Click to read Ephesians 6:10-18
| Print |
We recommend "Landscape" print layout.

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]

                                                                        Plato, 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]

Donald 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 warns:

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]

Faris 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]

Hunter 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:

Unbelievably, radical 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 life.[v]

Michael 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 young men.[vi]

For 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]

According 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]

After 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!

In 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.

What 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 conditions.

Paul 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]

Says Waller:

This 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]

Walker 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."

Jan LaRue, 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:

…a 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 writes:

Restricting 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:

Also, 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. 


Copyright © 2008 StandForGod.Org

[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.

[v] William Gairdner, The War Against the Family (Stoddart, 1992), p. 357.  Cited in Faris, p.56.

[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,, 08/03/08.

[viii] Ibid. 

[ix] Paul Waller, letter to the Editor, “Letters from Readers,” Commentary, New York, May 1997.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] Ibid.

[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.

[xiv] Ibid.

[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.

[xvii] Ibid.

[xviii] Michael C. Seto, “Paedophiles and Sexual Offences Against Children,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, New York, June 1999.

[xix] Ibid.

[xx] Ibid.

[xxi] Ibid.