Abstinence: Raising the Moral Standard

Abstinence: Raising the Moral Standard

2018 | Week of February 19 | #1243

A long-time friend and former employee of Wisconsin Family Council earlier this month wrote an op ed for the Lexington Herald Leader. Thanks to a mutual friend who sent me the link, I was able to enjoy Richard Nelson’s most excellent article, “When Did Abstinence Become a Dirty Word?”[1]

Richard Nelson is now in Kentucky, where he is the Executive Director of The Commonwealth Policy Center.

Nelson’s audience is the people of Kentucky and the state legislators. Apparently a state senator had the courage recently to introduce a bill that would mandate the teaching of “abstinence until marriage as the ideal for human sexuality in public school sex-ed classes.”  Not surprisingly, critics of this proposal came unhinged.

A coalition comprised of the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the Fairness Campaign (that state’s pro-homosexual advocacy group) testified against the bill, joined by a Baptist pastor, who said the bill “isn’t in line with societal reality.”  And, of course, sex ed educators objected because teaching abstinence is “‘just not an effective message,’” subtly saying, “hey, stop imposing morality on all of society.”

Nelson points out that Kentucky has suffered quite a bit from decades of sex ed teaching that promotes so-called “safer sex,” that has given rise to high rates of teen pregnancy and escalating sexually transmitted diseases—both situations that at a minimum short-circuit futures and can even endanger a teen’s life.

God bless this senator for the courage to introduce this bill.  While as Nelson admits, this abstinence message sounds old-fashioned, it most definitely is the best message for people in general and for teens in particular.

What you may not know is that what is happening in Kentucky has somewhat already happened here in Wisconsin. In 2012, during Governor Walker’s first administration, working with other organizations, we were successful in changing Wisconsin’s Human Growth and Development law.  One of the components of the new law is that any Wisconsin School District that has a human growth and development program—and having one is strictly voluntary in our state—must in an age-appropriate manner and in the same course and during the same year present “abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior for unmarried pupils” and emphasize “that abstinence from sexual activity before marriage is the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and AIDs.”[2]

Our coalition pushed hard for this language because we know, in spite of all the messages to the contrary, and even knowing in today’s culture this message is a hard sell, it is what is best for children. Regardless of what Planned Parenthood says, children, including teens, are “not equipped to handle the biological, sociological, emotional and moral implications that come with pre-marriage sexual activity.”

Some will say that because births to teens in Wisconsin have dropped over the last several years that comprehensive sex ed, which does not support abstinence and often doesn’t even mention it, is working. We don’t believe that. We believe the sexually transmitted disease numbers show that students are very much engaging in pre-marital sexual activity; they just have more access to contraceptive drugs and devices, thanks to Planned Parenthood working in tandem with so many public schools.  Preventing pregnancy isn’t the goal for teens; preventing destructive choices and putting kids in the best position to succeed for life is the goal.

As to the argument that you can’t legislate morality, that’s just a bunch of baloney. All law legislates someone’s view of what is right and wrong. That’s what morality is—someone’s view of what’s right and wrong. So we have a choice. We can legislate bad morality or good morality. I don’t know about you but I’m grateful we still have elected officials in Wisconsin and in Kentucky who understand “good” morality and have the courage to stand up for and work for “good” morality for everyone’s sake.

Nelson wraps up his piece by saying, “It’s a novel ideal today to teach our children that sex is meant to take place within marriage. We may not live up to that ideal, but to shoot it down simply because it isn’t followed doesn’t say as much about the ideal as it says about us.”  Isn’t that truth? God bless lawmakers who set out to raise the moral standard instead of lowering it to be sure everyone meets it.

For Wisconsin Family Council, this is Julaine Appling reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

[1] http://www.kentucky.com/opinion/op-ed/article198744024.html
[2] https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/118/019



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