Paedophilia: Why Not?

Paedophilia: Why Not? January 8, 2013

Paedophilia. Why not?

Some of you are shocked that I would even bring up the topic of adults having sexual relations with children: “How could you ask such a question?! And on a religious site, no less!” Some of you caught wind of it in my FaithWalker’s Daily report this morning. Others of you may have stumbled across this post expecting something very different.


For all of you, my question is this: As a pluralistic, post-Christian culture here in the US, what is our moral argument against legalizing paedophilia?

Paedophilia: It’s Closer Than You Think

I recall thinking quite clearly, way back in the ancient 1980s, that homosexual relationships would never become acceptable. And homosexual marriage? We all just laughed back then. The church certainly didn’t talk about it much. After all, why encourage it by bringing it up. Fast-forward a few decades, and here we are.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m thinking we, both the body of Christ and the greater culture, should practice some prescience on this one. Maybe we can look ahead to see an issue that currently is dismissed as illegal and perverted and prepare to resist the movement already under way to shift it into mainstream acceptance.

The recent UK Guardian story Paedophilia: bringing dark desires to light, triggered this discussion, of course, as it presented what is essentially a neutral view of paedophilia. Let that sink in: a neutral view of sexual abuse of a child. I’ll include a few key quotes that capture the basic sentiment, “Why not?”

In 1976 the National Council for Civil Liberties, the respectable (and responsible) pressure group now known as Liberty, made a submission to parliament’s criminal law revision committee. It caused barely a ripple. “Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in with an adult,” it read, “result in no identifiable damage … The real need is a change in the attitude which assumes that all cases of paedophilia result in lasting damage.”

There is, astonishingly, not even a full academic consensus on whether consensual paedophilic relations necessarily cause harm.

But not all paedophiles are child molesters….Psychologist Glenn Wilson, co-author of The Child-Lovers: a Study of Paedophiles in Society, argues that “The majority of paedophiles, however socially inappropriate, seem to be gentle and rational.”

…the best current estimate – based on possibly flawed science – is that “one in five of all adult men are, to some degree, capable of being sexually aroused by children”.

This is radical stuff. But there is a growing conviction, notably in Canada, that paedophilia should probably be classified as a distinct sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality. Two eminent researchers testified to that effect to a Canadian parliamentary commission last year, and the Harvard Mental Health Letter of July 2010 stated baldly that paedophilia “is a sexual orientation” and therefore “unlikely to change”.

I know I should be impressed when “experts” talk nonsense, especially if they’re from Canada. But all this sounds like I’ve heard it somewhere before. 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. We’ve seen all these claims before in other settings. They have effectively swayed public opinion recently on issues such as homosexual marriage. We might even be able to say the same about the widespread acceptance of sexual activity outside of marriage and divorce in the decades prior. At one point in the Church and in Western culture, we could not imagine such behaviors becoming acceptable. Until they became normal.

How will paedophilia be any different?

The Brief Biblical Case against Paedophilia

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.

God designed sexual relations to be enjoyed between a man and a woman within the covenant relationship of marriage. Man and woman means adult male and female. It’s true that adult can be defined differently by different cultures, even in Scripture. But the distinction between adult and child remains a strong one throughout the Bible. And it should be a no-brainer to all — were it not for that whole noetic-effects-of-sin thing. It messes with our minds. Bummer, that.

So, in my Biblical paradigm, sin messed up all our passions. Now our desires can be twisted in ways God never intended; our passions can, and often do, get out of control. The Bible calls that lust, or desire on steroids. As a further disclaimer based on the definition of marriage given above, all sexual activity outside the bounds of marriage is ruled out by God. So there really isn’t much room to maneuver. When I see the world as God sees it, I can call paedophilia what it is: acting on out-of-control desires in disobedience to the Divine authority over all.

Frankly, even the convoluted arguments forming in support of paedophilia are to be expected within a Biblical paradigm. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (Rom. 1:22)

But How Can It Be Wrong?

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. We seem to derive our moral standards these days based on public consensus rather than an appeal to objective truth. Which raises that troubling question as I peer into the future. It is this:

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

Men must have a certain fund of natural moderation to qualify them for freedom, else it becomes noxious to themselves and a perfect Nuisance to everyone else. ~ Edmund Burke

I would argue that the claims for acceptance given above and hinted at in the Guardian piece only resonate with our culture because we are unwilling to question our own underlying premise — that individual freedom to act on our passions must not be curtailed, but left unhindered to the greatest extent possible.

