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A Scriptural Boundary for Man-Boy Sex?
By Carman Bradley
If a person likes to place himself at the disposal of another because he believes that in this way he can improve himself in some department of knowledge, or in some other excellent quality, such a voluntary submission involves by our standards no taint of disgrace or servility…[i]
Symposium, 385 B.C.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,
Fourth Edition (DSM-IV, 1994) states the following under pedophilia:
The paraphiliac focus of
Pedophilia involves sexual activity with a prepubescent child (generally age 13
or younger). The individual with
Pedophilia must be age 16 years or older and at least five years older than the
child. …Individuals with pedophilia
generally report an attraction to children of a particular age range….These
activities are commonly explained with excuses or rationalizations that they
have ‘educational value’ for the child, that the child derives ‘sexual
pleasure’ from them, or that the child was ‘sexually provocative’ – themes that
are also common in pedophiliac pornography.[ii]
L. Faris, writes that what the homosexual lobby groups want is nothing less
than a return to the pre-Christian paganism of the Greco-Roman world. They want sexual practices to be separated
from moral restraint. In the name of
“openness”, “tolerance,” “justice” and “love,” they want doing whatever they
want, with whomever they want, to have the same legal status in society as
marriage. They want their version of
“sexual orientation” (sexual behavior) to have the same sort of protection from
adverse discrimination as racial origin.
Specifically focusing on North American Man/Boy Love Association
(NAMBLA), Faris notes the Association wants consensual sex permitted with
children of any age in the name of children’s rights. Recognizing NAMBLA is too often considered only a fringe element
of the GBLTQ community, and therefore overlooked by the greater society, he
Is this [NAMBLA’s goal] really out
of line with the goal of sexual liberation that is implicit in the Kinsey
Report of 1948 or the kind of ‘value-free’ sex education that is being promoted
in many education systems?[iii]
argues that the return to pre-Christian paganism is not only implicit in the
“gay movement,” it has been spelled out explicitly in a “gay manifesto for the
1990’s” written by two Harvard graduates, Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen. Their book, After The Ball, concludes with a section entitled, “Gay Love Among
the Pagans,” in which they confess the emptiness, pathos and misery that the
modern “gay lifestyle” brings to people’s lives by the time they are
thirty-five or forty. They are no
longer attractive or sought after by younger homosexuals. Their answer to this problem, a return to
the “traditional gay family” of the time of Plato. Faris relates the text of their proposal as follows:
The ancient Greek
model seems to have worked something like this….As with all relationships, that
of the erastes and the eromenos entailed an understood exchange: the youth
would share his beauty and enthusiasm, the adult his strength, security,
and guidance – as well as more tangible assets, including training in arms, a
position in the adult’s business, and so forth. Both parties would benefit to an extent beyond mere genital
relief. From the point of view of the
community, as well, this arrangement discharged a natural need – for homosexual
gratification – in a manner advantageous to public character and morality. Similarly, it was understood that when the
eromenos became a full-fledged man – and absorbed all (socially valuable)
teaching that the erastes could impart – he would cease to be a lover, and
would marry a woman and sire children.
Neither his nor his former erastes’ marriage, however, would end their
friendship, nor prevent either one of them from forming a fresh alliance, in
turn, with a younger male…and so on.
Something like this, suitably updated (that is, without the wife and
kids), is what we tentatively recommend as a new ideal for gay men – family
structure of their own.[iv] [my underline]
and Madsen are careful to state later in the book that they would “not
advocate sex with minors,” but who is a minor? Puberty, they point out, is now arriving earlier in children’s
lives, often in the 10 to 12 year-old range.
