Some on the left have made a concerted effort of late to “normalize” pedophilia by twisting language and shifting concern from would-be victims to the pedophile himself. That’s a dangerous precedent everyone must understand and confront.

In a Nov. 8 interview with the Prostasia Foundation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization purportedly dedicated to safeguarding kids, Allyn Walker offered various explanations and excuses for pedophiles—or as he calls them, “minor-attracted people.”

Walker, an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, said, “A lot of people when they hear the term ‘pedophile,’ they automatically assume that it means a sex offender, and that isn’t true, and it leads to a lot of misconceptions about attractions towards minors.”

Walker, the author of the book “A Long, Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity,” went on to explain the difference between a “minor-attracted person” and a pedophile by saying behavior should trump desire.

“From my perspective, there is no morality or immorality attached to attraction to anyone because no one can control who they’re attracted to at all,” Walker said. “In other words, it’s not who we’re attracted to that’s either OK or not OK. It’s our behaviors in responding to that attraction that are either OK or not OK.”

But that could easily become a slippery slope.

The interview garnered deserved outrage among conservative outlets, and Old Dominion University has placed Walker on administrative leave.

Unfortunately, Walker’s is a view that’s gaining steam among some in elite academia and the entertainment industry—often, the one-two punch needed for an issue to shift from fringe or outlier to at least somewhat acceptable to the mainstream.

What’s interesting here is that Walker isn’t as straightforward as others have been in Hollywood and academia: Walker eschews the obvious word for someone with pedophilia, “a psychiatric disorder in which an adult has sexual fantasies about or engages in sexual acts with a prepubescent child”—the literal definition—and slaps a more innocuous, euphemistic name on it.

That kind of Orwellian attempt to change definitions by twisting language should be confronted until it’s widely recognized for what it is.

In July 2018, a TEDx speaker argued that pedophilia should be accepted as “an unchangeable sexual orientation.” Mirjam Heine’s presentation, “Pedophilia Is a Natural Sexual Orientation” at Germany’s University of Wurtzberg is Exhibit A in the effort to make pedophilia sound as benign as a person who has a sweet tooth, but doesn’t gorge on dessert.

“According to current research, pedophilia is an unchangeable sexual orientation just like, for example, heterosexuality. No one chooses to be a pedophile. No one can cease being one,” Heine said. “The difference between pedophilia and other sexual orientations is that living out this sexual orientation will end in a disaster.”

While Heine rightly noted that abusing children is “wrong without any doubt,” she also said that a “pedophile who doesn’t abuse children has done nothing wrong.”

That seems like a dramatically low bar for civilized society and hardly an area where we want to collectively shift our cultural standards: Pedophilia is a form of paraphilia, not an orientation, and it isn’t acceptable even if abuse does not occur. 

The Washington Post in June ran an opinion column, “Yes, kink belongs at Pride. And I want my kids to see it,” which sought to normalize acceptance of and tolerance for sexual deviance by children. The Netflix film “Cuties,” which featured pubescent girls dolled up and dancing in a sexually suggestive manner, unabashedly promoted the sexualization of young children, and its availability on such a popular platform made it seem normal and mainstream.

While pedophilia—for now at least—remains repulsive to the vast majority of Americans, that resistance could erode in states where more sex offenders reside or where sex trafficking is an issue, such as California, Texas, and Florida.

It’s imperative that Americans see the efforts to normalize pedophilia for what they are, regardless of euphemistic labeling, and remain firm in the defense of children.

As Rod Dreher wrote Nov. 12 in a piece, “Normalizing Pedophiles,” in The American Conservative about the attempt to link a person’s desires and identity together:

If sexual desire is the equivalent of identity, and if to sexually desire minors is at the core of one’s identity, then how can we stigmatize or otherwise suppress pedophiles if we recognize that other kinds of sexual minorities have civil rights?

Anybody who has lived through the last [20] years knows that sexual identity and the law is a slippery slope. This needs to be crushed right now, without apology.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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