A video of a German speaker calling for compassion and understanding toward celibate pedophiles in arguing that “no one chooses to be a pedophile” but that “anyone could be born” that way and “no one can cease being one” has sparked outrage worldwide.
Mirjam Heine delivered a lecture at an independently organized TEDx Talk at the University of Wurzburg in Germany this past May, but the footage has just recently been brought to the attention of the public.
While Heine is strongly against the abuse of children, she also believes that there needs to be a distinction between those who act on their feelings and those who suppress them. She asserts that no one can help the way that they are born, and that pedophilia—which she defines as “the sexual preference for pre-adolescent children”—is just like any other “unchangeable sexual orientation.”
“[Heine] believes that no one is responsible for their sexual orientation, for their feelings, but that everyone is responsible for acting upon this sexual orientation,” an outline on the event website reads. “She also inquires how all of us can gain if we distinguish clearly between our feelings and our actions. Since pedophiles can’t change their sexual desires, they must learn to control them to not act upon them.”
During her talk, Heine asserted that the vast majority of those who have sexually abused children are not pedophiles because they are actually attracted to adults. She contended that some might just have acted out on a child because they were accessible.
“Not every pedophile abuses children, and not everyone who abuses children is a pedophile,” she told those gathered. “Differentiating between these two groups is essential.”
“According to current research, pedophilia is an unchangeable sexual orientation, just like, for example, heterosexuality,” Heine claimed. “No one chooses to be a pedophile. No one can cease being one. The difference between pedophilia and other sexual orientations is that living out this sexual orientation can end in disaster.”
She then discussed ways in which she believes pedophiles are hindered from obtaining help, including that they cannot tell anyone about their struggle.
“At the moment, we live in a world that already excludes pedophiles because of their preference alone. Someone who is lonely and excluded from society has little to lose and is at much higher risk to commit a crime, for example, child sexual abuse,” Heine stated.
In telling the story of a 19-year-old named Jonas who struggles with feelings toward children but has not acted on them, she said that society must overcome its negative feelings about pedophiles and not make them feel isolated.
“[M]ost of us feel discomfort when we think about pedophiles. But just like pedophiles, we’re not responsible for our feelings—we do not choose them—but we are responsible for actions. And we must make a decision: It is our responsibility to reflect and to overcome our negative feelings about pedophiles and to treat them with the same respect we treat other people with,” Heine said.
“We should accept that pedophiles are people who have not chosen their sexuality, and unlike most of us, will never be able to act it out freely if they want to lead an upright life,” she continued. “We should accept that pedophilia is a sexual preference—a thought, a feeling—and not an act. We should differentiate between child sexual abuse and pedophila.”
Heine said that she also once felt disgust for pedophiles until she heard about Jonas, and now feels as a medical student with a psychology background, that it is “my responsibility to help others overcome and escape wrong stigmatization and have a positive impact on our future society.”
“By changing our view about pedophilia as a society and by offering them support and therapy, we can help millions of people to live better lives and we can effectively reduce child sexual abuse,” she claimed. “No one is responsible for their feelings, but everyone is responsible for their actions.”
Heine’s remarks have generated great controversy, as some found her words deeply disturbing and others said that she was making valid points about the need to help those who struggle with wrongful desires before they commit an evil act.
“It’s coming. They are going to try to mainstream this abomination, the same way they were able to manipulate and mainstream the whole gay/gay marriage thing. It may not be tomorrow, next week, next month or next year, but it is going to happen. There have already been folks that have said there’s nothing wrong with it,” one commenter stated.
“Just think, there are people openly promoting giving 16-year-olds the ability to vote. All they’re saying is a 16 yr. old is smart enough to make their own decisions. Won’t be long before that way of thinking moves over to other ‘aspects’ of those 16 yr. old lives. When that happens, who sets the age limit on decision making?” they asked.
“The simple fact is, if a person has pedophilic impulses they need to seek help immediately. Otherwise their lives will end up being a total disaster not only for them, but also their victims, their victim’s families, etc., etc.,” another said.
Uproar over the matter has resulted in Heine requesting that the video be removed. TEDx has since released a statement about the talk, stating that Heine’s words were being misunderstood by some as support for child abuse.
“This talk and its removal was recently brought to our attention. After reviewing the talk, we believe it cites research in ways that are open to serious misinterpretation. This led some viewers to interpret the talk as an argument in favor of an illegal and harmful practice,” it said.
“Furthermore, after contacting the organizer to understand why it had been taken down, we learned that the speaker herself requested it be removed from the internet because she had serious concerns about her own safety in its wake,” the statement outlined.
As previously reported, the Scriptures teach that all men are born with the Adamic sin nature, and have various inherent inclinations that are contrary to the law of God, being utterly incapable of changing themselves and the wickedness in their hearts. It is why Jesus outlined in John 3:5-7 that men must be regenerated by the second birth, or they cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” he declared. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
2 Corinthians 5:15-17 also teaches, “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again. … Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”