November 26, 2006

Keisha and Mary.

The 16-year-old actress Keisha Castle-Hughes, who plays the Virgin Mary in the new movie "The Nativity Story," is pregnant. More here ("'Who cares if she is only 16?' said one family member, who did not wish to be named.") And how old was Mary? "The opinion that Joseph at the time of the Annunciation was an aged widower and Mary twelve or fifteen years of age, is founded only upon apocryphal documents." The movie did cast a very young woman, however, and now the young actress is herself pregnant. Response?

137 comments:

Seven Machos said...

1. Is this irony?

2. If people were having sex at 12 to 15 then, why not now? Particularly when we hear all the time that people develop at any earlier age.

Maxine Weiss said...

I hope she's not going to have the child out-of-wedlock.

There's still a stigma attached to being an illegitimate child.

Give that child a name!

Besides, I love a good shot-gun wedding.

Peace, Maxine

Bleepless said...

In any civilized place, the father would go away for child rape.

Seven Machos said...

There is nothing wrong with 16-year-old having sex with other people roughly the same age.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

God bless her and the little child she is carrying.

Sissy Willis said...

What does Gabriel have to say about it?

Gerry said...

"Response?"

I blame Bush.

DookOfURL said...

In the interest of diversity, it should be noted that one of Mohammed's wives was 9 years old.

Just sayin'.

Chum said...

'There's still a stigma attached to being an illegitimate child.'

Not so much in NZ and Keisha's parents were never married so it's probably not a big deal for her.

alangator said...

I've read different stories about her not attending the premier and reasons given range from "too busy" to "Pope offended". I hope she isn't being frozen out because she is pregnant, but if she is that would be an offense to the very "pro life" ideals the Catholic church espouses. After all, many 16 year girls chose abortion often because of this very kind of reaction.
As for Mary being between 12 and 15 when she had Jesus, from what I've read this was the usual age for girls to start giving birth. In fact, in some 3rd world agrarian type societies today the early teen years are still the norm when starting families.
As for Joseph, some think that he was much older only because he died sometime between Jesus's 12 birthday and the wedding at Cana; but he could just as easily have died from having a piece of wood fall on his head.

Joe said...

I believe it's been fairly well established that the idea of girls "normally" giving birth for the first time at 12-15 is a myth. For one, the average age of menarche in the mid-19th century was 16, I can't imagine it being any earlier and very likely later in the 1st century BC.

(Even today, in no society is 12-15 even close to be a norm for girls giving birth for first time.)

The reason for Joseph being olded is based on the tradition that a man had to be self-sufficient before marrying. In addition, the story is that he was a carpenter, indicating that he had learned a trade. (On the other hand, it wouldn't be so romantic if they had called him an apprentice carpenter.)

Joe Baby said...

Interesting -- the linked article quotes her as saying she was in a "state of grace" during the making of the film. Which, if she's Catholic and understands the term, means she took the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) after the conception.

Assuming this one was not immaculate. ;-)

DookOfURL said...

In a book called "Rabbi Jesus" by Bruce Chilton, he advances the theory that due to the fact that Joseph was "away" when Mary became pregnant with Jesus, plus not everyone at the time buying into Mary's theory of the "Immaculate Conception" that Jesus was considered a "bastard" by the Jewish community into which he was born. His status as "outsider" propelled Jesus to go beyond the orthodox Judaism of the day to reach out to those not embracing the Jewish orthodoxy.

I found Chilton's theories interesting if not convincing, but this was another way to look at what inspired an orthodox Jew like Jesus to think "outside the box", cliched though it may be.

peter hoh said...

It's not like Keisha needs to stay in school to help her have a shot at a decent career.

As for her saying that she felt she was in a state of grace -- that could simply refer to how she feels about being pregnant.

The Postulant said...

Don't confuse "immaculate conception" with "virgin birth" (or "virginal conception"). The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is the thesis that Mary was conceived without original sin. The doctrine of the Virgin Birth is the thesis that Jesus was not conceived by the ordinary methods. The doctrine of the Virgin Birth has been Christian teaching since the first century and is accepted by all Christians who are not unduly moved by frivolous scientistic anti-supernaturalism. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, by contrast, was a much later development. It was finally defined as a dogma in the Roman Catholic Church in 1854 but is not widely accepted outside Roman Catholicism.

tiggeril said...

Praise the Lord and pass the K-Y!

Palladian said...

"frivolous scientistic anti-supernaturalism"

Wow, that phrase ought to be worth a few indulgences right there.

Tim said...

As near as we know, the only things missing so far are that she is a lesbian and Andrew Sullivan will blame the Christianists at the Vatican...not that she need be a lesbian for Sullivan to blame the Christianists.

Maxine Weiss said...

Asking for trouble.

The kids at school are going to tease that kid unmercifully for being illegitimate.

--We alway did, er-uh- or rather---....I observed other kids bullying the illegitimate ones.

Sad, the parents refuse to give that child a name...or future.

Love, Maxine

Rowena Hullfire said...

Maxine, the child has a name: Castle-Hughes. Illegitimate kids aren't picked on for being illegitimate in this day and age. How old are you? 80?

My best friend's 16 year old daughter just had a baby. It is a blessing. The whole family and friends network is embracing her and her child and it is working powerfully good things in her life. She had the full range of options and she chose life, because she and her family don't have an anti-natal Auntie Maxine begging in a whisper that she have an abortion so as not to shame the family.

If it were me in that situation, my parents would have ordered an abortion to keep them from shame. Yes, they're 80.

Maxine, don't teach your kids to bully the bastards! I can't feel the love. If you're a Christian, it's very poor witness.

Seneca the Younger said...

In any civilized place, the father would go away for child rape.

Which actually excludes most of the world and a solid plurality of US states from "civilized places".

Ann Althouse said...

I understand the support that the pro-life people here are giving to the girl, but I think there should be some outrage. It is one thing to chose to bear the child, quite another to have been drawn into premature sexual behavior. What do you think the age of consent should be? 15? Do you accept a 19-year-old male seducing your 15-year-old daughter?

Faeless said...

It's on the low end of the legal and moral scales.

I'm more shocked at the obvious pitiful state of NZ sex ed. Must be those theocons.

Seven Machos said...

Do you accept a 19-year-old male seducing your 15-year-old daughter?

It's certainly not the best thing. But is it a crime? Also, I would suggest, Ann Althouse, that you are using a very loaded and somewhat sexist scenario. Why is the 19-year-old male doing the seducing? In our society, are 19-year-old males who would resort to seducing 15-year-old females really going to seduce successfully? What if the 15-year-old female is doing the seducing? What if it's a 15-year-old male sesducing a 19-year-old woman?

When I was in high school, a 16-year-old male friend of mine was seduced by a 19-year-old woman back from college for the summer. We all thought it was awesome.

Maxine Weiss said...

A woman can't really rape a teenage boy....because the older woman's conduct is not considered "invasive".


Love, Maxine

Ann Althouse said...

Seven Machos: You're missing my point about the age of consent. It's there to protect the younger person, quite aside from whether in some cases the younger one may be taking the initiative. If the age of consent is not set above 15, then it isn't a crime for the 19-year-old boy to seduce your 15-year-old daughter. So my question is, what do you want the age of consent to be?

Seven Machos said...

Regarding the age of consent, I think, first of all, that it should be set by the community and should differ from place to place. Fourteen or fifteen sounds about right to me, with a tacit understanding that there is going to be a lot of case-by-case latitude given to prosecutors to determine when to act.

A 19-year-old male having consensual sex with a 15-year-old female isn't worth the State's limited resources. A 50-year-old member of Congress having anal intercourse with a 13-year-old male would be something I would want the District Attorney to pursue.

