Randy Engel
Homosexuals in high places -- 'gay' Irish senator David Norris and 'the Greek thing,' Part II
By Randy Engel
September 19, 2011

The Fatal Magill Interview

In May 2011, shortly after "gay" Senator David Norris' announcement that he was going to seek a nomination to run for the Presidency of the Republic of Ireland, reports of a very controversial interview with Norris by columnist Helen Lucy Burke in the January 2002 issue of Magill magazine surfaced and began making the rounds of friends and foes alike in the Seanad. On the subject of paedophilia, pederasty and incest and age of consent laws, Norris was quoted as follows:

    The state no longer has an investment in population growth, in my opinion, which was the reason for a whole range of sexual attitudes. ...

    There's a lot of nonsense about paedophilia. I can say this because I haven't the slightest interest in children, or in people who are considerably younger than me. ...pre-pubescent children who lack any identifying characteristics of sexual maturity, I cannot understand why anyone would find them sexually appropriate.

    But in terms of classic paedophilia, as practiced by the Greeks for example, where it is an older man introducing a younger man or boy to adult life, I think that there can be something to be said for it. ...

    But I think there is a complete and utter hysteria about this subject, and there is also confusion between homosexuality and paedophilia on the one hand, and between paedophilia and pederasty on the other.

    But I have to tell you this — I think that children in some instances are more damaged by the condemnation than by the actual experience [of sexual abuse].

    The law in this sphere [informed consent to sexual acts] should take into account consent rather than age.

No Age of Consent Laws

Norris' disapproval of any statutory age of consent for sexual acts should have come as no surprise to the Irish readership, as, one year earlier, on May 30, 2001, in a Seanad debate on the 2000 Sex Offenders Bill, the "gay" senator claimed, "I am against the idea of arbitrary age considerations and in favour of a principle of consent." As a matter of fact, as late as May 4, 2010, in an in-depth interview with Jason O'Toole, reporter for the Irish Daily Mail, Norris was asked if he believed in an age of consent, and Norris responded ," No, I wouldn't believe in that. I believe in a principle of consent."

In the matter of incest, Norris did not express clear opposition to the common societal and religious taboo, except, perhaps, in the case of a father-daughter relations where a pregnancy with harmful genetic consequences might occur. He did not, however, rule out father-son incestuous relations.

According to Miss Burke, in addition to defending "gay rights" and "gay wrongs," i.e., crimes against "gays," Norris also said he favored the legalization of all drugs; and the liberalization of abortion laws to include a threat of suicide as a legal criteria for obtaining an abortion. Elsewhere, Norris is also on public record as favoring the legalization of prostitution.

Norris Disavows Burke Interview to Media

When the Magill interview resurfaced in 2011, Norris and his political team immediately recognized the need for damage control.

According to the Irish Catholic lawyer and pro-life advocate, Johanna Higgins, almost immediately, the article literarily disappeared from circulation. The liberal media, aka, the public sector broadcaster, Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) tried to suppress it. Seanad members, however, passed it around as did many others, and in the end, "It was an article that wouldn't go away," said Higgins.

In his defense, Norris told the Irish Times that his was an academic discussion in a historical context with Miss Burke on sexual relations between older men and younger men and boys arising from Plato's Symposium and ancient Greek classical literature. The senator went on to declare that his comments as quoted by Burke on sexuality were "misleading" and that he never would have approved the finished article as it appeared. Representatives of Magill magazine countered his charge by stating that Miss Burke had given him two opportunities to correct or modify his statements, and Norris chose to only make some "minor amendments" before the interview went to press.

Norris insisted that he, "...made a distinction between paedophilia and pederasty, which is a totally different thing. To the average person it would not make a difference I suppose but to me it did because I knew what I was talking about. They got mixed up and stayed mixed up."

Actually, it was Norris himself who confused the issue by using the erroneous term "classic paedophilia" in the Mcgill interview.

The term pedophilia (paedophilia) derived from the Greek pais, child, and philia, love for, was coined by Dr. Richard Von Krafft-Ebing, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Graz in 1912 to describe the condition in which an adult is erotically attracted to young children of the same or opposite sex. The sexual assault of a freeborn pre-pubescent child was a crime in ancient Greece, so "classic paedophilia" never existed in the Greek city-states as Norris stated.

