The vile National Organization for
Bigotry Marriage, which is actually anti-marriage, continues its long history of ridiculous and bigoted anti-gay screeds by once again conflating homosexuality and pedophilia in a post by Douglas Farrow, a professor of “Christian Thought” at McGill University, which is actually just part of a longer piece in Touchstone Magazine.
Pedophilia, for example, is an orientation, or so the psychologists tell us. And orientations are now constitutionally protected, not to say politically celebrated. How then can we continue discriminating against pedophiles, which clearly we do?
Pedophiles naturally, hence in some sense appropriately, desire sex with children. Children, on the other hand, being vulnerable in various ways, need to be protected from sexual advances by adults. So we tell pedophiles that they must restrain themselves, or find other outlets for their sexual urges. Which is discriminatory…
We can try to justify the discrimination by proceeding to a balance of harm argument, of course, but we cannot then avoid the implication that there exists no inviolable right to sexual self-expression or indeed to public approval of a so-called orientation. And if that is true for pedophiles—perhaps for consistency we should call them pedosexuals—it is true also for homosexuals and heterosexuals. There may be, or arise, real and present dangers to society that justify repression of one or both of the latter, as of the former; and the same is true for any other tendency or orientation.
Alternatively, we can attack one of the premises, so as to invalidate the conclusion altogether. We might attack the first premise by saying that pedophilia is unnatural and immoral; that it is, in itself and as such, an illegitimate attraction, a morally and psychologically misdirected orientation. That indeed is the traditional view, but of course the traditional view does not recognize orientation as a protected category in the first place. To say that an orientation may be misdirected or illegitimate is to say that it cannot serve, as a person’s sex serves, to qualify one for legal protection. In other words, to attack the first premise is to fall back into the old biological objectivism and into the despised public morality of a pre-Benthamite era.
Perhaps, then, we are not prepared to attack the first premise; recognizing that, if we do attack it, we must either show that pedophilia is not really an orientation at all (but what then is an orientation?) or be prepared to overturn the jurisprudence and legislation entrenching orientation as a protected category. In that case, we may prefer to attack instead the second premise, and avoid in that way the troublesome and discriminatory conclusion—restrain yourself or else!—that puts pedophiles in the position that homosexuals, or for that matter philandering heterosexuals, once were in.
Ah yes, the false dichotomy. He pretends that the only possible way to distinguish between homosexuality and pedophilia, since both might broadly be called “orientations” is to do away with the very idea of orientations or to revert back to his own anti-gay reasoning. But that’s nonsense. He ignores the most obvious difference between the two, a distinction that is at the very heart of the notion of individual rights: Pedophilia harms someone against their will, before they are of an age to make a rational choice. Homosexual relations between consenting adults obviously do not. That is a distinction that is at the very core of a free society, as expressed so well by Thomas Jefferson, John Stuart Mill and scores of others.
But to admit that is to show that the real premise of his argument is the desire to impose his religious rules on others and to punish gay people for daring to be what he wishes they were not. His position is a dishonest pretext, not a serious argument.