Lastly, for the record, I do think it was very normal for people to start families at 15 and 16 or younger less than 100 years ago, and at all times before that. This is one of those paradoxes of conventional thought. Which is it? Are kids growing up so fast these days? Or do we need to set the age of sexual consent older because, presumably, it takes people longer to mature today? To believe that kids mature faster but to set the age of sexual consent later would be really stupid.

Vynette said...

Postulant,
"The doctrine of the Virgin Birth is the thesis that Jesus was not conceived by the ordinary methods. The doctrine of the Virgin Birth has been Christian teaching since the first century and is accepted by all Christians who are not unduly moved by frivolous scientistic anti-supernaturalism."

It's certainly true that it's a 'thesis'. However, it's not a thesis based on the teachings of the apostles as recorded in the New Testament but on the theology of the Graeco-Roman church fathers who were very familiar with virgin births and semi-divine heroes.

The doctrine of the Miraculous Incarnation is an invention designed to cover up the 'embarassing' birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

Robert said...

30. Most people younger than that make terrible sexual decisions. Since prevention of bad decisions is the main reason adduced for age of consent laws, it would seem to make sense to make the inflection point the age range where that changes.

Goatwhacker said...

Maybe I'm in the minority here, but as most 16-year-olds are not emotionally ready for parenthood I think this is probably a sad thing for both the girl and her baby. I couldn't care less if the child is illegitimate or not other than from the standpoint it may mean a less stable environment for the child.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

So my question is, what do you want the age of consent to be?

Marriage. [With parental permission as young as age 16 for both females and males].

Do I think it'll happen?

Not in a million.

CB said...

Response?

This is a non-story. 16 year olds have gotten pregnant for thousands of years, and will for thousands more.

There's still a stigma attached to being an illegitimate child. [...] We alway did, er-uh- or rather---....I observed other kids bullying the illegitimate ones

Get a f*cking life.

Paco Wové said...

"There is nothing wrong with 16-year-old having sex with other people roughly the same age."

Speaking as the father of a 14-year-old girl, I would have to disagree.

astroboy483 said...

16 is too young to give consent. Average and normal don't figure in here. Society sets an age of consent to protect the youngest party to the act regardless of the sex of the youngest.

Age of consent should be 18. Not that that age isn't young but coincides with voting for President.

Seven Machos said...

People who think that the age of consent should be 18 or marriage are being absurd. Why should two teenagers who want to have sex be prevented by the authority of the State from having sex? I'm not talking about Mom and Dad here. I'm talking about the civil authorities.

I don't think a lot of the people here (including, potentially, our amiable and intellectually provocative host) are effectively differentiating between personal moral standards and what the State is. If you are a parent, and you don't want your 14-year-old kid having sex, fine. Your family is largely its own moral realm. But when you discuss an age of consent, you are bringing in the police, the district attorney, the entire court syste, our vast prison apparatus, the fire department, etc., etc. All because a couple of 16-year-olds or two unmarried people had sex? Give me a freaking break.

As anyone who has cared to read my posts here knows, I am about nothing if not local communities being able to make their own laws. But an unreasonable age of consent is a dumb law that is going to broken by every kid out there in a free society. Do you not remember what it was like to be a teenager?

Anonymous said...

I believe the age of consent is when a person has developed enough of a moral sense to be able to consent to the act of procreation. The idea that one partner can be above this age and one below it is where the state needs to get involved.

I also believe that in most states the age of consent is 16, with maybe a few exceptions, and the age to be considered for a statutory rape charge is 18, also maybe with a few exceptions.

For example, a couple of 14 year olds is not in any danger of prosecution, but a 15 year old and an 18 year old could be, however most prosecutions are probably for an under 16 female and an over 20 male.

But isn’t that what Mary Kay Letourneau went to jail for?

Personally I feel that there should be laws on the books to protect kids under a statutory age of consent, but the prosecution of the case should be up to the parents of the minor.

What are the other options for keeping a 20 year-old punk from chasing my 15 year-old daughter? If I can’t threaten him with jail then I would be forced to shoot the jackass.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Edjamikated Redneck: Just make sure you move his lifeless carcass over the doorway so you're "legal."

I think there should be one age of consent for everything. Why can someone vote, enlist in the military but not consume an alcoholic beverage for three more years? Thank Elizabeth Dole and her federal intervention while Sec. of Transportation for that! An adult is an adult is an adult. Let's agree on an age and stick with it for everything...voting, driving, drinking, marrying, smoking, etc., etc., etc. I suggest 18.

Anonymous said...

Move his carcass?

Hell no- I'll just let teh dogs git him! ;?)

Theo Boehm said...

Vynette: Demolish away.

Meanwhile the canonic Gospels, which last time I checked were very much a part of the New Testament, have this to say:

When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came to dwell together, she was found with child by the holy ghost. Then Joseph her husband being a perfect man and loth to make and example of her, was minded to put her away secretly. When he thus thought, behold the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying: Joseph the son of David, fear not to take unto thee, Mary they wife. For that which is conceived in her is of the holy ghost. She shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins.
—Matthew I:18-21

And the angel went in unto her and said: Hail full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

When she saw him, she was abashed at his saying: and cast in her mind what manner of salutation that should be. And the angel said unto her: fear not Mary: for thou hast found grace with God. Lo: thou shalt conceive in they womb, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the son of the highest. And the lord God shall give unto him the seat of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom shall be none end.

Then said Mary unto the angel: How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her: The holy ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born, shall be called the son of God.

—Luke 1:28-35 (both Tyndale's translation, 1534)

St. Paul, our earliest proven canonic source, says nothing about the Virgin Birth, so you may think the Gospels are full of beans, but the fact remains they say what they say. Don't believe them? Fine. You're not alone.

The Virgin Birth serves to mark, however, the beginning of Jesus' Incarnation. And, like so much else about Jesus, it is a profound mystery. "Embarassing?" Perhaps. But I find it profitable to pray and meditate on the mystery of Christ among us, and leave those who would "demolish" Him to their work.

Theo Boehm said...

I should have said that the Annunciation serves to mark the beginning of Jesus' Incarnation. Duh. Back to Catechism class for me.

Also, the tradition that Joseph was "an aged widower" makes sense from the whole texture of what the New Testament says about Jesus' relatives. It certainly seems like a "blended family" with the usual tensions from the way Jesus was treated by His relations.

Elizabeth said...

Marriage. [With parental permission as young as age 16 for both females and males]

Ruth Anne: does that mean you support same-sex marriage, or that you think gay people should never have sex?

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GPE said...

Althouse: The movie did cast a very young woman, however, and now the young actress is herself pregnant. Response?

It's clear to me, she's a (rhythm) method actress.

Vynette said...

The 'holy spirit' (not ghost) was regarded by Hebrews as the agent of every birth.

Church scholars have assiduously cultivated the impression that the manuscripts upon which the New Testament is based claim that Jesus was born of a 'virgin'.

They say no such thing. Far from being taught as a 'truth necessary for salvation', the doctrine of 'virgin birth' should be taught as a classic in misrepresentation and disinformation.

Matthew, for a compelling reason that had nothing to do with 'virgin birth,' recorded that Jesus was not the son of Joseph.

Luke, for the same compelling reason, recorded the name of the biological father of Jesus to demonstrate that he was entitled to sit upon the throne of David.

Luke also made clear that Mary was of the tribe of Levi, thereby ruling out any possibility that he intended his account to be read as a record of virgin birth.

Two genealogies of Jesus are recorded. There is no conflict between the two. One is the genealogy of his supposed father, the other is the genealogy of his real father.

Confusion was introduced by the later imposition of the doctrine of 'virgin-birth'.

