May 25, 2006

"The governor thinks that abstinence should be an important part of the message that kids hear from adults as part of their classes."

The governor is up for reelection.

IN THE COMMENTS: Why so many comments? There's a lot of discussion of abstinence education, and I'd just like to say that you should not assume from my post that I don't support abstinence education. I do. Here's my old post on the subject from last November:
[A] bill requiring a stronger abstinence message is about to pass the legislature here. (What the governor will do is another matter.)

The bill ... would require school districts that offer sex education programs to "present abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior" for unmarried students....

The current state law simply lists more than a dozen topics that districts "may include" in their sex education instruction but does not stress one as more important than others. The word "abstinence" does not appear, although "discouragement of adolescent sexual activity" is one of the topics districts can choose to include.

Should the legislature be requiring all the schools in the state to push abstinence as "the preferred choice of behavior"? The culture varies from place to place around the state, so I don't like a statewide requirement that goes this far, even though I think it's important for young people to hear a strong presentation of the case for abstinence. Shouldn't local school districts decide this one rather than posturing state legislators?
So, there's a distinction between the importance of teaching young people about abstinence and the political posturing that is going on. I don't blame Governor Doyle here though. He didn't start this one. He was set up.

99 comments:

jeff said...

Abstinence - the only method that pretty much completely eliminates pregnancy and STD's...

Seven Machos said...

About 1.5 generations ago, had you told the average 17-year-old that it would be best to abstain from sex, you would have been laughed at and ridiculed.

It's just silly to ask people who are brimming with sexuality -- they are more sexual than they will ever be -- not to have sex.

People get married a little older now. Fine. Good. But birth control is widely available, and kids should be encouraged to use it avidly. Longer-term, more monogamous relationships should be encouraged as well. But sex is fun, and like youth, the ability to freely have sex should NOT be wasted on the wrong people. Kids shouldn't have to put up with PTA moms and governors pushing abstinence on them.

Seven Machos said...

Abolishing money and trade -- the only method that pretty much eliminates the risk of financial fraud.

Prohibiting the press -- the only method that pretty much eliminates the risk of libel.

Prohibiton -- the only method that pretty much eliminates the risk of drunk driving.

MadisonMan said...

Ann -- I had the same reaction you did. He's running for re-election! His position makes Green's look extreme.

Abstinence prohibits STDs in much the same way that virginity pledges preserve virginity.

Dave said...

"Abstinence prohibits STDs in much the same way that virginity pledges preserve virginity."

Huh?

I'm not fan of the abstinence crowd--the earlier the better is my motto--but that statement makes no sense.

Abstaining from sex does prevent exposure from STDs.

MadisonMan said...

...as long as you abstain, yes. Similar to a virginity pledge. Pledges that routinely get broken.

Seven Machos said...

One way kids under pressure to remain abstinent arengaging in oral and anal sex. I have argued on this very forum that anal (not oral) sex is a tremendously efficient and excellent way, and almost certainly the best and most common way, to transmit and receive serious STDs. "Technical virginity" is the term, as I understand it.

Elizabeth said...

Coupled with the state ban on same-sex marriage, this means telling gay teens that they can never have sex.

Seven Machos said...

That post above got pretty garbled. But I think the gist is there. Removing posts is a pain.

Seven Machos said...

Elizabeth -- How many times must we go over this terrain? Gay people can have all the sex they want. All the live long day, and all night. In their beds. In their showers. In their cars. On their balconies. They can get married and adopt kids and own property together.

The State will not endorse their marriages, and that's an overwhelmingly popular non-endorsement. Not endorsing and not allowing are not the same, despite your lame but frequent attempts to equate the two.

J said...

Maybe the article is incomplete - I don't see anything about pledges or oaths. I see the governor wanting to emphasize that abstinence (real, not technical) is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy and STDs; a statement which is, in fact, true. It may be, as 7M points out, irrelevant to much of this particular audience, and his 10:48 recommendations are good backups for those who can't or won't abstain. But what's the big deal about saying this in class?

Seven Machos said...

Because, J, the governor is an authority figure and what he/she says is going to weigh on the minds of the students. Creating guilt like that is unfair.

It's also dumb and unworkable because kids are going to have sex. They are. I bet everyone reading this has probably had 100 percent consensual sex at least once as a teenager/college student under circumstances when they really shouldn't have. It just kind of happened that way.

What we ought to be doing is providing access to birth control and condoms, mildly discouraging random hook-ups, and explaining matter-of-factly that having a kid when you aren't ready is really going to limit your choices and mess up your life in the worst way no matter what you do. Getting a serious STD will cause similar results.

Simon said...