On the other hand, the term, pederasty, derived from the Greek paiderastes, literally, a lover of [adolescent] boys is of more ancient tradition. In fact, as I document in The Rite of Sodomy, pederasty is the most universal and enduring form of homosexuality practiced from ancient to modern times, and it is at the root of the majority of clerical sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church today.

Since Senator Norris originally brought up "the Greek thing" known as pederasty, I don't think he would object to my making the following additional corrections on the matter.

Norris Errs on Plato

On June 11, 2011, the Cedar Lounge Revolution blog carried some reflections by Norris on his introduction in his twenties to the world of pederasty in ancient Greece following a reading of Plato's Symposium. Norris commented:

    ... I read Plato's symposium, in which there is a discussion about the nature of love. The greatest philosopher ever argued that physical love was the gateway to spiritual love, very movingly it concludes with the most beautiful young man in Athens, Alcibiades admitting that he has offered himself sexually to Socrates in return for sharing in Socrates' wisdom. ... I saw this enlightening approach and experience as a much more interesting and preferable introduction to sexuality than my own experience.

Unfortunately, Norris did not finish the story. According to Plato (427-347 BC), the young and vain Alcibiades, who attempted to seduce the married Socrates (469-399 BC), was rejected and rebuked by his master who questioned the young man's true motives and suggested that Alcibiades' sexual desires will not produce virtue in him. Alas, poor Norris got the message completely wrong.

The historical fact is that whatever his earlier views on same-sex congress, in his Laws, the more mature Plato would outlaw homosexual behavior including pederasty in his aristocratic utopian society on the basis that such acts were "contrary to nature."

    When male and female come together to share in procreation, the pleasure they experience seems to have been granted according to nature; but homosexual intercourse, between males or females, seems to be an unnatural crime of the first rank. (I.636c3-6).

It is not uncommon for "gay" revisionist historians to claim that the above citation taken from Plato's Laws, Book I, appears to contain a condemnation of homosexual conduct only because translators, under the influence of Christianity, imported prejudices against homosexuality into their translations. But this is not true. In reality, virtually all known translations of passage 636c in Laws not only describe homosexual acts as para phusin, that is, "unnatural" or "contrary to nature," but "a crime of the first rank."

As for Aristotle (384–322 BC), who frequently clashed with his teacher Plato, he was more interested in agape, that is, genuine friendship and brotherly love than in eros, that is, love attached to sexual desire. In addition, he was a devoted husband who placed great value on the harmony of conjugal relations and family life. This was in sharp contrast to Plato, the inveterate bachelor, who was willing to sacrifice the interest of both to the overriding interests of the State.

Homosexuality and Pederasty in
Ancient Greece a Complex Picture

Again, "gay" revisionist historians and zealous pro-pederasts like David Norris, like to promote the idea that homosexuality and pederasty thrived in ancient Greece, permeating all Greek institutions and social classes from the Archaic period beginning in 800 BC until the final Roman conquest and beyond. But, once again, the facts prove otherwise.

For example, if we examine early Greek life in the Achaean Age (1,100-800 BC) which covered the Trojan War, the fall of the Mycenean and the immigration of the Dorians onto the Greek mainland and the beginning of the Dark Ages (1,100-800 BC), we find virtually no references to homoerotic attachments of any kind.

The world and times of Homer, as reflected in the Iliad and the Odyssey, did not favor the development, much less the approval, of homosexual practices. With survival as a top priority, male-female sexual relations were normative. Family bonds were strong and stable. Education for both sexes was homebound thus limiting exposure to environments conducive to pederasty.

Contrary to popular "gay" literature, the beautiful mythical Trojan youth Ganymede was carried off by Zeus to be his cupbearer, not his catamite. And Homer's Achilles and Patroclus were devoted brothers-in-arms, not homosexual lovers.

All this would change, however, in the Classical era (500-401BC) where we begin to witness the full extent of the historic influences of the Dorian/Cretan military ethos and Persian influences from the East on Greek sexual mores.

