Normalizing Pedophilia

The author of this article in National Review is entirely wrong in his thesis.  Sexual attraction for children *is* a “sexual orientation” just as is sexual attraction to the same sex, and sexual attraction to the opposite sex, and sexual attraction to dead people, and sexual attraction to animals, and sexual attraction to high-heeled shoes, and sexual attraction *and commitment* to multiple women at the same time.

Just because one has a “sexual orientation” does not mean that society must approve of it. That has been, of course, the long-time bellowing refrain of gay activists—that because they have a hard-wired “sexual orientation” they must, perforce, be allowed to force society to approve of their actions.

That is, obviously, categorically false.  And the more that society begins to examine *other* sexual orientations that are currently not faddish, but will be soon, the more the falsity of the gay activists’ rhetoric will be revealed.

The existence of a long-term, inveterate desire towards sexual activity with a certain segment of a population—however currently faddishly popular that “sexual orientation” might be right now—does not mean that society must now approve of and bless the behavior that results from that long-term, inveterate desire.

Decadence is on the march! And now, a defense of pedophilia as just another “sexual orientation” has been published in the mainstream left wing UK newspaper The Guardian.  From, “Paedophilia: Bringing Dark Desires Into the Light:”

Paedophiles may be wired differently. This is radical stuff. But there is a growing conviction, notably in Canada, that paedophilia should probably be classified as a distinct sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality. Two eminent researchers testified to that effect to a Canadian parliamentary commission last year, and the Harvard Mental Health Letter of July 2010 stated baldly that paedophilia “is a sexual orientation” and therefore “unlikely to change”.

This isn’t news. We already know that those who abuse children sexually are always dangerous. That is why they must register with the police when released from prison.

Understanding causes is one thing–I’m all for it–but the effort is definitely underway to normalize the behavior . . .

Lessons From Deuteronomy: Suffering and Saintliness


Bill Muehlenberg’s commentary on issues of the day…

The book of Deuteronomy has been called the “Romans of the Old Testament”. Just as Romans in the New Testament is in many ways a high deuterpoint, rich in theology and spiritual truths, so too is Deuteronomy. It is an amazing book, and if you have not yet read it, you are missing out big time.

The trouble is, there are so many spiritual gems to be found here, so many important theological truths, that I could be writing a dozen articles with this title. Oh well, so be it. Thus this may well be the first of many such articles. But let me begin here. Consider Deut. 6:10-12:

“When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

This warning is found throughout Scripture. It is rather ironical, but when a person or a people come into a right relationship with God, they often will prosper and succeed, even in material terms. They become responsible, they work hard, God blesses their efforts, and they begin to do pretty well, materially speaking.

But there is always a danger in this. As they get wealthier or more successful or more filled with worldly goods, there is a very real danger that they will forget about God. The goodies in life drown out their devotion to God, and the very reason for their success is overlooked or trodden upon.

Yahweh here through Moses makes this warning quite clear: God will bless the Israelites, but they must not let such blessings become a snare to them. If they focus on the benefits of God instead of on God himself, they will get into trouble. And sadly this of course happened often in Israel’s history.

Chesterton once said that “the gift without the giver is bare”. Here the people are warned that it is possible they can so enjoy the gift that they forget about the gift-giver. This passage is in fact the first of three warnings given. There are three ways the Israelites might lose their love of Yahweh.

As Chris Wright comments, “Nothing, said the Apostle Paul, can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:35-39). Unfortunately there is plenty that can separate God from the love of God’s people.” Daniel Block in his new commentary of Deuteronomy puts it this way:

“With the wealth and excess we in the Western world enjoy, it is easy to forget that everything we have is a gracious gift of God. Sadly, too many of us fail the test of fidelity and faith that prosperity represents. We become like the rich farmer of Jesus’ parable (Luke 12:14-21) – smug and self-sufficient in our excess but paupers toward God.

“But the principle extends beyond personal, material, or physical well-being to the health of the church as well. Difficult days for a congregation test the faith of God’s people, but so do times of growth and apparent effectiveness. When our buildings are large and our congregations huge, then more than ever we must guard ourselves so that our commitment extends beyond glib confessions of love for God, or regurgitation of creedal affirmations, or emotional passion in cultic worship, to the daily obedience of faith. Jesus said, ‘If you love me, you will obey my commands’ (John 14:15).”

