...this particular issue is so emotionally volatile and culturally ingrained by this point in time that despite my agreement with you that it's rooted in the anti-sexuality aspects of religion it is so embedded in Western culture at this point that the sentiment transcends religion.
As a result, it has taken on fully secular iterations, currently manifesting as the sex trafficking paranoia, which is pretty much just a modern update of past moral sex panics, like the white slavery panic of the early 20th century.
What attests to this is how despite not being nearly as religious as America, European nations like the U.K. and other Western nations like Australia totally share the schizophrenic paranoia and revulsion surrounding the idea of child sexuality, and thus the concept of child civil rights in general (you need to strip away the agency of people that you want to force into a representative state of asexuality). And, of course, this is projected into hatred and maliciously willful misunderstanding of adults who are attracted to kids, as is the total dismissal of youths who are attracted to adults (mesophiles). The narrative remains that kids under X number of years are naturally asexual and that they are blissfully happy without a sexual component to their lives despite all the obvious evidence against it. That is why so many in the public sphere are so outrageously gung ho about sweeping visible instances of it under the rug and viciously chastising anyone who acknowledges this in any way.
And since the Western nations, particularly the U.S. and the U.K. are so powerful economically speaking, they have made sure to spread this hatred and paranoia to all nations across the globe, including throughout the East and South America, who used to be much more tolerant of this, as well as nullifying the policies of some Scandinavian nations like the Netherlands that used to be far more reasonable than the insanely absolutist AoC laws in the U.S. and the U.K.
Most people cannot think straight or rationally about this topic, and respond in a knee-jerk fashion. It's become almost obligatory for even some of the best critical thinkers to join in on the performative rage to show that whatever else someone says about them, they at least cannot say that they are "perverts" or "kiddie fiddlers." Anything but that! They also enjoy having this as a cudgel to use against their opponents, even as their opponents try to do the same to them.
And it creates a terrifying and utterly oppressive situation for MAPs, most of whom are decent people struggling to make a living in a world that wants no part of them. If they speak, or anyone speaks up on their behalf, it's instant career suicide. This creates the illusion that the consensus opinion is actually backed up by the research, and why the body of research contradicting it is willfully ignored and commonly censored.