Last week my wife and I watched a TV show where a student was expelled from school for protesting an abstinence assembly by playing George Michael’s song “I Want Your Sex” over a boombox. In this fictional prime time TV drama, the student and her lawyer preached that “abstinence sex education” was an oxy-moron. They jested that it was setting up kids for failure by telling them to not use condoms and not telling them the whole story.
This is not to far off from Planned Parenhood’s claim that “…the national policy of promoting abstinence-only programs is a $1.5 billion failure, and teenage girls are paying the real price.”
I was frustrated watching the TV show. After all, I’ve seen good and bad abstinence education. At the beginning of this season of American Idol we saw two ludicrous examples. We saw a young girl contestant who claimed that she taught abstinence education. Simon skeptically asked her, “Go ahead and share a little bit of your pitch.”
She began her weak, inarticulate case that sounded something like, “uh… well you just shouldn’t. There is so much other stuff to do instead like sports. So don’t do it.”
A week later an awkward middle-aged man too old for the competition claimed that he had a song that kids needed to hear. This goofy little man began singing his rediculous song, “No sex allowed! I don’t want to be part of that crowd!” (Randy and Paula joined in, jesting)
Is this what the world thinks of the message of abstinence? A bunch of homely losers who can’t “get laid” anyway so we are telling others, “Just clench your knees together and everything will be alright!”
I don’t think that’s a true representation of abstinence education. But we would be ignorant to not search for answers to this epidemic. (yes… I call 1 in 4 teenage girls getting a disease an epidemic). After all, whether we agree with it or not… whether we like it or not… we’ve been teaching abstinence in schools and churches for the last few years, and the problem is not better.
Hence yesterday’s blog asking for answers.
The world’s answer is to swing the pendulum all the way back and claim, “Bush’s program isn’t working. So instead, let’s get excited about Trojan’s new ‘Evolve’ campaign: Use a condom every time.”
I don’t think that a false sense of security is the answer.
But the church seems to be saying that condoms are never the answer.
In yesterday’s blog someone had the guts to bring up that tough question in their comments. Randi asked:
“…if the statistics I’m reading are correct and 70% of teens DO have sex before they are 18, then at least 5 of the girls in my youth group are going to have sex before they are 18, and some of them might get STD’s or end up pregnant too.
That in mind, this is my question: is it inappropriate to discuss using condoms or other such things at church? I’m torn because on the one hand, I definitely DO NOT want to go there and then have the youth think that we are saying “Hey, if you use a condom, that’s a free pass to go have sex”
Randi asked the question that abstinence-education is being criticized for not asking. (and note: she just asked a question- that’s not a sin, you know!)
Chuck responded to this saying, “I think we need to talk about condom use. However, only from the standpoint of their unaffectiveness.”
“Pilgrim” responded like this: “It’s not only condoning, but capitulating to the lies of the culture that helped get us here! Would we tell teens that because they are already going to drink alcohol, they should choose a designated driver to cut down their chances of a DUI?”
Todd said this: “I agree with pilgrim. The Bible is so clear on this and honestly I get sick to my stomach when I see churches and pastors begin to compromise BIBLICAL STANDARDS for cultural opinions. There is just no place for it. Why stop at sex and drinking, what about cheating, drugs, murder…remember when sin was sin???”
Are they right?
In New York Times’ recent article about Harvard’s “Students of Virginity” (an excellent article that presents a case for a Harvard club that believes waiting is the answer) mentioned some sobering facts:
“…those who took virginity pledges preserved their technical virginity about 18 months longer than teenagers who didn’t pledge, yet they were six times more likely to engage in oral sex than virgins who hadn’t taken a pledge. They were also much less likely to use condoms during their first sexual experience or to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases.”
Fact: Kids who have taken abstinence pledges tend to be more in danger of teen pregnancy than those who haven’t.
I’m simply asking… how can we equip our kids NOT to fail?
And people are asking a good question: if a kid listens to the abstinence message and says, “Nope, I’m gonna have sex.” Should we say… “Well, still don’t buy a condom because that would just be admitting to the fact that you’re going to do it!”???
It’s hard for me to get excited about this when I know condoms aren’t the answer. But all facts considered… is Randi’s question bad?