Expressing Religious Freedom; Sexual Exploitation of Children

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February 7, 2001

On Inauguration day, President Bush became the first president to use the word “mosque” in an inaugural address. However, critics say his attempt to include all faiths was ruined by the ministers who prayed during the ceremony. Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, noted that Rev. Franklin Graham’s prayer asked God to give the President “the courage to say no to all that is contrary to Your statutes and holy law.” He believes Rev. Graham was putting God’s law above the nation’s and “in a secular society, that is wrong.” Declaring Jesus Christ’s name above all other names, Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell also ruffled feathers of critics who say in doing so he was being “inappropriate and insensitive.” Rev. Caldwell defended his actions by saying it was not his “intent or desire to exclude or offend anyone,” and apologized if he had. He was invited by a fellow Christian to offer a prayer, and as a Christian who “revels in the right to express his religious freedom” he chose to pray in the name he always prays in.

Sexual Exploitation of Children
The general social agreement against the sexual abuse of children-specifically man-boy love-is gradually diminishing. Academic, therapeutic and literary interest groups, as well as magazines, journals and bookstores, are publicly displaying ideas that have, in the past, been inconceivable. An essay, published in the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Psychological Bulletin, “A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples” claims that “negative effects [of child sexual abuse] were neither pervasive nor typically intense, and that men reacted much less negatively than women.” The article criticizes the term [child sexual abuse] as an “indiscriminate” usage, and suggests instead that “a willing encounter with positive reactions” should be labeled “simply adult-child sex.” In an article in The Weekly Standard, “‘Pedophilia Chic’ Reconsidered: The Taboo against sex with children continues to erode,” Mary Eberstadt says, “Today instead of standing foursquare with the rest of the public against this evil (pedophilia), the gay rights movement appears divided. A few proclaim boys to be sexual fair game. Influential others disavow pedophilia per se, but tolerate its advocacy on the grounds of political solidarity with persecuted groups. Still others, in a relatively new development noted earlier, appear to have opted for a kind of anti-anti-pedophilia, according to which the ‘real’ problems for the movement are somehow Dr. Laura and the religious right, rather than the facts to which such critics draw attention: e.g., that efforts are being made to destigmatize the sexual exploitation of boy children; or that positive portrayals of ‘inter-generational sex,’ which are extremely rare in the rest of the culture, are not rare in gay literature and journalism.”

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