No, no, no — we were fine with D’Souza’s racism, but the adultery is upsetting

LifeWay Christian book stores still carry Dinesh D’Souza’s books. For now.

The journalistic scoop belongs to Warren Cole Smith of the very conservative World magazine, so we’ll quote from his report first:

About 2,000 people gathered on Sept. 28 at First Baptist North in Spartanburg, S.C., to hear high-profile Christians speak on defending the faith and applying a Christian worldview to their lives. Among the speakers: Eric Metaxas, Josh McDowell, and — keynote speaker for the evening — best-selling author, filmmaker, and Christian college president Dinesh D’Souza.

Dinesh D’Souza says anti-colonialism is un-American. He even says this in D.C., in a city named after George Washington.

D’Souza’s speech earned him a standing ovation and a long line at the book-signing table immediately afterward. Although D’Souza has been married for 20 years to his wife, Dixie, in South Carolina he was with a young woman, Denise Odie Joseph II,* and introduced her to at least three people as his fiancée.

Finally, near 11 p.m., event organizer Tony Beam escorted D’Souza and Joseph to the nearby Comfort Suites. Beam noted that they checked in together and were apparently sharing a room for the night in the sold-out hotel. The next morning, around 6 a.m., Beam arrived back at the hotel and called up to D’Souza’s room. “We’ll be down in 10 minutes,” D’Souza told Beam. D’Souza and Joseph came down together, and Beam took them to the airport.

The next day another conference organizer, Alex McFarland, distressed by D’Souza’s behavior, confronted him in a telephone conversation. D’Souza admitted he shared a room with his fiancée but said “nothing happened.” When I called D’Souza, he confirmed that he was indeed engaged to Joseph, but did not explain how he could be engaged to one woman while still married to another. When asked when he had filed for divorce from his wife, Dixie, D’Souza answered, “Recently.”

Amy Sullivan describes “The Right-wing Rivalry Behind” that scoop:

Needless to say, this sort of thing is frowned upon in the conservative religious circles in which D’Souza is usually celebrated. So it is perhaps unsurprising that the story was broken by Warren C. Smith, a writer and associate publisher for the evangelical World magazine. The publication has a history of covering problems within the evangelical world, and it has not shied away from stories about preacher scandals or church abuse of women. But this particular story may have interested the magazine for a different reason: World’s editor-in-chief is Marvin Olasky, the sometime Bush advisor who is no fan of D’Souza.

Olasky served, briefly, as provost of The King’s College. He resigned shortly after D’Souza became the school’s president. Read the whole thing for Sullivan’s take on the nasty history between these two nasty men.

Christianity Today’s report notes that “D’Souza has regularly appeared in CT’s pages.” One example of that is CT’s report on D’Souza’s hiring at King’s, which emphasized that the conservative activist’s Roman Catholic faith should not preclude him from membership in the evangelical tribe:

D’Souza’s wife, Dixie, is an evangelical, and the family has attended Calvary Chapel, a nondenominational evangelical church in San Diego, for the past 10 years. He has been invited to speak in several churches and colleges, including Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church and Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.

“I do not describe myself as Catholic today. But I don’t want to renounce it either because it’s an important part of my background. I’m an American citizen, but I wouldn’t reject the Indian label because it’s part of my heritage,” D’Souza said. “I say I have a Catholic origin or background. I say I’m a nondenominational Christian, and I’m comfortable with born-again.”

He said that his views align with the Apostles’ Creed and C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity.

That’s the imprimatur — the stamp of approval.

But D’Souza wasn’t embraced by the evangelical tribe just because he affirms the creeds and C.S. Lewis. What made CT and King’s College and the rest of mainstream evangelicalism decide that D’Souza was one of us was his political history — a former policy aide in the Reagan White House, D’Souza is fiercely opposed to abortion, gay rights, feminism and progressive taxation.

As Sarah Posner said, “D’Souza’s … rise in the evangelical world is due in no small part to his conspiracy-minded claims about President Obama’s ‘Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior.’”

Yes, conspiratorial warnings about Africans and anti-colonialism contributed to D’Souza’s legitimacy among evangelicals.

Bruce Garrett notes some of D’Souza’s odious political history:

How the man who, while editor of the Dartmouth Review, penned a racist parody of African American students titled “This Sho Ain’t No Jive Bro” and later outed a gay student using stolen mail between members of the Dartmouth Gay Student Alliance can in any sense be labeled a Christian is something confederate Christianists can explain I suppose.