Exactly right. So great is this temptation for riches, wealth, success and abundance to draw us away from God, that God in his mercy and grace will often allow us to lose our goodies, or indeed experience pain and suffering, to get us back on track.

We must thank him for this. We are far too prone to wander, to forget God, to get enamoured with things. C. S. Lewis spoke much of this truth. In the film Shadowlands we find Lewis speaking in a university lecture: “I’m not sure that God wants us to be happy. I think He wants us to be able to love and be loved. He wants us to grow-up. We think our childish toys bring us all the happiness there is and that our nursery is the whole wide world. But something must drive us out of the nursery to the world of others. And that something is suffering.”

This of course derives mainly from his very important 1940 volume, The Problem of Pain. Let me here quote just one passage from this classic volume:

“My own experience is something like this. I am progressing along the path of life in my ordinary contentedly fallen and godless condition, absorbed in a merry meeting with my friends for the morrow or a bit of work that tickles my vanity today, a holiday or a new book, when suddenly a stab of abdominal pain that threatens serious disease, or a headline in the newspapers that threatens us all with destruction, sends this whole pack of cards tumbling down. At first I am overwhelmed, and all my little happinesses look like broken toys.

“Then, slowly and reluctantly, bit by bit, I try to bring myself into the frame of mind that I should be in at all times. I remind myself that all these toys were never intended to possess my heart, that my true good is in another world and my only real treasure is Christ. And perhaps, by God’s grace, I succeed, and for a day or two become a creature consciously dependent on God and drawing its strength from the right sources. But the moment the threat is withdrawn, my whole nature leaps back to the toys: I am even anxious, God forgive me, to banish from my mind the only thing that supported me under the threat because it is now associated with the misery of those few days.

“Thus the terrible necessity of tribulation is only too clear. God has had me for but forty-eight hours and then only by dint of taking everything else away from me. Let Him but sheathe that sword for a moment and I behave like a puppy when the hated bath is over – I shake myself as dry as I can and race off to reacquire my comfortable dirtiness, if not in the nearest manure heap, at least in the nearest flower bed. And that is why tribulations cannot cease until God either sees us remade or sees that our remaking is now hopeless.”

We can and should thank God for the good times, for the successes and the triumphs. But until we can also as fully thank him for the hard times, the trials, and the suffering he allows to come our way, we will never know God as fully as we ought. Innumerable saints can testify to these truths. Let me close with just three of them:

“Affliction is the best book in my library.” Martin Luther

“If you knew the value of trials, you would praise God for them more than for anything.” Smith Wigglesworth

“I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have ever learned in my seventy-five years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness, whether pursued or attained. In another world, if it ever were possible to eliminate affliction from our earthly existence by means of some drug or other medical mumbo jumbo, as Aldous Huxley envisaged in Brave New World, the result would not be to make life delectable, but to make it too banal and trivial to be endurable. This, of course, is what the cross signifies. And it is the Cross, more than anything else, that has called me inexorably to Christ.” Malcolm Muggeridge

PMS 1: My Conscience Says Let the Good Times Roll

Today marks the start of a new temporary daily feature here at Stand Firm. I’m calling it Papal Malarkey Syndrome (PMS for short), named in benedicthonor of that famous pseudo-Catholic Joe Biden, who apparently thinks he coined the middle word. This feature will be dedicated to the silly, uninformed, bizarre, and downright dopey things that will be said about the papacy, Benedict XVI, his successor, and the Roman Catholic Church in general over the next several weeks leading up to and including the conclave that will name the next Pope.

The first victim of PMS is Mary E. Hunt, whose brief bio declares:

Mary E. Hunt, Ph.D., is a feminist theologian who is co-founder and co-director of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. A Roman Catholic active in the women-church movement, she lectures and writes on theology and ethics with particular attention to liberation issues.