And modern societies, under the pressure of various lobbies, are
lowering the age of consent. It is 14
years now in many jurisdictions and 12 years in the Netherlands. William Gairdner points out that we are not
far separated in legislation from the Netherlands. He writes:
homosexuals have become so influential and mainstream ever since about 1960,
that by 1977 the U.S. Federal Commission on Civil Rights actually called (so
far unsuccessfully) for a lowering of the age of consent for all sexual acts,
from the current 14 for heterosexual and 18 for homosexual acts, to age 12 for
both. Such a law would have given anyone the “right” to sexually use consenting
children in any way they pleased without fear of parental interference. In
other words, under such a law you could not legally prevent a 40-year-old from
seducing your ‘consenting’ 12-year-old son or daughter. In Holland today, the age of consent for
homosexual sex is 12, as long as parents do not formally object. Such laws, wherever they may arise in
history, always represent a blatant retreat by the State from its traditional
protections: of family, of sound parental authority, of children from bad
parents, of the sexual exclusivity of the family, and of normal procreational
Swift, in Gay Community News, writes:
We will sodomize your sons….We
shall seduce them in your schools, in your dormitories, in your gymnasiums, in
your locker rooms, in your sports arenas, in your seminaries, in your youth
groups, in your movie theatres, bathrooms…wherever men are together. All laws banning homosexuality will be
revoked…Be careful when you speak of homosexuals because we are always among
you….the family unit…will be abolished….All churches who condemn us will be
closed. Our only Gods are handsome
the reader, complacent in your confidence that Swift’s proclamation is just
rhetoric, research sexism in the Greek and Roman periods. On the one hand, “man-man” sex has become
more tolerated in liberal circles, depathologized by the American Psychiatric
Association, and has become increasingly decriminalized. On the other hand, “man-boy” sex has become
anathemized, pathologized, and criminalized.
Based on the rape and incest models advanced by the women’s movement,
man-boy sex was now seen as pathological because it was viewed as a form of
power abuse, producing intense psychological disturbance. Consistent with this new perspective,
Masters, Johnson and Kolodny drew sharp moral distinctions between man-man sex
and man-boy sex in an early edition of their textbook Human Sexuality. They
presented man-man sex (i.e. homosexuality) as normal and healthy, while viewing
man-boy sex (i.e. pedophilia) as pathological and harmful. This begs the question to gay and pro-gay
“Christians”: Where is the Scriptural boundary for man-boy sex?
Bruce Rind observed, that in a lengthy discussion entitled “Is There a Positive Side to
Pedophilia?” Masters had critiqued an interview study conducted by Sandfort
(1983) on a sample of 25 Dutch boys aged 10 to 16 involved in ongoing sexual
relationships with men. Sandfort
reported that the boys experienced their relationships, including the sexual
aspects, predominantly in positive terms, that evidence of exploitation or
misuse was absent, and that the boys tended to see the pedophile as a teacher,
as someone they could talk to easily and with whom they could discuss their
problems. Against Sandfort’s findings,
Masters argued that the study was methodologically flawed and speculated that
possibly the “boys were so intimidated by their pedophile that they were
afraid to say anything against him.” They discounted Sandfort’s conclusion that the
relationships were positive, arguing that man-boy relationships are “inherently
abusive and exploitive” and are always negative. They asserted that they were opposed to these relationships no
matter how beneficial either party claimed them to be.[vii]
to Rind, Masters included in their textbook nine historical and
cross-cultural examples of societies approving of male-male sex to provide
perspective on homosexuality. However,
all nine were relevant to the man-boy type; only two were at all relevant to
the man-man type. Given their
unqualified condemnation of man-boy sex in our society, it was inconsistent to
use predominately man-boy examples from other times and places to inform the
issue of man-man sex in our society.