Those two themes — racism and anti-gay sentiment — have endured as the hallmarks of much of D’Souza’s “scholarship.”

Alvin McEwen highlights a 2008 article of D’Souza’s titled, “Gay Rights vs. Democracy,” in which he pulls the man-on-dog nonsense.

Here is D’Souza’s idea of scholarship: “Why doesn’t the Fourteenth Amendment protect the fellow who wants to walk down the aisle with his poodle on the grounds that ‘I love my dog and my dog loves me’?” (What is it about the idea of consent that confuses these folks so much?)

Grace at Are Women Human? echoes Garrett’s observation, noting — savoring — the irony that D’Souza’s adultery has done what his nasty racism and homophobia never did, diminished his standing amongst evangelicals. The entire post — a Snoopy-dance of schadenfreude — is great fun, but the kernel of it is summed up in this one tweet from Grace:

Does it matter than D’souza peddles racist, colonialist lies? Nope. But he shared a hotel room with a woman he’s not married to! OH NOES

Or, as she writes in the post itself:

Sarah Posner writes for Religion Dispatches that this (presumed) sex scandal may spell the end for D’Souza’s once rising star. Note, not the fact that he’s been peddling racist and colonialist lies to white Christians for fun and profit for the past forever, but because of what’s assumed about his marriage and sex life. PRIORITIES.

- – - – - – - – - – - -

* Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch quotes from a post by Odie Joseph II at Smart Girl Politics, which bears the unfortunate title of “Whatever Happened to Good Ole Hypocrisy?

Feminists and liberals … tore the traditional family to shreds until they reduced us to the shining bastion of zoological (but even animals aren’t this bad and do not depend on the state to care for them) cesspool equality that we have now in every American ghetto and which is seeping out into the middle and upper classes in less animated ways.

Her bogeymen are just like those of her boyfriend: Black.

As women spearhead the demise of the ideal, the alternative to hypocrisy, they spearhead the demise of social order as we know it and love it. Henceforth, all of us will be staring down the barrel of life in a hip hop video or government-funded project. …

Buzzfeed snagged a cached copy of Odie Joseph’s blog (which disappeared when the story broke), which reveals her to have been a fan of D’Souza’s books — and of Ayn Rand.

  • Christopher Mauney

    Say what you will about the tenets of evangelical conspiratorial Kenyan anti-colonialism.  At least it’s an ethos.

  • Lori

    What is it about the idea of consent that confuses these folks so much? 

    All of it. Authoritarianism and meaningful consent are not mixy things.

  • Cojo

    Has someone tied together the Christian right’s confusion on consent with their confusion on rape?

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    I’ve said it before I think it’s Calvinism’s fault. Total predestination and agency are incompatible. Without agency consent is a meaningless concept.

    What’s interesting is the way they rant about the “decline of morality” when the logic of their belief system means it can’t make a smidge of a difference.

  • http://twitter.com/graceishuman Grace

    Cojo – Dianna Anderson, Sarah N. Moon, Libby Anne, and myself write about that issue with some frequency. A number of the posts on my blog about rape and sexual assault address the Christian right’s shaky grasp on the idea of consent (e.g., “Dear Christians: Rape is not Sex” and my recent posts on Doug Wilson and Jared Wilson).

    Fred – thanks again for the link and for the “Snoopy-dance of schadenfreude” description – what a felicitous turn of phrase! I feel as though I should put it somewhere on my resumé ;)

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Satisfying to see the Right eating its own, but given other sex scandals, I think Dinesh’s brown skin and the fact he was stepping out on (presumably) a white woman might have something to do with it. Certainly the Right has no trouble forgiving infidelity and worse (rent-boys) when they really want to.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The thing I find rather irritating is the increasing moral-warriorism in the USA over sex.

    By this, I mean that as Fred’s article points out, D’Souza can freely stroke the egos of the rich and the powerful by writing gushing, fawning literature that praises their avaricious behavior but the instant he’s caught with Someone Else Not His Wife, ZOMG! TEH HORROR!

