And in this picture, I can actually buy it:
Look, I know the world is full of dark, evil places, none darker or more easily conformed to evil than the human heart itself, but I look at these pictures and I can’t help thinking, what the hell is wrong with the parents of these little girls? Some of these children are 6 or 7 years old!
Someone comes up to you and your beautiful daughter and says, “I will pay you to let me dress her up like a 24 year old and pose her seductively under a Christmas tree, as though she is a present to be opened,” and you don’t smack the crap out of that person?
You take the money and let him do it? You take the money and become part of the whole social devolution within society that is normalizing perversion at an alarming pace–even unto “tolerating” incest.
You take the money and tell yourself that you are not selling your child as a sexualized object serving grotesque imagings, but that you are somehow, serving “art”?
I suspect that the people who will applaud and defend these photographs are the same people who quite rightly decry every decades-old revelation of the reprehensible, sinful exploitation of children at the hands of priests and churchfolk, while having nothing much to say about the thousands of new cases of sexual abuse of our kids which occur each year in our public schools.
Look, my church has sinned and admits it with great shame; in an ongoing season of penance, it has taken solid steps to insure that children are protected and that such horrific acts are never again tolerated or not acted upon swiftly, and with justly harsh action.
But can we at least all get on the same page about what constitutes the sexual exploitation of children? Can we stop making exceptions about what it is, if we can put scarequotes around it and call it “art”?
Pedophilia is a very grave, life-destroying sickness; it robs children of trust, of innocence, of a feeling of personal safety; it inflicts upon them a life-long sense of failure, complicity and fault. This is true whether the sin is perpetrated against them by priest, or parents or yes…even fashion photographers. And the rate of recidivism, of pedophiles returning to their sick, criminal ways is nearly 100%. A heart given over to that stuff is rarely able be fully cleansed of it.
I don’t see how these pictures can be tolerated, praised or brushed off by a society that claims to want the best for children, and pays lip service to protecting them from sexual molestation and exploitation.
Even if they did originate in France, where people like Roman Polanski are celebrated.
UPDATE: There is a lot of buzz going on right now about the Discovery Channel working with the Church to talk about exorcisms, and also about the upcoming release of this film. I’m beginning to think the whole society needs an exorcism!