Bill Blankshaen: gays are like pedophiles.

Bill Blankshaen has a post up comparing homosexuality to pedophilia.  Apparently two adults deciding who to consensually love is indistinguishable, in his mind, from adults who want to be allowed to have sex with kids who have yet to reach puberty.

Oh boy.

No one’s being harmed. Not really. They can’t help it. Not really. And look at how many closet paedophiles may be out there — 1 in every 5 men! Maybe. Maybe that science is flawed. I’m just saying. And if two people love each other, who are we to say…. I would like to know how our culture can, let alone will, respond to such arguments.

Yes…how will we ever respond to that argument?  It’s so novel and new that 30 seconds on google probably wouldn’t have provided an answer.

Well Bill, we don’t allow adults to date children for the same reason we don’t allow adults to sell them cars or alcohol: they are not at a point where they have their faculties sufficiently in place to enter into contracts and to make adult decisions.  They are more easily coerced, and thus need protection.

Adults are not like that.  If straight adults are capable of deciding who they wish to date, why not gay adults?  The obvious answer  (obvious to everybody but Bill Blankshaen) is that the difference between children and gay adults is that…wait for it…gay adults are…adults.  Crazy.

For me, this issue is a simple one. As a Christian, I seek to see the world through the lens of our Creator’s written revelation.

Which is fine.  The problem is where you demand that everybody else to organize their lives your holy book.

But we live in a post-Christian culture, one in which it is anathema to call upon a Biblical view of the word for fear of trampling someone else’s self-proclaimed right to autonomy. I don’t like it, but that’s where we are.

Yes, what a bummer people are allowed to not let you and your faith lord over them.

We seem to derive our moral standards these days based on public consensus rather than an appeal to objective truth.

Or based on what causes harm, which is objective truth.  And it takes a lot of balls to be the guy in the conversation who believes in someone rising from the dead, walking on water, and a global flood to chastise others for lack of concern for objective truth.

As a pluralistic, post-Christian culture here in the US, what is our moral argument against legalizing paedophilia?

I’d like to hear the arguments against it. I’m having trouble imagining them, most likely due to my own narrow addiction to divine revelation and absolute truth.

Yes, without god telling Blankshaen that having sex with a child is bad, he’d be a-ok with it.  It wouldn’t occur to him, on his own, that protecting children from being used by adults would be a concern.  This is the man who presumes to call others immoral.  It’s not a concern for harm that makes morality, but arbitrary rules handed down from god.

But maybe it’s not just me that thinks boundaries are a good thing:

Boundaries are a great thing sometimes.  Some boundaries are terrible (we could both agree that a boundary prohibiting eating would be a bad thing).  It all depends on what good the boundary is serving.  Boundaries should be set up to protect people within reason (the “within reason” is important, since some risk is acceptable – we let people drive despite the fact that some people die in car wrecks, for instance).  But boundaries that hinder happiness for no good reason?  No, those boundaries suck.

So a boundary that protects kids from coercion?  Awesome!  A boundary because “god says so” that actually keeps adults from being as happy as they might be?  No, that’s a cruel and foolish boundary.

But freedom always has a price. Part of that price is recognizing our need to limit our own freedoms and passions for the good of others and the culture at large. Those who refuse to do so imperil the very culture that enables them.

How would allowing gays to marry imperil the culture at large?  What harm would come from that?

And first it’s “god doesn’t like it, so we shouldn’t allow it, because ‘there is no harm’ isn’t good enough”.  Now it’s “it shouldn’t be allowed because it will imperil culture”.  Fucking pick one.

