Sunday, May 04, 2008

"Christophs" reply is good enough to make a post out of it.

This reply to this post was good enough, and even tempered enough that it rates a reply in the open.

"Having sex with pre-pubescent children is, and always has been, profoundly evil."

I think it is not a profound evil. I think it's a bad idea. As a believer in parental permission for marriage and arranged marriage it would be my position that scripture does strongly suggest the appropriate time for sexual relations comes some time after puberty. Since even if I did betroth my child to another, let us say as young as the ages mandated in Catholic teaching, I would not give my son or daughter in active marriage until they were ready. I see this as my responsibility as a parent to keep my child safe and healthy. Scripture does say that even the evil among us know how to give good things to their children.

Matthew 7:9-11: "Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"

In making the point that God will give us good things as his children, Christ also says that even evil people know what's good for their kids. This is of course a general rule as we know that sometimes some do not. As a general rule, they do though. I would say this also elevates the judgement of parents, in general, over that of the state and it's laws. We still must obey laws of course, where they do not ask us to do wrong, but where law permits, I'm relying on parents. Frankly you can keep your paedophilia laws. They don't keep 13 year olds from having sex, and I don't mean that in the sense of "they'll do it anyway", I point out that the law allows a married 13 year old to have sex and I disagree that a 50 year old man does damage to a 13 year old girl with his genitalia because his genitalia are 50 years old. You think it's creepy, I say don't marry your daughter to a 50 year old man then. Fine by me. The 13 year old can have sex anyway with another "child" if that child is within a certain number of years of their own age and neither child will be charged with a crime. I submit the "paedophilia" laws are just to codify what we think is creepy and punish people for what we think is creepy. I think that is way too intrusive.

"While I don't use the Bible as my guide because I am not a Christian, I think you're right in reading the Bible and also that your interpretation conforms to the culture of the time including the most likely facts surrounding the age of Mary when she was pregnant with Jesus. The Bible appears to allow for marriage and further to say this is right in the eyes of God, at puberty. Certainly the Catholic church does, as you've proven."

I disagree and state the culture arose from conformity to scripture. Granted certain things that scritpure would see as acceptable were also found in the surrounding culture, but Christians and Pagans do a great number of things that are the same. Most of the things we do in fact are the same. We sleep, we eat, we go to the "lavatory." The lumberjack song is coming to mind....

"I think your Biblical case for that is strong and it amused me that the 'fundamentalist' Christians would immediately ban you for expressing it. I read your post there and it was sensible."

That is because most of us have become culturally acclimated, as opposed to Mary and Joseph who were not. When we discover that we've been following largely what society has said we're afraid that we will cease to be Christians if we change and as a result we for the most part, scream, cover our ears, throw dust in the air and rush upon the messenger bearing such news.

It is also because we are busybodies, like the culture at large. It's simple. As I said before, if you don't think a child of yours should marry as early as 13, 14 or 15 for whatever reason, a sort of "ageism" or for subjective developmental reasons, so be it. You are their parent. It is true that many children are still children at 14 or even 17. I think though we increase those numbers by not asking our children to learn and be accountable. In the FLDS sect it seems they are largely successful in keeping such early age marriages together. There's something different about the way they socialize their children and in makes them successful in marriage at a much younger age. In that respect I think we can learn from them.

"It seems to me that whether one believes God created us or one believes nature did it, the only logical, non-arbitrary point we're meant to begin reproducing at would be when we can. Reproduce, that is."


"But you go further:

'Paedophilia in fact is simply a secular legal concept.'

I don't know when the laws came into being or when paedophilia was defined. I doubt very much it's all that modern of a concept. However, I'd hope we can all agree that sex with anyone under the age of puberty is wrong so 'paedophilia' is a valid concept. Jesus Christ was very adamant about about not harming children and that it would be better to drown in the depths of the sea.

I agree with him."

Then harm should be your guide. Speaking as one sexually experienced (I'm sure that's NOT a surprise) I don't think a young girl would be an ideal sexual partner if she has not matured sexually. I would not give a girl in puberty or one not having gone through it. If I had betrothed her at a younger age, which is in fact marriage as scripturally breaking it required divorce, I would wait until she was in my view ready. I care about my children. Practically speaking it's hard to find men for my daughters. We've taught them to be boys. I had not realized that arranged marriage was such a good idea until after my children had become a little older so I did not betrothe them.

