21 August 2012

Is Pedophilia A Version of Homosexuality?

I commented to a recent post on Facebook on this topic.  The punchline of the FB post was this-

Can you think of a more inappropriate place for a gay man or boy to be than surrounded by other boys? Why don't we just let child molesters teach kindergarten?

The context of the comment was a response to a recent Atlantic editorial piece that suggested that Boy Scouts be killed like rabid dogs for the BSA policy which prohibits homosexuals from serving as Scoutmasters. It was a typical leftist hit-piece and really deserves no consideration at all, other than as an example of the hypocrisy and the hate on the far left.  It was addressed by a response on Brietbart, and this is from where part of the quote came.

But I also have some problems with the implications of the comment.  Here's how I addressed it in my FB reply-

The argument from the left is that pedophilia and homosexuality are not the same thing. I think that's a true statement, to the degree that it is a sentiment more than a viable descriptor of reality. Pedophilia crosses a lot of other demographic lines than just sexual orientation. The problem is, statistical facts don't favor the sentiment wholesale. The probability of someone being a pedophile is pretty low. The probability of someone being a pedophile given that they are a homosexual is still pretty low, though it is much higher than the probability of being a pedophile given that they are heterosexual*. Correlation does not imply causation, and we shouldn't conclude that being a homosexual is a cause of pedophilia. However, we do know the statistical relationship is different, so we need to try to understand what the underlying causal factors are.

This is a complex problem and deserves a careful analysis, but in the mean time, children cannot be put at risk while we figure out the best answers to the important questions on causality.

There are two mistakes, both of them harmful, that can be made in this situation: (1) to wrongly accuse non-pedophilic homosexuals of wanting access to children for pedophilic reasons, or (2) allowing pedophiles access to children because we don't want to wrongly accuse someone of being a pedophile.

I hope the lesser of two evils is clear to everyone.
[*homosexual and heterosexual are meant in terms of the offense, not status in their 'normal' life...if 'normal life status' is considered, it appears more child-offending males are married than are single...this doesn't really add any information for obvious reasons]

The whole point of my post is this:  we can't equate pedophilia with homosexuality any more than we can equate it with heterosexuality.  Placing a gay man who is not a pedophile around boys is no more dangerous than placing a straight man who is not a pedophile around girls. Nonetheless, there are questions around this issue that remain to be resolved. One of the most daunting tasks is to find research which has been conducted in a neutral manner without an a priori agenda.  Try an internet search and see how many articles you can find that are not from either the far right or the far left, and clearly so. Isolating facts is difficult.  And all the agendas are decidedly not helpful to those seeking a legitimate answer to the questions.

So what are a few of the facts that cause one to question the causality?  Well, the first fact with which I can find almost no disagreement is, almost all sexual abuse of pre-pubescent children is committed by males, not females. The other fact which is fairly stable in the research, though it has fluctuated over time, is that about a third of sexual assaults on pre-pubescent children are on boys.

Determining which child-offenders is a heterosexual and which is a homosexual is difficult.  Self-identification is risky.  And arbitrary labelling is probably not very accurate.  For example, how do we choose to label the offender: by the gender of his victim, or the fact that he has a wife?  If he molests boys but is married (like the recent offender at Penn State), is he homosexual or heterosexual?  What if an offender (who is male) molests both boys and girls?  What do we do in the (rare) case of a male offender who is homosexual with his adult relationships but molests girls?

All these are going to be very difficult questions to answer. In the mean time, our duty to protect children outweighs our duty not to offend homosexuals who are indeed not pedophiles.

This is a divisive topic that deserves more thought.  It won't be easily answered because getting to the root of what causes pedophilia is not an easy task.  It is made even harder when the experts cannot consider 'sin' as part of the problem.  But it is a necessary task, and for many more reasons than simply finding the best policy for the Boy Scouts of America concerning who can be a Scoutmaster.

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