Blowhard Rush Limbaugh dedicated a lengthy diatribe on his radio show yesterday to the idea that there is a movement underway to try to “normalize pedophilia” by classifying it as a sexual orientation like heterosexuality and homosexuality. Limbaugh based his claims on an article in The Guardian that addresses questions science still has about the nature of pedophilia, but then he drew his own conclusions that normalizing same-sex marriage is similarly going to lead to normalizing the sexual abuse of children:
LIMBAUGH: There is a movement on to normalize pedophilia, and I guarantee you your reaction to that is probably much the same as your reaction when you first heard about gay marriage. What has happened to gay marriage? It’s become normal — and in fact, with certain people in certain demographics it’s the most important issue in terms of who they vote for. So don’t pooh-pooh. There’s a movement to normalize pedophilia. Don’t pooh-pooh it. The people behind it are serious, and you know the left as well as I do. They glom onto something and they don’t let go. [...]
What is their objective? They want us to all think that pedophilia is just another sexual orientation. You know who’s gonna fall right in line is college kids, just like they have on gay marriage, just like they do on all other revolutionary social issues. Their own definition of the cutting edge, civil rights, freedom, understanding, tolerance. So I’m just warning you here. You think it can’t happen. “Impossible! Don’t be nutso and wacko on us, Rush.”
Listen to it:
But pedophilia is not considered a sexual orientation. It’s considered a psychiatric disorder and a paraphilia. The issue with pedophilia is that the target of the sexual impulse is children, who can be physically and emotionally scarred by such contact. Pedophilia, like other paraphilias, violates the consent of another entity, whereas sexual orientations do not. In fact, the moral condemnation of same-sex orientations is a judgment of who has the attractions, not who the attractions target. For example, a sexual orientation toward men can present in women or in men, but conservatives have only ever objected to men having that orientation. That judgment is based on religious dogma, not any intention to reduce harm to others.
Limbaugh’s tirade is dangerous and unnecessarily conflates homosexuality with pedophilia, as opponents of LGBT equality have done for decades. There is no way to compare two loving consenting adults to harming a child. If there were a valid reason to be concerned that society was no longer interested in protecting young people from sexual abuse, Limbaugh would have a compelling argument to make and many would surely rally around his cause. Instead, his words serve only to further demonize the LGBT community with archaic myths.