I recently came across a discussion of a recent ruling about part of a polygamy law that got struck down. The participants of the discussion were mostly Christians, so of course the discussion turned to pedophiles and how since we are beginning to grant gay people the right to marry, it will inevitably lead to pedophilia just being a sexual orientation. Then somebody came in saying they had read an article about the American Psychiatric Association doing just that.
It took me all of 30 seconds on Google to find that that was not true. It turns out that the APA, in the midst of a series of changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), accidentally labeled pedophilia as a sexual orientation. It was quickly corrected and the APA issued a statement, but the right-wing media had already exploded and flung the story to the ends of the Internet.
We all know Christians don’t like marriage equality, which is really what this is about. They love the “slippery slope” argument that says if we allow all consenting adults equal rights to marry, it will inevitably lead to pedophiles being provided with all the kids they can get their hands on and there will be nothing anybody can do about it. They don’t like marriage equality. That’s fine. But we’re not going to make laws based on what Christians do and don’t like. We’re talking about consenting adults who aren’t hurting anything other than Christians’ feelings. Get over it.
It appears there is a genetic component to pedophilia. Whether Christians or anyone else likes that or not doesn’t change whether it’s true or not. We know there is a genetic component to addictive behavior. Denying that won’t make it any less true. Recognizing that doesn’t mean we just accept bad behavior or crimes when one is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. We don’t just throw up our hands and say, “well he’s an alcoholic and it’s genetic so we just can’t punish him for DUI and killing people.”
No, we punish those who harm other people, while trying to help them before they do. Recognizing underlying components of diseases or disorders means we can better deal with them, and help those afflicted with them. We help alcoholics, but we still punish bad behavior. Likewise with pedophilia, recognizing a genetic component does not mean endorsement. It means we have a better understanding of it and can better deal with it. It also means that, while still punishing bad behavior and protecting innocent people from harm, we can show compassion and help people deal who suffer from harmful desires and urges. And if there is a genetic component, then at some level pedophiles are partly victims of their own disease as well and we have a responsibility to help them, both for their sake and for their victims’.
This can certainly help potential victims too. Gaining understanding of pedophilia means we are better able to treat and manage pedophiles, perhaps even detecting those likely to have such a gene. There are problems with this too of course, but the point is that more knowledge is a good thing.
But of course, Christians are hysterical about marriage equality, so they just love to toss around the “slippery slope” argument. Ah of course, if we allow gays to marry, next thing we can’t stop people from kiddie fiddling. Riiiiiight. And we’ll have to let people marry their cat. Of course. It has nothing to do with rights of consenting adults. Nope, can’t be that.
Another comment was along the lines of what wicked times we’re living in. Yep, we sure are. The way Christians have treated homosexuals is incredibly wicked. But don’t worry, we’re standing up to them.