    It’s not too far removed from other somewhat unsavory tendencies such as the habit of using the sex offender registry as a catch-all for people who don’t meet a rather narrow right-wing definition of “acceptable” sex (and how offensively amusing that people like D’Souza don’t mind women many years younger when they or their political fellow travellers want to criminalize 18 and 17 year olds dating).

    This kind of thin-lipped hypocritical prudery is really grating and tiresome and reflects a society so consumed with the  need to control something in peoples’ lives, and since controlling the economy is effectively ruled out except for succouring the wealthy and powerful, where else is the drive for apparent security going to go?

  • Marc Tompkins

    We recently spent a week in Peru doing touristy things, and I found myself repeatedly consumed by hatred of the conquistadores and the evil they wrought (conflicted, too, ’cause without the potatoes they brought back to Europe, my ancestors and my girlfriend’s would quite possibly have starved.)

    From about day two I found myself obsessing over the phrase “anti-colonialism” and wishing I could punch Dinesh D’Souza in the face.  It’s nice to hear that he’s saved me the trouble.  What a waste of carbon.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I’m confused by your question. Confusion about consent and confusion about rape are precisely identical. They are the same thing. It’s like you just asked if someone had tied together darkness and lack of light. 

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    The Catholic hierarchy isn’t exactly brilliant on consent, and the world was not free of rape before Calvin. So, no, not actually.

  • http://profiles.google.com/fader2011 Alex Harman

    Wonkette has joined in the Snoopy Dance of Schandenfreude as well.  Among other things, they provide us with more samples from Ms. Joseph’s blog that prove conclusively that “Odie” is short for “Odious.”

    I’d pay a lot to watch a Celebrity Deathmatch between Dinesh D’Sleazy and Marvin Olassclown.  Who would you bet on?

  • vsm

    I’m just sad the political writers of the past had to do without .gifs. Just imagine what Tom Paine could have achieved with a few Glee animations.

  • Kirala

    Great. Now I’m picturing Poor Richard’s Almanack*  loaded with references to Game of Thrones.

    *not Paine, I know, but I can TOTALLY see Franklin going that way.

  • Donalbain

    Evangelicals understand the concept of consent perfectly well. They are just confused about who should be asked for their consent. A woman’s sexuality is the property of the relevant man, either her father or her husband. If you have sex without the official granting of consent of the owner of that sexuality, then it is wrong. If the owner of that sexuality agrees, then it is fine.

  • http://mostboringradical.tumblr.com/ Lori

    I’m still always amused that people who call themselves The Tea Party are anti-anti-colonialism.  

    After reading Odie Joseph’s essay, it’s really hard to know which of these human beings is more vile.  They seem like they belong together.

  • LouisDoench

    OOOH OOOH! Can I be in a Government Funded Hip-Hop Video? 

  • aunursa

    It’s not too far removed from other somewhat
    unsavory tendencies such as the habit of using the sex offender registry as a
    catch-all for people who don’t meet a rather narrow right-wing definition of
    “acceptable” sex

     

    Here is the list of more than 150
    registrable sex offenses that fall under Megan’s Law in California.    I would be interested to learn which
    offenses the wingnuts have wrongly included on this list and should be recategorized
    as “acceptable sex.””>Here is the list of more than 150
    registrable sex offenses that fall under Megan’s Law in California.    I would be interested to learn which
    offenses the wingnuts have wrongly included on this list and should be recategorized
    as “acceptable sex.”

     

    (A few of the offenses, although not explicitly stated in
    the title, apply specifically to acts with a minor and/or forced acts.  For example, Cal.
    Penal Code §288A. Oral Copulation
    .)

  • Jim Roberts

    Oh, totally. Using, “Winter is coming,” as a propaganda slogan during the Revolution and everything.

  • Jim Roberts

    286(A)SODOMY; GENERAL CATEGORY AND PUNISHMENT SECTION
    Assuming that’s defined the way that “sodomy” is generally defined. Nothing about the statute here indicates that this is referring solely to an involuntary act, although I am not a legal expert by any stretch.

    And your edit pretty much makes the point – the exception you grant is not granted under the law.

    Also, individual states vary in how they apply the registry. Some are more draconian than others.

  • http://mostboringradical.tumblr.com/ Lori

    So you think if a 15yo and a 20yo are dating and they have sex that both of them want, the 20yo deserves to spend his life on a sex offender registry?  You believe that 20yo deserves to have his life ruined, and poses a threat to society?  Really?