Indeed, I think this underlying issue may be the one which most threatens the future of ours or any republic:

Cicero was equally emphatic about the internal danger. Probably his most quoted lines are from the opening words of his attack on the Cataline conspiracy: O tempora! O mores! (Oh the times! Oh the ways of life!) In that speech to the Senate at the trial of Rabirius, he declared bluntly, “No external or foreign threat can infiltrate our Republic. If you wish Rome to live forever and our empire to be without end, if you wish that our glory never fade, we must be on our guard against our own passions, against men of violence, against the enemy within.” ~ Os Guinness, A Free People’s Suicide [emphasis mine]

Holy shit, one guy says we must “guard against our passions” and that’s good enough for Bill to conclude that homosexuality will lead to the collapse of nations.  Supposedly, even though there has been homosexuality in every society, both successful or not, all the way back through human history, isn’t important.  As long as we keep them as secondary citizens, their kissing and such won’t kill the stock market.  Forget the fact that states and countries that have legalized gay marriage are doing just fine on the whole.

I also love the implication that homosexuality contributed to the fall of Roman Empire, as if there wasn’t homosexuality throughout the life of the Roman Empire.  You might as well have blamed buildings for the fall of the Empire.  If homosexuality was a causal factor in fall of the Roman Empire, how come the Roman Empire was doing just fine up until gay-hating Christianity got legalized?  (Thanks, eric)

~509 BC: Roman monarchy overthrown, Republic period begins. Rome slowly grows into the most powerful geopolitical unit on the planet.
~50BC to 30 AD: Republic era ends (depending on how you count). But Rome continues to be the most powerful geopolitical unit on the planet.
~313 AD: Constantine legalizes Christianity.
~395 AD: Eastern and Western empires divide
~410 AD: Rome sacked.
~455 AD: Rome sacked again
~476 AD: Western Roman empire dissolves

Strange, that.  It’s like all of the evidence is against that idea, and Bill Blankshaen is just pulling stuff straight out of his ass to make a correlation = causation argument when, in fact, there isn’t even much of a correlation.

Some will decry my use of absolutes and apocalyptic language, but I prefer to think of it as just thinking ahead.

More will decry your terrible arguments that compare normal people to those who would abuse children.  We’ll also point out the irony of someone who worships the ultimate child abuser (the one who impregnated a virgin and only told her about it afterward, and who also planned for his son to die a gruesome, unnecessary death) making those arguments.

How will we as a church and a culture answer this question about paedophilia.

The culture will note the obvious differences between adults and children and continue to care about what produces happiness and alleviates suffering.  The church, at least the ones that share Bill Blankshaen’s immunity to the obvious, will continue to grapple with the question of comparing gays to pedophiles as though it’s a perplexing piece of theology.

I, for one, prefer to answer it while we still have time to think.

Yes, because it takes a Herculean application of one’s intellect to identify the differences between gay adults and children.

Or will we wait until we can no longer avoid the issue, speak up without much thought at all, and be accused of being a bunch of hurtful, hateful creeps who just want to spoil all the fun?

That’s exactly what you are, Bill.  You don’t care if loving who they choose makes particular adults happy.  You are out to spoil the fun.  You don’t care if you hurt those people, and that is the very soul of hatred.  You want to be able to dictate how other people live their lives, and you want to take away love from them (at least, if it’s expressed to an adult who your church does not care for).  And you don’t feel the least bit bad.  Hell, you probably feel good about it.  That’s hate, and it’s ugly.  Your church, which has that exact type of hate running through its veins, is equally ugly.

And what will the new label be then for such haters? Paedophilobic?

I’m not sure what we call people who hate pedophiles.  For those who hate the people who abuse children, whether it’s a Catholic priest raping them or someone cheating kids out of their money, I suspect we call those people “compassionate”, because that is what we call people who disdain suffering and who value happiness in others.

But when it those who hate gay people, with no regard for the happiness of others in that case, in the United States we almost universally we call them “Christians”.

And now, welcome Bill’s blog to this folder in my bookmarks.

A picture of my bookmark folders with "Whipping boys/girls" circled.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Loqi

    That was so monumentally stupid that I half expected to see him point out that both pedophiles and gays have noses. COINCIDENCE?

  • LeftWingFox

    I’m curious: Where exactly does the bible condemn pedophilia? I don’t think I’ve actually seen a passage that says what the legal age should be, or the punishment of having sex with a child.