"Paedophilia sure as hell harms children emotionally and physically: higher suicide rates, promiscuous behaviour following the abuse, STDs, physical pain and damage, etc."

Marriage is simply not paedophilia and the law agrees. If a child is educated in sexual behavior there should be no reason to expect physical harm. STD's come from promiscuous behavior, not from sexual behavior at a young age.

"I believe that criminalizing sexually motivated self-determining behaviour (as a result of their hormones and normal natural feelings including emotions and desire to form relationships) in adolescents from having sex — and people from having sex with said adolescents — is in practice difficult to enforce and probably gives mixed returns at best. I believe, if anything, young people should be encouraged to marry rather than engage in promiscuous unmarried sex, which is the alternative, realistically, for many of them."

I think that's pretty close to what I think as well.

"I've talked to many adult women about sex and one of the questions I've asked — out of curiosity — is how old they were their first time. The ages vary, but certainly include immediately after entering puberty. This and every year after that is common. I find it hard to conclude this is a great evil nor that our laws against it are particularly effective. They seem to dissuade open long-term relationships and marriage, more than they do sex."

The unintended consquence of our culture and our laws is to make a generation of whores and whore mongers out of our young men and women. We can preach all we want that sex before marriage is not a very good idea but what happens, even in the churches, is that they go ahead and do it anyway. Marrying them off might not be such a bad idea. Early. Society is not constructed to do that so that is why people who believe such things live in compounds or ranches.

"I believe society has a legal right to set the age of consent and I respect it as you are obligated to, your religious beliefs to the contrary notwithstanding."

Ok then, but even the laws of Texas permit a 13 year old to marry. What they don't permit is a 13 year old to marry a man with a wife already but they permit the big man on campus to sow his wild oats with as many gullible children as he can find, and the law won't do anything about it unless it is not "consensual." Consent is almost always a given if she says yes to someone roughly her own age.

"I don't think you're saying it's Biblically allowed to have sex with pre-pubescent children. However, your reference to paedophilia being simply a secular legal concept so openly stated, I would like you to clarify.

At what is the earliest age/developmental maturity you believe a person should either be able to marry and/or engage in sex?"

Passing puberty, based on the verse in Corinthians about being past the flower of her age.

"My personal preference would be a statutory number as the age of consent, set by society as debated in its legislature(s), and then, if anything, an exemption allowing sex between people younger than this age who are legally married and have also reached the age of puberty."

The reason paedophilia comes up in association with polygyny is not that polygynists are paedophiles, it is because the state has forbidden marriage to more than one partner at a time and created an age of consent. In Texas you can get married off the books MONOGAMOUSLY to a 13 year old with parental permission. You just can't have another bride. I don't see how this helps. Much better that we just say that polygyny is legal then these people cannot be arrested for anything other than "forcing" a girl to accept marriage or doing so without consent. It doesn't seem to be harming the FLDS for instance in comparison to society at large where divorce rates are much higher, bones are broken more often, and so on

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Rick Beckman said...

It may very well not be harming their society to be polygynous, even at such young ages; however, that isn't going to set well with our highly feminized society.

I've heard more than one woman (not any men, yet) saying how brainwashed their culture must be, particularly the women, to be okay with such practices. Sharing a husband? Feminism demands that a woman be equal to a man -- if not greater -- and you'll be hard pressed in America to find an aspect of mainstream society which is, well, not brainwashed by the feminists of the 20th Century.

It isn't necessarily that harm must be being committed; they need only to fall outside of mainstream society's mores. They become an aberration requiring fixing, and unfortunately for them, they are outnumbered.

Christoph said...

3 points, Hugh.

First off, I denounce you. You say you believe the earliest a person should sex is puberty, which I agree with (as the very earliest), and you also say regarding sex with pre-pubescent children:

"I think it is not a profound evil. I think it's a bad idea."

I can't imagine any set of circumstances where an adult having sex with a pre-pubescent child is not evil. I support the death penalty for that action, as the most extreme punishment, with a range of lower punishments available to the sentencing judge as the circumstances warrant.