    I just got an e-mail from my campus police that a student was written up for a “forcible sex offense” because, while he was hugging a female student (both were 20), he touched her butt, and she hadn’t wanted him to.  Should he be touching women’s butts during hugs without their permission?  No.  Should what he did be considered a sex offense that, according to the e-mail, could land him 3-4 years in prison and 15 years on a sex offender registry?  No.  A drunk frat guy should not have his life ruined because his hands stray too low during a hug.  

    Yeah, we’re out of control with our sex laws.  Post-pubescent teens are capable of consenting to sex, and cases involving them should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, not by blanket laws.  I’d rather see us move away from age and more toward really looking at the situation as a whole.  Some 14 and 15yos are fully capable of consenting to sex; some 18 and 19yos are not.  I’d rather we look at things like manipulation, coercion, and abuse of power as problems, rather than just look at age.

    We should not treat sex that is wanted and perhaps even initiated by post-pubescent teens as the same as sex that is forced upon somebody or perpetrated upon a pre-pubescent child. How many of our ancestors would be considered predatory pedophiles if we applied today’s standards (i.e., that a man in his late teens or early-to-mid twenties who dates and has sex with a post-pubescent young woman of 14-17 is a dangerous, sick pedophile the community must be protected from)? I see that as wildly disempowering to young women, as well. I remember being a teen girl, and it is ridiculous to assert that, at 15 or 16, I was incapable of saying either yes or no to sex.

  • http://mostboringradical.tumblr.com/ Lori

    Well, while racism and homophobia are absolutely vile and odious, so is leaving your wife–a woman upon whom you built much of your evangelical street cred–for a woman 20 years your junior.  I’m pretty sure that’s exactly the kind of thing Jesus was talking about when he was preaching against divorce.

    D’Souza is an asshole on all counts.  He’s a terrible human being for being a racist, homophobic douchebag, and he’s a terrible human being for trading in the wife of 20 years who helped him build his career for a younger model.  

  • m11_9

    This will blow over, since Dinesh is a celebrity speaker for republicans, not christians.  

    He just got a little carried away becoming pres of a christian college.  He will be back on the circuit in no time.

  • Jim Roberts

    I hear he’s on Limbaugh this weekend.

  • aunursa

    So you think if a 15yo and a 20yo are dating and they have sex that both of them want, the 20yo deserves to spend his life on a sex offender registry? You believe that 20yo deserves to have his life ruined, and poses a threat to society? Really?

    I agree with your point.  Registry laws should take the age of the minor and the age range between the two into consideration.  Also, rather than a one-size-fits-all standard, there should be different registries for different degrees of offenses.

  • Cojo

    I’m sorry the question was a little vague. You are right they are the same. I guess what I was trying to get at is the link between the idiotic arguments against marriage equality made by people like D’Souza and the idiotic comments about rape made by people like Todd Akin. Both display, among other things, a misunderstanding of consent.

  • Carstonio

    “We believe that God has wisely and well adapted each sex to the proper performance of the duties of each.” BULLSHIT.

  • http://mostboringradical.tumblr.com/ Lori

    Do you think the 20yo should be on a registry at all, though?  I mean, who needs to be protected from him?

    Why is 16 a magic age?  Or 18?  We know that the frontal lobe doesn’t actually finish maturing until about 27; a 24yo and 15yo who are having sex may actually be closer in maturity levels than a 30yo and a 21yo.  

    I just think we need to think about age of consent more seriously than we do.  Puberty, both naturally and historically, has been the important determinator of sexual maturation, not an arbitrary age (and adolescence itself is a modern social construct).  Age of consent laws historically have been about treating young women as property, and I think we tend to use them that way today.  I trust a post-pubescent teeanger to be able to say both yes and no to sex.  I don’t like laws that assume that they are unable to do so.

    I think it’s particularly absurd to argue that a 14 or 15yo should be able to obtain birth control or an abortion without parental permission while also arguing that the same young woman is incapable of consenting to sex.  I agree that the young woman should be able to obtain reproductive care, but the correlate is that she is a sexual agent who is capable of making her own sexual decisions.  If that means having sex with a 20 or even 30yo guy, I might think she’s making a bad choice, but I don’t think I need to legislate that, any more than I might think she’s making a bad choice by having an abortion, but I don’t need to legislate that, either.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Their problem with consent is that they don’t think females should be able to give it. They don’t think anybody but straight christian males should be able to say “no.” 