    • Andrew Kohler

      I think the verse condemning pedophilia is in the same passage that prohibits slavery, genocide, subjugation of women, mutilation of babies, and torture. You know, the one that doesn’t exist.

      • IceWhisper Flux

        The slavery in the Bible that was spoken, that God allowed, was VERY different from how we see it today. Back then, slavery was generally one of these:

        * a person had no money to pay for a debt, so he would become a slave (not paid) to pay for his debt

        * when capturing other countries, often times they would also capture people for slaves.

        However, God DID condemn treating them badly. The master was supposed to feed them, treat them as his own family, and take care of them. They would just be working without pay and be stuck in that house. At a certain time of a year, slaves of any kind could be freed, however, many chose to actually STAY with their master because of how well they were treated.

        Genocide was brought on because of sin, the countries that were called to be annihilated were those that worshipped other gods and were hurting their own people.

        Women were not “subjugated” and if they were, it was WRONG because it would not be following God’s law for how to treat people. Women back then stayed home and took care of their families: cooking, cleaning, raising the children. While the husband would go out and work (jobs back then were VERY physical for the most part, not something that a woman would have even wanted to do, the women were lucky in that respect). A man was called to love his wife and respect her as she was called to love and respect him. The Bible talks of many ways that this is broken and abused, you know why? Because f the Fall which cursed the world and brought SIN. No one can be perfect.

        Circumcision was specific to the Israelites, again, brought on because of sin. However, that law was REMOVED once Jesus died for our sins and rose again. As a Jew, Jesus himself would have been circumcised just as later on he was tortured and HEAVILY abused before death. People today that still do this do not understand that it is not longer necessary.

        Torture is under Commandment #5 (thou shalt not kill), but that command IS not strict to only murder. Wanting to murder, hurting someone, raping, etc. are all things that fall under this commandment.

        The Bible is FULL of sinful behavior because after the Fall the world was cursed and EVERYONE and EVERYTHING was cursed with it. Just because the Israelites were called by God in order that eventually Jesus Christ would be born does NOT mean they were perfect in ANY way. They were given some strict rules that no other country was given (circumcision, stoning, Sabbath, etc). However, the 10 Commandments WERE given to everyone.

        Besides, what do you believe is right or wrong? Why do you believe it? What makes you better than anyone else and that we should follow your ideas?
        Lets say that the earth evolved billions of years ago (I have no idea if you believe this or not, but most people today do), that goes against anything that God said:
        * God said the earth was formed in 6 days
        * There was no death before the Fall
        * Everything was perfect
        * Animals and people are strictly different, God made man in His own image

        Now for evolution:
        * Earth formed billions of years ago (funny, people USED to believe it was millions, then decided that was not long enough)
        * DEATH is prominent in the fossil record AND in the process or evolution
        * No perfect, unless death was part of a perfect world, which the Bible say NO
        * People evolved from “lesser” beings and are related to animals genetically through evolving

        Guess what else evolution says:
        * nothing
        * rules are subjective to whatever you want
        * you can do what you want, no God
        * evolution does not “care” if you murder, abuse, mutilate, rape, etc.
        * evolutionists make up reasons for everything, even finding reasons to support rape or murder.

        So, who do you believe in, your own feelings or ideas? We cannot fully understand the Bible, but it clearly shows just how BAD we needed a Savior for our sins. As God provided for us which we in no way deserved.

        • Loqi

          Genocide was brought on because of sin, the countries that were called
          to be annihilated were those that worshipped other gods and were hurting
          their own people.

          So you condone genocide, then? As long as they don’t worship the same deity as you?

          However, God DID condemn treating them badly.

          Especially in Deuteronomy 15:17. Having an awl driven through your ear is a pretty pleasant experience, isn’t it? And in Exodus 21:20. I mean, I routinely beat myself with a rod so severely that I die after three days almost every weekend just for giggles, so beating the slaves with a rod should be fine. Anyway…irrespective of how anyone treated their slaves, how is owning another person ever ok? Under what circumstances is that moral?