This bias represented an error of commission - using examples to inform
issues with which they are not relevant.[viii]
reviewing 18 educational textbooks for bias, Rind found they all drew moral
and conceptual distinctions between man-man sex and man-boy sex in our
society. Man-man, labeled
homosexuality, was presented as normal and acceptable. Man-boy, labeled pedophilia, was presented
as pathological and harmful and was discussed along with other topics such as
rape, incest, and man-girl sex. He
found Ancient Greece and Sanbia were the most often used, occurring in 94.4 per
cent and 66.7 per cent of the textbooks respectively. Nine of these 10 societies are most noted for their sanctioned
transgenerational homosexuality (man-boy), whereas only one is most noted for
its transgenderal homosexuality (man-man) – none is most noted for egalitarian
homosexuality between adults. Rind discovered, all together, chapters on
homosexuality included 21 separate societies, of which 81 per cent were
transgenerational and 19 per cent were transgenderal.
Rind concluded it is hard to buy the logic that orientation outside of heterosexism
is okay, except pedophilia, which characterized so much of historic homosexual
behavior. How can one accept the
cognition that all other options on the Kinsey spectrum are “natural” except
pedophilia? Gay “Christians” who claim
God made us this way, and therefore GBLTQ sexual behavior is blessed, have what
evidence to privilege their innate orientation over pedophilia? Who is really the hardened invert? Surely
the pedophile is driven by innate instincts more strongly than those now
sanctioned in the GBLTQ community. In
spite of the prohibition against pedophilia and the penalty for acting out this
“orientation,” men continue to desire relationships (not all mutually bad, according
to Sandfort’s study) with the young.
Moreover, the likelihood of significantly overcoming this desire appears
lower than gay reorientation to heterosexuality. This being the case, the pedophiles deserve more sympathy than
the GBLTQ community presently gives.
The only differentiation appears to be the age of the partner. So for gay “Christians,” the pedophile issue
boils down to age!
orthodox Christianity a 14 year-old-girl is allowed to have sex with a man only
after a few conditions are met. First,
she consents. Second, her parents and
her church (including pastor) agree.
Third, the understanding is that this is a lifelong union. Last, the marriage ceremony is performed and
the public is made aware. It is
possible, but highly unlikely, with all these conditions protecting the young
adolescent’s interests, that an older, more mature husband can abuse her.
arrangements are needed to fulfill gay theological stipulations? Presumably in North America, the
Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) would perform a union if the boy in the
man-boy partnership was fourteen.
According to the DSM-IV, 1994, a marriage at age thirteen would be a
pedophilic union. However, if one could
go to the Netherlands and get a real homosexual “marriage,” the boy could be
twelve. Given the fact that
“pedophilia” has been around as long as prostitution, it seems surprising that
Scripture does not single out this behavior from other types of sexual
sin. One can only conclude that the
Apostle Paul must have considered it covered under the broader prohibition
against heterosexual sex outside marriage and homosexual sex under any
Waller observes the gay-rights pitch that homosexuality is biologically inborn
or is essentially an involuntary condition that is “beyond the reach of
moral judgment” and then argues:
The same logic would confer moral legitimation on
pedophiles, who could also and did claim that they were made that way and
therefore were unable to help themselves. [ix]
aspect of the controversy is not peripheral.
The virtual silence about male (homosexual) pedophilia and pederasty
maintained by the mental health and social-work practitioners for, lo, these
many years, is scandalous….‘Homophobia’ has been incessantly and unfavorably
been contrasted with tolerance of ‘alternative lifestyles.’[x]
also notes that among gay-rights militants, ideological rationalizations for
child sexual exploitation often take rather bizarre forms:
Many gay men acknowledge that they
have initiated encounters [with young boys].
They argue that these types of relationships offer young boys the only
real possibility for healthy acculturation into homosexuality…These attitudes,
so pronounced and accepted in [gay] culture…allowed a Covenant House-Father
Bruce Ritter case to develop and operate for twenty years…I despair of a
liberal culture in which such pathological behavior, such physical and
psychological traumas can be inflicted on children and adolescents, and
rationalized in the name of gay rights.[xi]
We must ask: What keeps the
“P” (Pedophile) out of GBLTQ? Moreover,
the concept of gay-youth liberation hotlines should be terrifying to most in
addition to all orthodox Christians.
