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REPOST:  NARTH: The Problem of Pedophilia

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 • 11:37 am

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.


20 Comments • Print-friendlyPrint-friendly w/commentsShare on Facebook

Slope. Slippery.

the snarkster

[1] Posted by the snarkster on 02-26-2008 at 12:56 PM • top

I should know better than to read these things.

A “psychologically normal” pedophile????

Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.

[2] Posted by Flute Girl on 02-26-2008 at 01:16 PM • top

This might have a bright side.  The next time someone use the argument that the A.P.A. says that Homosexuallity is OK, the reply is, “Sure, they also say that pedophilia is OK.”  It help show just how credible (not) they are.

[3] Posted by JustOneVoice on 02-26-2008 at 01:43 PM • top

But, JUstONeVoice, many of those arguing in favor of homosexuality WANT Biblical, normal sexuality re-defined as “anything goes”—-all sexual expression is okay, including pedophilia.
Another reason I don’t practice, nor want to resume practice, in psychiatry.

[4] Posted by sorryimanonymous on 02-26-2008 at 02:06 PM • top

SorryImAnonymous - I agree with you that those arguing in favor of homosexuality

WANT Biblical, normal sexuality re-defined as “anything goes”.

But they have been careful to focus on homosexuality, because it has been easier to sell than the whole “anything goes”.  Now that they are confident acceptance of homosexuality is a given, they are moving on to the other things such as pedophilia. 

I think this most people will never accept pedophilia.  These people would not consider a group that state that pedophilia a good source for what is right and wrong.  It shows that the A.P.A. is an unreliable source.  It might make people question the A.P.A.‘s stance on homosexuality

[5] Posted by JustOneVoice on 02-26-2008 at 02:38 PM • top

Hi, I’m new, but I’ve been lurking for months.  *handshakes all round*  Nice to meet you all.

I couldn’t help adding my two cents here, because I think we really have to get clear what’s going on.  Science by its nature is supposed to be “value neutral” and deal with what “is” rather than what “ought to be”.  So, the psych folks can be congratulated for trying to be consistent.  But in the end, psychology and psychiatry cannot be considered “science” in any true sense because they both deal with the normative by trying to define what exactly is “normal”.

From a scientific viewpoint, whatever is, is right.  And that is why science will never provide a real normative foundation.  And it is why Christian theology and social law ought never to found its norms on science.  Science is only really good for helping us to understand what is (and then, only within material limitations); it informs, but it cannot help decide.

[6] Posted by Pelachito on 02-26-2008 at 02:52 PM • top

There is conversation on the HOB/D listserv about this very topic.  That is, whether pedophiles are homosexual or heterosexual, and conflating child abuse (pederasty) with homosexuals is incorrect and counter productive.  Hmmmm…

Gay advocates correctly state that most child molesters are heterosexual males. However, this is a misleading statement, since most males are heterosexual.

In proportion to their numbers (about 1 out of 36 men), homosexual males may be more likely to engage in sex with minors: in fact, some research suggests a possible 3-to-one ratio (8). However, research in this area is not conclusive because the sexual orientation of male-on-male abusers was not always clear (some abusers are bisexuals).

These statistics do not, of course, take into account the cases of homosexual child abuse which are unreported. NARTH’s Executive Director Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, for example, says that about one-third of his 400 adult homosexual clients said they had experienced some form of homosexual abuse before the age of consent, but only two of those cases had been reported to legal authorities.

While no more than 2% of male adults are homosexual, some studies indicate that approximately 35% of pedophiles are homosexual (9). Further, since male-on-male pedophiles victimize far more children than do heterosexual pedophiles (10), it is estimated that approximately 80% of pedophilic victims are boys who have been molested by adult males (11).

[7] Posted by Charles III on 02-26-2008 at 03:01 PM • top

When the APA and other medical societies link up and carry water for the perverts, criminals, and pathologic characters rather than stick to scientific truth, or rather make being politically correct the norm, it reminds me of the doctors in Germany under Hitler altering the Code of Ethics to conform to the murdering Nazies idea of “science.”  The lawyers and judges did the same thing when they put upon their plain black robes the swastica.  They lost all credibility for bieng dedicated to truth where ever it leads.  They are now the slaves of the degenerates to curry favor or avoid persecution.  The Lord God Almighty sees and takes note.  IMHO.