          Women were not “subjugated” and if they were, it was WRONG because it would not be following God’s law for how to treat people.

          You better tell Paul that, because he must be way off base in 1 Corinthians 11:3. And 11:7. And 11:8. And…well, you get the idea. Also, remind me again, what happens when your daughter doesn’t please her master after you’ve sold her to him? My copy of the bible has Exodus 21:8 torn out of it. It’s also missing Ephesians 5:23 and Timothy 2:11.

          Earth formed billions of years ago…

          Evolution says nothing about the age of the planet. There’s a reason you don’t learn about rocks in biology class.

          DEATH is prominent in the fossil record AND in the process or evolution

          Uh…do you dispute that? Do you think fossils are still alive? I’m confused.

          People evolved from “lesser” beings…

          There’s no “lesser” being. Evolution isn’t a directed process working toward a goal.

          Guess what else evolution says:
          * nothing

          So…you’re done after this bullet point, right?

          rules are subjective to whatever you want

          Guess not. Where does evolution say anything about rules?

          you can do what you want, no God

          Again, this has nothing to do with biology, thus evolution says nothing about what you can and can’t do.

          evolution does not “care” if you murder, abuse, mutilate, rape, etc.

          Well, no, it doesn’t. Nor does building a bridge care if you murder. Because building a bridge, like evolution, is a process, and thus speculating about what it cares about is completely nonsensical.

          evolutionists make up reasons for everything, even finding reasons to support rape or murder.

          Feel free to provide examples of this claim. Also, you just said that genocide and slavery were ok. Hypocrite much?

          We cannot fully understand the Bible

          You’re speaking for nobody but yourself here. I understand it just fine, for I have the magical power of literacy. I obtained this power after receiving a paper cut from a radioactive book.

        • Joe

          Earth formed billions of years ago (funny, people USED to believe it was millions, then decided that was not long enough)

          Oh dear, we need another lesson on how science works, don’t we. The age of the Earth, as determined by science, has indeed changed, but this is because we have adopted new information. For example, Lord Kelvin calculated that the Earth was between 20 and 400 million years old, by determining how long it would take for a molten sphere to cool to its present state. His estimate, however, did not take into account radioactive decay, which heats the interior of the Earth, so his calculations fell short.

          Now, you could argue that the same thing could happen today, and you would be right, in principle. We do have a lot of evidence suggesting that the Earth is the age we think it is, so it is unlikely to change much.

          Isaac Asimov wrote an essay on this called “The Relativity of Wrong“. A quote from it that I like is

          “John, when people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.”

          In other words, science is a progression from more wrong to less wrong.

    • IceWhisper Flux

      The definition of marriage between a man and woman is when both people are PHYSICALLY mature, as in: ready to have children. Whether or not she is mentally mature is a different nature, but Biblically women were taught how to become wives and mothers from early ages. However, there is some thought as to when a woman back then became physically mature, there are some theories as to women becoming mature at later ages than now, like 16 or much later.
      Since the Bible ONLY condones and finds the union between one man and one woman as the ONLY good relationship, that means ANY other relationship (homosexuality, bestiality, pedophilia, etc) is wrong.
      Pedophilia today regards people up to a certain age as “adults”. However, it does not reflect the actual physical maturity of the girl/boy. Most pedophiles go after physically immature people, which is against God’s Word.
      If a person is mentally immature in relation to marital status, that is our fault. We are not teaching our kids how to become good parents, we rather teach them to have fun and other things. However, it would be wrong to force ANY person into a marriage (violates Commandment #5, where it is ALSO wrong to hurt a person, not just kill them). If a mature young person does not want sex, that person should not be forced to.

  • Glodson

    I knew his post would be painful to read. I just wasn’t ready for the attempt of my eyes to escape my skull in an effort to avoid his words. Really, you could have just posted his words with a five minute video of a guy farting and that would have been enough of a takedown.

    It was… I don’t the term of how deeply stupid and vile that was.

