Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Desensitization and My Problem with the Ick Factor

The front page of this morning's San Francisco Chronicle was featuring two stories on the wave of gay weddings. Seeking a break from all that, I went to the bottom left corner and read "Killer dad said he had to get the demons out". In this story we learn that a man recently separated from his wife had punched and kicked his two year old son to death in the middle of the road on Saturday night. I do hope you feel the "ick factor". I did. Does that make me an infanticidophobe?

I leafed through the front section and moved on to the local new section of the paper. In the "Digest" I read through the headlines "Passenger dies when man on bail hits tree" and "Murder charges loom after fatal stabbing" to rest on "No-contest plea in sex with minor". It seems that the state of California does prosecute men for having sex with underage girls. Yes, it is a felony crime in the state of California. In this brief article, we learn that a 25 year old man having sexual intercourse with a 15 year old girl was going to face up to five years in state prison, but under the plea deal, will face only 16 months. The man was a supervisor in the juvenile detention center where the girl was a ward. Are you feeling the ick? I did. Does that make me an ephebophobe?

I was very pleased to see on the web today Matt Kennedy's excellent essay at Stand Firm on "The 'Ick Factor'". Is that ick feeling a healthy response to something wrong or a sign of a phobia? Is desensitization an unhealthy "grooming" that undesirables use to disable our warning system against unhealthy behaviors? As Matt+ puts it:
It is a good thing to be repulsed by sin. The “ick factor” tactic is essentially question begging. The real question is whether the behavior that evokes the “ick” ought so to do. The answer to that question is, of course, quite clear and the tactical shaming from the left serves only to callous good consciences.

I actually feel some relief to know my revulsion at the man who kicked his son to death is shared by my community. I am appalled at how many in my community support partial birth abortion. But at least we have not progressed to infanticide.

I am relieved to know that we do prosecute men who have sex with underage girls (and especially men in positions of authority over them). It is not just a felony on the books, soon to be discarded as an anachronism.

Where I live, my understanding of marriage has been discarded as an anachronism. And the community is celebrating. I can't read it in the papers, but it is relief to me to know that there are those of you out there in the greater world who still think marriage is a unique institution for the union of the two sexes.

Love you,


Matthew said...

Marriage is as old as the human race, and is a sacrament (Matt Kennedy disagrees with this) instituted by God for us. It's not for the State to dictate to God.

Sorry for the acerbity above. The Bennison affair has left me sour.

Perpetua said...

Hi Matthew,

Not too acerbic. I appreciate the clarity.

The revelations from the Bennison affair that disturbed me that most were the the roles of Bishops Rusack and Spong.