Thursday, October 06, 2005

Abstinence Educator Gets Laid

That's the shorter version of the SFWeekly's "What Part of "Wait Until Marriage" Don't You Understand!" subtitled "Infiltrator goes to a teen abstinence educators' conference -- and gets laid!" Harmon Leon details his adventures at a conference to train abstinence educators and his decision to become a born-again virgin--for the duration of the conference at least.

Leon describes several of the arguments and techniques used in abstinence education, interjects more than enough satire to keep the story rolling, and makes some very telling points regarding the purpose of abstinence education. A few excerpts:

We're sitting in a conference room eating $15 box lunches (turkey with mayo on white bread, of course), engaging in shop talk. One topic: All Web sites should refer to the failure rate of condoms, rather than to their effectiveness. Another: Should extremely graphic slides be used when speaking to students about STDs (which condoms don't prevent)?

. . .

Abstinence Fun Fact!

Why not tell kids to try to abstain, but if they are going to have sex, use a condom? That's an easy question to answer. Saying, "If you must, use a condom," is like saying, "Don't drink and drive, but if you do drink and drive, make sure you wear a seat belt." Or saying, "Don't go and shoot a cop, but if you are going to shoot a cop, make sure to wear safety goggles and earplugs." So when we say it's OK for a teen to use a condom, it's like saying it's OK to shoot a cop!

. . .

Then comes a series of TV commercials produced by his foundation, to be aired during Oregon State Beaver football games, showing the consequences of not practicing abstinence. "This ad changes the English language by changing the view. We need to see the woman as a hero for bringing a baby to term."

The first commercial -- called Night -- Abortion Changes Everything. Think About It -- shows a hot-looking, blond female firefighter (you see them all over the place) saving a tiny baby from a burning building. She mentions that her mother, who almost had an abortion, would be very proud today that her decision saved more than one life. "When you work with women coming to your clinic, they're heroes!"

"The next commercial deals with selling abortion to blacks in inner cities," the gray-suit man dryly explains. "They [the blacks] usually have their first child, so we put the child in the ad." The ad has the feel of a Folgers coffee commercial. We see a smiling, well-adjusted black woman in a middle-class house; she has a small child. With a huge, satisfied smile, she says she's decided to have her next baby as well!

There's more. A 17-year-old white girl is jogging in a nice running outfit. "You can't run away from your problems," she says. "I'm keeping it." She jogs off (I would guess back to her middle-class home).

But a question pops into my mind: Where's the TV commercial with the woman (or hero) who's been raped by her alcoholic stepfather and the words "Abortion -- let's not have two victims!

. . .

The Case for Marriage

"What we think of marriage is not what the world around us thinks of marriage," the bubbly woman from earlier tells the room, which is 90 percent full of gray-haired ladies; they are attending the workshop "The Case for Marriage." "This is the will of God that you should abstain from sexual immorality. We believe that human sexuality is a divine gift, a primal dimension of each person.

"No question about that. God is pretty clear where he stands on that!"

I realize, now, that abstinence education goes deeper than telling high school kids not to have sex. It's the exportation of a code of conduct into our public schools directly from the Bible.

. . .

[After detailed description of skits promoting abstinence and virginity pledges,] According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, teens who take virginity pledges often remain technical virgins by engaging in oral and booty sex. It makes sense: If they're trying to preserve their virginity, oral and anal sex fit under the definition of not having sex.

. . .

Abstinence Fun Fact!

I don't want kids thinking they'll be protected by condoms, because it won't protect the most important body part of all -- the heart. And isn't that the area of the body most susceptible to raging gonorrhea?

. . .

I look again at the slide of Holly and Steve hugging, holding flowers. What went wrong? They look so happy. To think, it was all because of birth control.

We go next to the Bible, specifically Genesis 38:10, in which Onan spills his seed on the ground and is struck dead by God. The soft-spoken director questions the appropriateness of married couples using contraceptives. "That's our objective: understand God's plan for marriage and families," she says. "The purpose of sex is procreation."

Once we separate sex from creating children, she says, the door is open to a whole (pardon my French) hell of a lot of trouble: "Protestant Church tolerance of birth control paved the way to the legalization of homosexuality, sodomy. And you know where we are today with gay marriage."

. . .

Now I fully understand why abstinence educators tell kids that condoms are ineffective. It's not a scientific or logistical issue; it's completely a moral issue for these folks. They think birth control correlates to something in the Bible (my favorite work of fiction next to Battlefield Earth). They're not thinking of kids' health; they have a moral agenda. It's like teaching creationism over evolution in the classrooms. It's religion over science, except here it's religion over the health of kids.

And then he left the conference and then he got laid (by a former abstinence educator). She brought the condoms.

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