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Culture creep

Sexual Abuse | How an ‘orientation’ is born

I almost started this column by saying The Guardian is a mainstream British daily newspaper and not the U.K.’s version of the National Enquirer. But that would insult the National Enquirer, which, whatever you want to say about supermarket tabloids, was the first to expose presidential candidate John Edwards’ dalliances when respectable papers held their noses.

On Jan. 2 the respectable Guardian published an article, “Paedophilia: bringing dark desires to light.” The title choice is more prophetic than intended, calling to mind Isaiah’s “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:20). Below are excerpts, a case study in journalistic slouching toward Gomorrah.

“There is little agreement about paedophilia, even among those considered experts on the subject.” 

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Right off the bat we are introduced to the notion of different opinions, which is Strategy No. 1. The Dark Side (Ephesians 2:2; 5:11; 6:12) need merely suggest that something evil is really only “controversial.” When the discussion begins at that level, the bad guys have already won ground: Pedophilia is now put forth as a subject on which reasonable people disagree.

Note a maneuver in 1 Kings 20, when the Israelites soundly defeat Syrian King Ben-hadad: His servants tell him, “The kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Let us put sackcloth around our waists and ropes on our heads and go out to the king of Israel.” They do that, asking King Ahab for mercy, and Ahab says of Ben-hadad, “He is my brother.”

The Syrian servants who “were watching for a sign” then say, “Yes, your brother Ben-hadad.” The purveyors of darkness are looking for a sign from us too, for mercy unmoored to truth corrodes to leniency. Relinquish the word “wrong,” accept the softer “reasonable difference of opinion,” and the camel’s nose is well under the tent. 

Strategy No. 2: “A paedophile is someone who has a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children. Savile [Jimmy Savile, high-profile English pedophile] appears to have been primarily an ephebophile, defined as someone who has a similar preferential attraction to adolescents.” 

Ephebophile is a brand new word for me; I suspect it will become nauseatingly familiar. But the point to notice is that now we have distinctions being proffered, a sophisticated taxonomy. Distinctions are strategy No. 2 for normalizing evil. The making of them automatically confers a certain legitimacy without even having to argue for it. After all, you cannot have varieties of something that doesn’t exist. So, circularly, if there are varieties of sexual orientation, they are real, and if real, they are not to be condemned. 

Strategy No. 3: “Sarah Goode, a senior lecturer at the University of Winchester and author of two major 2009 and 2011 sociological studies on paedophilia in society, says the best current estimate … is that ‘one in five of all men are, to some degree, capable of being sexually aroused by children. … There is a growing conviction, notably in Canada, that paedophilia should probably be classified as a distinct sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality. Two eminent researchers testified to that effect to a Canadian parliamentary commission last year, and the Harvard Mental Health Letter of July 2010 stated baldly that paedophilia ‘is a sexual orientation.’”

“Harvard.” “U of Winchester.” “Major sociological studies.” The canny takeaway message here: These people are smarter than you. Strategy No. 3 is the domain of the professional.

“And few agree about what causes it. Is paedophilia innate or acquired?” 

Professionals will pretend to argue about Nature versus Nurture for another year or so, as they did in the early days of the gay movement. Then someone will say, “You say potato and I say potahto, let’s call the whole thing off,” and no one will care anymore. Polymorphous promiscuity will prevail. The jig will be up.

“Some academics do not dispute the view of Tom O’Carroll, a former chairman of PIE [Paedophile Information Exchange] … that society’s outrage at paedophilic relationships is essentially emotional, irrational, and not justified by science. ‘It is the quality of the relationship that matters,’ O’Carroll insists.”

The thing to notice here is that while you weren’t looking the word “relationships” snuck in without debate. Another place gained. The language of alternative lifestyle slowly replaces today’s more common terminology of “abuse” and “victim.”

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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