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A blatant violation of childhood innocence

The creeping advance of childhood sexualization must be stopped

Two drag performers read from the children's book "Unicorns Are the Worst!" at a March 24 rally in Lincoln, Neb., to protest a bill that would criminalize exposing anyone 18 or younger to a drag show. Associated Press/Photo by Margery Beck

A blatant violation of childhood innocence
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Just when it seems like attacks on the family could not get worse, they do. Now the United Nations is calling for decriminalizing all sexual activity, including between adults and children.

On March 8, which was International Women’s Day, the International Committee of Jurists (ICJ), UNAIDS, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights launched a new set of legal principles they envision as being applied globally. Dubbed “The March 8 Principals, the report has the goal of guiding “the application of international human rights law to criminal law.” The 25-page document calls for decriminalizing all sexual activity and drug use.

Like many human rights organizations, the ICJ was established in the aftermath of World War II in Germany. It has left its Cold War roots behind and, like many other institutions, has been captured by extreme liberals. The report reads like a high school student’s idea of libertarianism. The only ethical principles in view are a brief nod to the no-harm principle and a very thin concept of consent. But even the idea of consent gets deconstructed. The only frame considered is the need of the individual to have as much sexual freedom from the state as possible. There is no attention given to the family, the rights of parents, or the responsibilities of individuals to the institution of marriage and the raising of children.

If you are someone who scoffs at warnings that pedophilia is being normalized as well as a push for the legalization of sex between adults and children, you should read this document. Here is an excerpt:

“Consensual sexual conduct, irrespective of the type of sexual activity, the sex/gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression of the people involved or their marital status, may not be criminalized in any circumstances.”

The report’s authors say all consensual sexual activity should be legal. Then they redefine minors as able to give consent.

No sexual conduct should be criminalized. But you might think, “That doesn’t say anything about minors,” and you would be right. But if you keep reading, you find:

“Moreover, sexual conduct involving persons below the domestically prescribed minimum age of consent to sex may be consensual in fact, if not in law. In this context, the enforcement of criminal law should reflect the rights and capacity of persons under 18 years of age to make decisions about engaging in consensual sexual conduct and their right to be heard in matters concerning them. Pursuant to their evolving capacities and progressive autonomy, persons under 18 years of age should participate in decisions affecting them, with due regard to their age, maturity and best interests, and with specific attention to non-discrimination guarantees.”

In the Anglo-Saxon legal tradition, it has long been a recognized principle that minors cannot consent to sexual activity. Even if a teenager expresses willingness or tries to seduce an adult, that is not considered consent. To overturn this principle would expose minors to great danger from sex traffickers, prostitution rings, and child rapists.

Notice the logic. The report’s authors say all consensual sexual activity should be legal. Then they redefine minors as able to give consent. Why would they recommend such a thing? To ask the question is to answer it. They want to legalize pedophilia. We need to understand that the effect of several social movements over recent decades has paved the way for this evil.

First, the introduction of explicit sex education in schools, including in the lower grades, tends to break down a child’s natural modesty and invades his or her privacy. Second, we see the rapidly increasing prevalence of pornography in magazines and books and on TV and the internet. The crossover of what used to be considered pornography into mainstream culture is very noticeable, especially in movies made for children. Third, the recent phenomena of drag queen story hours and LGBTQ pride parades tend to trivialize and normalize perversion. For all practical purposes, our society is grooming children into sexual beings while protesting the use of the word “groomer.” Objecting to the use of a word does not mean it isn’t actually occurring.

No matter what the specific intentions of individuals may be, the effect on children is to make them think that it is all right to be sexually active and that adults expect them to talk about it, think about it, and be open to doing it. This is a blatant violation of childhood innocence, and it is a cruel form of child abuse. It is impossible to believe that adults pushing these sorts of things have the best interest of children at heart. Nothing but the Christian tradition and its guardrails around sexuality can serve as a consistent bulwark to prevent this creeping perversion.

These “human rights organizations” are making a mockery of what they were set up to defend. If they want to do something constructive, let them defend the human rights of children to have a childhood free from adult fantasies, preoccupations, and perversions.

Craig A. Carter

Craig A. Carter is the research professor of theology at Tyndale University in Toronto, Ontario, and theologian in residence at Westney Heights Baptist Church in Ajax, Ontario.

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