    So of course it doesn’t matter that a dog or a tree or a toaster can’t consent. To them, us breeding stock can’t either.

  • Magic_Cracker

    “I do not describe myself as Catholic today. But I don’t want to renounce it either because it’s an important part of my background. I’m an American citizen, but I wouldn’t reject the Indian label because it’s part of my heritage,” D’Souza said. “I say I have a Catholic origin or background. I say I’m a nondenominational Christian, and I’m comfortable with born-again.”

    But my mom and dad are pro-choice, pro-labor, and members of their county Democratic Party committee, so they’e  “cafeteria Catholics” [/sneer], a lesser, worse breed of Catholic, but D’Souza isn’t. I see how that works. Actually, I don’t.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    using the sex offender registry as a catch-all for
    people who don’t meet a rather narrow right-wing definition of
    “acceptable” sex [..] is really grating and tiresome and reflects a society so consumed with the  need to control something in peoples’ lives, 

    (nods) Completely agreed that this sort of thing, where laws we justify as a way to restrict particular bad acts get generalized to restrict all kinds of other things that ought not be restricted, is problematic.

    Unfortunately, it’s also predictable.

    I mean, often the original thinking behind the laws themselves isn’t unreasonable at all. As in this case: some sex acts really do damage people, and that’s a Bad Thing, and establishing legal protections for those people is a Good Thing.

    But often those laws get written pretty broadly, out of a perhaps-admirable desire to ensure that Bad People don’t evade the consequences of their Bad Acts on some technicality.  And it’s easy to paint anyone who objects to that sort of thing as (perhaps unknowingly, perhaps maliciously, perhaps just because they’re assholes) supporting those Bad People, so such objections rarely have much power.

    And, well, once the broad law is in place, it’s not difficult for people to apply it broadly, including to restrict acts that aren’t bad but are unpopular in various ways (e.g., non-”acceptable” sex, as you say).

  • LL

    Uh oh. My mother may be dismayed by this. She’s been talking about really wanting to see that movie D’Souza made about the terrible peril we will all be in if the guy who’s been the president for the last 4 years is allowed to be the president for 4 more years. 

  • Lori

     

    so is leaving your wife–a woman upon whom you built much of your evangelical street cred  

    This is a fair point. D’Souza is the equivalent of a man who gets his wife to work some low level job to pay his way through law school and then dumps her for some arm candy once he’s on the partner track.

  • hidden_urchin

    … which reveals her to have been a fan of D’Souza’s books — and of Ayn Rand.

    Guys! Guys!  I’ve got the greatest idea ever!  Let’s publish an Objectivist Study Bible!  We’ll make millions!

    Oh, wait, we have ethics here.  Well, back to your regularly scheduled thread.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Let’s publish an Objectivist Study Bible!  We’ll make millions!

    God’s a maker, see. *The* Maker, in fact. He owns the world, and us, because He made the world, and us. He can do with it, and us, what He wants. We (humanity) are takers. Pastors, priests, preachers, and self-styled prophets are His office managers. That’s why we have to do everything they say God says, including the stuff that contradicts the other stuff as well as the stuff that no longer make sense in our current time, place, culture, etc. business climate. What God wants, God gets, God help us all. End of story.

  • Hawker40

    Several decades ago, I read one of D’Souza’s books.  I found it was typical propaganda, giving one side of the story.
    I am not surprised that D’Souza is anti-anti-colonialism.  He is from Goa, India, which was one of the last outposts of European colonization in India (Portuguese).  His parents did very well under the Portuguese rule.  There’s a term for people who do well under the occupiers…

  • http://eatdrinkandbemarysue.wordpress.com Mary Sue

    What is it about the idea of consent that confuses these folks so much?

    Dude, really? These are people who (almost entirely, I hold out hope some of them have a sliver of decency left in that hole they call their soul) believe that you can’t be raped by your spouse. After the woman says “yes” to the engagement ring (after her father’s given his consent, ‘acourse) she’s consented to everything the head of the household decides.

    My reaction and reading are of course colored by my own history, but it’s what I hear when they’re banging this particular drum.