In other words, she’s a pseudo-Catholic whose real religion is feminist ideology, and who devoutly desires a Catholic Church that looks exactly like Episcopalianism. Writing at Religion Dispatches, she latches on to one sentence in Pope Benedict’s resignation announcement, and uses it to justify every liberal Catholic’s dreams:

But before looking for the backstory there’s something in Benedict’s resignation statement that bears noting: “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”

Conscience, Benedict reminds us today, is still primary for Catholics. Examination of conscience: that is just the formula millions of us use to explain why we use birth control, enjoy our sexuality in a variety of ways, and see enormous good in other religious traditions. Conscience is the ultimate arbiter, and the Pope relied on his. Good on him, and good on the rest of us.

There has been a lot of fudging on the matter of conscience in recent decades. The post-Vatican II hierarchy has claimed that conscience is primary if, and only if, it is informed as they see fit. But Pope Benedict XVI is giving conscience a new lease on life. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander—the appeal to conscience cannot be denied now that the Pope himself has had recourse to it.

So, because the pope consulted his conscience to seek to discern God’s will for whether he should remain in office, Hunt thinks that means that Catholics who want to throw over Church teaching on contraception and homosexuality, and embrace relativistic religious pluralism, need only consult their “conscience” in order to obtain the necessary license. Quick, easy, guilt-free, and sanctioned by the Pope himself!

Confessions of a sinking millennial: Time for our generation to accept personal responsibility

By Chris Kornelis – Special to The Washington Times

Illustration by Greg Groesch

I bought my house in July 2006, a month that history will remember as one of the least opportune times to buy a home since our local roads were paved by FDR’s WPA. In the six years that have followed, things haven’t been easy: A serial killer dropped by the north end of my street, the south end became a Superfund, and my house went underwater.

Only the last clause of the previous sentence is a metaphor. My house, thankfully, was not inundated by a massive hurricane. But a serial killer is at large in my neighborhood, and his latest victim was found two blocks from my house. The police stripped a parcel two lots down from mine looking for the murder weapon. At the other end of my street, the EPA has designated the land once home to a coal-gasification plant and fuel-oil storage facilities a bona fide Superfund site. It goes without saying that this hasn’t been good for property values.

These are events that nobody — including my mortgage broker and my real estate agent — could have foreseen in July 2006. But I’m no victim. (A single woman who moved to my neighborhood in search of a quiet life is the victim here.) My family and I are living with the consequence of our financial decisions. With hindsight, I realize that I have made some terrible, horrible, very bad mistakes.

I don’t have the bankroll to cushion us against the hits. I never have. Like many young people in the aughts, we bought as much house as we could with no money down. Bad move.

My household has more than its share of student and credit card debt. I didn’t expect my salary to be frozen for half a decade, and I assumed the spending was a temporary solution to a temporary problem. Bad assumption. Two months ago, I got a notice from my student loan company telling me that my monthly payment was about to double. It took a minute, but I thought back to the day I agreed to those repayment terms. By the time my payment obligations spike, I remember thinking, I’ll be so flush that it won’t even be an issue.

I’m not the victim of a greedy banker or a sluggish economy. I am living with the consequences of my decisions. Some of them were bad, and all of them came with risks.

There have been many far more serious victims of the Great Recession and the anemic recovery than me, of course — people who have lost their jobs, their homes, breadwinners who have lost a defining sense of self. Although I have never felt more than a step or two away, I still have a home and I still have a job.

But too often there has not been a distinction made between the victims and people, like me — among the majority of Americans who are not unemployed or underemployed, but didn’t act as prudently as they should have — who made poor decisions.

More and more, our no-fault culture looks upon people like me as victims of someone else’s misdeeds. It’s a lie. I knew what I was getting into. So did my peers — like those millennials we have read about who wept in surprise and horror when they received their first bills for six-figure educations in the arts, education and other professions that are important yet modestly paid.

Things would have been easier for all of us if the economy were booming. But if we’re going to learn anything from the Great Recession, it’s that life comes with risk, boom times aren’t a guarantee, there is a difference between being a victim of a tragedy and living with the consequences of our decisions, and we should plan accordingly.

We never know when a serial killer or superfund is around the corner.

Read more:
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

NORFOLK, VA: For same-sex couples, new rite is a blessing

By Jeff Sheler
The Virginian-Pilot

In early March, the Rev. John Rohrs will stand at the altar of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in West Ghent and conduct a controversial ritual that will be the first of its kind for the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia.