  • John Horstman

    Minor copy edit:

    As long as we keep them as secondary citizens, they’re kissing and such won’t kill the stock market.

    “They’re” should be “their”. (I find myself using the wrong form of homophones more and more, despite knowing the distinctions, and I really wish I knew what was causing it to happen.)

    • Azkyroth

      HOMOphones? Hello! It’s teh ghey agenda!

  • Steve

    A huge problem with Christians is that they throw all kinds of “sins” together. Everything is equally sinful to them. It’s why they can say crap like “I don’t care that you’re gay. We are all sinners after all”, or put masturbation, per-marital sex and sexual abuse on the same level. It’s all just sexual sin to them. They don’t know any nuances and they never acknowledge the concept of informed consent. It fits perfectly with their black and white world view in general.

    • smrnda

      This perspective really trivializes anything that’s seriously wrong, like rape or child sexual abuse since ‘sin is sin’ means it’s really not any worse than sleeping in on Sunday. Libby Anne on Love, Joy Feminism wrote quite a few posts on this topic.

  • Antinomian

    “As a pluralistic, post-Christian culture here in the US, what is our moral argument against legalizing paedophilia?”
    “I’d like to hear the arguments against it. I’m having trouble imagining them, most likely due to my own narrow addiction to divine revelation and absolute truth”

    Correct me if I’m wrong and taking this out of context, but isn’t he saying that if his god didn’t tell him not to, he would be the local chapter president of NAMBLA?

  • Anonymous

    In my experience “Your comment is awaiting moderation” on a christian blog usually translates to “Your comment will be deleted”. So I’ll just repost this here.

    The only people who are using moral relativism to defend pedophilia are apologists for the catholic church (and sort of you too right here in this post Bill). The movement to make pederasty socially acceptable is an unrealistic figment of your imagination. And the Guardian article did not take “a neutral view of the sexual abuse of a child” (but if you were willing to find any justification at all to reuse that old canard of ‘if we let men f*ck each other we’ll have to let them f*ck children’, and pretend it was some revolutionary new argument then I guess you could intentionally misread it that way). It took a neutral view of adults being sexually aroused by children. It’s how or whether they act on that arousal that has potential to do harm. That is what we should be seeking to prevent. And we have age of consent laws in place for exactly this reason.

    It is possible to take the view that someone’s sexual inclinations are not entirely their choice and not something they should be punished for while still vehemently saying that some actions should not be allowed (unless you need to see homosexuality as a sin so you can rationalize discrimination against gay people, in which case it would be harder for you to take the view that someone’s sexual inclinations are not entirely their choice).

    Do you really not see the difference between two people with the capacity to consent engaging in a private sexual activity that they both want to engage in which doesn’t harm anybody, and an adult forcing themselves on a child?

    Or is it that you assume everyone else doesn’t know the difference? Is it that you assume anyone who does not share your view of morality must have no moral compass at all? Is it that you believe anyone who does not get their moral code from a book that commands genocide and endorses rape and slavery (and pederasty) would have no way to determine if f*cking children is wrong?

    I can see why humanist ethics might seem like relativism to you. They end up agreeing with some of the stuff your church tells you, and disagreeing with some of the stuff your church tells you. If you’ve never considered any definition of morality beyond what your church tells you you’re supposed to believe, it might seem like we’re just picking ideas out of a hat and calling them good or bad based on how we feel. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

    Humanist ethics aren’t determined based on what we randomly feel like doing on any given day (nor are secular laws). They are consciously crafted to most efficiently meet the basic real world needs that any valid moral system must fulfill (an area where biblical ethics fall woefully short). It is about benefit and harm. You as an individual are free, but not free to harm others. When an action is considered to be harmful to others, then we can legitimately restrict individuals from engaging in it (drunk driving is illegal because you’re risking someone else’s life).

    When the moral values of secular society shift, it is because we have reexamined those values, found them to not meet the real world requirements of working moral values, and modified them to be more suited to their purpose (for example, no longer keeping slaves and marrying ten year olds).

