Debunking the scandal: In defense of Foley

by Beacon Staff • October 11, 2006

Speaker Dennis Hastert is pressing for a full criminal investigation. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi suggests immediate action in the Ethics Committee.

What exactly has the Capitol Hill brass up in arms? Could it be the dismal state of affairs in Iraq?

Or the persistent threat of Islamist terrorism five years after the mismanaged, misguided global conflict began, or that Condaleezza Rice was warned in specific terms about an impending al-Qaida attack-and shrugged it off?

No, of course not: Why would such relevant matters distract the talking heads in D.,Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid calls it "despicable."

Speaker Dennis Hastert is pressing for a full criminal investigation. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi suggests immediate action in the Ethics Committee.

What exactly has the Capitol Hill brass up in arms? Could it be the dismal state of affairs in Iraq?

Or the persistent threat of Islamist terrorism five years after the mismanaged, misguided global conflict began, or that Condaleezza Rice was warned in specific terms about an impending al-Qaida attack-and shrugged it off?

No, of course not: Why would such relevant matters distract the talking heads in D.C. now that the bogeyman of sexual scandal has once again reared its grimy head?

Now on the lips of political pundits is the recent discovery of explicit Internet conversations between Rep. Mark Foley (R- Fla.) and a number of young pages, all of whom are male.

To make matters worse, Foley served as chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, a congressional task force dedicated to preventing adults from preying on minors. As a member of that body, he supported legislation targeting child pornography and Internet predators, like the Child Modeling Exploitation Prevention Act and the Adam Walsh Child and Safety Act of 2006.

The irony here is obvious, as is the overwhelming hypocrisy.

Everyone knew he was fond of America's youth, but just how fond managed to escape public attention until now.

Foley, however, should not be attacked, but defended.

Based on what we know now, he is not an abject child molester, nor is he a pedophile in the most common sense of the word.

Age of consent statutes in the District of Columbia okay sexual relationships between adults and minors who are 16 years old or more-a relevant statistic given that the page who first brought attention to Foley's messages was 17.

There is also no evidence that he has a history of violence.

He apparently has no desire to harm in any way-emotionally, physically, or otherwise-any of the boys he has courted over the years.

In fact, he is quite enamored by them, and his fascination with younger males seems almost religious in its intensity.

Foley is a pederast. He is interested in erotic practices with boys. He seeks out their company not because of "predatory" instincts, but because of legitimate feelings of romantic affection.

While such a tendency is considered deviant in our own culture, it is rather common elsewhere. Historically, pederasty has been widely acceptable, even laudable.

Japanese samurai had the much-respected institution of shudo, or "the way of the young."In this practice, experienced samurai took young male apprentices, who they trained in the ways of combat, virtue and proper governance.

These relationships lasted some time and were always intimate; often, they involved a sexual dimension.

In 1893, Frenchman Paul Michaut wrote: "[P]ederasty ... is practiced publicly in the street without the least reprobation." Affairs between men and boys are typical in Papua New Guinea tribal culture.

Even today, upwards of 20 percent of natives continue such practices.

Pederasty is also commonplace in modern Afghanistan, particularly amongst the Pashtun people, where the openness of cross-generational gay partners has shocked American troops. Many Greek and Roman men also practiced pederasty.

Across this m