January 12, 2004

Attacking Abstinence

In Channel 4’s series of programmes on Texas, they have now attacked abstinence education. The problem is that it goes against “teenagers’ natural urges”. Can’t do that!

The entire show was shot in Lubbock. The programme followed a group of horny teen boys who had distain for abstinence and party, party, party. They are 17 years old. They are normal. They can’t take full advantage of their sexual freedom because 80 percent of the population goes to church.

They visit various churches and Christian teenagers, and make fun of teenagers who take purity pledges. They tried to make the parents and pastors sound silly. They didn’t sound particularly silly to me – they didn’t use kooks, like in the first Texas programme. The fact that they were American evangelical, and in some cases charismatic, Christians is enough to scare and shock Brits. One pastor quoted the Scriptures a lot. He prayed for people. In the closing shot of him, he was speaking in tongues. Clearly an insane and dangerous radical.

They emphasised how often these kids go to church or other religious meetings. They showed them singing worship songs, closing their eyes, raising their hands. Obviously this is not normal behaviour. In interviews, they mention that it would be fun to party, but the temptations are too great. Poor kids brainwashed by religion and an imprisoned by consciences from doing what feels good. They talked about the peer pressure not to have sex and friends who acted as accountabilty partners. The presenter of the programme thought it was terrible that teens felt such pressure. It was okay to have the pressure and encouragement to have sex, of course.

They showed a couple in church-based pre-marital counselling and how terrible it was that spouses might not have any experience before their wedding night. Surely this will lead to unfulfilled sex lives, since they have been told as teenagers that sex is bad.

All this abstinence and pressure on teens not to have sex is of course the fault of George W. Bush. After all, the law about including abstinence education in sex education was passed while he was governor. Schools can’t promote contraception. They can’t pass out condoms and they can’t demonstrate how to put them on. George kills all the people on death row and he keeps all the teenagers from having sex. How could any one man be more offensive to enlightened British sensibilities?

All the reasonable voices in Lubbock want broader education. The pastor that used Scripture a lot is also an abstinence educator in schools. He tells students plainly that condoms do not prevent the transmission of disease. They showed a representative of the Department of Health speaking to a group of “at risk” students, telling them that the pastor lied and he was only trying to scare them. And the reason there are teenage pregnancies and STDs in Lubbock? Abstinence education.

With disdain in her voice, the narrator closed the programme with, “Texas is not the place for teenage sex. No matter what the consequences, abstinence is here to stay.”

Posted by david at January 12, 2004 01:02 AM | TrackBack