Ever since Ignatius introduced the idea that Jesus was born of a virgin - between 110-117 AD - those charged with the grave responsibility of speaking in his name have succeeded only in negating the purpose of his life and death.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Elizabeth: I think no unmarried people should have sex; I think marriage is for one man and one woman.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Elizabeth: Of course, I'm speaking of ideals.

Do I think it'll happen?
Not in a million.

Elizabeth said...

Ruth Anne: wow. Well, that sure ain't my ideal. No sex for gay people? Why on earth would you wish for that, in your ideal world?

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Elizabeth: So they can all go to Heaven, of course.

Theo Boehm said...

Et cum spiritum sanctum.

Vynette: "Holy Ghost" was used in English by the Catholic Church and many others until I was in my teens. "Holy Spirit" is indeed better, but I quote Tyndale's translation because it is the basis of all subsequent English versions of the New Testament and large parts of the Old, and because it is often very good, Anglo-Saxon English. I know what "ghost" means in this context and so do most Christians of a certain age.

Anyway, word quibbles and Biblical exegesis aside, we are getting to the nub of the matter, aren't we? You say, "...those charged with the grave responsibility of speaking in his name have succeeded only in negating the purpose of his life and death."

What then, in your opinion, is the purpose of Jesus' life and death?

Mortimer Brezny said...

What do you think the age of consent should be? 15? Do you accept a 19-year-old male seducing your 15-year-old daughter?

But what is premature? In a pastoral community where 13 is the age of adulthood and most are married by 15, what exactly is "premature" sexual activity? If you can biologically have children, in what sense is the sexual activity premature? It seems it is only "premature" if one thinks that teenage sex inevitably leads to pregnancy that forsakes opportunities, e.g., going to college and then professional school. But those opportunities did not exist in the world described by the Bible.

The problem in the above question is the moral valence to the word "seduction". I would not want my daughter "seduced" by anyone at any age. But if at 15 she married and began procreating with a 19-year old male that she loved I cannot say there would be anything wrong with it other than the fact that she is decreasing her chance of attending college and increasing her chances of living in poverty. That, however, does not make the sex "premature" or "predatory".

What are the other options for keeping a 20 year-old punk from chasing my 15 year-old daughter? If I can’t threaten him with jail then I would be forced to shoot the jackass.

The point is that he's a punk to you; he may not be a punk to your daughter. (Frankly, you might be projecting and he might be a very nice guy.) He should not go to jail for having consensual sex with a female capable of bearing children. You should butt out of your daughter's life. Perhaps a 15-year old doesn't have as much life experience as an older person, but she also isn't as set in her (erroneous and foolish) ways. In closing, daughters are not property.

Mortimer Brezny said...

An adult is an adult is an adult. Let's agree on an age and stick with it for everything...voting, driving, drinking, marrying, smoking, etc., etc., etc. I suggest 18.

I don't understand the hatred of teenage sex. There is no reason two 16-year olds shouldn't be able to get it on. Or vote. 15 could be iffy, but 16 is fine.

Bruce Hayden said...

Not much I can add here, except that the idea that Joseph was an older widower does not make that much sense. Yes, a bit older, so that he could already be a carpenter.

But the problem I see with Joseph being that old is that we have no record of children of his older than Jesus, but know of four younger brothers and at least
some (unnamed, but plural) sisters. Meaning, at least six younger siblings, presumably from both Joseph and Mary.

I am not an expert on Jewish culture of 2000 years ago, but my understanding is that if Mary were pregnant by someone other than her Joseph, he had two options, to either refuse to marry her, which would mean that she was dishonored and probably unmarriable thereafter, and Jesus was a bastard, or accept the resulting child as his own, in which case, Jewish law would treat the child as such (and not as a bastard). As Theo Boehm pointed out, an angel came to Joseph and convinced him to take the second option. I think that Jesus apparently also becoming a carpenter bolsters that not only was Jesus accepted by Joseph as his son, but also as such by the Jewish community.

Seven Machos said...

It's a lot of fun to be seduced. Seduction is a pain in the ass.

Mortimer Brezny said...

I don't like being seduced.

I much prefer a woman showing up with beer and saying, "Let's have sex."

We shouldn't deprive 16-year olds around the nation of the autonomy to develop and act on that preference at an age when they still look good.

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem with underage sex, from my point of view, is that at that age, kids are not fully capable of making rational decisions. Indeed, recent research suggests that the part of our brains that provides for judgment is the last part to mature, not completing such until 25 or so. And, of course, this is one of the big things that we see with teenagers - not adequately thinking through the consequences of their actions.

Sex at 15 or 16 when it quickly leads to culturally approved marriage is not an issue, because those with wiser heads are providing the judgment. But it does become a big problem in today's society because girls who get pregnant at that age are much less likely to graduate from high school, and even less likely than that to get a college degree. And, with income highly coorelated with education any more, that means that many such girls are entering a life of poverty through making the choice to get pregnant at that age.

So, I have no problem with our society doing what it can (within some reason) to keep girls from having sex early, and even more, getting pregnant before at least graduation from high school.

The reason that I don't have a problem with 18 year olds having sex is that in my (limited) experience somewhere around then girls seem to all of a sudden be able to put these things in much better perspective.

Finally, I also agree with the idea of criminalizing sex between a young teenager and someone a fair amount older than they (for example, the two or four years in some statutes). I know being male, that a 25 year old male having sex with a 15 year old girl is most likely able to take advantage of her naivity. To be somewhat blunt, he often knows much better than she what turns her on, and her ignorance of this is what can get her into trouble.

Joe Baby said...

You should butt out of your daughter's life. Perhaps a 15-year old doesn't have as much life experience as an older person, but she also isn't as set in her (erroneous and foolish) ways. In closing, daughters are not property.

No -- children, family, and friends are not property, but this does not mean I would refrain from warning them about playing in traffic. Similarly, most parents would not "butt out" of a kid's driving privileges especially when we pay the the fees or bear the liability.

When it comes to teenage sexual life (and the ramifications that may result), to simply tell parents to "butt out" seems like the most shortsighted advice, if not extremely reckless. We're frequently told that our schools must address these issues because parents will not, yet now it's advocated that we do just that. How odd.

Mortimer Brezny said...

The problem with underage sex, from my point of view, is that at that age, kids are not fully capable of making rational decisions.

No human being is capable of making fully rational decisions at any given time, behavoral economists have found. Should we impose literacy tests and poll taxes on sex? You may make the beast with two backs only if you have a doctoral-level understanding of biology and the financial wherewithal to handle any adverse consequences with responsibility?

I know being male, that a 25 year old male having sex with a 15 year old girl is most likely able to take advantage of her naivity. To be somewhat blunt, he often knows much better than she what turns her on, and her ignorance of this is what can get her into trouble.

Not to take the "pervert" position, but your argument really reduces to the fact that 25-year old males are likely to be better in bed than 15-year old males. But that isn't proof of predatory intent on the part of the 25-year old male; it is proof of intellectual sophistication and sexual savvy on the part of the 15-year old girl. That she's searching out the best sex partner she can attract is proof that she is aware of what makes her decision rational. I also think you overestimate the "naivete" of 15-year old girls. Many are less naive than many of the 25-year males walking about.

does become a big problem in today's society because girls who get pregnant at that age are much less likely to graduate from high school, and even less likely than that to get a college degree.

As I noted before, this is what it comes down to: fear of unplanned pregnancy destroying the future careers of women. But this is not really rationally related to criminalizing teenage sex; it is rationally related to proper sex education; to subsidizing distribution and research of contraceptives (including a male pill); to subsidizing more adequately childcare; and perhaps to changing the workplace structure and university system so that early childbirth does not hinder career advancement after the children are 6 and in public school and the mother now has more free time; perhaps rationally related to subsidizing abortions or promoting transracial and gay adoption. But the problem with your position is that you want to veto the choices of young women by criminalizing them. I do not believe in criminalizing consensual sex of anyone at any age simply because it produces too many babies. This is not China.

