Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sexual Abstinence vs Be Careful!

There has been a lot in the media recently about a growing movement in the UK promoting sexual abstinence (don't have sex until married) as opposed to the liberal normal view of it's ok to have sex as long as you use contraception and are careful etc...

The media attention has focused around an issue between a school and pupils over not allowing them to wear a ring signifying their pledge to sexual purity. I am very aware of this since the father of the family involved is the Leader of my church.

It started last year with an article in the West Sussex county Times about the school refusing to allow Phil's daughter to wear the ring in school as it went against the schools dress code. Recently this has gone to national press in the Guardian news paper and on GMTV on Monday 19th June. These article seem to me to actually give a fair representation for once. As opposed to when it was mentioned in a recent Channel 4 dispatches programme by Rod Liddle entitled 'The New Fundamentalists'. This was an appalling piece of journalism but should have been expected given the history of the journalist in question. For a challenge to the claims made in this programme click here.

My church is at the forefront of this movement in the UK and is fully backing what is called the Silver Ring Thing (click on the link to find out more). Now while I am deeply skeptical about these kind of programmes as they can so often be just another bandwagon to jump on, I think this has some important things to say.

I live close to Crawley in West Sussex and Crawley has some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the UK. Now I am not going to point the finger at any one thing that may be behind the UK's escalating STD, teen pregnancy and abortion rates. I am not that naive as to think it is all caused by one particular issue. However it is clear that something is quite staggeringly wrong with the way things are at present. Why do so many teenagers think it is ok to have underage sex, why are so many ignorant about the choices they have? How in this day and age and so called 'respect' for life is the attitude 'if I get pregnant I can always have an abortion' allowed to be maintained as a respectable if not regrettable choice.

The SRT basically educates teenagers, although not exclusively, that Sexual abstinence is a choice open to them. Standing against what is presented day in and day out in the media and saying that being a virgin before you are married is a perfectly valid choice and all this rubbish about the more partners you have the better love life you will have is exactly that, rubbish!

Now I cannot comment first hand on the material of the SRT and the criticisms against it about not teaching teenagers about contraceptive choices leading to greater risk of pregnancy and STD's if they break the pledge. If all the education they got was that then I would possibly agree but teenagers are bombarded with info about it in school and out so there is no reason to also include it in SRT at this point. On the other hand clearly all the info teenagers do get isn't working to reduce the rates of pregnancy and STD's so it is not such a good argument anyway.

At the end of the day you make your own choice. Abstinence is a valid choice and from a Christian point of view biblical way to live outside marriage. We should be giving our young folks all the support they need to make valid choices. Present them with both sides, educate them about contraception and its pro's and cons and that abstinence is the only 100% way to steer clear of STD's and unwanted pregnancy. Educate young people to GASP! Take responsibility for the choices they make. If you have sex you must expect the possibility of a baby and killing it isn't really the option without consequences that is so often spouted by 'pro-choice' groups. Let common sense prevail and call an end to this wishy washy liberal attitude of no moral absolutes in modern society.

For Christians the Bible is clear that you should only have one sexual partner in life, excluding your marriage partner dying and re-marrying after that and divorce being a big grey area. But on the other hand there is total forgiveness and restoration if/when you fail to keep that pledge or live up to that ideal. No matter what you have done God will forgive you when you turn to him! That is not licence to carry on Sinning (shock he used the S word).

Daily Mail Article re this issue

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