New theory: Richard Dawkins is a hardcore evangelical Christian masquerading as an atheist to give non-believers a bad name. It's going well, because he recently said that "mild pedophilia" isn't too bad and we should all accept it as a natural part of growing up, like "mild rape" or "mild limb severance."
In an interview in The Times magazine on Saturday (Sept. 7), Dawkins, 72, he said he was unable to condemn what he called "the mild pedophilia" he experienced at an English school when he was a child in the 1950s.
Referring to his early days at a boarding school in Salisbury, he recalled how one of the (unnamed) masters "pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts."
He said other children in his school peer group had been molested by the same teacher but concluded: "I don't think he did any of us lasting harm."
"I am very conscious that you can't condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don't look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can't find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today," he said.
Ah, the olden days, when a well-meaning man could put his hand in a boy's shorts and it was all in good fun.
Peter Watt, director of child protection at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, pointed out that those who have been abused and suffered the repercussions for decades may disagree.
"Mr. Dawkins seems to think that because a crime was committed a long time ago we should judge it in a different way," Watt said. "But we know that the victims of sexual abuse suffer the same effects whether it was 50 years ago or yesterday."
Image via AP.