While we're at it, let's sterilize all the retards and illegal immigrants.

Mortimer Brezny said...

but this does not mean I would refrain from warning them about playing in traffic.

A warning to use protection is not "shooting [your daughter's boyfriend]". And consensual sex with someone you love is not "playing in traffic".

Mortimer Brezny said...

We're frequently told that our schools must address these issues because parents will not, yet now it's advocated that we do just that.

Oh, stop. I never advocated that. I have been making a straightforward libertarian argument against criminalizing the autonomy of adults who aren't recognized as sentient beings by the law. I support vouchers. Raising your kids is different than shooting their dates.

Theo Boehm said...

Bruce Hayden: Good points about Joseph. The Catholic Church teaches that the "brothers" of Jesus were, in fact, His cousins, and that Mary was a perpetual virgin. I tend, however, to follow St. Ambrose and the Greek fathers with the idea that Jesus' "brethren" were the children of Joseph by a previous marriage, which would make the four "brothers" older. This is a complex subject, with at least two interpretations promulgated by the Apostolic Churches, not to mention a variety of readings offered by Protestants.

I think Jesus' often difficult family relationships offer a bit of a clue here. Doesn't it often sound like a strained situation with older stepbrothers and a hard-to-fathom youngest brother? Of course we really don't know, but it makes a certain amount of sense. However, the idea that Mary had subsequent children with Joseph is the one that is pretty much off the table for Catholics, and I believe Orthodox believers. If you're coming to it from a Protestant perspective, though, younger siblings are a distinct possibility.

Wow! This is turning into the Theology, Age of Consent, and Gay Sex thread here on Althouse.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Similarly, most parents would not "butt out" of a kid's driving privileges especially when we pay the the fees or bear the liability.

A daughter who has unprotected sex with her boyfriend has a 0% of knocking up her mother as a result.

Theo Boehm said...

Sorry to hog these comments, but I want to correct another thing I said above.

I wrote, "...but I quote Tyndale's translation because it is the basis of all subsequent English versions of the New Testament and large parts of the Old...."

What I should have said is that Tyndale's translation is the basis of subsequent English versions of the Bible up through King James. In fact, King James is about 2/3 Tyndale, polished, Latinized, with all the quirks and efforts to follow the tone of the original texts carefully burnished out.

Elizabeth said...

Elizabeth: So they can all go to Heaven, of course.

Ah! Thanks, I'll handle that on my own. The path to heaven is about faith, not law, which of course is what the age of consent is about, as is legal marriage. I imagine you think you're being loving towards gay people, when in fact you're being judgmental, against Christ's dictum not to be, and would deprive us of love and committment, ideally speaking of course.

Revenant said...

It sounds like Castle-Hughes plans to have the child. I wish her the best whatever she decides.

My real concern is what effect this will have on her acting career. She should have gotten the Oscar for "Whale Rider".

Vynette said...

Theo,

The hope of Israel, as expressed in the Old Testament, was the establishment on earth of the Kingdom of God under the kingship of an anointed one - a 'messiah'.

After the Exodus, YHVH was seen as a 'deliverer' who had saved his people through his human agent, Moses.

Throughout subsequent centuries and manifold troubles, an idea arose that YHVH would one day send another 'deliverer' - one like Moses - who would save his people from their enemies.

The prophets, each building and enlarging upon the expectations of his predecessors, finally developed a complete picture of this 'deliverer', this 'messiah'.

He would be a descendant of King David; he would usher in the Kingdom of God on earth; he would rule as its king in the name of YHVH.

Many Christians are ignorant of the 'messianic' mindset of Jesus' contemporaries and this ignorance has facilitated the building up of doctrinal absurdities centred around the personality cult of 'Jesus Christ'.

The New Testament portrays Jesus of Nazareth as this longed-for messiah, as a perfectly normal human who was chosen by YHVH as an instrument of intervention into wordly affairs.

The interpretive principle of the New Testament is the way in which it reconciles the 'physical' nature of messianic expectations with a totally unexpected 'spiritual' fulfilment.

Its two major themes are John's gospel of love and the Pauline principle of inner and spiritual identification with Jesus, with a self-imposed 'crucifixion' and 'resurrection.'

Regardless of the writers' varying perspectives, however, most of the New Testament was written for the purpose of convincing the Jew that the much-heralded Kingdom of God on earth would not become a reality through the 'works of the law' but by universal emulation of the principles for which Jesus lived and died.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Elizabeth: The same book that says "judge not lest you be judged" also says "by their fruits you shall know them." We make judgments all the time. And rightly so. My ideal, if you reread it, is against all non-marital sexual relations, whatever the flavor. The best I can do is hate the sin, love the sinner. That is the charity from whence my remarks came.

bearing said...

However, the idea that Mary had subsequent children with Joseph is the one that is pretty much off the table for Catholics, and I believe Orthodox believers. If you're coming to it from a Protestant perspective, though, younger siblings are a distinct possibility.

Catholic here too, in agreement with the above. I also subscribe to the "Joseph's kids from previous marriage" theory.

I wanted to ask Bruce Hayden why he specified that the "sisters" and "brothers" of Jesus were certainly younger. While I'm aware that most Protestants assert that these are Mary's and Joseph's children, I've never heard anyone make that claim about their ages and I'm curious what the supporting evidence is, according to Bruce.

SGT Ted said...

The idea that a 15 YO girl is a fully adult woman capable of making a rational choice about having sex,(or alot of other major life decisions for that matter) particularly with a much older adult male, is silly. It is the arguement of someone who wants access to young girls for sex. Or someone who has never had a teenage daughter.

Does this really need an explanation as to the negative ramifications of the act and the libertarian arguement against such a notion, such as the likelyhood of needing support from the welfare system in order to raise the child (since forced marriage isn't allowed), who as a result will most likely live a life of poverty as a consquence? Or the physical and psychological aftereffects of an abortion? Or the increased risk of contracting a nasty and possibly fatal STD?

Anonymous said...

Gee Sgt Ted, what world do you live in? I live in a world where children are born good and wise, but their parents ruin them. I live in a world where 8 year old boys actually prefer to have sex with 45 year old men. Your thinking is just bigotry.

Now back from the Bizaro world. I work with parents every day whose children are out of control. By that I mean addicted, failing school, getting arrested, and pregnant with no way of supporting or raising a child. I have to sit the parents down and tell them it is not their fault, they were lied to.

They were lied to when they were told that "he who parents least parents best." The truth is that their children are in desperate need of attention, discipline, and structure. Unshaped character leads to chaos, selfishness, and rampant nitwittery. Just see what follows Sgt Ted. Before we know it, the pedophiles will be posting.

Trey

Zeb Quinn said...

Looking over all the posts here it's easy to see who looks at the world from the perspective of an adult and parent, and who looks at the world from the perspective of a hormone-infused rebellious adolescent.

Parents of daughters must be as heavy-handed in this area as it takes. For a thousand good reasons. The risks of teenage pregnancy and STDs account for a mere two of those good reasons, and it goes way beyond those relatively superficial matters. The development of the child's personality, how she sees herself, her self-worth, her self-image, her future relationships, her ability to trust. All of these things and much more are short-circuited when an adolescent girl engages in sexual intimacy at too young an age. If one wants their daughter to have long-term and long-range happiness, then she must be protected and shielded. Hormone-driven sexual preadators, be they 16 or 46, want only one thing from her, and her well-being isn't in any way connected to that thing they want.

And she's too young to understand and appreciate all that. That's where parents come in, particularly fathers.

David said...

