Christianity and Unplanned Pregnancy.

by Pitt Griffin on May 25, 2015 · 0 comments

in Abortion, Education, Religion, Sex-ed.

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

You want to raise your kids as good Christians – particularly your daughters. So you demand that your children ‘save it’ for marriage. To promote this, you create such monstrosities as ‘purity balls’ – where daughters pledge virginity to their fathers until the magic nuptial night. There is no similar event for boys and mothers – because, you know, ‘boys will be boys’ (see Josh Duggar).

Purity balls. A romantic fantasy of noble fathers protecting their daughters' virginity - or just a little creepy?

Purity balls. A romantic fantasy of noble fathers protecting their daughters’ virginity – or just a little creepy?

In the Christian – fundamentalist Christian – imagination, if you wish something to be true, it will be so. But that isn’t how the world works. In reality, teens have sex – most of them in fact. Whether they are religious or not; whether taught ‘abstinence-only’ or nuts and bolts sex ed; whether from conservative or liberal families – it makes no difference.

Where there is a difference is in the rates of STDs and unwanted pregnancies.

It makes no sense for parents to resist comprehensive sex ed. Consider this – if you knew that your kid was going to drive a car, even though you had forbidden it, wouldn’t you want her to wear a seat belt?

There are some religious beliefs that beggar the imagination, but are, nevertheless, pretty harmless. Take transubstantiation. It hurts no one to believe you are eating the physical body and drinking the physical blood of Christ. But condemning some teens to unwanted motherhood or exposing them to STDs because your religious text insists that sexual morality be only abstinence until marriage is destructive.

In the Western World, it is a distinctly American philosophy. Certainly there are folks in other countries equally as prudish and equally self-deluded about teenage behavior as evangelicals are –  but generally Europeans expect teens to have sex. As such they accept it and raise their kids with a healthy attitude to it. Not as something disgusting before marriage, but as a source of pleasure and intimacy.

And then there's college.

And then there’s college.

Am I advocating for ‘free love’ and unbridled promiscuity? Hardly. To say that prohibition is a useless strategy to reduce drinking is not to lobby for rampant drunkenness.

We don’t give teens drivers’ licenses without drivers ed. We know they are going to have sex – so why not give them sex ed? Opponents of information argue that giving teens a thorough sexual education will promote sexual adventurism. Why? We don’t have sex because we had classes for it. We have sex because it’s a biological imperative.

If anything, a sex ed class that lays bare the consequences of unprepared for sex – the disease, unwanted pregnancies, and emotional turmoil – will do far more to prevent those consequences than fingers-crossed, abstinence-only, wishful thinking.

Thorough sex ed – the sex ed that deals with the emotional issues surrounding sex, not just the mechanics of it – empowers girls. Planned Parenthood – the evangelicals’ bug-a-bear – is particularly good at it. Far from encouraging sex, it gives girls, and boys, the tools to reject it. Going so far as to encourage teens to talk to their parents about it.

The problem with religion – especially the fundamental variety – is that it imagines a utopia and dreams that everyone can be persuaded to act against their instincts. On the other hand, rational people take people as they are and act accordingly. The religious and the secular share one goal – the reduction of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease. But only the secular approach has a chance of working.

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