Narth continues to do great work as a consortium of psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and other mental health workers of a wide variety of faiths “who defend the right to pursue change of sexual orientation” and who wish to protect “the client’s right to choose his own direction of treatment.”
I noticed this article—first written in 1998 to note the trends towards the societal normalization of pedophilia—was updated this month. It is excellent and provides helpful footnoted sources as well. I hope that you will read the entire piece, from which the below is excerpted:
The authors conclude that behavior which psychotherapists commonly term “abuse” may only constitute a violation of social norms. And science, they say, should separate itself from social-moral terminology. Religion and society, these writers argue, are free to judge behavior as they wish…but psychiatry should evaluate behavior by its own set of standards.
In fact, the authors of the Psychological Bulletin article propose what they consider may be a better way of understanding pedophilia: that it may only be “abuse” if the child feels bad about the relationship. They are in effect suggesting a repetition of the steps by which homosexuality was normalized. In its first step toward removing homosexuality from the Diagnostic Manual, the A.P.A. said the condition was normal as long as the person did not feel bad about it.
Few laymen are aware that the American Psychiatric Association recently redefined the criteria for pedophilia. According to the latest diagnostic manual (DSM—IV), a person no longer has a psychological disorder simply because he molests children. To be diagnosed as disordered, now he must also feel anxious about the molestation, or be impaired in his work or social relationships. Thus the A.P.A. has left room for the “psychologically normal” pedophile.
Theology and the Law Are Led By Psychology
If psychology indeed recognizes consensual pedophilia as harmless, then civil law and social norms will be under pressure to follow the lead of social science…as indeed they did on the issue of homosexuality. When psychiatry declared homosexuality normal, our courts and theologians began to re-write both civil law and moral theology based on what psychiatry said it had discovered through the medium of empirical science.
But What is a Psychological Disorder?
The problem with the law and society being a follower of psychology, is that what is categorized as a “psychological illness” depends on psychiatry’s view of the good life, and of human nature. And today, there is grave disagreement on those subjects.