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.

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]

Some will decry my use of absolutes and apocalyptic language, but I prefer to think of it as just thinking ahead. How will we as a church and a culture answer this question about paedophilia. I, for one, prefer to answer it while we still have time to think. 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?

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

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

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  • Jennifer

    Just to clarify (being a Canadian)….
    The Canadian psychologists referred to were testifying in a commission to determine changes to be made to the criminal act of Canada as it relates to sex crimes against children. It was their position that paedophilles could not change their desires through conventional therapy (and it is in this way that they said it was similar to homosexuality) and that therefore it was not a good option to suggest therapy (rehabilitation) in lieu of jail time for those that have sexual relationships with children.

    ” This leads us to believe that therapy or an order given by a judge for a course of therapy, even though it may be seen as good news by all, cannot be perceived as an alternative to incarceration nor a substitute for punishment.
    When we speak of therapy or when individuals get therapy and we feel as though everyone is pacified, the good news is often illusory. For instance, it is a fact that real pedophiles account for only 20% of sexual abusers. If we know that pedophiles are not simply people who commit a small offence from time to time but rather are grappling with what is equivalent to a sexual orientation just like another individual may be grappling with heterosexuality or even homosexuality, and if we agree on the fact that true pedophiles have an exclusive preference for children, which is the same as having a sexual orientation, everyone knows that there is no such thing as real therapy. You cannot change this person’s sexual orientation. He may however remain abstinent.”

    • I thought the Canadian comment might elicit a response from you :). Thanks for the clarification.

      • Daniel Berry

        I was surfing the web…But I wondered about another growing SECT of Islam.

        Pashtun social norms dictate that bacha bazi is not un-Islamic or homosexual at all — if the man does not love the boy, the sexual act is not reprehensible, and is far more ethical than defiling a woman.


        Boys were raped, kidnapped and trafficked as sexual predators regained their positions of regional power. As rule of law mechanisms and general order returned to the Afghan countryside, bacha bazi became a normalized, structured practice in many areas. Many “chai boys” are now semi-formal apprentices to their powerful male companions.

        Military officials have observed that Afghan families with an abundance of children are often keen to provide a son to a warlord or government official — with full knowledge of the sexual ramifications — in order to gain familial prestige and monetary compensation. Whereas bacha bazi is now largely consensual and non-violent, its evolution into an institutionalized practice within rural Pashtun and Tajik society is deeply disturbing.

        Just a thought!

  • Children are, as a general rule, more vulnerable to all kinds of harm. So we have extensive rules about what children can and cannot do to protect them, as a group, against higher risks. This is not just the case with sexuality–it is entirely possible that a particularly large, intelligent and capable nine-year old could safely drive a car. Nevertheless, we draw a line and say that they may not. So even if the Canadian experts were right, and some adult-child sexual relationships were not harmful, the obvious and massive risks are simply too high to allow it. What’s more, because (again, as a general rule) children do not have the judgment to assess risks and make informed decisions, we are not willing to allow children to decide whether in their particular circumstances the risks of harm are acceptable. Thus, children can’t vote, can’t decide to smoke or drink, and can’t even legally enter into binding contracts. And they can’t consent to sexual relationships.

    Certainly some adults are not capable of safely driving a car (or having healthy sexual relationships!), but our laws favor allowing adults the autonomy to make bad decisions and live with the consequences. Not so with children. Children are restricted from many spheres of adult activity because children are a protected class of human being.

    “You can do what you want as long as you don’t harm others (unless they consent)” is not a good moral compass, but it is where we draw the line between what we actually use the state to punish with criminal sanctions and what we leave to social opprobrium to police. In fact, we even take it a step further and punish people who engage in behavior that issubstantially likely to cause harm (i.e., recklessness). And, as a blanket rule, children cannot give consent.

    So the dividing line between homosexuality and pedophilia is drawn at the real and meaningful difference between childhood and adulthood, which is a line our legal system polices. The reasons we grant autonomy to adults generally don’t apply to children and/or are outweighed by the risk of harm to children and the risks to society if children are harmed (i.e., today’s children are tomorrow’s adults).

