First we accept homosexuality, some social conservatives said, and next we’ll accept pedophilia. If we legalize gay marriage, they said, next we’ll have legalize polygamy. “Nonsense!” came the reply. “You’re committing the slippery slope fallacy.” Well, we are slipping and sliding on that same slippery slope. That’s the point made by Joe Carter, who analyzes the latest effort to de-stigmatize pedophilia; that is, to use a more politically-correct term “minor-attracted persons.”
If a small group of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have their way at a conference this week, pedophiles themselves could play a role in removing pedophilia from the American Psychiatric Association’s bible of mental illnesses — the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), set to undergo a significant revision by 2013. Critics warn that their success could lead to the decriminalization of pedophilia.
The August 17 Baltimore conference is sponsored by B4U-ACT, a group of pro-pedophile mental health professionals and sympathetic activists. According to the conference brochure, the event will examine “ways in which minor-attracted persons [pedophiles] can be involved in the DSM 5 revision process” and how the popular perceptions of pedophiles can be reframed to encourage tolerance.
Researchers from Harvard University, the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Louisville, and the University of Illinois will be among the panelists at the conference.
B4U-ACT has been active attacking the APA’s definition of pedophilia in the run up to the conference, denouncing its description of “minor-attracted persons” as “inaccurate” and “misleading” because the current DSM links pedophilia with criminality.
“It is based on data from prison studies, which completely ignore the existence of those who are law-abiding,” said Howard Kline, science director of B4U-ACT, in a July 25, 2011 press release. “The proposed new diagnostic criteria specify ages and frequencies with no scientific basis whatsoever.” . . .
Berlin has similarly compared society’s reaction to pedophilia to that of homosexuality prior to the landmark 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that decriminalized sodomy.
B4U-ACT’s own website puts Berlin’s views front and center. “Just as has been the case historically with homosexuality,” he writes, “society is currently addressing the matter of pedophilia with a balance that is far more heavily weighted on the side of criminal justice solutions than on the side of mental health solutions.”