I just watched the O’Reilly Factor segment on Talking about Touching that aired last night. First, I think Fr. Mullen did a good job for what he had to work with. On a show like that, especially with a pushy host like Bill O’Reilly, you have to concentrate on one or two points, to the detriment of your whole argument. So, Fr. Mullen’s main points were that it unduly impinges on the innocence of children and it supercedes the parents’ rights to be the primary teachers and guardians of their children.
The therapist that the show got to come on was completely secular, talking about power and knowledge, but nothing about morality. She didn’t defend the Talking about Touching program so much as defend the general idea of such training for children. She dismissed concern about teaching children specifically about their sexual body parts, saying that it’s no different than talking to your child about his arm or leg. Give me a break! An arm is not intimately connected to your sexual identity and no one goes to jail for touching an arm. And talking about a child’s arm or leg doesn’t make him curious about sex, a moral matter which is best done for children who are mature enough to handle it.
What it comes down to is asking why it isn’t enough to tell children that no one should touch them anyplace covered by their underwear or to put their hands inside their clothes. And that they shouldn’t talk to strangers and they should talk to their parents or a teacher if someone tries to approach them. Why make specific references to people like their uncles or “mommy’s boyfriend” or such? Why make the children the first line of defense rather than adults who are supposed to be there to protect them?
O’Reilly said American children shouldn’t be sexualized, but the therapist said, “I don’t want children to be sexualized too early either.” Too early. So what age is the right age to sexualize children, Doctor?
O’Reilly finished by saying that you can’t rob children of their innocence by instilling a fear (and I would add undue knowledge) of sexuality in them. And that’s what you do when you give them a program that’s too explicit.