[8] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 02-26-2008 at 03:09 PM • top

For the sins of their inhabitants Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim were destroyed by “brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven” (Genesis 19:24-25). In Christianity, their names have become synonymous with impenitent sin, and their fall with a proverbial manifestation of God’s wrath (Jude 1:7).

Sodom and Gomorrah have been used as metaphors for sinfulness and sexual deviation. The story has therefore given rise to words in several languages, including English: the word “sodomy”, meaning acts stigmatized as “unnatural vice”.


[9] Posted by ctowles on 02-26-2008 at 03:35 PM • top

Hello Pelachito and welcome!  It’s always nice to (not) see a new face!

I have been concerned about the normalization of pedophilia in society for some time now.  I have also noticed that every time I bring it up in the context of GLBT rights (or GLBTQ, or GLBTQI, or whatever the heck it is now) some revisionist screams that I’m equating gays with child molesters.  That’s not the point, as I am weary of telling them.  The point is that every single argument they use to proclaim that homosexuality is “a gift of God” (people are born that way, it’s only natural, animals do it, etc) is also said of pedophilia. 

They should either find some new arguments or just give up on the whole thing.

[10] Posted by st. anonymous on 02-26-2008 at 04:48 PM • top

Surely it is the rights of the child that must take absolute priority - they need absolute unqualified protection and suggesting that it is not abuse because they are comfortable with it is disgraceful; neither is it about the abuser or what they are comfortable with since apparently many abusers claim that their victims consented or even love them. 
I have to say I do not have much time for psycho-experts and even less time after reading this.

[11] Posted by Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] on 02-26-2008 at 05:52 PM • top

If, as the quote from Charles Nightingale of the paper states, “80% of pedophilic victims are boys who have been molested by adult males,” then it is no surprise that parents are concerned about having men who 1) proclaim they are attracted to males, and
2) use the arguments for moral neutrality of homosexuality that can be also applied to pedophilia.
Those men call themselves “gay”.

[12] Posted by Deja Vu on 02-26-2008 at 07:51 PM • top

I found NARTH’s description a little hard to believe, so I went to the DSM web site, and found the following:

Adjustment of wording of the clinical significance criterion for the Paraphilias

In DSM-III-R, the criteria sets for the Paraphilias included a clinical significance criterion (i.e., “the person has acted on these urges, or is markedly distressed by them”) in recognition of the fact that the mere presence of paraphilic sexual urges or fantasies do not necessarily warrant a diagnosis of a paraphilia in an individual.  During the preparation of DSM-IV, the wording of this criterion was adjusted (i.e.,”the fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning”) as part of the effort to adopt uniform wording for the clinical significance criterion across the disorders.

An unforeseen side effect of this rewording was that it led to confusion regarding the DSM-IV definition of Pedophilia.  Specifically, the replacement of the DSM-III-R phrase “acts on these urges” with the phrase “causes clinically significant…impairment” was misconstrued to represent a fundamental change in the definition of Pedophilia.  Some readers misunderstood this new wording as greatly restricting the number of individuals who would be diagnosed with Pedophilia by requiring that they be distressed by their behavior in order to qualify for the diagnosis.  This was clearly never intended, since it is well recognized that many (if not most) individuals with Pedophilia are not distressed by their pedophilic urges, fantasies, and behaviors.  In fact, rather than restricting the diagnosis of Pedophilia to fewer individuals, the original purpose of the change was to potentially broaden the diagnosis to include individuals whose pedophilic urges interfered with functioning in a variety of ways (e.g., causing impairment in occupational functioning because of a preoccupation with pedophilic thoughts and images at work).  There was never any intention to no longer include individuals who acted on their urges.