    • Vision_From_Afar

      As a Heathen (in the pagan sense) also navigating the secular waters of modern America, I couldn’t have put it better myself. I think you just answered his question.

    • But what if, in 25 years or sooner, we decide not to draw that line distinguishing between adult and child? It’s already becoming grey around the upper edges. On what moral, secular grounds could it be defended? I don’t see it as slippery slope conjecture. Clearly there are a growing number who argue it should be tolerated or handled differently than it is today. If our legal system did not defend that line, would we be able to make the case as to why it should be?

      • In what way is the legal line between adult and child becoming gray around the upper edges? Be specific.

        My point is, the legal distinction between a minor and an adult, and the differences in rights and responsibilities that minors and adults have and that adults have toward minors rests on clear and consistent public policy grounds. It is not only thoroughly embedded in most areas of our legal system, but it is and has always been (in our legal system) expressed in moral, secular terms. I challenge you to find a case where the court drew a legal line between child and adult based on moral religious terms. For ny reason. In any jurisdiction in the Anglo-American legal tradition. Ever.

        I’m not arguing that our legal system is a purely secular one–I think that culture is honestly to complex to meaningfully disentangle the roots of our social values. But I am saying that the justification for the different treatment of homosexuality and pedophilia in our legal system rests on the adult/child legal distinction, which rests on considerations that are (1) expressed in secular terms and (2) not going anywhere anytime soon (vague talk about “becoming gray around the edges” notwithstanding).

        You ask what would happen if the courts suddenly and unexpectedly abandoned all of the public policy reasons for maintaining the legal distinction between adult and child? Well, it seems to me that what you are asking is basically, “if our legal system abandoned the moral secular reasons for the adult/child distinction, what would our legal system’s moral secular reasons for the adult/child disctinction be?” You asked what the moral secular justification against pedophilia was, and I gave it to you. Now you’re saying “but what would it be if that wasn’t it?”

        As an aside, I’m not at all impressed by your contention that “there are a growing number who argue it should be tolerated or handled differently than it is today.” Have you been on the internet lately? There is no position so vile that someone, somewhere, does not vocally espouse it. The fact that someone, somewhere says that sex with children should be okay doesn’t indicate a shifting social consensus.

        • Thanks for taking the time to respond in such detail. I appreciate it. I understand your argument and find it reassuring. I’m not at all convinced that the moral secular foundation will remain which is why I asked what would keep it up from eroding under a coordinated effort to sway public opinion such as we have seen with other issues in the past? I interpret your answer as — not to worry, there’s a ton of legal precedent in Western civilization based on moral, secular grounds. I think I got it correct.


          • Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I mean, if we did have a broad change in social consensus about pedophilia (which would be truly horrible, and I don’t think it is even remotely likely), I can certainly imagine that the foundations for those laws would erode. They’re public policy foundations, after all, and if public policy changes, then the laws that rest on them are subject to change too.

            But in a nightmare scenario like that, I’m not sure why we would be obligated to stick to secular moral grounds to defend our children anyway. Because let’s face it, if our children were suddenly made wide open to legal sexual predation, the reaction by parents (and any remaining decent human beings) would be extreme, and if necessary, violent. Again, illustrating the fundamental principle at work here: we have a moral and ethical obligation–a downright visceral one–to protect our children.

          • I’ve continued to ponder your pithy comments and keep comng back to this point (pardon my calcitrant ways): What we are saying is that the best argument is that we have always done it this way, designating children as clearly different from adults and in need of protecting. I don’t think it far-fetched at all that a generation could arise thinking that history is bunk. Then the laws follow the culture. So the argument that we’ve always done it this way, just wouldn’t hold much weight with them. Not being stubborn, but there must be a better argument than an appeal to history.

            What argument could we make against such a public policy change in the face of appeals to children’s rights, appeals to scientifc experts who say such things are good for them, etc.? You don’t have to answer. Just sharing the question I’m still pondering….

          • No, Bill, you certainly have a point: the law is pretty much inevitably going to follow the social consensus. And while, again, I think that the notion that there will be broad social consensus in favor of pedophilia anytime soon is preposterous (can you really imagine a vast majority of parents just up and deciding that it’s perfectly fine to make their children sexually available to adults? Because I can’t), it is a useful thought experiment.