Rohrs will seek God’s blessing for a gay couple’s commitment as partners for life. The new liturgy was approved by the denomination last summer.

“It’s not a wedding. It’s not a marriage,” he explained. “It’s a unique liturgy designed to ask God to bless the relationship of a same-gender couple and their lifelong commitment.”

Performing the rite, Rohrs said, “fits with how we as a parish understand the gospel and our call to share the love of God with each other and the world around us.”

The 101-year-old parish, he said, “has a history of openness and inclusion” that predates his appointment as rector in 2009.

In the 1980s, the church became a pioneer in ministering to people with HIV/AIDS, providing nursing care and meals for men and their families stricken with the disease.

The church’s rector at the time, the Rev. Charles Joy, “did a lot of funerals for people who may not have felt welcome in other churches,” Rohrs said. “Those efforts, I think, really shaped the culture of this parish.”

In a parish that has approximately 450 members, roughly 20 to 30 are gay.

St. Andrew’s is also a diverse flock in other ways.

Though predominantly white, Rohrs said, “our people come from all walks of life, have various theological and political views and good age variety.” Many live in the neighborhood, but most come from other parts of Hampton Roads, he said.

After years of fighting over gender issues, the denomination’s General Convention in July approved provisional use of an official liturgy – entitled “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” – starting this year.

Previously, churches were permitted to conduct same-gender blessings, but there was no standard ritual.

The convention action allows bishops to authorize priests in their dioceses to use the liturgy, even in states where same-sex marriage is not permitted. Priests are not required to perform the rite, and bishops may choose not to allow its use in their dioceses.

Bishop Herman Hollerith set guidelines in the fall for parishes seeking to use the liturgy in the Diocese of Southern Virginia, which stretches west to Danville and north to the southern Richmond suburbs.

St. Andrew’s was the first to apply and obtain his approval. At least four other parishes are close to completing the application process, he said.

“I’m very pleased that St. Andrew’s has decided that doing this is part of their mission and ministry,” said Hollerith, who voted in favor of the liturgy at the General Convention.

He noted that many parishes in the diocese “are not comfortable with covenantal blessings, and that’s normative. We consider ourselves a pretty broad church, and we have people with varying opinions.”

Under his guidelines, Hollerith said, the St. Andrew’s vestry, or governing board, “had to go through a discernment process that we created for parishes that were requesting this” to determine whether a “reasonable consensus exists” on the matter.

In an online message to the diocese after the convention, Hollerith said he would not authorize use of the rite in a parish “if there is any indication that it may be used as a ‘wedge issue’ between clergy and their congregation.”

Rohrs said he began preparing his congregation for it in the fall.

“I started talking with our vestry about it, knowing that the guidelines were coming, to get it on their radar screen,” he said.

In November, he conducted an adult forum on the subject during the Sunday School hour.

“A bunch of folks came, and I explained the process and guidelines, again to kind of educate folks.”

Afterward, the couple who will exchange vows in March approached him and asked whether he would conduct the service for them.

“That added a sense of urgency to the process,” Rohrs said.

Later that month, the vestry voted unanimously to seek authorization.

Rohrs said while he hasn’t encountered any resistance, “I’m sure there are a handful of folks in our congregation who aren’t crazy about the idea. But on the whole, I think it has been pretty widely embraced.”

The couple declined to be interviewed or identified for this story.

Rohrs described them as active members of the parish who have been together for nearly 10 years.

“These are two people who, because they are gay, have known a good amount of pain and judgment and hate directed at them,” Rohrs said. “They want to make a public commitment, but they want to do that in front of people they know will love them and not cause further pain.”

The date and time of the service are not being publicly announced, Rohrs said, because the couple is “fearful people who would want to use the occasion for protest or judgment would find a way to get their foot in the door.”

Still, he said, the couple and the parish as a whole are looking forward to a time of celebration.

“Our intention is not for this to be a big political statement or publicity stunt, or anything but to focus on the opportunity to worship together and to ask God’s blessing on this couple and their commitment,” Rohrs said. “That’s the spirit with which we are approaching it.”