Monday, December 29, 2008

Virginity Pledges Failing

In a recent, federally funded, study, it was determined that a control group of those who took a pledge to remain virgins until marriage were as likely to engage in sexual acts as those who had not. This study also shows that those who did pledge tend to be less likely to use any form of protection against STD's or pregnancy.

While this may, at first, appear shocking, their is one essential variable that changes the outlook on this study. Janet E. Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the conductor of the study, used only youth who had similar upbringings and views on sexuality. Thus, we are not comparing the worst of secularists with true, believing, Christians. Instead we are taking a small cross-section of the population who believe and therefore act similarly with a certain difference . . . the pledge.

Given the similarity of the youth's beliefs and home-life, it should not be surprising to find little difference in outcome, regardless of any pledge. The one difference that is interesting is that those in the pledge control group were less likely to protect themselves during sex. The question then becomes, how does the sexuality come about? Rather than a planned act, is it a sudden instance of poor judgment? Further, does the pledge make them think they are less likely to fall prey to poor judgment regarding sex? These are questions I would like answered.

Many liberal groups are lauding the report as proof that abstinence pledges and abstinence education does not work, and are pushing for Barack Obama's government to do away with those programs that use them. Yet this study does not appear to give enough warrant for that decision. There are many comparisons that the study does not cover, and many questions that it does not answer that need to be focused on before a decision should be reached on the subject. It would be unwise to get rid of either abstinence pledges/programs or protection education before all the facts are in.

As an idealist, I would say, first off, that our entire system of education is broken. Parents are sending their children to school as a means of educating them about the totality of life rather than for what it was designed for - the basics within specific disciplines: reading, writing, math, the sciences. Our schools have fallen behind many countries in these basics, and have begun to focus on a particular philosophy of life, a philosophy that was constructed by liberals at the beginning of the last century and includes problematic ideas on what it means to be human. It should be no surprise that our schools are churning out robots who repeat the same things: artificial ideas of equality, of faux-tolerance, of anti-Christianity and of humanism. These children generally learn little from their parents, whom they hardly ever see, and are misinformed about life from their books and instructors. Certain state courts are also attempting to ensure that there will be no alternative to this state-run mantra-mill.

I do believe that schools should teach about human sexuality. But with the broken and humanistic system referred to above, they cannot understand human sexuality in a right way. It becomes a human "right," because it is an impulse. Schools teach that humans are basically animals that should act on impulse. with an implicit view like this, sexuality could never be conceived as a God-given gift that carries with it both privileges (joy, fulfillment, procreation), and responsibilities (use only within marriage). Thus the only possibility for abstinence training in the schools is to tell these youth, accurately, that they are not old enough or mature enough to handle sex. I do not think that is enough, especially while these children are fed the hubris that comes with humanism, but it is a place to start. They should also be taught about means of protection in case abstinence fails (as it likely will).

Here is my idealist alternative. Parents should be involved with their children's lives. They should inform their morality and their philosophy, which will go a long way to informing their choices and actions. Parents should show them what works and what doesn't in life. Parents should train their children in discipline and in honesty. Christian parents must teach their children the Bible and its unique morality for life. Parents with rebel children should teach those children about condoms, but I suggest they do not give them condoms, lest they perceive that the parent approves of pre-marital sex. Sex was not designed for multiple partners, for condoms or the pill. Instead, these things are twistings of right sexuality. Unprotected sex, the ideal, was meant for a safe relationship; one that never ends as long as life endures.

Without right concepts about morality and life, sexuality cannot be thought of rightly. Without right concepts of sex, we cannot expect our children to make responsible decisions about it. The whole framework crumbles and we are left with a mess. This, I suggest, is exactly what we are perceiving in our culture. This study does little to prove or disprove abstinence education. It only confirms what we already know. Birds of a feather flock together.

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