To remove any possible ambiguity regarding whether acting out pedophilic urges with others is sufficient for a diagnosis of Pedophilia, the original DSM-III-R wording has been reinstated.  Furthermore, the original DSM-III-R wording has been reinstated for other paraphilias that inevitably harm their victims (i.e., voyeurism, exhibitionism, and frotteurism).  Because some cases of Sexual Sadism may not involve harm to a victim (e.g., inflicting humiliation on a consenting partner), the wording for sexual sadism involves a hybrid of the DSM-III-R and DSM-IV wording (i.e., “the person has acted on these urges with a non-consenting person, or the urges, sexual fantasies, or behaviors cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty”)

I would note two things:
- the error was inadvertent, and resulted from a broader change having impact on the definition of pedophilia; and
- it was corrected.
Given that it was corrected, I think NARTH’s statement

Thus the A.P.A. has left room for the “psychologically normal” pedophile.

shows that they either don’t have the most recent information, or that they are letting their biases trump the facts.

[13] Posted by Denbeau on 02-26-2008 at 08:27 PM • top

Sorry Denbeau, that dog won’t hunt.  To think that such an error in a book of clinical definitions is somehow “inadvertant” is simply too naive in my opinion.  These guys mull over these things very carefully.  That’s their job.  It was obviously a modification that got a “SAY WHAT?!?” reaction from many folks and so they had to come up with a thin excuse for a climb down.  This simply shows the power of the sexual liberation lobby to normalize deviant behavior.  This time they pushed too hard and got their ideological con freres caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

[14] Posted by Bill2 on 02-27-2008 at 01:40 AM • top

Well, #13, it’s a relief to know that this has been rescinded.

I once assisted a friend in finding a psychiatrist to prescribe medication when she moved to a new area.  We went through the profiles her insurance company provided online.  Many, many of these professionals claimed “gay/lesbian counseling” or some such wording as part of their practices.  We made the assumption that this was not reparative therapy, but rather the reverse.  Some profiles made it clear that what they were offering was not assistance to people troubled by homosexual feelings, but rather they provided encouragement based on the idea that it was society that was wrong, not the individual.  My friend was not a lesbian, but she nonetheless opted for a psychiatrist who said he did “Christian counseling.”  He proved to be very helpful in several ways, and he did not make any attempts to identify her conservative beliefs and lifestyle as part of her problems.  It’s possible to find such practitioners, but you have to look.

[15] Posted by Katherine on 02-27-2008 at 01:43 AM • top

Just one point I would like to raise:  in reality the proper term would pederast.  Philio has nothing to do with sex.  It is “brotherly love” not sexual love.  Eros is the more appropriate “love” to be stated about those who want to have sex with children.  We should all be “pedophiles” in the proper meaning of the word.

[16] Posted by BrAthanasius on 02-28-2008 at 02:29 PM • top

Here is another example of how 2003 and the consents for New Hampshire was a watershed event.  After the Minneapolis, “Genital Convention” there were only two protected groups left where intimate behavior was still measured as unwholesome - children and animals.  It appears that we have now headed down the road with a single protected group; animals and if, according to the above logic and teaching, “To be diagnosed as disordered, now he must also feel anxious about the molestation, or be impaired in his work or social relationships.”  Bestiality will also be considered normal behavior as neither Lassie, Flipper or Smokey the Bear, nor their partners will feel anxious about their “relationship”.

[17] Posted by Dallas Priest on 02-29-2008 at 11:39 AM • top

Dallas Priest, the NARTH information is incorrect, as I pointed out in 13 above. If you have any doubts, please check the DSM web site.

[18] Posted by Denbeau on 02-29-2008 at 12:05 PM • top

“I think…most people will never accept pedophilia.”

I wish people would stop saying this.  It simply is not true.  All you have to do is go back 40 or so years and substitute “homosexuality” for “pedophilia” to see how the landscape has changed.  People will accept any kind of perversion as long as they can be convinced that God thinks it’s OK (assuming they care at all about what God thinks) and nice, “normal” people do it.  It worked for the gay loby; it will work again.  Likewise polyamory, incest, post-birth abortion, and so on.

[19] Posted by Ann Castro on 07-10-2012 at 02:39 PM • top

CONSENTIAL! pedophilia?

[20] Posted by Don+ on 07-10-2012 at 04:08 PM • top

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