Second: "Then harm should be your guide."

No. It's only partially a guide (although I've listed several profound harms paedophilia often causes).

If a mass murderer is caught, can one punish him by taking 15 lifetimes away from him? It's impossible.

If a person steals a chocolate bar and is caught on three occasions, do we say, "Cough up $3.30?" No. Because the person's actions are intentionally immoral, we set a much stiffer punishment than the harm inflicted, to dissuade the criminal from harming others (preventing harm, granted) and as punishment for the evil nature of their actions... the disregard toward others.

It will revolt me to give this example, but if one touched a baby inappropriately for a moment and was caught in that act, what harm has befallen the baby? Probably little or none if the parents don't mention it and it stops there.

However. The action itself is so recognizably evil for many reasons including the complete impossibility of gaining consent from the child for this violation, the punishment is, and should be, severe.

A person who does that is also a profound threat to society and to children.

We punish largely on the basis of evil intent and/or perversity, not just harm.

Third, the age of marriage in Texas is 16 with parental permission, 18 without, to the best of my knowledge. I don't know where you're getting 13 from. Perhaps it's from a valid source, like an exemption for receiving court sanction or something.

Check your facts there and if you can legally marry one 13 year old monogamously in Texas, show according to what law.

Now currently the age of consent for sex in Texas is 17. So, therefore, it's possible some FLDS men are sexually active with 16-year old FLDS women to whom they're not legally married to because they can't because of the prohibition against polygamy. This is possible.

But your number 13 seems "right out".

I reiterate my denunciation of you for the reason I stated above.

Hugh McBryde said...

I'm sorry that you have gone to the point of "denunciation" after such a reasoned start Christoph, perhaps I can do my part to bring the conversation back to a more friendly place. I'll try.

To your first point let me reiterate that my demarcation point is the passage of puberty, meaning that it's done with. As far as pre pubescent? I will continue to point out that there is no known example of such practice in scripture but there is plenty of suggestion that sexual relations began in the context of marriage after puberty, Josiah being the most notable in that he was active in the context of marriage early and often and with more than one woman, or young woman as the case probably was.

For early onset of sexual relations to be a "profound evil" It would have to be out of the bounds of a husband wife relationship and then it would be rape or adultery or fornication. Then yes, it would be a profound evil. Rape if the girl was betrothed and it was not consensual, adultery if she was betrothed and it was consensual and fornication if she was not betrothed and it was consensual. These are the official Biblical definitions.

Otherwise I would think that any neglect of a child's welfare is evil, please do not mistake me for having any other position. I continue to point to parental permission as the best mechanism for insuring a child's chastity AND safety. I continue to point out that none of my children have wed below the age of 20. The proof is in the pudding.

I say leave it to the parents. The state has done a profoundly bad job and the best way to decrease the incidence of what you or most would call Paedophilia is to make more of them Christian and subsequently, educate them thoroughly in the word which I would assume they would believe. In my mindset I would not have given ANY of my daughters prior to the age of 16, and then, only one of them. She is by the way, still unmarried but that may change soon. I think it is a case by case situation, I would give no daughter of mine prior to the passage of puberty in active marriage and my behavior, if duplicated would have resulted in no cases of what you would call Paedophilia. Since that is the case, I find your denunciation unfortunate.

I would remind you that Texas law permits marriage below the statutory age with parental permission. It also permits and recognizes unregistered common law marriages. All that would have to be done in the case of FLDS brides in Texas is document parental permission. Testimony will probably work, and have the married party declare that they do regard themselves as married. This is probably why Texas has not arrested anyone or issued a warrant.

I continue to use 13 because to me it is evident that this is a flash point age, but Loretta Lynn was married at 13, legally. She stayed married too.

Christoph said...

Hugh, the problem with leaving it up to the parents is some parents will indeed pimp their children. Parents are vital, in most cases better than the state, but they aren't sacrosanct. Evil parents are of little use.

For God sakes, that bastard in Austria raped his daughter at 11, tied her to a pole in a dungeon he kept her in for 24 years, and raped her in front of her children, whom he fathered.