A Shift in Greek Sexual Ethics

By 500 BC, Greek life in major city-states such as Imperial Athens had undergone a considerable transformation from the days of Homer. These changes at virtually every level of Greek society produced societal conditions traditionally associated with the rise of sexual unorthodoxy in general and homoerotic vice in particular, especially among the upper classes.

Among the most important of these paradigm shifts were:

  • The rise of the power of the State over the family and clan with a subsequent decline in the importance of family life and natural conjugal and parent-child affections. The State became a de facto paternal surrogate for the Greek male citizen from early childhood until death.

  • The disruptive climate of perpetual military preparedness against foreign and domestic enemies that militated against peaceful development and undermined social stability of the great republics.

  • The increased urbanization of Greek cities with an ever-widening slave-base serving a minority elite leisure class.

  • A decline in the status of women from earlier periods of Greek culture.

  • The institutional segregation of the sexes especially in the upper classes.

  • And finally, the growth of a male culture dominated by a machismo ethic with emphasis on male nudity and homoeroticism and lived out in the all-male environs of the symposia and gymnasia.

For many of the adult upper class males of the Classical period, the pursuit of sexual pleasure, youth, and beauty involved a certain degree of fluidity unprejudiced by gender.

Prostitutes of both sexes were available to all for a price.

In the case of male prostitutes, it was strictly sex for sex's sake. Like the modern homosexual "meat-rack," the criterion for selection was simply youth and sex appeal. The young men could be rented out by the hour or on a contractual basis and kept like a mistress. Some male prostitutes depilated their bodies, dressed in female clothing and wore high heeled shoes, veils and makeup.

Lucian of Samosata, the Greek satirist of the second century AD, railed against the male effeminates of his own day with their mincing gait, languishing eyes and honeyed voice. Critical of the buyer as well as the seller, Lucian puts his thoughts on male homosexuality into the mouth of one of his female characters who says, "I do not care for a man who himself wants one."

One should take care, however, against giving the impression that the sexual libertarianism of the upper classes was entirely open-ended. It was not. All societies have sexual rules that apply even to the elite and ancient Greece was no exception. Anti-social acts punished under the law included acts of sexual violence, rape of freeborn children and the corruption of freeborn youth (not slaves).

And while prostitution was legal and taxed by the State, it was still a crime for a male citizen to offer his body for sale to another adult male. Such a homosexual misadventure was punished by the loss of certain political rights and met with social disapproval from his peers. Finally, where homosexual relations involved males of the same citizen class, the law as well as custom provided for even a wider range of prohibitions and social and legal sanctions.

Educative Pederasty — The Athenian Model

The Romans called ephebic love, that is, male homosexuality practiced with adolescents, the "Greek vice."

If necessity is the mother of invention, it is not difficult to discover, why and how this particular form of homosexual behavior found its way into the upper echelons of urban Athenian society. It was, as we shall see, a simple case of supply and demand requiring only a modicum of philosophical or pedagogical justification to insure legitimacy.

The only missing ingredient was a suitable rationalization for pederastic homosexuality which the various philosophical schools in Athens (never a disinterested party where homosexuality was concerned) were quick to provide. As homosexual writer John Addington Symonds notes in An Essay on Greek Sexual Ethics, the normally degrading act of submitting one's self to anal penetration could be made acceptable within a new context of a socially-sanctioned custom.

Under the new philosophical umbrella, vice was now capable of producing virtue in a suitable pederastic pairing. Was not the fertile mind, capable of procreating beauty, great literature and laws, more valuable than a fertile body that only produced children? asked the proponents of pederasty.

The Erastes — Eromenos Relationship

Age, obviously was a key consideration for the erastes, the older lover, since, as noted earlier, sexual relations with a freeborn pre-adolescent child of either sex was a crime. On the other hand, sex with a youth sporting a heavy beard was socially proscribed as an overt homosexual act.

