When you found out that Sarah Palin‘s underage daughter, Bristol Palin, got knocked up, what was your reaction?
Were you surprised?
Did you want to denounce the mother for her hypocrisy?
Did you want to say “I told you so” to anyone who supported abstinence-only sex education?
Another question: What was your reaction when you saw that the conservatives didn’t seem at all concerned about this?
[Liberals] expected the news to dismay the evangelical voters that John McCain was courting with his choice of Palin. Yet reports from the floor of the Republican Convention, in St. Paul, quoted dozens of delegates who seemed unfazed, or even buoyed, by the news.
Margaret Talbot has an article in the latest New Yorker answering the question of why so many evangelical teenagers become pregnant.
The article points out the cultural divide between the sides:
Social liberals in the country’s “blue states” tend to support sex education and are not particularly troubled by the idea that many teen-agers have sex before marriage, but would regard a teen-age daughter’s pregnancy as devastating news. And the social conservatives in “red states” generally advocate abstinence-only education and denounce sex before marriage, but are relatively unruffled if a teen-ager becomes pregnant, as long as she doesn’t choose to have an abortion.
[Sociologists Peter Bearman and Hannah Brückner] have also identified a peculiar dilemma: in some schools, if too many teens pledge, the effort basically collapses. Pledgers apparently gather strength from the sense that they are an embattled minority; once their numbers exceed thirty per cent, and proclaimed chastity becomes the norm, that special identity is lost. With such a fragile formula, it’s hard to imagine how educators can ever get it right: once the self-proclaimed virgin clique hits the thirty-one-per-cent mark, suddenly it’s Sodom and Gomorrah.
The whole notion of guilt-tripping everyone in your faith to remain abstinent until marriage is ridiculous. If people want to choose it for themselves, that’s fine. But to tell young people that sex is evil or horrible or shameful is wrong. Tell them the real consequences. Tell them how to protect themselves from many of those consequences.
Above all, if you create these rules, don’t act like everything is ok when the rules are broken.
We already know what goes on at many Christian summer camps…