With actions like that, it's foolish to believe parents always have their children's best interests at heart. Society has a role. The state has a role. And that role at times demands coercion, however badly and unconstitutionally the FLDS raid was handled, and the lies the state of Texas is telling, in my opinion.

Loretta Lynn was married in Kentucky, not Texas. The age of marriage in Texas is 18, however, WITH parent's permission, you can get married at 16.

I fully agree that people married young often stay married. Indeed, I believe sexual relationships before marriage seriously jeapordize later marriages.

However, put the Bible aside for a moment. You believe it's the source or morality; I do not.

Logically, can we just say that sex with young children serves no damn purpose? You can't see it's an inherent wrong? You've got to thumb through that book to make up your mind on the subject?

I do not.

Hugh McBryde said...


Perhaps you mistake me for leaving the welfare of children solely in the hands of parents. I agree that some do "pimp out" their kids and other horrible acts. This is where due process comes in. I do not wish for the state to have special access to search and seizure powers "For the Children." There is no reason to believe that the state will do anything more than abuse that power as our founders believed they would in other arenas.

What has happened in Texas is a perfect example of what happens when the pendulum swings too far in the other direction. But when there is adequate evidence, I say sure, go in, rescue the kids, but there must be evidence. What happened in Eldorado was a clear example of abuse of power that is more dangerous overall to the children the state is trying to protect, than the potential undiscovered abuse they are trying to prevent. Unfortunately the Police are not good at prevention, they are good at mopping up. Courts should employ swift justice on the guilty, scripture tells us that justice is both deserved, in the obligation and jurisdiction of the state and such swift justice performed on the guilty does have a deterrent effect. Trying to snoop out possible injustice while it's happening with extraordinary powers has the result we have just seen.

So you don't have me advocating the unfettered right of parents. You have me declaring my lack of idealism. This is a sinful world and I cannot eliminate poverty, I cannot save the children, I cannot make justice perfect. I can balance things as a participant in our representative government. I seek that best balance, not the perfect balance that has driven the failings of idealists who set up agencies like CPS with such unfettered power.

I think you misunderstand my contention about Texas law. In my understanding which I have verified in several places, Texas law forbids marriage below a certain age with an EXCEPTION, that being the permission of parents. Consensual sex with a 13 year old CAN occur in marriage. Even if marriage could not occur in Texas, it can occur in other states, and that marriage would have to be honored in Texas.

If I am right about Texas law, there is also the provision of common law marriage which Texas DOES recognize. Essentially two people can marry if they break no other law with parental permission and the state, not requiring formal registration of that marriage, would have to recognize it once declared, as marriage.

I will not recognize sexual relations as wrong merely on the basis of age difference. Again I point to my view of parental permission. A 54 year old might want my 16 year old, but he's not getting her unless he gets her from me. I can assure you if his interest was prurient, I would turn him away.

I can take up my Bible and contend for my vision to be allowed. Provided for as it were. I am sure the laws of this country would be constructed not only to include my consent, but that of my children, I doubt that we could get around that. I would submit to that as properly exercised government authority. I would wish they would not involve themselves, but recognize that they can.

I continue to point out that a 13 year old is not shielded from sexual behavior by law, in the case where her "lover" is close to her age. Neither does the law protect her from marrying a much older man, it simply states he must have no other legal spouse. That man could have a girl on the side that was of age, and the state has no concern for that sort of behavior.

We have no laws in any state that prevent a man of any age from having legal sexual relations with a younger girl. They just put restrictions on that behavior such as legally recognized marriage or parental permission or court permission.

Christoph said...

"Texas law forbids marriage below a certain age with an EXCEPTION, that being the permission of parents."

That certain age would be 18 and the exception is available for 16 and 17-year olds who have their parent's or legal guardian's permission. The Texas statutes aren't secret, you know. You can read them if you like.

"We have no laws in any state that prevent a man of any age from having legal sexual relations with a younger girl."

Are you for real?

Hugh McBryde said...

Yes, I'm for real. I offer as proof that they have one young man who they know was sleeping with a 4 years younger girl, he says he is her husband and they are monogamously married. They haven't sought to charge him with anything. I posted to this effect earlier, scroll down in the blog.

Even if I am wrong you can go to other states and marry legally a 13 year old and bring her back to Texas. I'm not saying that the FLDS have done so, but it's both legal and possible. Texas would have to honor the union if it occurred in another state.