Welcome to the world of Dr. Spock! Taking responsibility for one's actions is in short supply these days. The secularization of our society is taking the religion (read ethics, morality, and personal responsibility) out of the fabric of our culture.

The predictable results are high divorce rates, abortions, drug use, crime, high prison populations, no protection for victims, particularly minors as evidenced by the difficulty passing Megan's law and light sentences for convicted rapists, and society footing the bill for medical care associated with AIDS, STD's, and cancers associated with these diseases.

Our culture, like that in Europe, is in a state of decay and decline. This is fodder for our enemies and suicidal for us! Connect the dots!

Elizabeth said...

Ruth, think whatever you please about anyone's so-called sin, but try to spend a little time on the beam in your own eye. The issue here, though, is the law, and your mythology of heaven should have nothing to do with other people's rights to live their own lives, partnering with whom they please. You can't legislate anyone into heaven.

Revenant said...

The idea that a 15 YO girl is a fully adult woman capable of making a rational choice about having sex,(or alot of other major life decisions for that matter) particularly with a much older adult male, is silly. It is the arguement of someone who wants access to young girls for sex.

I find it interesting that so many of the people who think a teenager is incapable of making informed decisions about sex think that same teenager IS capable of making informed decisions about, say, religion. One might almost think that the purpose of inducting children into religions -- and most faiths do so well before the children reach adulthood -- is to indoctrinate them before they are capable of making a rational decision on the subject.

Or is anyone here seriously going to argue that "is there a God and, if so, what does he want of me" is an easier question than "should I have kids"?

Food for thought.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Does this really need an explanation as to the negative ramifications of the act and the libertarian arguement against such a notion, such as the likelyhood of needing support from the welfare system in order to raise the child (since forced marriage isn't allowed), who as a result will most likely live a life of poverty as a consquence? Or the physical and psychological aftereffects of an abortion? Or the increased risk of contracting a nasty and possibly fatal STD?

All risks of which a dutiful parents should inform their daughter. But those risks aren't a basis for pretending adolescents shouldn't have autonomy over their own bodies and life choices simply because older people deny they are "fully rational" and have deprived them of the right to vote. You don't get to weigh the consequences: she does. People have a right to make choices, even if the consequences are bad, so long as they don't harm others. I do not support an expansive welfare state that provides social insurance, but it exists because people want it; and so long as it exists there's no reasons teens shouldn't collect on the insurance, too. Criminalizing the choices of teens doesn't change their impulses or nature or their level of autonomy; it just deprives them of the social insurance we provide to others who make the same decisions and who are just as not "fully rational" even though they are closer to dead.

For the record, I have no interest in 15-year old girls, but I don't think they should be put in jail for having sex with their highschool sweetheart just because daddy hates him. Nor I do I think we should ban abortions to save the life of a teenage mother simply because she might be traumatized later in life.

Anonymous said...

Rev wrote: "I find it interesting that so many of the people who think a teenager is incapable of making informed decisions about sex think that same teenager IS capable of making informed decisions about, say, religion."

Good point, but until someone gets an erection over their religion I will disagree. OK, forgive the phrase, and PLEASE OH PLEASE do NOT give me an example. It was a turn of phrase, not a request for links.

But the biological urge to reproduce clouds the thinking in the best minds, does it not? Anyone here ever made a poor decision when their mind was clouded by hormones? And that makes it different, neurologically, socially, just plain different. And so we do not let 11 year olds drive because they are not neurologically up for it. Same with sex too young, (ignore the pevert trolls) it messes people up. Even consensual sex too young. I am not looking for a new law, but a modicum of common sense would be nice thank you.

Besides, you can change your mind about being a Scientologist but changing your mind about being a daddy is something else entirely. And that goes for mommies too. Nobody is hurt if I leave the Church of What's Happening Now, but when a parent is not able to parent for whatever reason, there are innocent victims.


Trey

Elizabeth said...

TMink, good point. We can change our ideologies and our spiritual affinities like we change our socks. I'm not saying that's a good thing, but we hurt no one other than ourselves. Having a child is a long-term committment, and starting that process at age 16 is just unwise, for all concerned, and the effects will last many, many years.

Revenant said...

Same with sex too young, (ignore the pevert trolls) it messes people up.

Sure. Fifteen is not, however, "too young" in that context. Having sex at fifteen doesn't "mess people up" any more than sex at thirty does. Also, the psychological trauma generally stems not from sex itself, but the relationship that accompanies it -- a relationship between a 30-year-old and a 15-year-old is unlikely to be a healthy one.

Besides, you can change your mind about being a Scientologist but changing your mind about being a daddy is something else entirely

That's irrelevant to my point. If religions conceded "oh, these people don't know what they're doing but we're inducting them anyway because there's no harm done if we're wrong" that'd be one thing (of course, if the consequences are so trivial, why induct them at all). But most of the major religions treat confirmed members of the faith as having legitimately joined, even if they did so as children.

Nobody is hurt if I leave the Church of What's Happening Now

I think rather a lot of harm is done by childhood religious indoctrination, but that's a long argument for another day.

Seven Machos said...

Trey -- It's not the biologocial urge to reproduce. It's the physical urge to have sex. Why should two consenting and able people risk prison or fines or community service or some such for that?

What is illegal and what you should not do and what you wish these kids today would not do are not the same and you are courting disaster any time you try to make them all equivalent.

Mortimer Brezny said...

And so we do not let 11 year olds drive because they are not neurologically up for it.

This iisn't true. We let 11 year olds own and shoot rifles and drive tractors. And the age-bans pre-date any sophisticated cognitive science backing up the notion of adolescence, so the most current philosophy of mind studies are not what justify the line-drawing in the first instance. It's just paternalism for those who don't need it.

Smilin' Jack said...

"The opinion that Joseph at the time of the Annunciation was an aged widower and Mary twelve or fifteen years of age, is founded only upon apocryphal documents."

Hee hee...of course, to some of us the entire Nativity story is apocryphal.

And among those who believe it, what's with all the ageist prejudice against older men impregnating young girls---they're not old enough to consent, blah, blah, blah? God thought Mary was old enough to consent, and His age is, like, infinite.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Elizabeth: I answered your questions directed to me. My opinion is that people can do whatever they want with whomever they want, just so long as they don't do it in the street and frighten the children and horses. I was answering with my idealized solution.

Seven Machos said...

Ruth Anne -- Aren't idealized solutions a huge waste of time?

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Seven Machos: We live in the real world, but we strive for the ideals. I think ideals are still worth striving for, at least on an individual basis. But, then again, I'm an optimist by nature.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Romeo and Juliet were teens.

Dawn Braun said...

This is more of a cultural discussion rather than a moral one.

I cannot compare the responsibility with the making and raising of a family versus entrusting them to shoot a gun or drive a tractor. The person who made those types of distinctions is either not a parent or has some pretty scary secrets.

Perhaps a more credible analogy would be the argument for/against the neutering of pets.

Anonymous said...

Rev wrote: "Sure. Fifteen is not, however, "too young" in that context. Having sex at fifteen doesn't "mess people up" any more than sex at thirty does. Also, the psychological trauma generally stems not from sex itself, but the relationship that accompanies it -- a relationship between a 30-year-old and a 15-year-old is unlikely to be a healthy one."

Well said, and we agree. Where I head apart is that sex at 15 is dangerous. I think it is beause it is so damn powerful. It is life changing in and of itself. That much neurological activity (and it is a LOT) changes people. Not always for bad, but it changes people.

The sexually active 15 year old girls that I talk to (I have a weird job) do not talk about getting off, they talk about wanting to keep their boyfriend. That goes back to the relational part that we agree about.

And I miss where pregnancy is off point. Help me see where I missed it if you would be so kind.

Trey

Anonymous said...

NEWS FLASH!!!!!!!

Romeo and Juliet were fictional characters.