I can only repeat what I recently said at concurring opinions:

I continue to be frustrated by the seeming fact that folks on the right are unwilling to supplement abstinence education, and folks on the left are unwilling to teach abstinence. Is it really so weird or unreasonable to want a sensible sex education program that stresses the importance of abstinence while still teaching that if you fail to abstain, here's how to avoid getting pregnant and catching STDs. The dogmatic nature of the debate is highly frustrating to me; this isn't being a squishy moderate, it's being practical. Abstinence is 100% effective, and it should be given primacy, but in the real world, some kids will continue to not abstain, and as someone who regards abortion as a serious problem, every teenage fumble that uses contraception properly is a teenage fumble that cannot lead to pressure to get an abortion, which in turn reduces the number of abortions.

I don't know what's more irritating on this subject, Republican absolutism or the sniggers of cloying cynicism from the left conjoined with the usual liberal moral bankrupcy.

Richard Fagin said...

Well, all of you, no, not exactly. No one is talking about prohibition, the proposal is to require delivering a certain message along with the education.

The comparison between prohibition and drunk driving, and all the other comparisons made in the previous posts are logical non-sequiturs. Are you really going to argue that MADD shouldn't be allowed to forcefully advocate no drinking while driving, because that message is the real logical corollary to the sex abstinence message.

Simon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Simon said...

"It's just silly to ask people who are brimming with sexuality -- they are more sexual than they will ever be -- not to have sex."

Only true in the case of boys. In women, statistically, sex drive peaks in the late thirties and early forties, for blindingly obvious biological reasons.


"Because, J, the governor is an authority figure and what he/she says is going to weigh on the minds of the students. Creating guilt like that is unfair."

On the contrary, guilt is an extremely strong mechanism for maintaining social standards and limiting deviationary activities. Fear of the societal opprobrium that will follow a frowned-upon activity is far better as a deterrent than all the laws in christendom.

Seven Machos said...

Simon -- Why should public policy be to tell teenagers and adults not to do something that's fun and healthy and absolutely critical for the continued existence of society? Moreover, if they are going to do, anyway, why should we tell them not to? Isn't that the height of irresponsibility? Isn't that just sticking our societal head in the sand?

It's lunacy. If we are going to instruct young people about sex, we should instruct them how to have sex responsibly.

monkeyboy said...

My daughter is now eight. As she goes through life, I try to teach her about how valued she is as a human being and how she is worth more that the sum of her parts, and she should distain those who see her as only a recepticle.

I wish that society at large was not on the side of the horny teenager boys she will be around. She should not think that refusing to have sex at sixteen makes her a freak.

Glenn Howes said...

It's also dumb and unworkable because kids are going to have sex. They are. I bet everyone reading this has probably had 100 percent consensual sex at least once as a teenager/college student under circumstances when they really shouldn't have. It just kind of happened that way.

Then you would be wrong. I didn't have sex until my late 30s, after I had married my lovely wife. It is quite possible to raise a child with the discipline to delay gratification. I will teach my own children this, and only hope they do not listen to cynics like you who only give excuses for being stupid.

Seven Machos said...

Simon -- Go outside. To a college campus, perhaps. Observe some of the 18-year-old women there.

Now, go to a PTA meeting. Observe some of the 38-year-old women there.

Which group would you say is more sexually charged? Where do you find more sexuality?

Seven Machos said...

Glenn -- I think it is great for you that waited to have sex, if that's what you wanted. But, dude, let's face it: you are in a really miniscule minority. Why should you be able to foist your values on other people who don't want them?

Simon: I stand athwart guilt. Guilt is unnecessary to the good society. Another "extremely strong mechanism for maintaining social standards and limiting deviationary activities" is the Stalinist purge. Maybe we should take people we suspect of having sex outside of marriage and either execute them and their families or send them to a gulag for decades.

What's the difference, really? If we don't care about liberty and responsibility, and we obviously don't under your theory, what's the differnce?

monkeyboy said...

College campus? heck, go on myspace.com and see how sexually charged the eigth grader girls are.

Palladian said...

"Which group would you say is more sexually charged? Where do you find more sexuality?"

Wow, that sounds like a scientifically sound study. Where do you get one of those sexual charge meters, anyway?

Of course teenagers think sex is the most cool, exciting, fun, awesome thing in the world; they have pop culture continually humping their leg from the time they're old enough to put a dvd in the player.

I think we need to speak truth to horniness: sex is usually overrated and often boring, especially when you're 16.

I think we need to teach the Jocelyn Elders method.

Simon said...

"Why should public policy be to tell teenagers and adults not to do something that's fun and healthy and absolutely critical for the continued existence of society? Moreover, if they are going to do, anyway, why should we tell them not to? Isn't that the height of irresponsibility? Isn't that just sticking our societal head in the sand?"

Public policy should be to discorage promiscuity, because unwanted children and STDs do not benefit society, that they should prefer to do so only within the confines of a relationship generally and ideally marriage, see above. I agree that abstinence isn't the complete solution, and I agree that I would rather a program which teaches kids how to have sex responsibly if they're going to do it, but in general, I think it is far more beneficial to both them and society to keep it buttoned.