  • http://profiles.google.com/fader2011 Alex Harman

    The unconstitutional (per Lawrence vs. Texas) laws against consensual sodomy and consensual oral copulation would be bad if they could be enforced, and of course, I agree entirely with Lori’s points, but there’s also another issue: while California only places coercive prostitution involving minors on their list, other states put adult prostitutes and their clients on their sex offender registries merely for exchanging money for consensual sex.  Any society that wants to think of itself as “free” has no business criminalizing consensual adult prostitution, let alone tarring prostitutes and their clients with the same brush applied to rapists and child molesters.

  • Magic_Cracker

    There’s a term for people who do well under the occupiers…

    More than one term comes to mind: Collaborators, Traitors, Opportunists, Assholes…

  • http://profiles.google.com/fader2011 Alex Harman

    A couple of terms, actually.  Collaborators, obviously, but that also has neutral/positive meanings.  I think “quisling” captures the relationship of Goanese Indian Catholics to their Hindu and Buddhist countrymen rather well.  (I make no mention of Muslims because there’s a very good argument to be made for viewing the forbears of Indian/Pakistani/Bangledeshi Muslims as similarly traitorous collaborators with India’s Hindu-persecuting Muslim conquerers.)

  • Lori

    Guys! Guys!  I’ve got the greatest idea ever!  Let’s publish an Objectivist Study Bible!  We’ll make millions!

    Oh, wait, we have ethics here.  

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I think my ethics are fine with separating the kind of people who would buy an Objectivist Study Bible from their money. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I still find it a little bizarre that some professed Christians on the political right have no problem praising avarice. Ayn Rand used to excuse selfish behavior on the grounds that no other act was as morally permissible as acting entirely in one’s self-interest, and if that so happens to hurt or benefit society, she is utterly indifferent as to those consequences.

    By contrast, at least one gentleman (I believe Paul) is said to have written that owing to the existence and teachings of Jesus Christ, all followers of Christianity should conduct themselves as though they and their fellows were decent human beings who care for and about one another.

    Excusing selfishness in light of this is a lot more troublesome, since it requires assuming that wealth and riches are a sign of God’s favor rather than, say, being an honest car mechanic.

  • JustoneK

    But Atlas Shrugged is already published.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Note, not the fact that he’s been peddling racist and colonialist lies to white Christians for fun and profit for the past forever, but because of what’s assumed about his marriage and sex life. PRIORITIES.

    It reminds me a bit of the Clinton sex scandals.  I can only speculate that the Republicans values-voter base assumed that Clinton would burn at the polls in light of the revelations about his sexual indiscretions, and sensing that, Republicans in congress pushed that issue hard… only to find out that much of the American public simply did not care.  

    Priorities.  

  • Magic_Cracker

    I still find it a little bizarre that some professed Christians on the political right have no problem praising avarice.

    I’ve had fundamentalists tell me that the Seven Deadlies are a Catholic (and therefor invalid) invention because — wait for it — the words “Seven Deadly Sins” followed by a list of seven deadly sins don’t appear word-for-word in the Bible. Usually, said fundamentalists then say that’s there’s WAY more than seven deadly sins and begin to enumerate their favorites laws from Leviticus. Why I pointed out that the Seven Deadlies are common-sense CATEGORIES into which  various laws can be placed, I was met with “La! La! La! Not in the Bible! La! La! La!” or some variation thereof.

  • NoDoubtAboutIt

    It’s too bad the people of India didn’t treat collaborators the way the people of Bajor did.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Why is 16 a magic age?  Or 18?

    Ask your local DMV or voter rights boards. Any age limit will be somewhat arbitrary and fail to capture outliers; that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t set boundaries. (see also: Line-drawing fallacy)

    24yo and 15yo who are having sex may actually be closer in maturity levels than a 30yo and a 21yo.  

    “maturity levels” are a terrible standard to apply. Not only are they poorly defined and rarely map accurately to age, but maturity isn’t the issue, experience is. It’s why most states now allow 16 YO to get limited driving privileges and gain two years of experience before getting an unconditional license to drive, and why they have another three years to gain driving  experience before we allow them legal intoxicants. 

    The issue isn’t “nine years age difference”, it’s the difference in life experiences (social/emotional/financial/independent) between a 15yo and a 21yo.  Life experience isn’t a great standard, because experience doesn’t map 100% to age, but in generally, age does map to experience overall, and far more so than mental/emotional maturity. What’s more, our society has been structured so that teenagers are gradually exposed to specific types of experience in order to (hopefully) transition them to adulthood. 