            The rationale for special protection for children is not because “we have always done it this way.” Its the other way around: “we have always done it this way” because there is a solid rationale for special protection for children (see my original comment): as a general rule, children are socially valuable, uniquely vulnerable to harm and unable to meaningfully protect themselves, and they lack the judgment to consent to risk, and in most circumstances, these considerations outweigh children’s interest in personal autonomy (and limited rights). “And we have always done it this way” is evidence that the argument is good. It has held.

            That’s the moral secular argument right there. And yes, if you eroded the moral secular argument, then you wouldn’t have that moral secular argument anymore (not that I think it is likely to be eroded away; it is not only comprehensive–it’s really a full battery of arguments–but it is also deeply-rooted). But even if you did, I think you have the parental instinct to protect one’s children, which is frankly very strong. So that’s the back-up, and I suspect that it would prove to be a sturdy one. If that eroded too? Man, I don’t know what to tell you–I can’t even imagine what moral and cultural degeneration on that scale would even look like. But at that point, I don’t think “moral secular arguments” would get you very far anyway. You would be far beyond the point where sound public policy arguments would stop even making a difference anymore.

        • John Horstman

          Further, the only way I can see such a major shift occurring at this point is if we somehow discover a massive body of evidence that adult-juvenile (I think the use of the term “child” confuses this issue, and I wish it wasn’t used as the default; I am still my mother’s child, despite having been an adult for some time; infant, juvenile, adolescent, and adult would be more-specific terms drawn from developmental biology) sexual activity is somehow not harmful. Perhaps if it suddenly came out that 80% of us had engaged in juvenile-adult sexual activity as juveniles and it wasn’t harmful to 95% of us, that might motivate such a change in perception. But if that were actually the case, then it would actually be the case that it wasn’t generally harmful, which does indeed raise the question of why we would want to continue to make it illegal. Of course, that’s not the case; even if the cited studies are correct that not all adult-juvenile sexual activity is harmful, most of it is. So, yes, a harm-based framework for legislating behavior does mean that if something isn’t actually harmful, it shouldn’t be illegal (as opposed to an ideology-based framework, like a Christian moral framework, in which some things are wrong and some are not, irrespective of harm). Your nightmare scenario, Bill Blankschaen, rests on the possibility that adult-juvenile sexual activity is not generally harmful, but since it is, the sort of slope you’re imagining isn’t actually slippery in the slightest.

          • Harmful is a relative term.

          • Nate Frein

            No, “harmful” is not a particularly relative term. We have many documented ways of gauging how well a child is developing, and have good metrics by which to judge if that development has been impaired.

  • That said, slippery slope arguments are barely even interesting as far as the law goes–you realize about ten minutes into your first day as a 1L that you can always make one, but that they are almost always alarmist and hysterical and rarely ever reflect anything remotely resembling reality.

    Just because social and cultural change does happen doesn’t mean that your worst nightmares are inevitable.

  • Darren Doane

    I think we are basically there. I would point to the R. Kelly underage child sex/video scandal. But you see, it wasn’t a scandal. No one really cared that R Kelly was having sex with a very young girl and video taping it and doing all other sorts of disgusting things to her. And if you read the quiet debates that were sort of going on at the time you saw a lot of, “well the girl was a very mature 13 year old”. R Kelly fans and the majority of R&B fans love him and will not condemn him. Why? Who knows. All i’m saying is that his millions of fans didn’t seem to really think this was disgusting.

    • Darren, I think your example is a good one. This is an example of where the lines have been getting grey at the upper end of what we legally clasify as a child. A few others come to mind in similar situations, unfortunately. I still have not heard any reason why or how we could resist such a move in our culture without appealing to an objective standard for moral absolutes.

    • Nate Frein

      I’m going to call nonsense on this. While many of his fans were willing to look past his actions, most people who were aware of his actions decried it.

      R. Kelly’s actions, just like Jerry Sandusky, (and like any number of Catholic and Protestant priests, Orthodox Rabbis, and Boy Scout troop leaders), are symptoms of a hierarchy’s tendency to protect an established name from crimes against a powerless victim.

      When we hear about these deplorable actions, society’s response is a clear anger against the transgressor…unless you have a vested interest in protecting that person or the organization to which that person belongs. The fact that these hierarchical organizations have the resources to hide people and snowball courts doesn’t change that the majority of society has a strong moral stance against the activity.

