Don’t miss Mary Eberstadt’s article in First Things: How Pedophilia Lost Its Cool. She shows that in the 1970’s through the 1990’s sex with children was being presented by many in the cultural elite as not so bad–something to joke about–or even as something to advocate. Now, there is a consensus across ideological lines that adults having sex with children is a great evil. This is evident in the case of Roman Polanski, in which liberals joined conservatives in condemning his violation of a 13-year-old. (In Europe, in Hollywood, and in particular circles, there are still those who defend Polanski and even some who still advocate and practice pedophilia, but they are violators of what is still broadly accepted as a cultural and moral norm.) Why did the trend to pedophilia stop, while other tenets of the sexual revolution moved forward? Eberstadt credits the universal revulsion against the child-abusing priests, who did most of their assaults during the more easy-going 1970’s-1990’s, but hearing the testimony of the scarred adults they victimized as children made the public sensitive to just how evil this was and is.
One tenet of sexual morality that has come back
Filed Under: Culture, Ethics Tagged With: Mary Eberstadt, pedophilia, Roman Polanski, sexual ethics 6 Comments
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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.