Christoph said...

"Even if I am wrong you can go to other states and marry legally a 13 year old and bring her back to Texas."

Those other stateS would be New Hampshire. That's it. Except, even there you can't get a marriage license for anyone under the age of 18 unless you're a resident of the state, period, full stop, end of story.

So as I've been saying, your facts are wrong. You also don't understand the limits of the "the Full Faith and Credit Clause" of the Constitution.

"The Supreme Court has clearly established that 'the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not require a State to apply another State's law in violation of its own legitimate public policy.' Nevada v. Hall, 440 U.S. at 422, 99 S.Ct. 1182 (citing Pacific Ins. Co., 306 U.S. at 493, 59 S.Ct. 629). Florida is not required to recognize or apply Massachusetts' same-sex marriage law because it clearly conflicts with Florida's legitimate public policy of opposing same-sex marriage."

— Wilson v. Ake, 354 F.Supp.2d 1298 (M.D. Fla. 2005) (holding that the federal Defense Of Marriage Act does not violate the Full Faith & Credit Clause).

Christoph said...

So, to put that simpler, the only way you get a 13-year married in the state of Texas as a matter of right (as opposed to talking a Texas judge into approving the marriage, which is a hella long shot) is to:

1. move to New Hampshire
2. establish residency sufficient to satisfy that state
3. get parental permission for a marriage
4. get a waiver from the court
5. marry
6. boogie on down to Texas before the 13-year old's birthday

... where Texas probably refuses to recognize the marriage anyway because the Supreme Court has ruled it doesn't have to due to its own legitimate public policy.

Hugh McBryde said...

Christoph, there are several laws in this country, Minnesota, Missouri being two that leap to mind (unless they have changed recently) that allow for what I am saying can be done. Texas would honor a marriage that had occurred legitimately under the law in another state.

I've also read the Texas statute and unless you quote part of it to call what I have said into question, parental permission for marriage is REQUIRED below a certain age. I'm pretty sure the FLDS for instance, have their parents permission. Texas also does not require registration of their marriages with the state.

I know of no states since the case of Jerry Lee Lewis that have attempted to reject the heterosexual marriage laws of another state. It is not a violation of Texas law to be married and be having sex, it would just be a violation of Texas law to marry in Texas contrary to their law.

Christoph said...


"Christoph, there are several laws in this country, Minnesota, Missouri being two that leap to mind (unless they have changed recently) that allow for what I am saying can be done".

You're wrong. You don't know what you're talking about. Plus the burden of proof is on you, the person who've advocated the theory, not on the skeptic, myself. You're the one who believes the "can marry 13-year olds in the U.S." and "no laws in any state that prevent a man of any age from having legal sexual relations with a younger girl" theories.

For what it's worth, I've researched the issue in the U.S. as a whole and in each of the states you've mentioned. You go from some sort of alleged memory you have. You don't even claim to have any current knowledge on the subject.

"Texas would honor a marriage that had occurred legitimately under the law in another state."

Not unless they felt like it and it sounds like they wouldn't in these cases. They certainly don't have to as the Supreme Court has ruled. The Full Faith and Credit Clause is not absolute, and the Supreme Court has specifically ruled states do not have to give credit to marriages in other states if it violates their legitimate policy interests. So, you're 180° wrong.

"I've also read the Texas statute and unless you quote part of it to call what I have said into question, parental permission for marriage is REQUIRED below a certain age."

You are woefully (intentionally?) ignorant. Here is the Texas statute from the Family Code:

Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter or on a showing that a prior marriage has been dissolved, a county clerk may not issue a marriage license if either applicant is under 18 years of age.
Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 7, § 1, eff. April 17, 1997.