11 is not a legal driving age in any state.

More news updates to follow as required.

Trey

Mortimer Brezny said...

Perhaps a more credible analogy would be the argument for/against the neutering of pets.

Given that the availability of cheap contraceptives and that the right to abortion exists, the analogy isn't to the raising and making of a family, but the having of sex that may result in pregnancy. Risk of pregnancy is just that: risk. Firing a gun can be done safely for valid reasons, e.g., hunting. Or unsafe use of guns can blow your own eye out. Riding a tractor can be done safely for valid reasons, e.g., farming. Or unsafe use of tractors can result in shredded arms. Risk is risk is risk.

Furthermore, the point wasn't that "family-making is like shooting guns." The point was that we do permit 11-year olds to engage in activities they may not be "neurologically" prepared for because the cognitive science the commenter who said that is referring to didn't exist when we drew all these lines for consent and gun ownership and tractor-riding. "Neurological preparedness" just isn't the justification.

As to what ought to a justification for drawing lines, a 15-year old is not a pet. Pets are property. A 15-year old female's genitals are not the property of her parents. Certainly not her father's property. Even if she is under the age of consent, we sill frown upon incest. Well, I do. You, apparently, do not.

Anonymous said...

Mort wrote: "And the age-bans pre-date any sophisticated cognitive science backing up the notion of adolescence, so the most current philosophy of mind studies are not what justify the line-drawing in the first instance."

In the first instance it was based on observation, the oldest tool of science. And it turns out, it is justified and uphelpd by modern brain science. Cool thing that!


"It's just paternalism for those who don't need it."

Nope, parenting for those who do indeed need it. Parenting is a process of relinquishing control and supporting independent decision making, we agree. But 15 year olds are not qualified to make many decisions. I work with 15 year olds all the time, most of them great kids, but not skillfull decision makers. They lack the neurological maturity as well as the life experience to escell as decision makers.

And I don't know about you Mort, but I made some pretty stupid sexual decisions right up through adult hood. Call me a slow learner, but don't call 15 year olds qualified to make crucial life decisions.

Trey

Mortimer Brezny said...

11 is not a legal driving age in any state.

For automobiles. And you're ignoring that rifles are more dangerous than cars.

Mortimer Brezny said...

And I don't know about you Mort, but I made some pretty stupid sexual decisions right up through adult hood. Call me a slow learner, but don't call 15 year olds qualified to make crucial life decisions.

Which is the point. If human beings make stupid sexual decisions at age 15 and age 30 and age 50, there is no reason to criminalize teen sex because it results in stupid sexual decisions: 1. the stupid sexual decisions will happen anyway, only now kids will unnecessarily go to jail; and 2. if that's your justification, we should ban sex at age 30 and age 50, too. All sex should be criminal, by your logic.

Mortimer Brezny said...

They lack the neurological maturity as well as the life experience to escell as decision makers.

I don't even think you know what "neurological maturity" means. It's just your excuse for oppressing younger people. They have already approached the age of reason, they can read, and many of them know more advanced math than you do.

Mortimer Brezny said...

In the first instance it was based on observation, the oldest tool of science.

Yes, we made the reasonable observation that 18-year olds are too young to drink responsibly, but responsible enough to die in war and vote. We also observed that Indians and Blacks were 3/5ths of human beings and women were too hysterical to be trusted with the franchise.

Revenant said...

Where I head apart is that sex at 15 is dangerous. I think it is beause it is so damn powerful. It is life changing in and of itself. That much neurological activity (and it is a LOT) changes people. Not always for bad, but it changes people.

Describing it as "that much neurological activity" is a bit weird. The neurological activity involved in sex is the same involved in masturbation, which most 15-year-olds are already experts in.

Besides, biologically speaking, if you're physically ready for sex, you're meant to be having it. The idea that humans are meant to spend years in horny celibacy during some of their prime reproductive years isn't scientifically supported.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Romeo and Juliet were fictional characters.

The play still embodies an ideal that we all understand. My comment immediately follows Ruth's for a reason. Just because you think in arbitrary terms does not mean everyone does.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Besides, biologically speaking, if you're physically ready for sex, you're meant to be having it. The idea that humans are meant to spend years in horny celibacy during some of their prime reproductive years isn't scientifically supported.

This is so obviously true I don't even understand why anyone would fight it.

Mortimer Brezny said...

The neurological activity involved in sex is the same involved in masturbation, which most 15-year-olds are already experts in.

Overload!! This is more stimulating than X-BOX!!! Central Nervous System Crashing!!! Reboot!!!

Anonymous said...

Mort wrote: "Yes, we made the reasonable observation that 18-year olds are too young to drink responsibly, but responsible enough to die in war and vote. We also observed that Indians and Blacks were 3/5ths of human beings and women were too hysterical to be trusted with the franchise."

How many responsibly drinking 18 year olds do you know? I think the culture got that one dead on Mort. As for the point about minorities and women, the culture was pig headed and wrong. What is your point? That our culture never gets it right?

And argue with the ideas, not ad hominum (never could spell that one) attacks about my vocabulary or definitional competence.

Trey

Ann Althouse said...

Why are you talking about property? The point is that parents have a responsibility to protect their minor children. That often involves preventing them from doing something they want to do.

I'd like to see Mortimer deal with a 7-year-old who wants to eat candy all the time and argues "You don't own me."

Ann Althouse said...

Some of these arguments are straight out of the pedophile's handbook.

Mortimer Brezny said...

How many responsibly drinking 18 year olds do you know? I think the culture got that one dead on Mort. As for the point about minorities and women, the culture was pig headed and wrong. What is your point?

Uh, I don't recall any ad hominems or attacking your spelling. The point is that science does not support your argument. And if you care so much about observation, why not bring up the fact that history teaches Prohibition was a disaster? Why not observe that the line-drawing you hope to justify has no coherent justification because the lines were drawn arbitrarily in the absence of scientific evidence and on the basis of biased observation? As for responsible drinkers of alcohol who are 18, what of the many 18-year olds who don't drive while drunk, who do drink, and who don't get caught? (Sounds responsible to me. But you can't survey them because they're too precautious to be surveyed.) What of the many, many European teens who drink responsibly? Are European teens more "neurologically mature" than American ones?

I agree, Ann, that a 7-year old who wants to eat candy and stay up all night needs discipline, but that isn't the same as a 16-year old girl having sex with her 16-year old boyfriend. Not because one has reached the age of reason and the other hasn't, but because one is sexually mature and the other isn't. The risk is there and parents should educate their children about it; that doesn't mean prosecutors should be armed to ruin Johnny's life and brand him a sex offender because he had sex with his girlfriend when they were both 16.

Drawing the line at sexually maturity and ability to consent isn't support of pedophilia -- to insinuate that is absurd.

Mortimer Brezny said...

I'd like to see Mortimer deal with a 7-year-old who wants to eat candy all the time and argues "You don't own me."

Talk to my parents.

Ann Althouse said...

Mortimer, you're missing the point, which is that your "property" argument is bad. Parents have a responsibility toward their children. Now, if you want to talk about the scope of the responsibility, fine. But that's a new area of argument. Admit that the old argument must be discarded if you want to move on to this phase.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Mortimer, you're missing the point, which is that your "property" argument is bad. Parents have a responsibility toward their children. Now, if you want to talk about the scope of the responsibility, fine. But that's a new area of argument.

I respectfully disagree. I only raised the idea of property to debunk the notion that the scope of parental responsibility extends so far as to entail absolute control over the autonomy of one's children. Someone suggested that criminalizing teen sex was analogous to forcible neutering of pets. You can neuter your pets because they're chattels; people are not chattels. So I never made a "property" argument (i.e., children have a right to their own bodies as property): I made a "sentient beings aren't property" argument, i.e., parents must respect the autonomy of their kids.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Listen, all I'm saying is talk to your kids. Don't wait until your kids are screw-ups and then call the prosecutor. It's a waste of my tax dollars and it promotes injustice.