A free society depends upon the members of that society exercising self-restraint, and failing that, informal methods of regulating the conduct of members. Norms and guilt on diverging from them are natural and healthy. Societal encouragement of that is far removed from violent physical coercion by the state, as I would have thought was plainly obvious.

Simon said...

"I think we need to speak truth to horniness: sex is usually overrated and often boring, especially when you're 16."

Well, that's largely because when you have two sixteen year olds, neither of them know what they're doing. Perhaps we should pair the 16 year old boys with the late 30s women; call it "education." ;) I wasn't kidding when I said McPhee needs ten years to mature; right now she's not bad to look at, but she isn't sexy, because she's just a kid. Give her a couple of decades to set into her features and get some experience, ahem, under her belt, and she might be sexy to go with it.

(And "sexy" nor "sexuality" is the same thing as "will hump anything that moves").

Seven Machos said...

Palladian -- You sound very much like someone who is not 16. Do you really believe that human beings around the age of 18 do not really, really want to have sex? I mean, come on. If you love pecs now...

I'm abroad. So I guess I'm not seeing all the frumpy, 38-year-old Calvin Klein fashion models, and I guess this whole Brittney Spears/Girls Gone Wild phase of American culture is just a flash in the pan.

Seven Machos said...

You know, maybe you reactionaries are right. I mean, Prohibition didn't really work. And that whole War on Poverty didn't really work, even when we simply gave poor people a bunch of money. And communisn has been a smashing failure eveywhere because it goes against basic human behavior.

But let's go ahead and spend a bunch of money trying to convince people who really want to have sex with each other not to have sex with each other. It flies in the face of basic human intution but, hey man, who knows? Maybe this time going against hunman nature will work.

And if it doesn't? Well, we wasj our hands of it. We tried to tell those stupid kids not to have sex but they did it, anyway. We did everything we could. Besides, frankly discussing sex and promoting the use of condoms and birth control makes us uncomfortable. After all, these are our DAUGHTERS.

Elizabeth said...

7M, your bizarre insistance that gays can get married (supported only by defining marriage as something the state has no interest in, which is crap since that is EXACTLY what we call marriage when heterosexuals marry) has been debunked over and over, in at least one other discussion on this forum. Your lame repetitions don't make it any more true.

If an abstinence class tells students not to have sex until they are married, and gays cannot marry, the argument being made is that gays should remain abstinent all their lives. This is very much the religious position that seeks to differentiate identity from behavior.

Seven Machos said...

Elizabeth -- Please show me one, single gay couple in America who has been imprisoned, fined, or otherwised punished in any way, shape, or form for marrying each other.

I will be waiting.

Dave said...

To quote the inestimable philosopher-King George Michael: "sex is natural, sex is fun, sex is best when it's one on one!"

Joan said...

Republican Sen. Mary Lazich, a bill's sponsor, said sex education teachers can still teach about birth control, but must emphasize that abstinence is the only 100 percent effective method to avoid health risks.

What, exactly, is wrong with this? It's true. It has nothing to do with guilt or religion, it's the simple truth.


However, that doesn't stop NARAL from having a hissy fit:
Kelda Helen Roys, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, called the bill, which takes effect July 1, shortsighted.

"They ignored the overwhelming public testimony, support and expert information about the importance of comprehensive sex education that talks about abstinence as well as contraceptive use," she said. "Abstinence is an important part but it is not the only part."


It sounds to me like NARAL agrees with the governor ("abstinence should be an important part"), but the governor is being interpreted as pushing an abstinence-only program.

Seven Machos:Why should public policy be to tell teenagers and adults not to do something that's fun and healthy and absolutely critical for the continued existence of society?
Because for kids still in high school, it's emphatically not healthy. And teenagers are not the ones we want to be having children to assure the continuation of society. And I submit that for most teenagers, sex isn't even fun, because they're worried about being caught, getting pregnant, and catching STDs. Yes, the culture is steeped in sex, but that doesn't translate to a pleasant experience for most teenagers.

The more I think about, the more I believe that the "sexual revolution" was a huge joke played on women. All it did, really, was give men the ability to have sex whenever they wanted with no strings attached. "If you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with." Sure, why not! Why bother to respect yourself if no one else is going to respect you, either.

For a lot of people, sex is just something fun to do. For many others, though, sex has more meaning. I frequently remind my children that we are not animals. That extends to the fact that we shouldn't hump like them, either.

downtownlad said...

Why stop at marriage? If we can just have everyone be celibate for life, then we can eliminate STD's entirely!!!

J said...

"College campus? heck, go on myspace.com and see how sexually charged the eigth grader girls are"

Re the "eigth grader girls", you might want to start watching Dateline NBC ( http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11152602/ ).

