A long-awaited national study has concluded that abstinence-only sex education, a cornerstone of the Bush administration's social agenda, does not keep teenagers from having sex. Neither does it increase or decrease the likelihood that if they do have sex, they will use a condom.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
This Washington Post story confirms what many suspected:
How else might we have spent the $176 million/year that this program cost? Actually, I'm not surprised by these findings. My bet would be on parents, peers, and church as the greatest influencers of sexual behavior (or the lack thereof) of teens -- not schools and government programs. Just last night, the topic of sex came up with the older students at youth group. One of the guys said "This whole topic is really confusing. It's hard to know what to think when it comes to sex and our religion." He's right. It's hard to look to bibical texts, particularly the gospels, and find much of anything relevant to say to youth about sexual behavior, particularly when we go out of our way to make Jesus into a celibate do-gooder who apparently never had a sexual thought in his whole 30+ years. And don't even get me started on the sexual ethics of the Hebrew scriptures! So, what's a good youth minister to do?
(Blogger Andrew Sullivan has more commentary on this issue here.)