Afghan men “adopt” boys from poor families, dress them as women, make them dance and keep them as catamites. “Women are for babies. Boys are for pleasure” is the catchphrase.
Demeaning and damaging, the widespread subculture of paedophilia in Afghanistan constitutes one of the most egregious ongoing violations of human rights in the world. The adolescent boys who are groomed for sexual relationships with older men are bought — or, in some instances, kidnapped — from their families and thrust into a world which strips them of their masculine identity. These boys are often made to dress as females, wear makeup, and dance for parties of men. They are expected to engage in sexual acts with much older suitors, often remaining a man’s or group’s sexual underling for a protracted period.
This article by an expert in Afghanistan culture outlines the problem, its profound and disturbing ramifications, and the West’s silence on the matter. One of the reasons we’re silent about it is the perpetrators of the crime tend to be the “moderates” in Afghanistan–the men who do not support the extremism of the Taliban, but also reject Western values and culture.
The hypocrisy is that we quite rightly are horrified by any sort of pedophilia in our own culture, while we pour millions into supporting open pedophiles of the most disgusting sort of pedophiles on the other side of the globe.
The problem then perpetuates itself because a child’s first sexual experience helps to form his or her own understanding of sexuality and self identity. In other words, abused children very often go on to abuse children. The sickness continues and spreads like a virus through a society. But the sexual sickness in Afghanistan is only reflective of the epidemic of sexual perversion throughout our wounded human race. Afghanistan is sexually sick? We should inspect the beam in our own eye.
No doubt a commenter will throw stones, “You Catholic priests are just the same!” It’s a fair joust. I’d retort that the whole of the human race is limping along with a plague of sexual perversion, twisted love, sad self love, pornography, broken hearts, broken families, broken lives and a broken society all because of our sexual dysfunction and disobedience to God’s laws.
There is no area, it seems to me, more twisted and deformed than human sexuality and the only answer is the Catholic answer: lifelong monogamy. “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church.” Only in the lifelong loving and giving relationship between one man and one woman can our wounded and twisted hearts ever learn the difficult lessons of love. Pope John Paul II said, “Chastity is the work of a lifetime” and it is therefore only through a life commitment that we can go on that most difficult pilgrimage of finding and keeping sexual and human wholeness.
And yet, when the Catholic Church upholds this ideal we are ignored or blamed for the problem. It is true the Catholic Church is against homosexuality, adultery, divorce and re-marriage, co-habitation, pornography, masturbation, child abuse, prostitution, rape, incest, bestiality and promiscuity. But we’re against all these things because we’re FOR something else called marriage.
Marriage is the most precious and fragile sacrament. It is a delicate gift of trust between a man and a woman. Being married is like trying to sail in a crystal boat on a raging sea. Marriage is beautiful and frail and easily broken, and when marriage is broken hearts are broken, children are broken, families are broken, society is broken. It is because we are FOR marriage that we are so against anything that breaks marriage.
Furthermore, marriage–because it is a sacrament–is our ladder to heaven. It is the way we learn what love is all about. It is the way we learn what God’s love is like, and when marriage is broken then we have broken the way to learn about love. We have kicked over the ladder to heaven, and if we kick over the ladder to heaven how do we expect to get there?
The Catholic Church upholds marriage because, ultimately, we are concerned about the salvation of souls, and when we see marriage broken we see souls in danger. That’s why we will continue to stand against the sexual sins of our society and ourselves–because we long for love and that love is often expressed as a severe mercy–a discipline and a self denial.