"If we are going to instruct young people about sex, we should instruct them how to have sex responsibly."

From the linked article:
"sex education teachers can still teach about birth control, but must emphasize that abstinence is the only 100 percent effective method to avoid health risks"

Again, I just don't see what the big deal is here. And we're going to have to agree to disagree on the use of guilt as a motivator - guilt is an exceptionally effective motivator in any number of circumstances, and I see nothing wrong with making use of it.

Jennifer said...

Seven Machos - You do realize that even if high school girls are taught to go about having sex on a daily basis, you still won't get in on it, right?

There are lots of girls in high school who are not ready to have sex and do not want to have sex, but are convinced that this makes them weird. I see nothing wrong with at least trying to give them the other side of the message.

I don't understand at all the logic behind refusing to include abstinence as a part of sex education.

Palladian - Absolutely exactly right. Why doesn't anyone have the guts to portray teenage sex as awkward, often boring and rather embarrassing? That would not only be effective but quite accurate.

Glenn Howes said...

Seven Machos: I'm just opposed to people going around saying that people are incapable of controlling their libido, like we were chimpanzees and not human beings with self control. You may go around saying that children and young adults should be having sex. What you should not be doing is misinforming people that this is somehow out of their control.

This is giving people permission to say to themselves "Well, I guess I have no control over this, I might as well do what my body wants." This is demonstrably not true; you do have a choice to walk away. My children will know that if they have sex, the consequences will because of a choice they made, and not because their hormones told them to do it; and they will have to deal with the consequences.

And if you go around telling children that they can't help having sex; and they believe you and have sex; and ruin their lives through STDs or unwanted pregnancy, well then you should be ashamed of yourself.

Michael Farris said...

Seven, you're right that a gay couple can have a private ceremony and call it a wedding and think of themselves as married afterward. But, the state's not playing and no one's thinking of those ceremonies when they tell high school kids they shouldn't have sex till they're married.

The message being given to gay teens by a combination of lack of legal recognition of gay marriage and abstinence only education is "you're not ever supposed to have sex".

If course, no one's dumb enough to believe and act on that, but when the state takes overwhelmingly stupid official positions in one area, it undermines its authority in other areas as well.

I'm entirely in favor of reality-based sexual instruction and demystification.
Abstinence only instruction (essentially not telling them anything but DON'T!) is not reality-based.

Seven Machos said...

Jennifer: a low blow. I don't want to have sex with anyone in high school.

Michael: "Lack of legal recognition." Now we are getting somewhere. I applaud you for your ability to frame this in a negative light, just as I am trying to frame it in a positive light. Unlike Elizabeth, who simply wants to believe or otherwise charge that gay marriage is illegal, when it clearly is not.

Others: so teenage sex is awkward but sex between two 23-year-old virgins is going to be like Shaft-meets-Sharon Stone, huh?

Finally, and more basically, this whole problem could be solved if this part of the curriculum were simply abolished. Probably there are reading, writing, and arithmetic skills that could use some work. Besides, we know who is teaching this stuff anyway: it's gym coaches and frumpy 38-year-olds. Who wants to hear ANYTHING about sex (or about not having sex) from these people, at any age?

MadisonMan said...

Please show me one, single gay couple in America who has been imprisoned, fined, or otherwised punished in any way, shape, or form for marrying each other.

This twigged something in my memory. Maybe I'm conflating things though. Was the mayor of New Paltz NY (some young mayor) ever fined for marrying gays? This was back a year+ ago. If a gay couple pays for such a union that is then invalidated by the state, and forfeits the fee -- I assume you can't get a paid fee back -- do you consider that monetary loss a punishment?

Danny said...

Experts* have proven that teaching birth control methods as opposed to abstinence quickly leads to widespread orgies among teenagers. Studies* have shown that countries that do not teach abstinence have much higher frequencies of STDs and teen pregnancies.


* Said experts shall remain anonymous and said studies are currently unavailable on the internet

Simon said...

Jennifer said...
"I don't understand at all the logic behind refusing to include abstinence as a part of sex education."

I agree. Seven, I agree to some extent with what you've said as an argument against abstinence-only sex education. But what troubles me is that it is a false (and dumb) choice - imposed by zealots on both sides - to have to choose between abstinence-only sex ed and abstinence-free sex ed. As Jennifer says, it is vitally important to send the message that while sex is normal, healthy and enjoyable, when done right, it is not mandatory, and there are positive effects (for both individuals and society) in waiting.

Perhaps the real difficulty is that conservatives think sex ed pushes youngsters to have sex, while liberals - today's generation thereof being rooted in the hedonostic self-indulgence of the baby boomers - are incapable of grasping the idea of self-denial?

Seven Machos said...

Madison -- Your scenario is a little different, because it is state action on top of state action. I would say that the gay couple that paid for the service has not been punished if they lost the fee, though I understand that it could be construed that way. Certainly, it could said that state action caused their loss.