Revenant said...

How many responsibly drinking 18 year olds do you know?

I've known a lot of people who were responsible drinkers at age 18 -- mostly people from countries where it was legal for 18-year-olds to drink.

Alcoholic beverages have two main areas of value -- their aesthetic value, or taste, and their value as a mind-altering substance. There are countless alternative tasty beverages and few alternative mind-altering substances. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you make the drink illegal, you'll get a lot fewer people drinking for taste (they have alternatives) and a much smaller reduction in people drinking to get wasted (they don't have alternatives). This is doubly true when the substance is legal for the majority of the population, and therefore widely available.

You obviously get a similar effect when you treat sexually mature people like infants -- you discourage healthy relationships, and ensure that the people who DO have sex will be more likely to (a) conceal it and (b) be those with unhealthy interest in it.

You could say, as Ann has, that that is an argument "from the pedophile's handbook". That's reductio ad Hitlerium thinking at work -- maybe pedophiles use a similar rationalization for sex with presexual human beings, but that doesn't mean the argument is wrong when applied to relations between sexually mature human beings.

Revenant said...

Parents have a responsibility toward their children. Now, if you want to talk about the scope of the responsibility, fine. But that's a new area of argument.

It seems to me that the argument being made here is that *society* has an obligation to keep teenagers from having sex. The "property" angle enters into this because parents are saying "that man had sex with OUR daughter" and implying that society owes them justice, e.g. by locking up the man in quesiton. That sounds like a property rights claim.

Maybe parents think their kids shouldn't be having sex. It isn't clear to me why *I* should be helping enforce that desire. If you have sex with a person who can't consent, that's something that should be illegal regardless of what the parents want. If you have sex with someone who can and did consent, that's something that should be legal regardless of what the parents want. In neither case do the parents' feelings about sex matter in the slightest. The only argument is over whether a 15-year-old can reasonably consent to sex. I think many, though perhaps not most, are quite capable of doing so.

Seven Machos said...

Ann Althouse -- These arguments are not "straight out of the pedophile's handbook." Nobody here wants to have sex with a 15-year-old. They are ungainly and have very little interesting to say. And 15-year-olds think we're all a bunch of gross old people, anyway.

But if a 19-year-old wants to have sex with a 15-year-old, that's a different story altogether. Are you telling me Jake Ryan was practically a criminal? That the District Attorney needs to get involved? If two 15-year-olds want to have sex, that's really something that they are going to do. Or that they are not going to do because their parents and other well-meaning adults tell them not to, and because we put up certain barriers, like curfews and door-open policies.

But it's not a criminal act. And we are talking about criminal acts here. Crime. Where people go to prison.

And to the person upthread who said sex as a teenager is a life-changing event: give it up. It's an awkward, brief experience.

Seven Machos said...

I'd like a definition here. Are we now talking about what we wish our teenagers would do? Or are we talking about an age of consent and getting the courts and the police involved?

It's really an important issue. Don't you think?

Elizabeth said...

Seven, if you are referring to my comment, I said bearing a child at 16 is a life-changing event. Big difference.

Elizabeth said...

Ruth Anne, I get that you're responding with your ideal. Your idealized solution would preclude gay people having relationships--if the age of consent=marriage, and marriage=hetero only, then gay people could not legally have sex in your ideal world. That is tyrannical. It means you regard me and people like me with contempt, and in an ideal world we wouldn't exist.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Elizabeth: "Contempt" is not even close to the feeling I have on this issue. It's wrong for you to presume that.

Also, I notice you link "sex" with "relationship" quite directly. Isn't there more to a gay relationship than sex? I have many [non-tyrannical] relationships, none of which include sex.

chickenlittle said...

Elizabeth said:

"The issue here, though, is the law, and your mythology of heaven should have nothing to do with other people's rights to live their own lives, partnering with whom they please. You can't legislate anyone into heaven."

But how do you allow anybody partnering with anything or anybody without the diluting the value of partnering?

You should to speak to the scope of marriage, what it includes and discludes.

Seven Machos said...

Elizabeth -- No. We mostly agree on this issue. I was responding to:

TMink said...sex at 15 is dangerous. I think it is beause it is so damn powerful. It is life changing in and of itself.

SGT Ted said...

Anyone who is not equipped to handle the consequences of sex should not be engaging in it nor should they be encouraged to engage in it. Teenagers are definately in that category. In a perfect world, I really don't care who pokes who consensually. But, the idea that two 16 YO should be free to indulge their hormonal urges is stupidity. The arguement of "They'll do it anyway" doesn't make the decision or the idea any less stupid.

Both of my children chose to ignore warnings from both my wife and I regarding premarital teenage sex. The daughter now has three kids and no income beyond that of the state, while the son got off relatively lightly in that the girl chose to put the child up for adoption.

It doesn't matter what sort of high minded blather about freedom and rights is put forth by alleged "civil libertarians". It can affect peoples lives far beyond the act in such a devastating way that such talk is imbecilic in its naivete, assumptions and sheer ignorance.

Which is why it used to be shameful to engage in such behavior, as it should be considering how badly such behavior can go. Frankly I still wish it were. It would save alot of people alot of pain and anguish.

Blair said...

This has been an interesting insight into cultural differences. NZ blogs were all concerned that she was having a baby at such a young age. People on this blog are bothered that she had sex.

Strange.

Zeb Quinn said...

Blair:

Somebody ought to instruct the Kiwis about the 1:1 correlationship going on there, about what precedes what, and how if you're dismissive about the consequences of step one, you'll definitely find yourself contending with step 2. Pretty basic stuff. No?

Seven Machos said...

Say what you will about sexually active teenagers. There is absolutely no "1:1 correlationship" going on between sex and having babies ever. When women take the pill properly, the odds of having a baby approach zero. When men use condoms, the odds are no greater than 10 percent, and that's with perfect execution on about three days in a given month.

Somebody's been lying to you, Zeb. It's really pretty basic stuff, though. Read up on it. I haer the Google is free today.

Elizabeth said...

Seven: thanks. I figured that out later. We mostly agree, true, but I suspect that if I had a teenager, and found some older person was trying to get in his/her pants, my reason would flee me and I'd be wielding a baseball bat.

Zeb Quinn said...

It makes no nevermind how many machos you stake a claim to, but absent a wayward turkey baster there is always a 1:1 correlation between doing it and having babies, and in the converse, to not doing it and not having babies. And, by the by, slick as we think we are, all forms of contraception fail from time to time, taken or used "properly" or not. Excepting abstinence of course. Bank it.

Joe Baby said...

When it comes to age of consent, strict liability serves as another form of contraception.

Perhaps the strict liability view is also seen as good for society, as it leads to more sleep for the fathers of teenage girls.

Might also prevent young male adults from being turned into smoking greasy spots at the end of a pump-action shotgun.

Revenant said...

I notice you link "sex" with "relationship" quite directly. Isn't there more to a gay relationship than sex? I have many [non-tyrannical] relationships, none of which include sex.

First of all, you're disingenuously ignoring the obvious fact that Elizabeth was talking about romantic relationships, which (except in a few extremely weird cases) inevitably end in either sex or a breakup.

Secondly, you only call a relationship a "heterosexual relationship" or a "homosexual relationship" if sex is a potential factor. I, for example, have hired three guys to do a bunch of drywall work in my house. This does not mean I "have a homosexual relationship with three men". I've known and had social interactions with thousands of other men. If I said "I've had thousands of homosexual relationships" are people going to (a) think I'm a sociable person or (b) think I'm the biggest gay man-whore in the history of western civilization? Add it up, it all spells "duh".