      The growing number of reported incidents isn’t so much a sign that they’re happening more often (at least, as a percentage of world population) but that greater access to information allows for victims to have a better understanding of what is being done to them, and makes hiding the activity away more difficult for the perpetrator.

      • Nate, Good point about the impact of easy information on reporting such incidents.

      • Jennifer

        I will also point out that the push to bring paedophillia “out of the closet” so to speak has been primarily motivated by the understanding that many paedophilles are currently too scared to get help (heck, I wouldn’t tell anyone!) and that the paedophille who has no support is much likelier to act on their urges. So the current attempts to de-monsterize the issue (NOT all paedophilles assault children) is at least partially an acknowledgment of the problem and its potential solutions rather than an attempt to make paedophilliac behaviour acceptable.

  • Darren Doane

    Additional thought. Porn pre 1970’s is very adult. But in 1974 Larry Flint launched Barley Legal magazine. It’s OK to look at these girls, they are 18 but look 15! We have had 40 years of Flints porn shifting moment. It is very much sinking in. Old porn was of women. Post Barely Legal it’s all pig tail, lollipops and school girl outfits. Just google “pigtails” and see what you get. It all starts somewhere.

    • Nate Frein

      I think the shift you’re describing has been ongoing since the 1920s or before, since when mass media on the whole has been shifting towards a much more androgynous female form.

      There are other problems with your argument. You haven’t demonstrated that “barely legal” style pornography represents a major chunk of pornographic production or market. You haven’t demonstrated any kind of correlative increase in actual child molestations. You’ve done nothing to accommodate for any cognitive bias.

  • trucreep

    Two consenting adults.

  • Improbable Joe

    The Bible doesn’t make moral cases for or against anything, It relies entirely on the claims of men that they heard voices telling them that some higher being wants them to do some things and not do other things, and there’s punishment if you don’t obey. That’s not morality or ethics, that’s just making threats. Not to mention the fact that every few decades there’s a new set of men who claim that the previous set of men got the interpretation wrong and now this new set of rules is in place.

    Really, Christianity has NOTHING to add to any conversation about morals or ethics… it simply doesn’t engage with the world in a moral way.

    • Joe,

      The Bible does make moral cases, of course. It claims to be the specific revelation of a moral, rational, and infinite being. No one claimed to have heard voices in writing it, nor does it contain contradictions as you suggest.

      What you seem to be describing is, in fact, a humanistic worldview in which there is no objective standard for truth. Consequently, its moral core can and does shift dramatically over time. Hence my question.

      I noticed that you did not answer the question I proposed, however. Does your worldview support a credible answer to this moral question?

      • Nate Frein

        I won’t speak for Improbable Joe but having read him before I think it’s reasonable to suggest that his view, like mine, was excellently expounded by Kullervo, and felt no need to reiterate what you have yet to respond to.

  • Badland

    I can’t believe I even have to write this:


    That is why not. Children cannot give informed consent to sexual activity. Gah. Dumb.

    • I appreciate your patience and pray your indulgence for one further question then:

      Who defines what is “informed” and is it subject to the changing whims of the populace? From the Guardian piece, “in the late 16th century the age of consent in England was 10.”

      • Nate Frein

        If anything, the age of consent has been pushed back since the late 1500’s. Marrying at 12 used to be common, now it’s a sign of a backwards or barbaric culture. And, if anything, it’s been the secular movement towards increased understanding of human development that has helped push this change. We now understand that the brain isn’t really finished developing until around age 25 or so.

        So, conversely, where in the received wisdom of the bible do we find guidelines for deciding a proper age of majority or consent? Remember that “late 16th century England” was a far more biblical society than our current, much more secularized society.

      • Badland


        If I am looking for a source of morality which is external to secular western law I would not give consideration to a bronze-age set of horror stories containing such gems as 1 Samuel 15:3 (your loving and just god said this? Really?), Psalm 137:9 (because killing infants is moral), 1 Peter 2:18 (endorsing slavery, always a giggle), Judges 19:25-28 (gang rape – yep, you’re looking good so far) or Exodus 22:18 (burn the witch!). I will take my chances with atheism instead.