The larger point I have been making across several threads on gay marriage is that gay couples could be quite happy by getting married completely privately.

You can then make the argument that there is discrimination, and there most definitely is, though I would argue it is legitimate discrimination, much like the discrimination that is allowed under rational relations or intermediate scrutiny in constitutional law. Others disagree, and that's fine. We can have a rational discourse. However, to call gay marriage "illegal" is blatantly, categorically wrong.

jeff said...

Seven Machos et al... keep talking about how "sexually charged" kids are these days.

Perhaps they wouldn't so charged if Hollywood and society wouldn't keep pumping it up. 8th graders don't get to be little prosti-tots without outside encouragement.

Premarital and non-manogamous sex (and I include oral and anal in that) simply is not safe.

Jennifer said...

Seven Machos: Sorry for the low blow.

I don't think anyone is claiming that age will improve the learning curve any. Just that teenagers have a really airbrushed and glorified view of sex and sexuality. The reality would inform their decisions.

Jennifer said...

Perhaps the real difficulty is that conservatives think sex ed pushes youngsters to have sex, while liberals...are incapable of grasping the idea of self-denial?

Interesting point, Simon.

Aspasia M. said...

It's too bad that schools won't teach about relationships and how to negotiate them.

Instead of giving a simplistic message of "just say no" in health class -- to beer, sex and drugs -- it would be nice if the curriculum would actually comprehensively address the physical and emotional dangers & pleasures of sex with other people. It's important for people not to feel pressured to engage in sex.

(My sister once kneed a high school boy in the balls during a date. He called her a tight a@@ bi#H when she told him sex was not a possibility then or in the future.)

Our parents talked to us about sex AND relationships. And they gave us the book Our Bodies, Ourselves when we were in 7th grade.

And our parents talked with us about their relationship. My father told us that he had remained a virgin until he married our mother. He didn't believe in the double standard about sex. He also told us that it was a romantic choice for both him and our mother.

Just like alcohol, the choices that one's parents make has a pretty big impact on how the kids will view that subject.

Seven Machos said...

I think we are getting back to what I tried to imply in the first post to this thread: before WWII, people were getting married at 16 and 17 and having sex, presumably quite a lot of sex, to judge from the number of births per couple.

Why should 16 and 17 years old now even be TOLD to abstain from sex? This isn't even to mention 20-yerar-olds. Grandma probably was having sex at 17. Great-Grandma DEFINITELY was. Sure, she was married. But she didn't have condoms at the 7-11 and 100-percent-effective little pills to prevent birth.

I would go so far as to say that it is UNETHICAL to ask young people to wait to have sex simply because the age of marrige has gradually increased.

Aspasia M. said...

Perhaps the real difficulty is that conservatives think sex ed pushes youngsters to have sex, while liberals...are incapable of grasping the idea of self-denial?

What - am I a imaginary person? That is nonsense.

My father was a feminist and a Democrat.

monkeyboy said...

J: in regards to the myspace sting dateline is doing (which I applaud, stalinist prude that I am) the real problem to me is not that 30 year old men are asking 13 year old to go to bed with them, its that so many 13 year olds apparently say yes. yes to strangers, yest to any boy in school that asks, but apparently no to self-esteem and self-value.

Aspasia M. said...

Grandma probably was having sex at 17. Great-Grandma DEFINITELY was.

On the WASP side of my family, my Grandma and my Great-Grandma were both in college at 18-21.
-----------

I think the point is not to tell 17 year-olds to "just say no." But, instead, to give them the tools to think critically about sexual activity, relationships, and their own choices. And classes should talk about the pressure to have sex and the dangers of rape.

Seven Machos said...

Any 30-year-old that thinks a 13-year-old wants to sleep with him (her would be a different story) is deluding himself.

My theory is that the ONLY people at myspace who say they are 13 and agree to have sex with 30 (or 40 or 50) year olds are FBI agents.

I'm not sure what these older guys are thinking. I'm kind of flabby. I have thinning hair. I can't pick up women my own age. But, yes, a 13-year-old girl is going to want to have consensual sex with me.

Seven Machos said...

I largely agree with Gooey Duck (if these classes have to be taught at all).

Michael Farris said...

I'm not in favor of teaching sexual abstinence for its own sake (or the psychic comfort of parents in denial).

I am in favor of demystifying sex (hard to do when your big message is DON'T DO IT!) and teaching something about ethics, judgment and maturity.

Jeremy said...

There are a couple of comments early in this thread about what kids should and shouldn't "have to put up with" and wheather it's fair to treat them like...children.

I think that it'd be helpful to have a discussion sometime about societies expectations for kids. I think we're sending awful mixed messages to them. They're too irresponsible to drink or drive or smoke or vote but fully capable of choosing to have sex and abortions. They can be tried as adults in court, but can't receive adult punishments (death penalty). Seriously, what's the deal.

