Let me lay down a marker. What people do as consenting adults is none of my business. Though I am a person of faith, that does not mean I have the right to lecture other people about the morality of their actions. I have far too many oak trees protruding from my pupils to lecture others about the specks in their eyes. I believe in live and let live and giving as much freedom to others to pursue their happiness and for us to accept others as they are instead of trying to define them through our prisms.
However, the freedoms we enjoy stop the minute those freedoms infringe on the rights of other people. I say this in context of a random Tweet I saw a couple of days ago. Outrageous things are tweeted and discussed on social media every day and most of the time I try not to give credence to fringe ideas. But this Tweet was not just a fringe idea; this person was attempting to explain away and normalize molesting children. In this overly PC culture we live in, it seems that speaking out against the newest identity group is bashed as some form of bigoted myopia.
If calling pedophiles criminals and abhorrent ogres makes me a bigot blinded by myopia, let me proudly accept that label. At some point, we have to draw a line and say enough. I don’t really care if someone is born that way or if they choose to be drawn to children, what I care about are the intended targets of these predators. There is an inferno in hell waiting for people who hurt children; if the harshest penalties are given to those who take the lives of children, so too should that penalty be given to those who take the innocence of children.
In a lot of ways, hurting children and shattering their lives by arresting their development in such a heinous way is a lot worse than death. Those who survived the acts of pedophiles have to deal with the repercussions of the horrors they experienced for the rest of their lives. PTSD, anxiety and all matters of psychological wounds become the new normal for too many who endure having their childhood taken away before they become teenagers. I never understand how any human could hurt children; when I see children laughing and playing without a care in the world, I wish that for all of humanity—how others could see opportunity where most see unbridled optimism is beyond my ability to understand.
I don’t really care to understand in all honesty. I know that a lot of pedophiles were once victims of pedophilia themselves. We should have compassion and care for those who have been hurt in the past. That compassion and care ceases the minute people try to visit their hurts on other people. Being injured does not give one the right to pass that injury on to others. We all have pains and scars from the past; we deal with these hurts by any means necessary. If that means seeking counsel, praying, or any litany of ways we as adults try to contextualize our pains, I am all for it. A bright red line has to be drawn between what we do to heal and those actions which we take to deal which intrude on the health of others.
There was an article written by Margo Kaplan (see Pedophilia: A Disorder, Not a Crime) where the author tried to normalize pedophilia as some sort of a disorder. This kind of banter is nothing more than a means of justifying reprehensible actions. I have a sweet tooth and love praline ice cream; that does not give me the right to break into Ben and Jerry’s warehouses and steal their inventories of praline ice cream. Where does it stop; by the same logic can murderers claim that they have a disorder because they love to see blood flow? Disorder or not, I will let psychologists debate those points; the minute people act on their impulses and injure others, they become criminals.
As I said earlier, I believe in giving wide birth for people to pursue their endeavors as long as their endeavors don’t hurt others and their actions involve consenting adults. There is no consent to be had with children who are not old enough to understand their actions and are prone to be victims of others who can manipulate them to act without full discernment. Children are our most cherished treasures; it is encumbrance upon us to protect them irrespective of the ways we keep splintering ourselves into endless cauldrons of racial, ideological, and religious identity. We have to tend to the well-being of all children for they truly are the least among us—children are our collective responsibility.
It is the job of society to castigate anyone who hurts children, it is the job of our criminal system to ensure fiends who hurt children have their freedoms taken from them to prevent more victims, and it is the job of the free press to expose rings and syndicates who injure children (here’s looking at you pizza gate and the Vatican). As citizens, it is our moral responsibility to refuse to be cowed into silence and to ad hominem lull us into compliance. We are all intertwined where our actions impact the livelihood of others, an injustice we ignore committed against others surely shall come knocking at our doors.
A golden rule of morality is this: always speak for those who can’t speak for themselves and don’t let group think lead you into the arms of blind acceptance. We celebrate advancements we make towards freedom and inclusion, no one should be harassed and tormented for how they choose to self-identify. But if that self-identification involves the molestation and rape of children, go to hell with that nonsense for your identity is that of a monster. Endless streams of outrage is blinding us to true outrages, but I hope we never get to the point in society where we let the outrage of molesting children be accepted as a acceptable behavior.
A society that keeps accepting deviant actions as a right is a society that is devolving into the abyss of cultural suicide. There is a vast difference between judging and condemning; it is not my place to judge others who partake in actions that I might disagree with yet do not hurt others. Condemnation is needed the moment people inject their conniptions upon others and in the process rob others of their right to pursue life and happiness. Pedophiles are not people who need to be understood, they are savages who should be shamed and then locked up behind bars so they can’t hurt others. #ShieldOurChildren
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” ~ Nelson Mandela
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Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.