John B. Murray, in his article “Psychological profile of pedophiles and
child molesters,” described how pedophiles see themselves:
Ames and Houston (1990) reported in their study that 77 paedophiles saw
themselves as introverted, shy, sensitive, and depressed. Personality test results tended to confirm
these traits and added emotional immaturity, fear of being able to function in
adult heterosexual relations, and social introversion (Levin & Stava, 1987)[xii]
The justification given most often (by 29 per cent of the sample) was
that the victim had consented. Having
been deprived of conventional sex was the rationalization of 24 per cent. Intoxication was stated by 23 per cent, and
22 per cent claimed the victim had initiated the sexual activity.[xiii]
According to Murray, many
acts of child molestation are single acts and are not repeated. However, pedophilia tends to be chronic, and
recidivism may be more likely if the perpetrator is homosexual.[xiv] Some evidence indicates that perpetrators are
shy, weak, passive, and non-assertive, with low self-esteem .[xv]
NAMBLA vehemently denies that
“consensual” sex with a child is “child sex abuse.” In July 1998, the NAMBLA agenda gained official status when the
APA published a study by three professors, Bruce Rind from Temple University,
Philip Tromovitch from University of Pennsylvania and Robert Bauserman from University
of Michigan. The report titled “A
Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using
College Samples,” a quantitative analysis of 59 studies, sparked vehement
criticism because of its conclusion that “child sexual abuse does not cause
intense harm on a pervasive basis regardless of gender in the college
population.” The authors want a
redefinition of “child sexual abuse.”
If it was a willing encounter between a child and an adult or an
adolescent and adult with positive reactions on the part of the child or
adolescent, it would no longer be called “child sexual abuse.” It would be labelled scientifically as
“adult-child sex” or “adult-adolescent sex.”
They want society to use a “value-neutral term.”[xvi]
The study which appeared in
the 1998 issue of APA-published Psychological
Bulletin could claim that “lasting negative effects of [child sex abuse]
were not pervasive among [sexually abused] students,”“is
a good study.” especially
males. They recommend a redefinition
[of child sex abuse] that would focus on the young person’s perception of his
or her willingness to participate and his or her reactions to the
experience. The APA claims that
publication does not imply endorsement, yet in no way has the APA criticized
the study nor renounced its premise or recommendations. In fact, on May 14, the association’s chief
executive officer, Raymond Fowler, said the report has been peer-reviewed and is "a good study."
senior director of legal studies at the Family Research Council warns the
reader that NAMBLA and others who want to have their way with our children will
use the APA-published study to attempt to change how we protect children from
sexual abuse in our public policies and laws.
Such efforts need to be vigorously and consistently resisted. LaRue writes:
As a lawyer who has spent many years trying to protect children from
sexual abuse and exploitation, I have more than a legal interest in doing
so. Between the ages of 5 and 8, I was
sexually molested by four different men.
The fourth individual used his three sons to hold me down in repeated
violent encounters. The authors of the
APA study would agree that all of the encounters were child-sexual abuse
because I did not consent and never viewed them with “positive reactions” –
quite the contrary.
What the authors need to consider is what impact the forced encounters
had on my becoming sexually involved at age 16 with a man in his 40s. That relationship was not forced – it was
what the authors define as consensual.
If I had been asked at the time, or at college age, whether I had
positive reactions to the relationship, the answer would have been a resounding
‘yes.’ I thought I was ‘in love’ and
believed that he loved me, even though he never said so. I realized later that I had truly consented
to sex with this man. I did what I did
because it was necessary to be with him – so that he would love me back. That is coercion, not consent. The law defines it as statutory rape or
unlawful sexual intercourse. Ask me now
if I have ‘positive reactions’ to the relationship. Mental-health professionals have found that sexually abused
children commonly become sexually promiscuous as children and adolescents – and
many of them probably think they consented.[xvii]
Michael Seto, in his review
of Pedophiles and Sexual Offences Against
Children, written by Dennis Howitt, argues that defining pedophilia as:
generic name for sexual offenders against underage persons’ conflates and
therefore confuses the study of the motivations and characteristics of men who
have sex with prepubescent and pubescent children (approximately 12 years old
and younger) and men who have sex with adolescents.[xviii]
In sustaining his view, Seto
the definition to prepuberal children is meaningful because the legal
definitions of ‘child’ can vary across jurisdictions and across time, while
puberty is a biological event that is nonarbitary and observable[xix].
