Well, well, well. I seem to have hit a nerve.
A person told me that if I was going to support pedophiles then they were no longer going to support me.
I didn't realize that I was only permitted to care for socially acceptable people in need.
Pedophiles are likely the most hated people in America, if not the world.
I imagine the word induces images of old, dirty men doing savage things to 3 year olds. That is, without a doubt, beyond grotesque and cruel.
But, pedophilia is a label for anyone who is sexually engaged with anyone under 18.
Like all sex offenses there are many levels and types.
Pedophilia is actually something I have a connection with. My best friend from elementary school is spending life in prison because he is a pedophile. Any time a person gets a personal connection to something it changes your entire perspective.
I am not some life long compassionate human. I had all the stereotypes of all the outcasts. I came to caring about these kinds of people later in life.
I was shocked when my childhood friend wrote me to say he was in prison because of pedophilia. I was also shocked to learn that he was going to be spending life in prison for the crime. It opens up so many questions. What absolutely terrible act could he have done that he was never going to be a free man again for as long as he lived?
It's these connections that breakdown walls of assumptions.
He had a relationship with a 14 year old girl. He described it as consensual. This is the problem with this kind of crime. It's hard to be on an even playing field with a 14 year old.
But ultimately when he talks to me about this he talks about how there is a connection to when he was sexually abused at a young age. I never had any idea that was going on even though I spent nearly every single day with him.
So often the abused become the abuser. This is when things get complicated. Reality is never black and white. It's just endless shades of gray.
Rightfully, adults should not be having relationships with 14 year olds. But the practice is hardly uncommon. Until 2008 the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints practiced child marriage through the concept of "spiritual marriage" as soon as girls were ready to bear children.
Musician Jerry Lee Lewis's third wife, Myra Gale Brown, was Lewis's first cousin once removed and was only 13 years old at the time.
Full stop! Before I go on let me be very clear here: sex crimes are abhorrent, wrong and must not be acceptable on any part of the spectrum. I want that to be very clear. No one should ever feel the torture of being sexually assaulted or even sexually harassed. Our entire society really needs to work on understanding sex crimes because, I'm sorry to say, they are happening way more prolifically than society even dares admit.
I believe we have 3 options: Kill them, warehouse them forever or treat them.
And truthfully, I am not uncomfortable with my friend spending the rest of his life in prison. He doesn't seem to admit that what he did was wrong. So, I would imagine the likelihood of him doing it again is high.
However, that doesn't mean I can't be his friend. That doesn't mean I can't show him compassion. It may be that he is exactly where he should be. But that doesn't mean I have to treat him with contempt and cruelty the rest of his days.
Compassion takes many forms.
A wounded animal sometimes needs to be put out of its misery.
Compassion doesn't need to look like warm, cozy lovey-dovey white meringue.
A woman recently burned down our porta potty, caused thousands of dollars worth of damage and nearly burnt down the entire building.
There is no value in feeling anger and resentment towards her. Holding that hate in your heart only hurts you. The hated rarely feel that feeling you carry with you 24/7. I have lived that way. It's exhausting.
Compassion becomes a tool to move the world forward. If you do it long enough the emotion of it all eventually falls away. You do it because it helps all of us. A rising tied lifts all boats. It just becomes a job that needs to be done.
Helping a pedophile transform eventually has nothing to do with the individual you are trying to help. It becomes about helping potential future victims. It becomes about creating systems that help future potential abusers.
Helping a pedophile also has nothing to do with condoning or accepting the cruelty of their acts. Of course the acts are wrong, must be stopped and society must be protected from these people.
Sadly, our country is seriously lacking in rehabilitation treatment for anyone. They don't get treatment in prison. And they don't get treatment when they get out of prison. So, we as a society are left to deal with hardened criminals that often have no incentive or help to do anything other than to go back to old ways of living. Old habits die hard without treatment. But it's probably not a coincidence that the population of America tends to hold resentment, anger and hate towards evil doers. So, there probably isn't a great deal of political will to spend money on treating the hated.
If you are only going to support me as long as I only support the people you like you probably should move on. I am interested in going further and further down the path of working with the most hated people on earth. My belief is that they will never have any hope of evolving if all they are met with is a wall of hate, anger and fear. And as long as we build these walls we as a society will never be able to treat our own addictions of hatred. Ultimately, it is US that need the treatment. Hatred is a disease. Hatred is an addiction. Hatred is stagnation.
"Love your enemy" is possibly the most advanced form of consciousness a human could hope to achieve. But it is the road map to our own personal salvation. It is how we solve all the world's problems.
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." - Matthew 5:44