Seven Machos said...

Jeremy -- The teenage years are odd ones. No longer a boy/girl, not yet a man/woman. There's no bright line when you become an adult.

All the more reason to use this time to discuss frankly the nature and consequences of sex, rather than (as someone said above so eloquently) have a policy designed for "the psychic comfort of parents in denial."

Simon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Simon said...

geoduck2 said...
"'Perhaps the real difficulty is that conservatives think sex ed pushes youngsters to have sex, while liberals...are incapable of grasping the idea of self-denial?' What - am I a imaginary person? That is nonsense."

Presumably you're saying that my explanation for liberal hostility to abstinense is nonsense rather than my explanation of conservative hostility to sex ed. If so, then what is the serious liberal argument against teaching abstinence as part of (the primary aspect, even) of sex ed?

Dave said...

"what is the serious liberal argument against teaching abstinence as part of (the primary aspect, even) of sex ed?"

There is no such serious argument.

Liberals' position seems to be a reaction against the abstinence-only contingent, which emphatically does not abstinence to be only a "part" of sex edbut instead wants it the "only" thing discussed in sex ed.

This is not to say that reactionary rhetoric is a serious argument, but therein is its etiology.

Aspasia M. said...

Presumably you're saying that my explanation for liberal hostility to abstinense is nonsense rather than my explanation of conservative hostility to sex ed. If so, then what is the serious liberal argument against teaching abstinence as part of (the primary aspect, even) of sex ed?

I was responding to the idea that liberals can't engage in abstinence or self-denial. My personal experience and familial experience contradicts his statement.

Liberals and, in particular, feminists, are not against teaching about abstinence. I'm against a "just say no" curriculum, which doesn't address the complex parts of relationships and sexuality that people have to deal with in the real world. (I also think it works as well as a "just say no" to alcohol until you're 21 message.)

A comprehensive sex education that integrates discussion of relationships, I think, is quite important. Teaching kids that both "danger and pleasure" can be a part of sexual activity.

Feminists are actually quite concerned with girls being pressured into sex.

I think a class that talked about peer pressure and sexual activity in a wide-ranging way would be an excellent thing. I would also love a discussion about the dangerous combination of alcohol & parties with sexual activity.

But I think the education has to be intelligent and not just a "just say no" type of curriculum.

(In an example of how sex ed classes will exclude things -- even factual information - in my High School Biology class the diagram excluded the clitoris. What's that about?)

chuck b. said...

(Speaking of teen-age boys and middle-aged women, does anyone else watch Date My Mom? I love that show!)

Palladian said...

"because it is state action on top of state action."

Stop it! That kind of talk is getting me so excited! To Hell with abstinence, I want to have sex with the State!

"Besides, we know who is teaching this stuff anyway: it's gym coaches and frumpy 38-year-olds. Who wants to hear ANYTHING about sex (or about not having sex) from these people, at any age?"

So, the message you seem to be sending is that anyone 8-18 should be having sex, as much as possible, with whoever, but that anyone much over 18 (and God forbid anyone as ancient as 38 or any woman deemed "frumpy") better just dry up and blow away like the unappealing husk that they are.

"Grandma probably was having sex at 17. Great-Grandma DEFINITELY was. Sure, she was married. But she didn't have condoms at the 7-11 and 100-percent-effective little pills to prevent birth."

I don't care to speculate about my grandmothers, but I do know that my great, great, great grandmother was one of my ggg grandfather's 11 wives and gave birth to several of his 59 children. Talk about a need for abstinence!

And I don't know how many gay guys you've ever been around, but I'll wager that I'm not the only one who would love to hear something about sex from a gym coach.

Elizabeth said...

"Elizabeth -- Please show me one, single gay couple in America who has been imprisoned, fined, or otherwised punished in any way, shape, or form for marrying each other.
"

Seven, you demonstrate here why your position rests is bizarre. This is ridiculous criteria. I can show you couples who have gone to their city offices and requested a marriage license and who were turned down. They were unable to marry. It is not necessary to be arrested, fined or punished in order to be prevented from doing something.

Otherwise, you realize, you and I see abstinence-emphasis the same way; it's a useless approach. I think it's a good part of a sex ed program, since teens need some strategies for resisting what they're not ready to do, or resisting someone with whom they don't want to do it, but that's not what these abstinence measures are about. They bleed over into other policies as well. AIDS treatment and education groups are restricted in absurd ways from talking about sex, especially gay sex, because of the CDC's political emphasis on abstinence.

Elizabeth said...

Seven, where do I use the term "illegal"? You're making stuff up. But Wisconsin is considering a constitutional ban on gay marriage, which I referred to. That, coupled with "abstinence till marriage" would put gays in a Catch-22 under the state's official policy. You're narrowly focused on semantics, which you have to be to make your argument that gays are free to marry.

