Few days ago I had a chance to watch another US documentary on the promise-keeping movement operating throughout American evangelical churches titled Teenage Texas Virgins. Town of Lubbock, Texas has a sky-high incidence of teenage pregnancy and STD’s and after all I watched I understand why.
I saw young girls listen with great attention to the ranting of a (probably crazy ) middle-aged pastor who makes a good living of teaching high school kids on the evils of sex, using used toothbrushes to get his message across.
"Would you put that in your mouth?" he asked a confused girl while keeping the dirty toothbrush near her lips as she shook her head with disgust.
"Of course not, because you don’t know where it’s been,” he dramatically yelled.
Later, during the interview with the journalist Vicky Hamburger, he told her that he liked to take out the teenage heart and play with it then put it back. During the prayer ceremony he talked strangely laying his hands on heads making them bow before him in a position that looked very pornographic under the circumstances. Girl’s admitted to the interviewer they had received no sex education at their Texas high school where it is illegal to teach the basics.
Health professionals working in STD clinics said teenagers were indulging in the alternative of anal sex rather than loosing their virginity, and you could hear the pastor telling teenagers that condoms don’t work. Put two and two together and think about the results.
Cheap stores selling purity rings worn on the marriage finger of the town's virgins did a good trade in Lubbock. The stories of teenagers wracked with guilt makes you wonder if we still live in medieval times. I felt so sorry for the couple that were together for the last seven years but didn’t have sex because of their commitment to celibacy. Now they are both 23 and they simply "don’t know how to have sex".
It is one thing to encourage 12 or 13 year olds to wait until ready, but quite another to tell somebody not to have sex till they have a wedding ring. If you never marry, are you condemned to a life of celibacy? The average age of people that get married in the Western countries is about 30, so does it feel normal for somebody to abstain from sex for so long, and than on his/hers wedding night just "go for it" as one US pastor said.
Abstinence programmes will lead to teenage marriages, because marriage will be the only path to sex. Often those marriages will be based only on sex, and will not last. Teach young people to wait until they feel ready, and to act responsibly and with care for others when they do become sexually active. But to tie sex only to marriage is ridiculous.