At this point I am wondering
if this man ever had children of his own.
Is he actually splitting hairs over the difference between a 12 and a 14
year-old’s maturity when it comes to consensual sex? Seto writes:
from a evolutionary perspective, a sexual preference for sexually immature
partners is anomalous, while a sexual interest in sexually maturing but legally
unavailable partners, i.e. adolescents, is not.[xx]
I should state at this point I do not agree with social constructionist
arguments that, like consensual same-sex interactions in the past, the current
legal prohibition of adult-child sex is simply moralistic and paternalistic,
reflecting current attitudes, beliefs, and values about human sexuality. There is a fundamental distinction between
same-sex interactions between adults and sexual interactions between adults and
children, because there are empirical differences between adults, adolescents,
and younger children in terms of cognitive development, moral reasoning, and
experience. Most young children cannot
give true informed consent to sexual interactions with an adult because they
have less experience and knowledge, especially regarding sexuality, and
immature abilities to refuse consent in the face of the authority of an adult
figure or to appreciate the potential long-term consequences of giving consent [xxi]
To most readers, this is a hollow reassurance. Like Kinsey and Rind, Seto has a liberationist agenda. They all wish to release child-adult sexual activity from the closet to which it is confined. They would confine the term "abuse" to those contacts between adults and children where the child reported that she did not freely participate in the encounter or had negative reactions to it. But right and wrong for Christians is not decided by the experimentee’s feelings, but by God’s revelation. The Creator of this universe is defiled by the notion of a man-man man-boy sexual and moral boundary.
[i] Byrne Fone, Homophobia (New York: Picador, 2000), p.23.
[ii] Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-IV), Ameriacn Psychiatric Association, p.527.
[iii] Donald L. Faris, The Homosexual Challenge – A Christian Response to an Age of Sexual Politics (Markham, Ontario: Faith Today Publications, 1993), pp.54 and 55.
[iv] Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, After the Ball (Doubleday, 1989), pp367-368. Cited in Faris, p.55.
[vi] Michael Swift, Gay Community News, February 15, 1987.
[vii] Bruce Rind, “Biased Use of Cross-Cultural and Historical Perspectives on Male Homosexuality in Human Sexuality Textbooks,” Journal of Sex Research, November 1998, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2372/is_4_35/ai_53390357, 08/03/08.
[ix] Paul Waller, letter to the Editor, “Letters from Readers,” Commentary, New York, May 1997.
[xii] John B. Murray, “Psychological profile of pedophiles and child molesters,” The Journal of Psychology, Provincetown, March 2000. Cited Ames, M.A., and Houston, D.A., “Legal, social, and biological definitions of pedophilia,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 19, 1990, pp.333-342. Cited Lenin, S. M., and Stava, L., “Personality characteristics of sex offenders: A review,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 16, 1987, pp.57-79
[xiii] Murray, “Psychological profile of pedophiles and child molesters,” n.p.
[xv] Ibid, cited Bogaert, A.R., Bezeau, S., Kuban, M., and Blanchard, R., “Pedophilia, sexual orientation, and birth order,” Journalof Abnormal Psychology, 106, 1997, pp.331-335.
[xvi] Jan LaRue, “Legitimizing pedophilia opens the doors to predators,” Insight on the News, Washington, June 14, 1999.
[xviii] Michael C. Seto, “Paedophiles and Sexual Offences Against Children,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, New York, June 1999.