Unrealistic fears

Unrealistic fears

This column at FoxNews.com illustrates ones of the reasons why I think the Talking about Touching program is so wrong. There are other reasons, but this is one of them. From the article:

I replied: If the devil is the living flesh of evil, then here is who I think he is. Far from appearing as a hideous demon, he is the average-looking person who walks into a room and shakes your hand with a smile. By the time he leaves, the standards of decency of everyone within that room have been lowered ever so slightly.

Perhaps he offers general statistics on divorce or child abuse to convince you to suspect your husband of infidelity or your neighbor of molestation. No evidence of specific wrongdoing is offered, of course. But since such “crimes” do occur, you are advised to be vigilantly on guard against them in your personal life. And so, you begin to view your spouse and neighbors with a bit more suspicion, a little less trust and with the tendency to interpret every action as possible evidence of wrongdoing. The very possibility of an offense is taken as evidence of its presence.

I may not agree with the person’s idea of what the devil is, but I do agree with her thoughts that it is evil to unnecessarily instill worry or fear in people, to create suspicion where there was none, to make something that has a small likelihood of happening seem to be imminent.

And so every child who goes throught a TaT program is taught to suspect his uncle of being a pervert. They are taught, in specific terms, not general ones, that adults are untrustworthy. And their innocence is stripped away, not by the molester, but by those who are putatively trying to protect them, by exposing them to ideas, fears, and concepts that there is no need to expose them to.

And perhaps, now that most men (and let’s be realistic, it’s men who are the objects of fear) are aware that they are suspect, will begin to shy away from any circumstance where they can be falsely accused. For example, a young lady comes to my door in a panic and demands entry. I can be suspicious or fearful and turn her away. Or I can be an idiot in the eyes of the world and let her in and take my chances that I won’t be accused of something down the road. Or let’s talk about something more mundane. Why should I desire to be a youth minister or a religious education teacher or Scout master or coach or anything else that puts me in proximity with children? If I do that I am putting myself right in the crosshairs of a false allegation. Better to stay safe than sorry.

And so the raising of unrealistic fear on one side has the effect of raising unrealistic fear on the other side. Gee, what being in all of creation has a stake in making sure that we are fearful of one another and that good people refuse to be involved in their parish or community? The Enemy, that’s who.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli