"The five marks of the Roman decaying culture : Concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth; Obsession with sex and perversions of sex; Art becomes freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original; Widening disparity between very rich and very poor; Increased demand to live off the state."
It seems as if America is displaying every sign of a culture on its way out. Perhaps most alarming of the marks cited by Gibbon is the rapidity with which sexual perversion has become accepted in the United States.
Homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality were behaviors and mindsets that were viewed as deviant and perverse only a few decades ago. They were first accepted as alternative lifestyles and now are deemed normal by the culture at large.
Very few sexual taboos remain in America. One behavior, however, still verboten is pedophilia. Yet seeds of tolerance currently are being planted that, if they come to fruition, will result in sex between adults and children being accepted as normal.
B4U-ACT is an organization that, according to its website, wants to remove the stigma from "minor-attracted persons" -- aka pedophiles. It also rejects pedophilia as a behavior that should be viewed as deviant or perverted.
B4U-ACT asserts on a webpage titled "Fact Sheet" the following: "No one chooses to be emotionally and sexually attracted to children or adolescents. The cause is unknown; in fact, the development of attraction to adults is not understood. A large number of theories involving hormonal influences, genetics, evolutionary processes, negative socialization, poor parental relationships, and childhood sexual experiences have been proposed...."
Nowhere on its website does B4U-ACT condone adults cavorting with children, mainly because it is illegal. Age of consent laws exist in every state that are designed to protect children and teens from being manipulated by adult sexual deviants.
In August 2011, B4U-ACT sponsored a conference in Baltimore, with the purpose of addressing the misunderstanding of adults who are sexually attracted to children and to challenge the entry for pedophilia in the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" of the American Psychiatric Association.
Fred Berlin, founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic, was the conference's keynote speaker. Berlin compared society's reaction to pedophilia to that of homosexuality prior to the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision by the Supreme Court that resulted in the decriminalization of sodomy.
Similar to the homosexual movement in the late 1960s, the movement to view pedophiles as misunderstood and unjustly persecuted is gaining momentum. The term "sexual orientation" in relation to pedophilia is being used more and more -- and not just by whacked-out activists but by so-called "respected" academicians and physicians.
"Male Intergenerational Intimacy: Historical, Socio-Psychological and Legal Perspectives" is a collection of writings by scholars, mostly European but some with American academic affiliations, published in 1991. The writers argue favorably for what they call "intergenerational intimacy."
Ken Plummer, one of the contributors, writes that "we can no longer assume that childhood is a time of innocence simply because of the chronological age of the child." In fact, "a child of seven may have built an elaborate set of sexual understandings and codes which would baffle many adults."
Richard Gardner, clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University from 1963 until his death in 2003, argued that America's attitude toward child sexual encounters was out of step with the cultures of the world. In his book "True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse," Gardner wrote: "Older children may be helped to appreciate that sexual encounters between an adult and a child are not universally considered to be reprehensible acts. The child might be told about other societies in which such behavior was and is considered normal...."
Gardner blamed what he described as the oppressive morality of the Bible for the American view of pedophilia. In his book, he asserted, "It is of interest that of all the ancient peoples it may very well be that the Jews were the only ones who were punitive toward pedophiles."
In 2002, the University of Minnesota Press published a book by journalist Judith Levine titled, "Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex." In it she wrote, "Teens often seek out sex with older people, and they do so for understandable reasons: an older person makes them feel sexy and grown-up, protected and special." It is worth noting that Levine acknowledges having had an affair with an adult when she was a minor.
And, in September, noted atheist Richard Dawkins told Time magazine he could not condemn "the mild pedophilia" he experienced as a schoolboy in England in the 1950s.
Dawkins recounted how one of his teachers "pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts." He said other children had similar encounters with the same teacher but concluded, "I don't think he did any of us lasting harm."
Other individuals could be quoted as viewing sex between children and adults as anything but harmful. Many of them believe that the age of consent should be significantly lowered throughout the U.S. Some want the laws abolished.
Advocates of pedophilia are following in the footsteps of homosexual, bisexual and transsexual activists as they plant seeds of tolerance they hope will develop into the flower of acceptance. If that happens, America will rapidly join Rome as just another culture for historians to study.
Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press, director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention's office of public affairs, and editor of the Baptist Message (www.baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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