No, the ideal eromenos had to be a highborn adolescent, androgynous and beautiful in body, intelligent of mind, modest and circumspect in deportment, between the ages of 14 and 19. In terms of his sexual role, the youth always played the passive and submissive partner, i.e., he played the female role. If he was exceptionally handsome and/or especially talented in playing the coquette and making the chase interesting he could attract a wide number of potential suitors. Once he made his selection, he owed his mentor/lover philia love (friendship) and his unwavering obedience and loyalty.

For the erastes, who was always of equal or higher social status, the norms of pederastic courtship were strictly prescribed. He played the role of the ardent lover wooing his beloved with expensive gifts (not money which would smack of prostitution), escorting him to the symposia and watching him perform naked at the gymnasia. The ideal older partner was heroic, chivalrous, faithful and above all, manly. Being at the height of his sexual powers, he played out his sexual role as the dominant, that is, active partner. By combining his mental skills and virtues, with physical erotic affection, he was said to touch the very soul of his beloved and inspire in him all that was beautiful and admirable.

For the record, there were eromenos-erastes relationships that were chaste and neither partner appeared to have suffered from such an arrangement. This was because the primary role of the senior partner was that of a quasi-surrogate father, mentor, and trainer of his young protégé in military or political and oratory skills, not a bugger of boys.

Historian David Cohen in a reference to the production of "autonomous" children as outlined in Plato's Republic, has shed some light on the role of pederasty in ancient Athens. Cohen observed that, "Historically... the incapacity of mothers and the failure of fathers" to assume direct responsibility for the development of their sons created a gap which pederasty sought to fill. He then quoted an observation by Georges Devereux that: "The Greek father usually failed to counsel his son; instead, he counseled another man's son, in whom he was erotically interested."

It is highly unlikely that educative pederasty, so-called, whatever the rationale put forth to justify its practice, ever functioned effectively as a legitimate intellectual or philosophical training exercise. Rather, the system provided for a convenient, transient and socially regulated sexual encounter that served certain needs of a designated population.

Norris Should Have Read
Plutarch and Solon

Like all sentimental ideals, the idyllic pederastic relationship was "pure in theory but a good deal less so in practice." We know this from the many writings of well-known Greek historians and statesmen such as Plutarch and Solon on the subject of pederasts as sexual predators and hunters of boys.

For example, the Greek biographer Plutarch (46-120? AD) wrote that in the beginning the pederast came slinking into our gymnasia to view the naked boys. "Quite quietly at first he started touching and embracing the boys." Then he became more bold and there was no holding him. "Nowadays he regularly insults conjugal love and drags it through the mud," records Plutarch.

Although Athenian law was not aimed primarily at punishing immoral behavior as such, it did seek to punish immoral behavior that "either harmed those unable to protect themselves or directly transgressed against the clearly demarcated public sphere."

Athenian society did take certain precautions to protect against the corruption of the morals of freeborn minors. Children's schools were shut up after hours until daybreak and entrance into the palaestra (wrestling school) and the gymnasia or sports arena was strictly regulated.

Solon, the great Athenian statesman enacted legislation that would impose the death sentence for men who illegally sneaked into the gymnasia and boys' schools in the Imperial city, which indicates that the illicit sexual seduction of male minors by homosexual adult males was a problem in classical Athens.

Again, while the ideal erastes — eromenos relationship dictated that it was to end when the eromenos grew into manhood (and he assumed the role of an erastes) and his older lover married, there were incidents where the relationship was not severed. Sometimes the pair remained sexual partners even while both were married. Sometimes, an eromenos, especially if he were repeatedly sodomized became habituated to the practice and carried it with him into adulthood, as an adult passive homosexual. In these cases, adult homosexuals, married or unmarried, who sought out other men with similar sexual desires, did so in a furtive manner with a sense of shame and ongoing fear of public disclosure and ridicule.

Views of the Common Man on
Pederasty and Homosexuality

Outside the artificially-induced social environs of the pornai or the gymnasia of Imperial Athens or the military barracks of Sparta, there is no evidence that suggests that homosexuality was an integral part of Greek society especially among the middle and lower classes where the sexes were more normally integrated on a day to day basis.

The views of the common man on the subject of pederasty and adult homosexuality can be found in the Athenian theater, a state-supported form of public edification in which men and women of all classes served out their religious as well as civic duties. In the Greek tradition, the theater manifested a thoroughly heterosexual genre.

