Both emotional and physical purity were seen as the gold standard, and presented as totally attainable and absolutely necessary to be in good standing with God. I was completely sincere in my belief at that time and bought it all: hook, line and sinker.
In the gun debate, the "criminals will get guns and gun deaths will occur no matter what" argument is one that I hear often. There is extensive social science data demonstrating that policy interventions -- namely, regulation -- make for a healthier, safer society.
Every day people, like me, are banging their heads on their desks, asking "What is wrong with that woman?" "Why is she doing that?" "Doesn't she realize she's being used by a system that denigrates her?" Women in these positions clearly don't see it that way.
The ordinance will not be very effective at influencing the overall depiction of sex in imagery and media. This outcome is all the more lamentable because encouraging condom use is so important. Let's look at the facts.
What is the most effective way to educate young people about sex? What can we do to minimize unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)? Does abstinence-only education work? Some people think so.
Schools can and should teach about the nutritional value of meat. That's what schools do. At home I can and should teach about the ethical and moral weight of eating meat. That's what parents do. The same is true for sex.
Instead of providing fact-based information, Perry's program uses fear and Jesus -- over-emphasizing the risks of STDs leading to cervical cancer, radical hysterectomy and death -- together with Christian morality.
In 2008 and 2009 we asked close to a thousand students about their sex lives. Does the nature of the God students believe in, and the kind of religious community they come from, make a difference in their sex lives?
I readily concede that moral boundaries and restraint are crucial to good living. But I am suspicious of the Pharisaic distortions, namely an irrational rigidity, or the sorts of bizarre loopholes and rationalizations common to those who take abstinence vows.