Pedastry is a (usually erotic) relationship between an older man and an adolescent boy outside his immediate family. It means literally the “love of boys.” The legal status of pederasty in most countries is currently determined by whether or not the boy has reached the local age of consent (usually between 12 and 17). When illegal, law enforcement generally treats it as a form of child abuse.
The fact remains that the ancient Greecian (14-19) and Roman cultures allowed in some form. In central Asia the practice is reputed to have long been widespread, and remains a part of the culture, as exemplified by the proverb, Women for breeding, boys for pleasure, but melons for sheer delight. In pre-modern Islam there was a “widespread conviction that beardless youths possessed a temptation to adult men as a whole, and not merely to a small minority of deviants.” In the Ottoman Empire culture, young male dancers, usually cross-dressed in feminine attire, were called Köçek.
In post-Islamic Persia, where, as Louis Crompton reports, “boy love flourished spectacularly,” art and literature also made frequent use of the pederastic topos. These celebrate the love of the wine boy, as do the paintings and drawings of artists such as Reza Abbasi (1565 – 1635). Western travelers reported that at Abbas’ court (some time between 1627 and 1629) they saw evidence of homoerotic practices. Male houses of prostitution amrad khaneh, “houses of the beardless,” were legally recognized and paid taxes. Osman Agha of Temeşvar who fell captive to the Austrians in 1688 wrote in his memoirs that one night an Austrian boy approached him for sex, telling him “for I know all Turks are pederasts.”
The attraction of men to male youths has been a part of the culture of some Islamic societies and the attraction is not generally condemned in itself. A Dutch traveler among the Moguls (Muslims who ruled in India), wrote that male homosexuality “is not only universal in practice among them, but extends to a bestial communication with brutes, and in particular with sheep.” John Chardin, a visitor to Persia the late seventeenth century, reported that he had found “numerous houses of male prostitution, but none offering females;” and “some of the greatest Persian love poetry is written to boys.” Louis Dupree, perhaps the West’s leading scholar on Afghanistan, wrote in his 1973 book on Afghanistan that male homosexuality remains common there.
The Roman Catholic church allowed marriages at first but later on required celibacy for it’s priests, monks and nuns. The second-century preacher Clement of Alexandria used divine pederasty as an indictment of Greek religion and the mythological figures of Herakles, Apollo, Poseidon, Laius, and Zeus: “For your gods did not abstain even from boys. One loved Hylas, another Hyacinthus, another Pelops, another Chrysippus, another Ganymedes. These are the gods your wives are to worship!” Early legal codes prescribed harsh penalties for violators. The law code of the Visigothic king Chindasuinth called for both partners to be “emasculated without delay, and be delivered up to the bishop of the diocese where the deed was committed to be placed in solitary confinement in a prison.” These punishments were often linked to the penance given after the Sacrament of Confession. At Rome, the punishment was burning at the stake since the time of Theodosius I (390). Nonetheless the practice continued to surface, giving rise to proverbs such as With wine and boys around, the monks have no need of the Devil to tempt them, an early Christian saying from the Middle East.
In the latter part of the 16th century Roman Catholic missionaries commented on the perverse homosexual practices they saw in China. In a book published in 1569, Dominican Gaspar da Cruz attributed the earthquakes which had recently shaken China (its most fatal earthquake in history was in 1556) to being due to their indifference to sodomy. Shortly after his arrival in 1583, noted Jesuit astronomer Matteo Ricci found that male prostitution was lawful and practiced openly: ..”there are public streets full of boys dressed up like prostitutes. And there are people who buy these boys and teach them to play music, sing and dance. And than, gallantly dressed up and made up with rouge like women, these miserable men are initiated into this terrible vice. It is spoken of in public, practiced everywhere, without there being anyone to prevent it.”
Yet the Catholic Church has been rocked in the 21st century by long-delayed accounts of child-sex abuse. After resistance to revelations, it is working to control activities of its priests. On February 2, 1961 the Vatican issued a document, “Instruction on the Careful Selection and Training of Candidates for the States of Perfection and Sacred Orders,” barring from the priesthood anyone who has “perverse inclinations to homosexuality or pederasty.”
Though pederasty was once accepted in many cultures, some modern observers have retrospectively labeled it abusive. Enid Bloch (psychologist) argues that many Greek boys who were involved in pederastic relationships may have been harmed by the experience, if the relationship included anal sex. Bloch writes that the boy may have been traumatized by knowing that he was violating social customs. According to her, the “most shameful thing that could happen to any Greek male was penetration by another male.”
From Sodom and Gommorah in the days of Lot (of which the inhabitants thereof gave themselves over to strange flesh and were destroyed) until the time of Paul, homosexuality was always seen as sin (Genesis chapters 18-19). Romans 1:26-28 “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” Jude wrote about how the those cities were destroyed and were an example of what not to follow. God never changes and Jesus Christ is the same forevermore. Therefore it remains a sin toady regardless of what men might say about it.