I remember Mark Shea once writing that the culture which now, and properly, attacks priests for having sex with children will one day attack the Church for not condoning sex with children. This is not an exact quote, but since he is a fellow Chestertonian I doubt if he will mind.
I am reminded of this because of a new column by Peter Hitchens about Peter Tatchell who is prominent in the ‘Protest the Pope’ campaign. He reminds us of Peter Tatchell previous support of allowing sex with children.
For on June 26, 1997, Mr Tatchell wrote a start ling letter to the Guardian newspaper.
In it, he defended an academic book about ‘Boy-Love’ against what he saw as calls for it to be censored.
When I contacted him on Friday, he emphasised that he is ‘against sex between adults and children’ and that his main purpose in writing the letter had been to defend free speech.
He told me: ‘I was opposing calls for censorship generated by this book. I was not in any way condoning paedophilia.’
Personally, I think he went a bit further than that. He wrote that the book’s arguments were not shocking, but ‘courageous’.
He said the book documented ‘examples of societies where consenting inter-generational sex is considered normal’.
He gave an example of a New Guinea tribe where ‘all young boys have sex with older warriors as part of their initiation into manhood’ and allegedly grow up to be ‘happy, well-adjusted husbands and fathers’.
And he concluded: ‘The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures.
‘Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13.
‘None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy.
‘While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful.’
Tip of the Jester’s hat to the reader who sent this in.