JodyTresidder said...

Jennifer wrote: "Why doesn't anyone have the guts to portray teenage sex as awkward, often boring and rather embarrassing? That would not only be effective but quite accurate."

Now you're leaving out the OTHERS in the class -who find sex neither awkward nor boring/embarrassing!

I just get the most awful picture of one of 7M's dried-up 38-year-old frumps telling everyone in sex-ed that "of course intercourse is hopeless at your age - much better to put it off." I can see half a dozen pairs of schoolgirl eyes narrowing as that "factoid" is digested with a smirk.

BTW, 7M, that was a low blow from you airily telling Glenn that he's in a miniscule minority because of the age he says he lost his virginity.

You're no Kinsey.

ChrisO said...

I'm a liberal who usually has a knee jerk reaction to abstinence education proposals, because they sually exclude teaching birth control, as well. But this proposal seems very reasonable, and the NARAL reaction seems to address a very different proposal. Teaching kids that abstinence is the most effective way to avoid pregnancy and STDs, but also teaching them about birth control if they are going to have sex, is very reasoonable. I saw nothing in ther srticle that suggested only one point of view should be taught.

And as the father of two teenage daughters, I recognize that teens have sex. I had sex as a teenager, although not as much as I would have liked. But I recognize that I'm probably not going to say anything to my daughters that will stop them from having sex if they want to. I can, however, talk to them about respecting themselves. Teenage girls nowadys seem to be more victimized than ever by societal pressure to have sex.

Troy said...

What's all the hubbub? Why are so many afraid or dismissive of including information on abstinence -- alongside all of the other information. Almost every avenue of ou culture encourages or outright celebrates promiscuous behavior or at least easy access. We tell people all the time to abstain from illegal behavior, unhealthy behavior, or unwise behavior (smoking and drinking anyone?) what's the big argument against one or 2 hours of abstinence. They will have plenty of time to talk about blowjobs, going anal and all the other safe forms of sex. And birth control does not do jack for most STDs -- many of which are epidemic.

Seven Machos -- people abstain from things all the time, just because most don't (free will and all that unless you're a strict biological determinist) abstain does not devalue the message. It says more about those who refuse to abstain than it does about those who say it's possible or even wise.

Aspasia M. said...

I don't care to speculate about my grandmothers, but I do know that my great, great, great grandmother was one of my ggg grandfather's 11 wives and gave birth to several of his 59 children. Talk about a need for abstinence!

Oh my. I have ancestors who had twenty-two kids, but nobody got up to the fifties!

Do you know what his wives died of?

Aspasia M. said...

They will have plenty of time to talk about blowjobs, going anal and all the other safe forms of sex. And birth control does not do jack for most STDs -- many of which are epidemic.

Woah. That was some sex-ed class that you had. Most health classes zip through the sex section, with the teacher happy that he/she doesn't have to talk about it any longer.

By the way - I'd suggest to any parent not to count on getting a comprehensive sex ed course in school. It's way too much of a political football. (My suggestion is to talk to your kids about sex/ relationships/ dating/ or any other information you want them to know & give them good books to read.) It's awkward, which is why many people avoid it.

But it's just as awkward for teachers (and a political bomb) which is why those courses tend to be a brief biological description of how babies are made.

(Maybe there will be one fifty minute class that explains the difference between condoms, foam, IUD's and the birth control pill; and another class on STDs. But that's about it.)

There's a reason many high school students find health class to be a joke.

Palladian said...

Geoduck: Oh, I guess I need to clarify that some of the wives were concurrent. My great, great, great grandfather was a famous Mormon pioneer. My ancestors lived "Big Love" but in a much more interesting way!

Palladian said...

My one memory of sex ed class in rural Pennsylvania was of the teacher, a lesbian (as I later learned) gym teacher, pulling a condom over her head to mock the idea that condoms were too small for some guys.

I liked her.

Seven Machos said...

Elizabeth:

You used the phrase "the state ban on same-sex marriage." At issue is the word "ban": " A prohibition imposed by law or official decree." "Illegal" means "Prohibited by law." You are a reasonable person, and you know that "ban" and "illegal" are synonymous.

Why does anyone need the State's imprimatur to marry? Why are you REQUESTING it? Do you feel that you need the State's permission to write something, or to change careers, or to buy a new house, or to use the restroom?

I'm sorry you wish to volunteer to live under that kind of tyranny. Me, I say the more the State stays out of, the better, and the fact that gay marriage is unregulated is an awesome opportunity for gays to define gay marriage for themselves.

If this issue comes before a legislative branch or the people in a referendum, as it will if courts try to find a "right" to gay marriages recognized by the State, gay people will find themselves in an untenable position because then there WILL be constitutional amendements against gay marriage, and then gay marriage might actually become "banned"/"illegalized."