      (a) If an applicant is 16 years of age or older but under 18 years of age, the county clerk shall issue the license if parental consent is given as provided by this section.
      (b) Parental consent must be evidenced by a written declaration on a form supplied by the county clerk in which the person consents to the marriage and swears that the person is a parent (if there is no person who has the court-ordered right to consent to marriage for the applicant) or a person who has the court-ordered right to consent to marriage for the applicant (whether an individual, authorized agency, or court).
      (c) Except as otherwise provided by this section, consent must be acknowledged before a county clerk.
      (d) If the person giving parental consent resides in another state, the consent may be acknowledged before an officer authorized to issue marriage licenses in that state.
      (e) If the person giving parental consent is unable because of illness or incapacity to comply with the provisions of Subsection (c) or (d), the consent may be acknowledged before any officer authorized to take acknowledgments. A consent under this subsection must be accompanied by a physician's affidavit stating that the person giving parental consent is unable to comply because of illness or incapacity.
      (f) Parental consent must be given at the time the application for the marriage license is made or not earlier than the 30th day preceding the date the application is made.
      (g) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly provides parental consent for an underage applicant under this section and the person is not a parent or a person who has the court-ordered right to consent to marriage for the applicant. An offense under this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.
      (h) A parent or a person who has the court-ordered right to consent to marriage for the applicant commits an offense if the parent or other person knowingly provides parental consent under this section for an applicant who is younger than 16 years of age or who is presently married to a person other than the person the applicant desires to marry. An offense under this subsection is a felony of the third degree.

"I'm pretty sure the FLDS for instance, have their parents permission Texas also does not require registration of their marriages with the state."

Again, you're proving your ignorance, Hugh. Common Law marriage, referred to in Texas as "Informal" marriage, is not recognized — at all — for anyone under the age of 18:

      (a) In a judicial, administrative, or other proceeding, the marriage of a man and woman may be proved by evidence that:
      (1) a declaration of their marriage has been signed as provided by this subchapter; or
      (2) the man and woman agreed to be married and after the agreement they lived together in this state as husband and wife and there represented to others that they were married.
      (b) If a proceeding in which a marriage is to be proved as provided by Subsection
      (a)(2) is not commenced before the second anniversary of the date on which the parties separated and ceased living together, it is rebuttably presumed that the parties did not enter into an agreement to be married.
      (c) A person under 18 years of age may not:
      (1) be a party to an informal marriage; or
      (2) execute a declaration of informal marriage under Section 2.402.

At some point, won't you admit, "I don't know what I'm talking about," and correct all of your posts and article where you've incorrectly advised people marriage with a 13-year is legal in the United States (aside from in New Hampshire, and then, only with a female, and then, only with both parental permission and a judicial waiver) and further, that this marriage — Common Law (Informal) or otherwise — is recognized by Texas?

Because if you do not, you're being intentionally dishonest or willfully blind to the point of absurdity.

Finally, present your proof of which state offers marriage to 13-year olds with parental permission, without the minor making a long-shot petition to the court for permission to marry. The answer is none.

Hugh McBryde said...

Actually, I've read what portions of the statute I could find. I'd appreciate it if you would link me, I'll look at it again with the link and If I am wrong (it would appear that I am at first blush) I'll say so.

I am relying on the statements of a Texas official, a former mayor who wrote in an article in the Abilene Reporter News. That would be Tom Avant writing in a column for that paper. I have also read portions of the Texas Statute but have not been able to find all of it, try as I might. What you post is interesting and I will issue a retraction if I am wrong.

That has been occasionally known to happen. I hate it when that happens. Do me a favor and look at this and tell me what you think.

I will try to reach the author of the Column, Tom Avant, former mayor of Hamlin Texas.

Christoph said...

Texas Family Code, See Chapter 2, The Marriage Relationship

Christoph said...

I read that article before, and thought it was good with three exceptions:

As a former military member, I'm annoyed at the references to "tanks" and "machine guns". There was one armored personnel carrier and many automatic rifles, however, technically, machine guns are (mostly) belt fed weapons capable of sustained rates of cyclical fire.

Those are quibbling points and mere examples of rhetorical excess plus a bit of ignorance. I'm hazarding a guess Tom Avant never served in the military and, if so, not in Army or Marine Corps Combat Arms.

More seriously, the only other actual error I saw was when Mr. Avant said, "Also, do I need to remind you that the State of Texas still recognizes common-law marriages where no official ceremonies are required?" He doesn't appear to understand or explain to the reader that Texas doesn't recognize Common Law (Informal) marriages for anyone under the age of 18, so his point is moot or misleading.

Hugh McBryde said...

Christoph, Email me.