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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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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

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