Today as I sat in the allergist’s waiting room after my shots, I picked up the November 6, 2006, issue of Time and began to read the letters. One in particular jolted me because it so clearly illustrated a point I made in a recent post called “Red Flags and Crumbling Foundations—Is There Hope for Our World?” To remember the revealing quotes in this letter, I scavenged through my purse for pen and paper and wrote on the back of my checkbook.
In a letter dubbed “Taboo on the Tube,” Chicago resident Alexandra Dickson commented on a previous Time article, “Breaking America’s Favorite Taboos,” by James Poniewozik, who wrote about pedophilia in America. Here is the letter:
Taboo on the Tube
Re "Breaking America's Favorite Taboo" [Oct. 16]: Thanks to James Poniewozik for writing about the realities of pedophilia in America. The sexual molestation of children is awful and affects victims for years, but it is about time that America stopped ostracizing every group we think of as evil and instead started thinking of ways to heal sickness. Dateline's "To Catch a Predator" segments are a modern-day witch hunt that claims to protect America from its worst monsters. Better would be a TV show that examines how U.S. prison systems provide incarcerated pedophiles with counseling and, ultimately, freedom from their obsessions and childhood traumas. But I guess forgiveness doesn't reap the ratings that demonization does.
Unbelievable. Is this truly the opinion of an average American citizen? A female? How could she come to believe in such language and ideologies? She is a product of her upbringing—meaning the culture of United States, in the latter 20th and 21st centuries. Let’s look at a couple of key phrases.
1. ostracizing every group we think of as evil. First of all, our culture now believes that ostracizing in and of itself is evil. Secondly, apparently Dickson thinks pedophiles should be lumped in with sundry groups of misunderstood, marginalized people, such as those who choose the Goth lifestyle or eat insects or hoard magazines. But we’re not talking about eccentrics. We’re talking about people who force little children, even tiny infants, into sexual activity. It’s an evil, demonic activity; that’s why the general public has traditionally “demonized,” as Dickson says, those who choose to engage in it. Ostracizing means removing. Pedophiles should be removed from children, forever.
2. Dateline’s To Catch a Predator is a witch hunt. Has Dickson seen this show? These predators are not chased down or entrapped into illegal activity. They are absolutely rabid about finding children, driving for hours to get to the house for the promise of lurid sexual activity. They HUNT children.
3. Counseling providing freedom. Has Dickson read the recidivism rate for pedophiles?
4. Obsessions and childhood traumas. Maybe. Or how about Romans 1:26: Because of this [They exchanged the truth of God for a lie,] God gave them over to shameful lusts. (My emphasis.) Maybe pedophiles are in bondage to sin because they gave into shameful lusts. Maybe—radical thought—they are responsible for their own demonic activity.
5. Forgiveness. I believe that concept belongs to the victim, not to TV shows, governments, prison systems, or political movements. And what forgiveness ISN’T is letting people live unaccountably. Pedophiles are responsible for breaking the law. The first responsibility of our government is to protect our citizens, not forgive and regenerate the transgressor.
What world is Alexandra Dickson living in?
The same one that caused journalist Kurt Eichenwald, who is to be congratulated for assisting in the arrests of 1,500 pedophiles, to make a convoluted, scary statement in an NPR interview that I wrote about in my post:
Eichenwald spoke compellingly about how his own emotional health suffered during the research for this article due to the perversity of the subject. He responded to a question about the adults who victimize children by saying that he “almost felt sorry” for them. The interviewer, Bob Garfield, immediately asked Eichenwald to clarify, and Eichenwald then said that he was sure that most of the guilty adults would not have chosen this sordid life for themselves but somehow ended up in this precarious situation.
Talk about red flags going up—I had flares going off and sirens blaring.
Where have I heard this assertion before? Where have I heard it? I asked myself.
Within seconds I knew. I’m sure you’ve heard it, too.
The short version goes something like this, “Who in his right mind would choose this way of life when he knows that to expose the truth will ostracize him from family, friends, and even the church? Who would want to make himself a target and enemy to much of the public? No one. No one would choose this. It is an inborn, natural tendency about which there is no equivocating, and no escaping.”
I have tried to share with my children the ways the world has changed from the time I was born, 1962, until now. Aside from advances in medicine and technology, societal norms have changed, and behaviors that were taboo when I was a child are now considered acceptable to many—to those who adhere to the argument in the paragraph above.
“Keep your eye on the standard,” I tell my kids, “not on the talking heads, the lab coats and the movie stars.”
Several years ago, I predicted that once the first taboo becomes blasé and unglamorous, the next one will have to be breached. I believe the next will be pedophilia or bestiality—not that anyone would choose an aberrant lifestyle, of course; we all know it’s genetically irresistible.
When John Mark Karr was the hub of media attention, a reporter asked a man who knew Karr when Karr was married to a thirteen year old girl if he thought the marriage was odd. He replied, “It was their business.”
We are quickly descending to the place where all intimate activity will be private business; nothing will be illegal, nothing immoral. For years, people have been arguing, “You can’t legislate morality,” which may be the stupidest maxim ever uttered.
I can see the trend coming round again: first it’s the crass joke, then it’s a “scientific” study, then it’s a cause celebre, then it’s a matter of choosing sides, then it’s a matter of societal division, accusations of intolerance [or ostracizing] from both sides, and finally, disintegration.
We have been warned—“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”
Yesterday, our foundation trembled; today it shakes; and tomorrow, it may sink. But . . . as long as there is a remnant of people who lift up the standard that hung on a cross to save us from ourselves, there is hope.