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In 2014,  the New York Times, a well-respected progressive US newspaper, published an opinion piece called Pedophilia: A Disorder, not a Crime. The article, by Rutger University law professor Margo Kaplan, strangely begins with a call for the reader to remember back to their first childhood crush. Among many disturbing statements in her article, and in other interviews such as this one from The Philadelphia Magazine, Kaplan states that she believes that it is quite possible that pedophiles are born that way and therefore not responsible for their attraction to children. She claims that the attraction is not a crime, only the acting out of such attraction.

Another 2014 article, this time in the UK publication The Telegraph and entitled ‘Paedophilia is natural and normal for males’: How some university academics make the case for paedophiles at summer conferences, lamented the presence of an openly pro-paedophile movement with high-level academia. It documented presentations made at a conference at the University of Cambridge, which included session paper titles such as “Liberating the paedophile: a discursive analysis”. It also exposed other academics, universities and publishers who were knowingly putting forward pro-paedophilia authors and other ‘specialists’.

In 2015, an article in Salon magazine “I’m a Pedophile, But I’m Not A Monster” by Todd Nickerson was published and the comments section alone is a fascinating insight into how the ‘softening’ approach towards pedophiles is working. Nickerson takes great pains to paint himself as a heroic sufferer of unrequited passion (for children, please note), a man with too much integrity to ever act on his desires.

Online writer Reginald Harper exposes some sickening facts about Todd Nickerson in his response article that should put to rest any doubts about Nickerson’s impure motives in attempting to elicit sympathy for his ‘suffering’. From a Christian perspective, compassion for the plight of sinful humans is quite appropriate, but this man is actually asking for far more than that. Allow me to draw your attention to some quotes in particular that demonstrates the serpentine slipperiness of Nickerson’s speech:

“My goal is to protect children from harm, not from sex. Society believes these two things are pretty much one-in-the-same in the case of children; there is ample evidence that this is untrue, and that, in fact, society itself generates much of the harm.”

Once again, I’ve always maintained that, if we lived in a different, more sex-positive society and it were legal to do so, I WOULD engage in sex play with a child that I loved if she wanted it and initiated it. I will never deny that.

Consider these quotes, and the other ones contained in Harper’s article and compare them to the pious tone of Nickerson’s Salon article.  I would argue that sadly, despite the title of the original Salon article, Todd Nickerson’s self-confessed lust for children is in fact, monstrous. Since he embraces his feelings with enthusiasm, how is he not a monster? He may be less monstrous than other paedophiles, but one can always find someone else to compare oneself to, in order to minimize one’s own sinfulness. Nickerson’s assurances of his innocence and his claims of victimization (such as in his self-pitying article follow up article “I’m a paedophile, you are the monsters”) sound utterly hollow. How anyone can actually believe that this man has not already acted on his lusts and fantasies is quite beyond me. Interestingly, earlier this year, Salon took down both articles and they are now only accessible through the Web archive service. No explanation was given.

These articles are all worth reading carefully, and are just some examples of many concerning signposts in this move towards accepting paedophilia as a natural part of life. Note the language that is used by both Kaplan and Nickerson. Both of them carefully divorce the feelings and thoughts associated with pedophilia from the acting out of those desires. This is dangerous in and of itself, allowing such people to entertain their perverted lusts, believing themselves able to control their evil desires. However, there is a deeper, darker agenda at work here that they may not even be fully aware of. One that seeks to destroy them; a spiritual agenda. It is a tragedy that these paedophiles are becoming even more self-deceived, trying to escape the guilt of their sin and the accompanying shame by proudly justifying  and minimizing their perversions (whilst being hailed as humble, honest and ‘authentic’).

In truth, the Word of God is clear that paedophiles like Nickerson (and those who would defend and promote such desires) are in bondage to their sinful nature, and that sexual lust for children is, in fact, evil. Such lusts always give way to sin in the end. That is the nature of mankind without God, and God’s Word does not lie. Todd Nickerson is not innocent in God’s eyes. No one is. He is one of many paedophiles who are increasingly vocal about their ‘sexual orientation’ as something we should just accept.  Just a nice guy with an unusual ‘orientation’ trying to get on with his life, resisting the urge to sexually abuse children whilst secretly lusting after them. Move on, nothing to see here folks. Given how many people I know who were abused as children in decades past (so many that I’ve lost count, which breaks my heart), I wonder how they would feel about the current psychological excuses for the selfish, prideful lusts of the paedophiles that harmed them.

From a Christian perspective, we must not be deceived by arguments that seek to psychologize and thereby diminish or even excuse what God defines as sin. It is from the fallen, sinful nature that these evil desires come. In the case of paedophilia, these evil desires in turn give birth to the use and abuse of children. It is not loving to children, nor even to paedophiles, to pretend that paedophilia is anything other than an abomination in God’s sight. The Bible is clear that God’s righteous anger burns against this wickedness, and that such people are under his condemnation.

