Framing the Dialogue

Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

This is a favorite story that I heard on the radio a few years ago…

The local school district had scheduled a meeting with parents before implementing their new sex education program.  As expected, the auditorium had a lot of interested parents in attendance.  The administration went through the curriculum and referenced all the relevant research supporting their lesson plans.

A father in the audience listened for a while and noticed a conspicuous absence of abstinence from their strategies.  He screwed up his courage and asked why.  His question was met with snickers from the audience and condescension from the educators.  They were kind enough to prove him how wrong his views were.  They were the experts after all.  You can imagine this poor man slinking in his seat after what seemed like a scolding.

After an hour, a break was offered where cookies, punch and coffee was served.  The audience was encouraged to meet other concerned parents and meet back in 20 minutes.  The embarassed father stayed in his seat during the break. 

As the session started back up, the lead presenter asked one of the audience members to stand up.  This woman had a conspicuous flower in her hair.  Audience members who had met her were asked to stand up.  Quite a few had met her and stood up.  The audience was then asked whether any had met any of those who were now standing.  After they stood, the question was asked again until the whole audience was standing.

At this point the presenter admitted that the break was sort of an experiment.  

It was explained that this was one of the activities that would be used with high school students.  It is a great way to drive home the importance of using protection.  She explained that the woman with the flower actually represented a sexually transmitted disease.  All those who had met her or had met any of those who met her, etc. now were exposed to the STD.  Every one had an STD.

At this point that formerly embarrassed father raised his hand again.  He said that he actually did not have the STD because he abstained from the activity.  You could hear a pin drop in the audience as he walked out. 

I don’t know if the story is true, but I hope it is as I would like to imagine that father walking out with a feeling of great satisfaction.  I shared that story with my children and one of my daughters actually retold it in one of her high school classes.  I was impressed that she told the story as abstinence is not a topic that puts you high on the high school “in” crowd.  Young people are continuously told that waiting is not cool.  MTV (you know that network that used to actually show music videos) has built its whole prime-time lineup around promiscuity.

Leaving out all moral issues and using Dr. Spock’s (of Star Trek fame) love of logic, abstinence is the only 100 percent way to avoid pregnancy and STDs.  It always amazed me how elitists scoffed at the concept that was simple, cheap, and effective.  Imagine my delight when I saw a Washington Post article lauding that abstinence programs actually work.  Duh.  I could tell that the Post had a hard time with the concept as they labeled this as “the first carefully designed study to evaluate the controversial approach to sex ed.” [emphasis added]

Abstinence is controversial?! (I was not sure which punctualtion to use here)  If you want to get a sense of the derision that media, Hollywood, and elitists have for the concept do an image search using the term “abstinence.”  I was shocked at the some of the nastiness.

With his usual impecible timing, President Obama recently announced that he was going to slash $150 million in funding targeted at abstinence programs. 


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