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Planned Predators and the moral structure of pedophilia

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By Anthony Esolen
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Oct. 7, 2013 (thePublicDiscourse) - The moral structure of pedophilia is simply this: the welfare of children is subordinate to the sexual gratification of adults.

Jerry Sandusky, former defensive coordinator for the Penn State football team, established a charity called The Second Mile, for boys, mostly fatherless, who were living in troubled homes. It is not clear that he did so initially to lure boys into a trap. But that is what eventually happened, according to the testimony of the men who recalled with shame and disgust their initiation into sodomy.

Raymond Lahey, former Catholic bishop of Antigonish, was apprehended in the Ottawa airport and his computer files scanned. They contained nude pictures of boys. Lahey resigned in disgrace. The Canadian press tried hard to conceal the sex of the children, and suppressed any report about the exotic destinations to which the bishop commonly flew. One isn’t to inquire too closely into travel agencies that do a hopping business flying men to places like Thailand, which teems with boy prostitutes. And girl prostitutes too; apparently Thailand is a favorite sweating-off ground for Korean businessmen.

We should be thankful that the Sanduskys and Laheys are still considered monstrous. But in contemporary America that condemnation rests on sentiment and not on moral reasoning. No one can simultaneously explain why their actions were so vile and uphold the first commandment of the sexual revolution: fulfill thy desires.

It may be argued that the boys were too young to give genuine consent. They were dupes. That may be true of the boys in Pennsylvania, but it cannot be true of the hardened street children in Bangkok. But the horror, the disgust, is out of all proportion to a memory of being duped. If somebody tricks a boy into giving him fifty dollars for a lump of fool’s gold, the boy now grown will look back on the incident with irritation and contempt for the trickster, but not with any horror. The shame of Sandusky’s victims arose not from the trickery, but from the act itself into which they were tricked.

Besides, the fact that a child cannot give genuine consent is not in itself morally decisive. We compel children to do plenty of things for their own good—or for what we say is good. A public school teacher in Toronto has written a set of lessons requiring young children to imagine wearing clothes appropriate for the opposite sex. He’s been congratulated, not by the wary parents, but by a school board that insists that teachers are “co-parents.” What he’s doing, of course, is subjecting naïve children to an exercise that promotes his own sexual aims.

No, it isn’t how Sandusky and Lahey did what they did, or under what circumstances, that explains the disgust. It’s what they did—but nobody wants to acknowledge that.

The reason for that reluctance becomes clear, if we keep in mind the moral structure of pedophilia. Sexual gratification trumps. Thank goodness that for now, there aren’t many men who are sexually attracted to youngsters. In that single case, we raise the banner for the children. But in no other case.

If we altered the question, and asked not how many people have done sexually abusive things with children, but how many people have done sexual things that redounded to the suffering of children, then we might confess that the only thing that separates millions of people from Jerry Sandusky is inclination. Everything that was once considered a sexual evil and that is now winked at or cheered, everything without exception, has served to hurt children, and badly.

We might point here to divorce. Unless it is necessary to remove oneself and one’s children from physical danger and moral corruption, the old wisdom regarding divorce should hold, if children themselves have anything to say about it. Parents will say, “My children can never be happy unless I am happy,” but they should not lay that narcissistic unction to their souls. Children need parents who love them, not parents who are happy; they are too young to be asked to lay down their lives for someone else. It is not the job of the child to suffer for the parent, but the job of the parent to endure, to make the best of a poor situation, to swallow his pride, to bend her knees, for the sake of the child.

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We might point to births out of wedlock. The child has a right to enter more than a little nursery decorated with presents from a baby shower. He should enter a human world, a story, a people. He should be born of a mother and a father among uncles and aunts and cousins and grandparents, stretching into the distant past, with all their interrelated histories, with his very being reflected in all those mirrors of relation, not to mention his eyes and his hair, the talents in his fingers and the cleverness in his mind. This belonging to a big and dependable world can be secured only in the context of the permanent love of his mother and father, declared by a vow before the community and before the One in whom there is no shadow of alteration.