Whilst I am not denying that efforts should be made to divert pedophiles from acting on their sinful desires, no amount of psychological treatment will cure an ailing soul of that which is natural to it – sin and evil. Only the mercy and saving grace of Jesus Christ himself can create in a person a new heart, and a new nature. Without that new birth offered by God in Christ, there is only darkness and nowhere is this is more clearly demonstrated than in the heart and mind of the paedophile. Whilst it is good and right to share the Gospel of salvation in Christ with all people, and to show mercy where appropriate, we should be unwilling to accept any expression of paedophilia, which is child abuse, in our societies.

We don’t need to look far back in history to find times and cultures where this kind of evil predation has been openly allowed in society. Humans in every generation have proven themselves capable of mind-boggling depravity, and we have no reason to think it can’t come to this again. Already there is a steady push in many Western countries for lower legal ages of consent, earlier and more detailed sexual education, birth control and abortion to be made available to minors without parental consent, and a number of other changes that may not seem related to this issue raised in this article, but in fact are. Many South American, Eastern European and African nations, once more conservative in such matters, are following suit.

Many people see these newfound ‘sexual freedoms’ as a liberation from the constraints of religion, which they see as a positive legacy for future generations. Free of any guilt, there should be no feelings of shame to plague the lives of those kids who will benefit from these ‘rights’, right? Sadly, some of the worst abuses against children have occurred within religious environments, so it is understandable that freedom from religious-based morality might be perceived as desirable. But note in The Telegraph article above (which also refers to the horrors perpetrated by of paedophiles such as Jimmy Saville), how it is non-religious, respected academics putting forward pro-paedophilia arguments. We would do well to remember that many terrible things have happened in the absence of ‘organised’ religion. It is the presence of sinful humanity that is the constant wherever abuse is found.

As I am writing this, I am reminded of a terrible situation that occurred in New Zealand, where for many years children were systematically sexually abused within a new age cult, the Centrepoint Community. Founded by a paedophile, on psychological theories that had been put forward in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the leader taught that children needed to be able to freely express their sexual desires from birth. The harmful effects of this great evil are still reverberating through the lives of all who were involved. Sadly, it is but one of  countless similar groups all around the world, with such things occurring in every generation in some guise or another. I find it hard to even conceive of a society that would make it easier for sexual predators to abuse children in such ways, yet many stepping stones are being laid to lead our societies to this very outcome.

Public education curricula, media and entertainment mediums are increasingly working to convince parents that early sexualization (by this I mean the early educating, role modeling and subsequent imitating of sexual behaviours by children) of children is not only not harmful, but is in fact good for their development. A societal ‘sexual ethic’ based on the concept of ‘consent’ rather than an absolute moral standard as defined by a holy God who created all things, is bound to lead us right back to Ancient Greece (if you are not sure why that is a bad thing, read my previous article The Insanity of Evil). ‘If it feels good, do it’ is a pagan ethic, and is darkness rather than light.

Christians need to see (and help others understand) the bigger picture of sin and evil that is at work in our society, and resist the push for ‘sexual freedoms’ for children in any way we can. Surely it is clear that the desire for sexual freedom comes from adults, and that it will be the bondage of a child’s soul that it is the price paid for an adult’s gratification. If non-Christians can see at least some of this as evil (and I know plenty who do), how much more must we Christians be light in a dark world, and be known as people who will speak the truth in love. This includes exposing evil whenever we find it… especially within the walls of our churches, or even in our families.

Children are a gift from God, and are dependent on the adults in their life to care for them. Let us always be mindful of how precious they are in God’s sight, and do whatever we can to protect them from those who would do them harm. Sometimes, especially these days, that means spending time examining  what is behind the rapidly changing ‘values’ of our society and what those pushing for change might really be hoping to achieve. This means understanding that terms are constantly being redefined to allow new evils to be perpetrated against out children, so that what constitutes ‘harm’ is regularly redefined, always outside of God’s holy standard.

Protecting our kids also means keeping firm, protective boundaries around our children, not out of fear but out of love for them. It means teaching them to make godly choices about what they allow into their hearts and minds – through books, TV, movies, music, school, even church, and in their interactions with others. Mostly, it means teaching our kids that this world is full of sinful people, some of whom may hurt us – but that God is sovereign and in control, even when things seem scary. In his infinite kindness God has made a way for us to be reconciled to him through repentance and faith in his son, Jesus Christ. In Christ, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. This is the truly good news in this darkening world.

The Apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God and for our benefit also, penned the following true words to a young pastor, Timothy:

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

We can’t say we weren’t warned.

May our gracious God have mercy on us… even on paedophiles, who like the rest of us are otherwise without hope apart from Christ. May God call many more people to repent of their sin, and believe in the living Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God who died to save sinners like me. And you. Because without saving faith in Jesus Christ, all that awaits each one of us is a final judgement for our sin. That is what every unrepentant paedophile awaits also.