    I trust a post-pubescent teeanger to be able to say both yes and no to sex.  I don’t like laws that assume that they are unable to do so.

    The laws don’t assume they are unable to do so, they assume that they lack the experience, maturity, and decision-making skills to understand the implications of what they’re agreeing to. 

    Are you comfortable with laws that assume post-pubescent teenagers are unable to enter into legally-binding contracts?  What about criminal sentencing laws that have reduced penalties for minors versus adults? Because those all draw from the same base concept. 

    I think it’s particularly absurd to argue that a 14 or 15yo should be able to obtain birth control or an abortion without parental permission while also arguing that the same young woman is incapable of consenting to sex.

    I can’t imagine a single situation where a 14yo would want an abortion without obtaining parental permission. 
    And there have never been any exceptions to consent laws that might apply to a 14yo or a 15yo. Certainly in those cases, we wouldn’t ever want to engage in harm-reduction for STI’s and unplanned pregnancies by makign contraception available.

    If that means having sex with a 20 or even 30yo guy, I might think she’s making a bad choice

    Really? You think it’s a “bad choice”? Because I might think she’s at risk for being coerced or manipulated or exploited by someone with more experience than her. I might think that teenagers have significant cognitive difficulty anticipating and evaluating the consequences of their decisions and actions, while 20 and 30yo adults are far better at anticipating future outcomes and weighing the costs and benefits.  I think pitting the emotional and mental stability of the average 14yo against a 20you is like letting a 14yo Pop Warner football player try to play in a college football game.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I can’t imagine a single situation where a 14yo would want an abortion without obtaining parental permission.

    Please tell me this is sarcasm. Most of your comment pretty clearly isn’t but the next paragraph pretty clearly is, so I can’t tell on this bit, and if it is not sarcasm then I will be obligated to wallop you.

  • Obotsarelonelyfools

    uh…charges against both him and her being racists dont seem to be so accurate once you find out she is black.

    lord buy a clue obot!

  • PandaRosa

    Well, Dillinger was finally convicted on tax fraud. 

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Sorry to hack on and on about this, but it annoys me. 

    I just got an e-mail from my campus police that a student was written up for a “forcible sex offense” because, while he was hugging a female student (both were 20), he touched her butt, and she hadn’t wanted him to.  …Should what he did be considered a sex offense that, according to the e-mail, could land him 3-4 years in prison and 15 years on a sex offender registry?  No.  A drunk frat guy should not have his life ruined because his hands stray too low during a hug.  

    Wow. I had no idea campus police write-ups entirely bypassed the whole of our judicial system of prosecutorial discretion, grand jury,  trial, and judicial discretion. I’m amazing that the write-up of a campus police officer can compel the district attorney to press charges, can sway a grand jury to bind the defendant for trial, compel another jury to convict, and compel a judge to sentence him to 3-4 years. That is one powerful campus cop!

    Post-pubescent teens are capable of consenting to sex, and cases involving them should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, not by blanket laws.

    If only our justice system allowed someone to evaluate these things on a case-by-case basis. Sadly, every single charge reported to our attorneys must always be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. 
    It’s too bad that criminal offenses aren’t judged by some sort of  group of people who are able to evaluate the appropriateness of the law for the circumstances. If only we allowed people like us, our peers if you will, to judge the rightness of our actions. 

    We should not treat sex that is wanted and perhaps even initiated by post-pubescent teens as the same as sex that is forced upon somebody or perpetrated upon a pre-pubescent child.

    Gosh, it’s too bad our laws don’t distinguish between statutory offenses and violent ones. If only there were some kind of assault laws that applied to non-consensual sexual activities, and if only those laws could distinguish between adult victims and minors. Boy, it’s too bad that the only law we have is the statutory rape law… 

     How many of our ancestors would be considered predatory pedophiles if we applied today’s standards

    Ahem. 

     I see that as wildly disempowering to young women, as well. I remember being a teen girl, and it is ridiculous to assert that, at 15 or 16, I was incapable of saying either yes or no to sex whiskey / cocaine / commercial truck driving / a pilot’s license / enlisting in the military / premeditated murder carrying the death penalty.

    Do go on. 


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