In his satirical comedies, Aristophanes (448-380 BC?), the Athenian dramatist, was a harsh mocker of homosexuality in all its forms. His language was crude, its meaning openly and consistently derogatory and scornful as exemplified by his reference to homosexuals as "europroktos" (wide-arsed). Not only did he attack overt pederasts, effeminates and secret homosexuals, but he also took a shot at the philosophers and orators for their alleged affinity for sexually deviant behavior.

The foolish often delirious antics of an adult male continuing to seek homosexual favors from a former lover now grown into full manhood (the modern equivalent of an adult homosexual relationship) was a popular theme in Greek comedies. For the common man with common sense in ancient Greece, and in every civilized historic epoch to follow, the idea that two adult men would enter into a homosexual relationship was thought ridiculous.


It was not until the dawn of the Hellenistic Age [330-30 BC] following the Roman invasion and dissolution of the Greek city-state system that we see a marked return to a more normal pattern of family life reminiscent of earlier periods of Greek history; and a rise in the status of women; and new emphasis on the value of marriage and conjugal relations.

It seems strange, does it not, that ancient Greece, which was dying from her depopulating habits of infanticide, inbreeding and incessant fratricidal warfare, was given a new lease on life by her Roman conquerors? With this enforced opening-up to the outside world, homosexual practices no doubt continued to intrude into Greek life, but the context in which they played themselves out, had radically changed.

Post Script on Senator Norris

On Friday evening, September 16, 2011, just as this article was going to press, Independent Senator Norris appeared as a guest on the RTÉ's Late, Late Show to announce that he plans to re-enter the Irish Presidential race from which he had dropped out due to the Ezra Yizhak affair and Mcgill scandal, providing he can secure the signatures of twenty sitting Senators or of four county or city councils necessary to get his name on the ballot. The disastrous interview can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkNSqEYysLA&feature=player_embedded#!.

I think it passing strange, that when it comes to the condemnation of Irish Catholic clerical pederasts like Fr. Seán Fortune, Senator Norris can't damn the crime and the criminal fast enough, but when it comes to his pederast "gay" friends including Ezra Yizhak and Cathal Ó Searcaigh, that same crime is miraculously transformed into a mere "moral failing" which can be assuaged by a short time of quiet reflection at home (not prison) and a modicum of cash tossed to the victim.

Norris has repeatedly stated, "I abhor with every fiber of my being the idea of interference with children, sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse. My record on that speaks for itself." He repeated a similar statement to RTÉ chat host Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late.

Yes, indeed Senator Norris, your public record does speak for itself.

First, you are on record as defending pederasty, and opening the door to pedophilia by refusing to consider any legal age of consent for minors.

Second, while you call upon the Seanad to protect all children from all forms of abuse, you are yourself an implacable cheerleader for abortion, the ultimate in child abuse.

Third, it is the role of all civilized government to promote virtue and suppress vice, but you, as a member of the Seanad, have become the standard-bearer for all forms of organized perversion.

I trust that the voters of the Republic of Ireland will remember that record when they go to the polls in October to vote for their next President, and when your re-election comes up again in your elite University of Dublin constituency after the next general election. If it were not for the liberal voting block of Trinity graduate students who by law get to elect three senators, would you ever have been elected in the first place? I think not.

[Note: For a complete review of homosexuality in the ancient world with footnotes and references see Volume I, "Historical Perspectives," The Rite of Sodomy available at www.newengelpublishing.com in various formats. Also, I wish to express my appreciation to Johanna Higgins who lives and writes from Northern Ireland for her assistance and advice which made this series possible. She is an experienced criminal prosecutor and legal advisor to the All Party Pro Life Group.]

© Randy Engel


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Randy Engel

Randy Engel, one of the nation's top investigative reporters, began her journalistic career shortly after her graduation from the University of New York at Cortland, in 1961. A specialist in Vietnamese history and folklore, in 1963, she became the editor of The Vietnam Journal, the official publication of the Vietnam Refugee and Information Services, a national relief program in South Vietnam for war refugees and orphans based in Dayton, Ohio... (more)


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