  • Carina

    You sir, are clearly a very disturbed man.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Carina. I suspect that those who asked the same questions about same-sex marriage in the 70s got similar replies. But thanks for stopping by.

  • Consenting adults.

  • John Eberhard

    You say, “This is an example of where the lines have been getting grey at the upper end of what we legally clasify as a child”. Well, where does your babble book make it any less grey? EXACTLY where does it make its objective unchanging line between “adult” and “child”? Apparently Christian groups like FLDS and the Tony Alamo group missed it. Apparently Lot–you know, the only good guy in the city worth saving–missed it also when he offered his young virgin daughters to the crowd of rapists gathered around his door. He also missed it when this most favored by God man–this biblical role model– impregnated both of his daughters.
    The whole thrust of your article is that your source of morals draws the line better than secular sources, so exactly where does your source draw that line? Exactly?

  • Mr. Creazil

    It worries me that some people don’t understand the concept of consent.

  • B-Lar

    Your choice of rhetorical device is quite revealing of your intellectual integetrity.

    At the heart of your words is your concern for The Moral Decline as people start to find a way to determine whats right or wrong without the need for your (shambolic) absolute arbiter. You dont think its possible to be good without god.

    Your position is old and tired. It is very common to see slippery slope towards pedophilia arguments (second only to the Nazis), and furthermore, you are not enquiring honestly. Either that or your faith is somehow stopping you from using your brain like the rest of us.

    When it comes to abandoning tradtions, let me set you straight. If you have developed a capacity to determine why something is wrong (not merely settling for being told it is wrong) then you have a basis for accepting and discarding traditions. You are probably concerned that people are abandoning your traditions and are trying to draw a link between faith (the willfull denial of reality) and punishing pedophilia. Punishing child abusers is never going to be frowned upon and you know it, you dishonest little man. That is why you chose it as your rhetorical device.

    Dont talk again about moral integrity until you can actually express yourself honestly. This is the future and your bronze age weapons cannot touch us. Your only hope is to poison the well. DO NOT POISON THE WELL.

    • Jennifer

      >”If you have developed a capacity to determine why something is wrong (not merely settling for being told it is wrong”
      Part of what is at question here is exactly HOW we determine what is right and wrong. Do we follow the teachings of religious texts? Do we echo the moral beliefs taught to us by our parents? Are we born with a sense of right and wrong and, if so, where does that come from and is it common across all of humanity? Right now it is incomprehensible to most of us that paedophillia would ever become accepted. I don’t personally think that it will. That said, however, I have to acknowledge history. And history has shown that what is considered moral and normal can change. There are very few absolutes. Is it impossible that sometime in the future we will discover that paedophilles have a different brain structure and are unable to control their thoughts? There is already some evidence that this may be true. Will this lead to more social tolerance? Will we be afraid to be intolerant in the same way that we must not tease someone with Down Syndrome? Will we start to differentiate between pedophilles who are agressive sexual predators and those who aren’t? Shouldn’t we? Will evidence that children are not “harmed” by non-predatory paedophilles keep growing? There is currently not a lot of hard evidence to show that non-predetory pedophilles are seen as harmful by the children they “love “(And please know that I do not think that this is at all right or ok). Will we start to see the harm faced by ripping a child away from a loving parent who maybe touches his child inappropriately as being the greater harm if the child herself seems happy and well adjusted?
      Is there a real and moral reason – one that will stand the test of time – to protect our children from non-predatory paedophilles? I hope so. So far I haven’t been able to come up with anything other than, “we currently don’t think that this behaviour is ok and I would rip the head off of anyone who molested my child”. But in a World where Nazi germany could exist and where torture to gain information can be seen as a “lesser evil” I cannot say with absolute certainty that we will always feel this way (though I really, really hope we will).

      • Well, said, Jen.

        • Indeed. I think, given the rapid and dramatic social changes we are in the middle of right now, it is incredibly important to have these kinds of discussions.

  • Maria

    How are these passages, Bill?

    And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites … And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males … And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones … And Moses was wroth with the officers … And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? … Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. Numbers 31:1-18
    When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it … And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself. Deuteronomy 20:10-14
    How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give them of our daughters to wives? … And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children. And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man. And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh.Judges 21:7-11
    Go and lie in wait in the vineyards; And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh … And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught. Judges 21:20-23