Finally, snidely saying "isn't there more than sex" is asinine. Obviously there's more than sex, but sex is still important. Try never having sex with your husband ever again and see how long it takes him to dump you for someone less annoying. Normal human beings who feel romantic love for each other need, and want, sex as part of that relationship. Making it illegal for them to fulfill that need poisons the relationship and leads to all manner of pain and suffering.

Elizabeth said...

Ruth Anne, don't be disengenuous. You clearly state that in your idealized world, sex would happen only in marriage, and marriage would be only between a man and a woman. Gay men and lesbians would be, thus, not allowed sexual relationships. Sexual relationships are part of adult, meaningful, romantic partnerships. Revenant makes the point elegantly. Contempt is exactly what you are expressing when you mock others' agency and would use the law to neuter them, all out of "love," so they can go to heaven.

Anonymous said...

Criminalizing the choices of teens doesn't change their impulses or nature or their level of autonomy

It may not change their impulses, but it definitely changes their behavior. Perhaps not with regards to peer sex, but definitely with regards to statuatory rape, underage drinking, and recreational drug use. Making something illegal is a very powerful deterrent for a majority of the population.

Regarding the advisability of teen sex, for young men there don't seem to be any downsides: they can't pregnant, and the female-to-male transmission rate of STDs is much, much lower than the male-to-female rate.

For young women, though, early sexual activity and multiple partners, even in serial monogamous relationships, multiply risks of not just pregnancy and STDs, but cervical cancer. There is strong evidence showing the more sexual partners a woman has, the greater her chances of contracting cervical cancer (because she is at a greater risk for contracting HPV). So girls who start having sex as teens and continue, "Sex & the City"-style to go through men until they finally settle down in their mid-to-late 30s, may find that there are actual, physical consequences to having many sexual partners.

Mortimer Brezny said...

but definitely with regards to statuatory rape

This is question-begging. The question is whether certain kinds of statutory rape laws are justified. You can't justify the law by saying, "Well, it exists."

Hey, I'm innocent.

Yeah, but we put you on trial and convicted you anyway.

But you just beat me up until I signed a false confession. That false confession was the whole of your "evidence".

Yeah, but the jury found against you, anyway.

But the jury was comprised of three dogs and a kangaroo.

Yeah, and even they could see you were guilty.

A 40-year going after a 13-year old -- sure, that's predatory. But if the justification is it prevents predatory sex, applying statutory rape laws to 16-year olds having sex with 16-year olds is not covered by the justification, and the prosecutor going after Horny Johnny is abusing his discretion and undermining the legitimacy and the purpose of the law. You might say such a prosecution is lawless.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Regarding the advisability of teen sex, for young men there don't seem to be any downsides: they can't pregnant, and the female-to-male transmission rate of STDs is much, much lower than the male-to-female rate.

Yeah, except the crazy prosecutors itching to put 16-year old boys in jail for statutory rape and have them labeled sex offenders the rest of their lives for boffing their 15-year old girlfriends.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Perhaps the strict liability view is also seen as good for society, as it leads to more sleep for the fathers of teenage girls.

Maybe they wouldn't have problems sleeping if they had normal relationships and regular communications with their daughters. Usually teen girls looking for Horny Johnny the Badboy have some sort of Daddy Complex brought about by what assholes their actual fathers are.

I would also note it isn't strict liability -- strict liability is a tort theory. Torts require injury. A consenting woman isn't being injured by her teen boyfriend making love to her. And the father doesn't own the daughter, so he has no right to recoup against the teen boyfriend -- sorry, but the boyfriend hasn't trespassed on dad's chattels, or whatever. If the intent required is a predatory one, the mens rea simply isn't there if the kids are of equal or around equal age; what's more, the lack of consent simply isn't there; lastly, the laws are patently sexist, as prosecutors only target boys for statutory rape in these situations, presuming that 16-year old boys have agency that 16-year old girls do not. The sleep of a lazy, ineffectual, asshole of a father is nothing compared to my tax dollars wasted on ruining the lives of innocents with unjust and sexist prosecutions.

Might also prevent young male adults from being turned into smoking greasy spots at the end of a pump-action shotgun.

Oh, stop. The only people who should go to jail in this hypo are fathers who shoot their daughter's dates.

Mortimer Brezny said...

but absent a wayward turkey baster there is always a 1:1 correlation between doing it and having babies

That explains the market for fertility clinics and contraceptives. And the existence of the word "miscarriage" or the phrase "We're trying to have a baby."

Joe Baby said...

It's the father's fault! Hilarous. I'd refer you to Zeb's post above.

I'm attracted to a libertarian view of these issues, but am always drawn back when considering the wreckage that would result from letting teenagers do whatever they want. Statutory rape laws (plus Romeo + Juliet clauses in some jurisdictions) seem like reasonable attempts to address these problems.

Forgive me if I don't think of pumping young girls with hormones to be the perfect answer.

Anonymous said...

Mortimer, you keep harping on laws criminalizing sex between teens, but in reality, how often are such cases pursued or prosecuted?

There are a lot of stupid laws on the books, but if they are wisely being ignored, do we really need to make such a big deal about it?

Anonymous said...

Mortimer wrote: "I don't even think you know what "neurological maturity" means." That is what I was referring to in my earlier post. Dude, I have a doctorate in psychology, I deal with neurology every working day. It is my job, and an interesting job at that!

As for masturbation being the same thing as sex with a partner, not even close! The orgasm is the same, but the risk and relational component are almost totally absent! The risk of rejection or failure is not a part of masturbation, it is for sex with a partner. And there are other interpersonal rewards that fire up the old noggin when engaged in relational sex. That is why most of us prefer sex with a partner to sex without one. Very different neurological events.

And for the record, the Xbox IS a powerful neurological event. Especially for those of us with ADD. I am not aware of how it is dangerous, but powerful as evidenced by the profit of the gaming industry. We pay to play because our brains like it when we play.

In my state, Tennessee, consual sex between 16 year olds has not been prosecuted to my knowledge. Sadly, I am in court testifying about child abuse too often, but I have no knowledge of consensual same age sex being prosecuted. Statutory rape charges are filed in this sate when one of the participants is a minor and the other person is not, or when one of the kids is 4 years older than the other. Imperfect, but darn good legislation in my opinion and experience.

Trey

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Actually, Elizabeth, the feeling I have is more akin to deep sadness bordering on pity. That is not contempt. Again, please don't suppose you know what I'm feeling.

I also said quite plainly, "My opinion is that people can do whatever they want with whomever they want, just so long as they don't do it in the street and frighten the children and horses." Where was I trying to legislate anything in that?

Might we agree on something? You live and let live and I'll do the same.

bearing said...

---Regarding the advisability of teen sex, for young men there don't seem to be any downsides: they can't pregnant, and the female-to-male transmission rate of STDs is much, much lower than the male-to-female rate.

---Yeah, except the crazy prosecutors itching to put 16-year old boys in jail for statutory rape and have them labeled sex offenders the rest of their lives for boffing their 15-year old girlfriends.


Don't forget those crazy children conceived out of wedlock. Always demanding the [air finger quotes]"child support."

Elizabeth said...

"...deep sadness bordering on pity" for people being homosexual. Yeah, there's nothing contemptuous about that! Just Ruth Anne, being idealistic. I do agree on one thing; let's move on. Nothing to see here.

Seven Machos said...

So, I am curious: when did all of you prudes lose your virginity?

Joe Baby said...

So, I am curious: when did all of you prudes lose your virginity?

That question alone is mere curiosity.

Would be better to also ask, what age was the partner, in what jurisdiction, and what are the statute of limitations?

Theo Boehm said...

Oh dear.