn’t argue with, except that, then they do the rebranding thing—using words that mean the same vile thing, but trying to make it sound like pedophilia is not inherently a bad thing. The non-supportive side (which she is on) has this point of view:
A lot of people were critical of Salon’s interest in this individual, since they believed it was an attempt to normalize pedophilia, to make it mainstream, to paint it as just this quirky preference that some people happen to have, instead of what it really is: a serious mental illness that could cripple lives and increase a person’s likelihood of being a child abuser. That was, I think, the overall consensus for most of us.
There are those who think only actions matter, not thoughts. I want to look at this a little closer later on. But she says,
Your thoughts do matter. And yes, even thinking about molesting a child, whether or not you go through with it, is something to be worried about, something you should really be getting help for. Think of it this way: if you’re someone who commits serial murders, that’s bad. We can all agree. But if you’re someone who merely fantasizes about mutilating and murdering people on a regular basis, that’s still not good. Sexualizing children, fantasizing about them in a sexual way—that is an immoral act in and of itself, something that you do need help with, that you should work on treating.
She has a good point, and I agree.
But there’s something that I look at differently from a millennial, because of my age and experience. It has to do with that line that we all agree shouldn’t and won’t be crossed. Because, as we’ve seen before, those lines do get crossed. And the movement she’s seeing in the past couple of years has been well underway since the 1990s,[i] and has been part of the “Gay Rights Platform” since 1972.[ii]
Because of her millennial perspective, she makes a point of separating the pedophilia normalization movement from the LGBT “community.” She says,
And, just to make sure everyone understands this, because this is important, this move by pedophiles to leach onto the LGBT community and their movement for equality and acceptance has not been well received by the LGBT community themselves. A lot of gay or trans activists want to make sure people know that pedophilia is not the same as a mutual consensual attraction between two adults, nor does it have anything to do with gender dysphoria or gender identity.
This all comes before the “there’s tolerance, but there’s a line” idea. So, repeating the quote I used at the top, this is how she ends the segment:
And, I know, in this day and age, tolerance and understanding is seen as a virtue above all else. There’s a line that can be crossed with this kind of thing. And I think it’s safe to say that that line is about a thousand miles down the road of actual literal pedophilia. Pedophilia acceptance isn’t going to happen. Stop trying to make it happen.
I’m not disagreeing with her about the difference. I’m trying to understand something broader. She believes that the LGBT “community” is made up of wholesome,[iii] regular people who just happen to have a different orientation. Probably most millennials believe that. But a generation ago that wasn’t a common belief. There’s been a change in society’s perspective about orientation.
Is sexual orientation a thing you’re born with and can’t change? That is the general agreement. But there is zero scientific evidence that sexual orientation is genetically caused. While there may be some genetic component contributing to sexual orientation, if it were genetic, then all identical twins would have the same orientation, and that is not the case.[iv]
Also, the other question is, is it immutable? That is yet another bit of “common knowledge” that is not based on fact. While it is common for a person with same-sex attraction to maintain that orientation throughout life, thousands have changed. Not just one or two, but thousands. In the range of 20-30% or those who seek change therapy.[v] And then there are additional many who leave the lifestyle, or avoid the lifestyle completely. There are yet others who, while still feeling same-sex attraction, are also able to develop a heterosexual relationship and even have a happy marriage.
It is so politically incorrect to state these facts that it feels illegal. Persecution can be fierce and cruel. While my obscurity mostly keeps me safe, even in church circles where I assume most people agree with me, I have received vitriolic responses.
For the person who doesn’t want to suffer with same-sex attraction, there isn’t much opportunity for change therapy. Most of what is available comes from religious organizations and help groups of people who have faced the challenge with some success. But, after the political decision around 1970 to declare homosexuality to be just another healthy alternative, most research stopped, most therapy stopped, and therapists who offer help are threatened and risk losing their licenses.[vi]
So, here’s a question I have: Even though we all (we decent people) agree that pedophilia is a bad thing and should not be normalized or accepted, and activists should stop trying to make it so, I’ve lived long enough to know that Roaming Millennial might be wrong when she says, “pedophilia acceptance isn’t going to happen.” What happens if it is normalized? What if we are persuaded to believe it is simply an inborn, unchosen orientation, and those who have it might be just as healthy and normal as the rest of us (maybe still provided they don’t act on it, but no guarantees there), and those of us who nevertheless worry about them being around our children are punished and ostracized by society for our intolerance? And we’re forced to send our children to schools where they are indoctrinated with this new belief?
I have more questions. It’s going to take another post to try to explore them. So we’ll continue this discussion in a Part II.
[i] “A North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) representative stated: “The ultimate goal of the gay liberation movement is the achievement of sexual freedom for all—not just equal rights for lesbians and gay men, but also freedom of sexual expression for young people and children.” David Thorstand, “an/Boy Love and the America Gay Movement,” in “Male Intergenerational Intimacy: Historical, Socio-psychological and Legal Perspectives,” Journal of Homosexuality 20, 1-2 (1990): 255. This note comes from United Families International Guide to Family Issues: Sexual Orientation, 2013, p. 32.
[ii] “The 1972 conference of National Coalition of Gay Organizations released a ‘Gay Rights Platform’ which had as a plank ‘Repeal of all laws governing the age of consent.’ The goal has not changed. www.rslevinson.com/haylesissues/features/collect/onetime/bl_platform1972.htm . See also www.ageofconsent.com (Warning: sexually explicit)" This note comes from United Families International Guide to Family Issues: Sexual Orientation, 2013, p. 32.
[iii] “The homosexual activist strategy outlined in the book After the Ball (1989) included: 1) begin portraying homosexuals as ‘victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by reflex to adopt the role of protector,’ 2) present homosexuals in the media as ‘wholesome and admirable by straight standards, and…indistinguishable from the straights we’d like to reach,’ 3) desensitize people to homosexual issues by inundating the media with GLBT messages, 4) convert people to the belief that ‘gayness’ is good. ‘…conversion of the average American’s emotions, mind, and will, through a planned psychological attack, in the form of propaganda fed to the nation via the media.’ Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90’s (Doubleday, 1989).” This note comes from United Families International Guide to Family Issues: Sexual Orientation, 2013, page 31.
[v] See, e.g., Joseph Nicolosi, A. Dean Byrd, Richard W. Potts, “Retrospective Self-Reports of Changes in Homosexual Orientation: A Consumer Survey of Conversion Therapy Clients,” 86 Psychological Reports 1071, 1083 (June 2000). Study concludes that “20%-30% of the participants [in voluntary conversion therapy] said they shifted from a homosexual orientation to an exclusively or almost exclusively heterosexual orientation,” belying any assertion that homosexual orientation is “immutable.”