The Groomer Controversy: What’s Actually Going on?
Last week, PolitiFact wrote the first of what will likely be many articles aimed at quelling the reality that our children are being sexualized in the education and media spaces.
PolitiFact’s “editorial” comes as the metaphorical dam is bursting with revelations that children have been intentionally targeted and exposed to graphic sexual material. Some of the groups advocating for children to be “educated” with these graphic sexual details and transgender identities are hoping that these materials will be accessible to kindergarteners and younger if given the opportunity.
To name a few examples, we’ve learned that our school libraries are filled with books like “My Body is Growing: A Guide for Children, Ages 4 to 8,” which is embarrassingly detailed about a sexual encounter between an older sister with her younger brother. We’ve also learned that there is a concerted effort by Netflix and Disney to expose children to sexual content and ideas. This goes without mentioning the explicit content available on social media. After one click, an algorithm can be set, and a minor’s social account is on a course to receive unlimited pornographic material. Sadly, these avenues of exposure have been sanctioned and blessed by the current federal and some state governments.
Instead of addressing parents and citizens’ concerns for children, the responses from some media outlets and their proponents have been to discredit these legitimate grievances. The tactic here appears to be one of parsing out terminology, dismissing the use of “groomer” as improper, and then reframing the problem so that the perpetrators of this ideology appear to be victims and those defending the innocence of children appear to be bigots.
This tactic may have worked in other situations, but not this time. There is a failure to recognize that the use of the term groomer didn’t come from a group of academics attempting to operationalize a term to make it specific and narrow to conduct research. Nor was the term groomer wielded for the purposes of intervening with those in a treatment setting dealing with pedophilia. Groomer was adopted as a visceral reaction by those who deeply care about children and desire to protect them from things that would damage their minds and hearts. A healthy parent or citizen’s instinct to protect a child will always overwhelm any type of political opposition!
This fact is completely missed by those who try to run interference by claiming that the issue at hand is about anything other than the victimization of children. The issue is not about marginalizing LGBT adults or manifesting some sort of unconscious hatred towards a community. That’s not to say instances of marginalization or hatred don’t exist, but this is not one of those instances. This is about protecting children from sexual content that they are not developmentally prepared to learn about. Period.
Those trying to reframe this issue and defend indoctrinating four-year-olds to sexual content and messaging are reminiscent of a biblical account of two women and their respective children. One child dies in the night, and the dead child’s mother steals her neighbor’s living son. To resolve the dispute, the two women go before a judge, King Solomon. Solomon demonstrates his wisdom when he leads both mothers to believe that he will resolve the conflict by cutting the child in two and then giving each woman a part of the child. This gruesome ruling revealed the child’s true mother, as she begged for the baby’s life to be spared, while the other woman who had stolen the child consented to the child’s death. Solomon’s ruling was only given to reveal the heart of the matter. The one who sought to protect the child to her own detriment was pronounced the true mother, and she was granted custody (see 1 Kings 3:16-28).
We can see elements of this biblical narrative playing out with respect to this issue. The real “mother” is the one who will passionately push back against the storyline of bigotry, face off with systemic opposition, and make the necessary moves to protect her child.
Conversely, the false mother is only interested in advancing her own agenda. The child is secondary to her own selfish needs.
The latter position has been evidenced in how some have responded to the term groomer. Those arguing for a change in terminology muddy the issue by raising a red flag to claim their own victimization. They do so without the slightest mention or thought that there could be any merit to the argument that we are over-exposing children to sexual content. Likewise, there is no acknowledgment that the use of the groomer could have more resonance and credibility given the current environment of academics normalizing pedophilia.
LGBT-identified, has one of the highest suicide rates, the most mental health problems, expresses great amounts of unhappiness, and has the lowest identification with a religion or God. Although there are certainly other factors at play, if indoctrinating a generation was supposed to produce greater well-being, the great intervention has miserably failed.
Dr. Jennifer Bauwens is the Director of the Center for Family Studies at Family Research Council.