Most parents grow reticent when the time comes to tell their children about sex. That reticence is right and natural, as is the quiet of a man’s voice as he brings his son to a holy place, the grave of his grandfather who died in the war, or the little old house where his grandmother was born. Sex is not about the mechanics. The parent must tell the child about the love that brought him into being; and therefore sex is about the past and the present and the future, and about all those who share in the great family network of begetting and of love.

Then along come the Planned Predators, with a cadre of—what shall we call them? What would we call them if they had no “credentials,” no initials after their names? What would we call the old man down the street, wheezing and giggling, who likes to show little kids pictures of people masturbating? I believe the technical term is “creep.” So then, along comes Planned Predators with their creeps, lubriciously introducing children to the delights of meaningless sex, with cartoons of talking penises and vaginas, of a girl bending over with a mirror to inspect her anus, or a boy in his bedroom abusing himself.

Is that unfair? Some people want to have their sexual flings, but are discreet enough to try to keep children away from them; not that they ever succeed entirely, but at least their hypocrisy pays vice’s tribute to virtue. But Planned Predators do not believe in that tribute. There are pedophiles of the body, and pedophiles of the soul. Planned Predators happily enlist the latter among their troops.

One wonders how Sandusky managed to do what he did for so long, without getting caught by parents. Well, the abuser separates the child from the parents. “This is our secret,” says the creep. “Don’t tell your parents,” sibilates the lizard. “They won’t understand.” “Your parents haven’t treated you right,” hisses the snake. “Your parents are old-fashioned. Your parents are selfish. Your parents have their own agenda. You don’t have to submit to your parents. You can be your own person,” wheedles the weasel, meaning: Submit to me.

That is the same strategy that the credentialed spiritual pederasts use. Parents are the enemy. The parents are kept in the dark. The parents are too benighted to know what is best. The parents—even such sporadically responsible parents as our generation has produced—wouldn’t know about how happy it is to be sexually free.

One begins to wonder whether it is not the harm done to the child that counts, in our world of advertising-as-truth, but the style with which it is done, or the class to which the child-destroyer belongs. It is hard for those who do not think about the essences of things to judge actions and not actors.

So the soggy-jowled sweaty old football coach Sandusky pins a boy to the wrestling mat and has his way, and he is justly condemned for it, but the little girl-loving Jimmy Savile, darling of the BBC, flaunts his immorality for years, to the knowing jests of many an unreporting reporter. So Kermit Gosnell, a man with the morals of Josef Mengele but without the same surgical skills, is nonplussed to learn that many a reliable immoralist expresses disgust at his having turned abortion into more than a hand-over-fist moneymaker: a hobby, with a delightful trove of preserved parts, cut from their owners to the jaunty percussion of the scissors.

What, after all, is he doing to those babies that differs in more than style from what the prim waspish feminist doctor is doing uptown in Rittenhouse Square? He laughs while he works, and she dons the serious mien of a soldier in the army of Equality, doing what she must, and making money for it—mustn’t muzzle that ox as she treads out the corn.

And the welfare case who, at her wits’ end, takes a whip to the boy who can throw her to the floor, she is led off to family court, she with the tobacco stains on her fingers and the voice ground down into tenor. But the sophisticated “single mother,” with her degree in Women’s Studies from Wellesley, living in the high-rent belt around Boston, dresses her daughter up as a neuter, and turns a cold shoulder when the child begs to be treated like an ordinary girl. No time in jail for her; rather a date for the savante nouvelle to lecture at the local library, one week after her friend lectures on the cruelty of treating dogs as if they were not dogs, and one week before her other friend lectures on gluten-free wheat and yolkless eggs.

John Williamson, self-professed swinger, the proprietor of a massive nudist and adultery farm, receives from the national presses an obituary worthy of a great artist or inventor, and no one pauses to ask how many children’s lives were snuffed out or made miserable by the perversions of their elders; but the former Pope Benedict, the gentle-spoken and staid professor of a morality that was not so long ago taken for granted by nearly everyone, he whose only sin is that he still calls a sin a sin, could only wish to be treated with dull neutrality, or even respectful enmity. Style, man, style.

Anthony Esolen is Professor of English at Providence College in Providence Rhode Island, and the author of Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child andIronies of Faith. He has translated Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata and Dante’s The Divine ComedyReprinted with permission from The Public Discourse

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received more than $400 million in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

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If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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