Friday, January 15, 2010

A reader disagrees about abstinence based education.

As I said in the original column, some people don't like the official findings.

Don’t set up abstinence to fail

Once again Mark Peterson exposed his amoral and anti-God sentiments when writing about sex education classes in public schools. By his words I understand he does not believe people can live a life according to God’s standards. I find that nonsensical for several reasons, three of which I’ll share.

First of all, in generations past, sex outside of marriage was not an activity society accepted; therefore most people exercised self control and waited for marriage for a blessed sex life. It was good for society and good for them personally. And, it was attainable.

Secondly, he cites a study saying, “Young people who participated in abstinence-only programs were just as likely to have sex before marriage as their peers who didn’t participate.” I easily found studies showing the opposite.

Abstinence-centered programs for kids work well when done right. Abstinence-centered programs need to be reinforced year after year. Kids need to hear the message that waiting until marriage to enjoy sex is attainable and better; kids want to hear the message that they are worth waiting for. If we present anything less, we are letting them down.

Just imagine the impact of abstinence-centered programs in schools at the rate of Mark Peterson approved programs telling kids, “don’t do it, but if you do, use a condom.” Those types of programs do not bring a message of hope and success to kids. The message is they are bound to fail, so deal with it.

Teachers teach for results. We need teaching to reinforce values, which build up kids and help them attain the best; programs that teach kids how to wait until marriage for sex, why to wait and the benefits of marriage. Let’s keep on that track.

Thirdly, since God created sex for marriage, then waiting until marriage is attainable and best.

Mary Weigand

Town of Trenton

Mary Weigand is one of the local fundamentalists who have opposed teaching evolution and science-based sex ed -- and including gay bashing in the school district's definition of hate speech.

I suppose in Ms. Weigand's universe, people like me who were raised ELCA Lutheran, are amoral and anti-God.

More's the pity.

I wonder how Ms. Weigand would reply to findings that indicate evangelical teens actually have sex sooner than the rest of us anti-God type Christians?

One which topic, see: Red Sex, Blue Sex: Why do so many evangelical teen-agers become pregnant?

On average, white evangelical Protestants make their “sexual début”—to use the festive term of social-science researchers—shortly after turning sixteen. Among major religious groups, only black Protestants begin having sex earlier.

And one more while I'm thinking about it. For an evangelical's take on all of this, see the remarkably interesting Shelby Knox.

I mention it in passing.



Grant said...

I easily found studies showing the opposite

Yeah, well, I did a double-blind trial on myself! I went to every bar in town, repeating "I will not get laid tonight" under my breath.

And by God, it worked!

John Foust said...

Did you mean to link to Shelby's blog or to the movie about her experience?

DanBack said...

These people think everyone in the USA is just like them. Maybe all THEIR friends are white, middle class Christians, but that doesn't mean the whole country is. This is the reason they constantly harp on the "War on Christmas". Why do my "Christmas" cards say "Happy Holidays" on them? Because in addition to Christians I am am friends with Jews, Muslims, and probably a bunch of other religions too. There is no "war on Christmas". Get over yourself.

Would Mary like it if I greeted her with a hearty "Happy Kwanzaa!" in the street? No? Neither would my Jewish friends like it if I sent them cards that said "Merry Christmas". (Actually they wouldn't care, they don't have sticks up their asses like Mary.)

And I'll say it again - wasn't Ginny herself an unwed teenage mother? Shouldn't she of all people understand this issue? Surely someone told her to not have sex somewhere along the line and she chose not to listen.

DanBack said...

And while I'm at it:

Mary said "By his words I understand he does not believe people can live a life according to God’s standards".

Isn't it a Christian belief that we ARE all born sinners and CAN'T "live a life according to God's standards."?

Anonymous said...

"I easily found studies showing the opposite"

Where are they?
Just take it on faith!

Damn it, Mark. The fish just keep biting and they actually sign their real names. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark,

If you get a chance, take a look at this article.

Just food for thought.

p.s. Yes, I am on the other team. However, I appreciate your insight, and have no interest in demonizing you.

Take care.

Mpeterson said...

Thanks Anonymous... it's a thoughtful look back, but I have to disagree with their first paragraph:

"The last four decades have seen a subtle but cataclysmic shift in the philosophy driving modern sex education in America’s schools. Prior to the sexual revolution, human biology and reproduction, hygiene, and marriage were the focus of sex education in America’s schools. This was an abstinence-until-marriage centered approach. Today that focus has shifted to promote a perspective of sex that is instrumental for individual pleasure and not intrinsic to marriage and procreation. This is the paradigm that has driven so-called “safe-sex” or more recently “abstinence-plus” education."

What I can tell you is that prior to the sexual revolution there was essentially no sex ed it schools... nothing of any real value. It wasn't a change in sex ed programs that caused the sexual revolution, it was the sexual revolution that made serious, fact-based, sex ed programs necessary. Society took the lid off the kinds of terrible repression that characterized what were childish American sexual attitudes (I think we're almost through our adolescence now... but we live in a culture that continues to encourage an endless adolescence...). With birth control available and STDs in that era entirely treatable, the need for serious "Here's how you handle yourself best" sex ed came to the fore. It was, and continues to be resisted, at every turn. My view is that this resistance is the real trouble.

But I think you've given everyone a good statement of the view that opposes mine, so thanks for putting it up!