    We already have a real world utilitarian basis for condemning a sexual act between an adult and a child (even in hypothetical cases where the child is not forced). It’s already come up. It’s already been settled. And the secular consent laws we have now are a result of that.

    Eighteen isn’t some magic line, and it might shift up or down a little over time as it already has. In many countries the age of consent is slightly above or below eighteen. In this country we divide adulthood lines into different phases. A minor can get certain jobs and a license to operate a vehicle at sixteen. A person is legally recognized as an adult at eighteen, and can then legally give sexual consent as well as vote in elections, purchase a home, a vehicle or an assault rifle, join the military (by choice or draft), rent adult videos, and gamble in indian casinos. And at twenty one a person can legally buy alcohol or a handgun, or gamble in real casinos.

    My point being, settling on eighteen instead of nineteen may be arbitrary, but having a line is not at all arbitrary. And while it is not eighteen in every country, you might notice every country has some line, and in pretty much all developed countries it is sixteen or above. The reason that every country has that line is because they are all reacting to the same underlying real world requirement to protect children.

    Not all people of the same age are of the same maturity level, but the basic principle still applies that a child cannot fully comprehend what they are consenting to by consenting to sex. This is the same reason we don’t allow children to do any number of other things. They cannot legally buy cigarettes or alcohol or sign their own injury waivers because it is assumed they cannot fully understand the risk they are engaging in. Similarly they cannot give legally valid sexual consent because it is assumed they cannot fully understand the risk they are engaging in. Even if there are some exceptions, a rule is not made for an individual and we as a society have decided to err on the side of caution. You can agree or disagree with this. But it is not without basis.

    That is why it is necessary to protect children. The reason it is not necessary to protect gay people from consensual gay sex is because it’s something they want to do which doesn’t hurt anyone. The reason it is not necessary to protect bystanders from private consensual gay sex is that it is a private act and doesn’t affect you in the least. There’s simply no reason for you to care about it.

    So the real question is what real world utilitarian basis is there for condemning gay sex between two consenting adults.

    • Nox

      And after eight days, my answer to his question is still awaiting moderation.

      • Nate Frein

        He let a few in. Now I think he’s simply bored with the topic.

  • smrnda

    What I never get is this association with same sex relationships and unbridled hedonistic ‘passion’ – I mean, are two men who do each other’s laundry living in a state of horrific decadence? Notice that the idea that same-sex unions are based on something other than sex alone doesn’t register with these people.

    Then again, these people tend to believe that, if not for sex, there’s no purpose for men and women to get together, and that if it weren’t for threats of damnation, everybody would be having an orgy in a second.

    Perhaps a lifetime of being in an authoritarian culture damages one’s ability to make independent moral judgments.

    • Andrew Kohler

      This is an excellent point. It’s like Tom Coburn (then a US Representative and now, FSM help us, a Senator) saying that the district he represented in Oklahoma believes that homosexuality “is based on lust.” (I guess he thought his district had no gay people?) This was during the DOMA debates; it’s in the Congressional Record. One wonders what he thinks is the basis for heterosexuality–every “heterosexual act” is motivated by a pure desire for procreation? And without this pure desire, sex is lustful decadence? The bill’s sponsor, Bob Barr (who’s changed his position since then), talked about the flames of “hedonism” and licking at the foundations of society and talked about Nero playing his fiddle while Rome burned. And often one hears the right wing describe gay people as “selfish,” for, um…I dunno, not being of the Borg and creating a traditional family unit with children as divinely command of all of us. I am completely unable to fathom this way of thinking, but I do not regret this.

  • Amyc

    You have a “joker clapping.gif” bookmarked?

  • Harv


    The typical UNIVERSITY now prides itself on DIVERSITY. But watch out when DIVERSITY becomes PERVERSITY. That’s when God will put His CURSE-ITY on the whole world (see Malachi 4:6 – NIV)!
    For dessert Google “Separation of Raunch and State,” “God to Same-Sexers: Hurry Up” and “Dangerous Radicals of the Religious Right.”