Michael Farris said...

"Me, I say the more the State stays out of, the better."

I'm sure you're glad that your marriage is unencumbered by interference from the State.

Seven Machos said...

Michael -- Getting married was this thing that I did that the State has gotten itself involved in. I have seen a few benefits from it, materially. For example, my wife was able to join my insurance at a place I worked (though her employer welcomes gay beneficiaries). I also have saved money in recent years in taxes. In the early years, though, I was penalized for my marriage in federal taxes. I also had to pay a licensing fee.

What I see as the arguments for gay marriage are (1) "Acknowledge my gayness," because as I have spelled out ad nauseum, gay marriage simply ain't "banned," and (2) "I want additional tax and insurance benefits." But single people don't get these benefits. Why should gay couples, if the State chooses not to offer them?

Elizabeth said...

Seven, your view is interesting, but doesn't address reality. When all marriage is out of state participation, then your position will mean something. Until then, to lambast me and others for wanting the right to marry, legally, is simply a little word game for you. You can get all huffy and judgmental about me, and other gay people, wanting what we want:

I'm sorry you wish to volunteer to live under that kind of tyranny.


But then marriage is just a passive thing that happened to you:

Getting married was this thing that I did that the State has gotten itself involved in.

You could choose to marry privately, and keep the state out of it. You didn't, and that gives you little room to judge gay people for our desire to marry. It's too typical of libertarians to throw around the idea that the evil statists are weak-willed and possessed of sheep mentality, while they fantasize about their own self-sufficiency and spirit of resistance. Then comes the deluge and you're looking for the National Guard in a rescue boat like everyone else.

Michael Farris said...

Seven, if that's how you feel about it, what's stopping you from undoing your state-plagued marriage and redoing it privately, hiring a lawyer (and perhaps an accountant) to maximize the benefits? Wouldn't that be of more material benefit in the long run?

SippicanCottage said...

Sex Education Class:

Do you like sex, Mr. Lebowski?

Excuse me?

Sex. The physical act of love. Coitus. Do you like it?

I was talking about my rug.

You're not interested in sex?

You mean coitus?

I like it too. It's a male myth about feminists that we hate sex. It can be a natural, zesty enterprise. But unfortunately there are some people--it is called satyriasis in men, nymphomania in women--who engage in it compulsively and without joy.

Oh,no.

Yes Mr. Lebowski, these unfortunate souls cannot love in the true sense of the word. Our mutual acquaintance Bunny is one of these.

Listen, Maude, I'm sorry if your stepmother is a nympho, but I don't see what it has to do with--do you have any kahlua?

amba said...

If you're old enough, you remember a time when it was the norm not to have sex in high school (I knew of one couple in my class that did) and maybe not even in college. That all changed around 1966. That was the year I turned 20, and that was when I lost my virginity. I did not want to get pregnant (I've thought about it, and I really don't know whether I would have been less careful had abortion been legal), so I went straight to the GYN and got a diaphragm, which was scary because in Boston I think technically, legally, you were supposed to be 21. The GYN made suggestive remarks and I really felt at his mercy.

Were we horny before that? Sure. We practiced the Joycelyn Elders method is all. We kissed and groped a little. That was the norm, in the early '60s. The dark ages?

The Japanese refused to have the gun in their culture for 400 years. Do we have the will to refuse early-teen sex? Or is there too much money in it? Or is the cat just irreversibly out of the bag?

It's not that sex is boring when you're 14 to 16, it's just that sexual drives are sort of unformed and unfocused and the drive for peer approval is much, much more dominant. I think that's what really drives most early- to midteens sexual behavior. And I wonder if having sex at that age has any effect on how much and how richly you can enjoy it later.

amba said...

sex between two 23-year-old virgins is going to be like Shaft-meets-Sharon Stone, huh?

Seven Machos: We were 20. He was a virgin, i was a near virgin. We got the knack of it on around the 2nd or 3rd try. From then on, it was fantastic. (Unfortunately, out of bed we had nothing to say to each other.)

amba said...

geoduck: my parents were very liberal, both virgins when married during WWII, my father 24, my mother 18, very romantic.

But "liberal" has meant something different since the '60s. Libertine.

Pogo said...

Sorry, but I'm not much of a fan of "sex ed", or at least, I doubt its efficacy either to increase or decrease sexual behavior.

It is a mistake traceable to our generally therapeutic approach to all problems, that which extols "information" as the cure for all disorders. It's quite wrongheaded, of course.

Seven Machos' economic arguments are usually quite astute, I think largely because they recognize quite well that any system that ignores or thwarts real human behavior is bound to fail.

But 7M falls short here, if only in missing that adolescents are really quite irrational. Maybe even insane, at least at times. They're quite mad, such as when discussing some party this evening, arguing it-can't-be-missed-or-the-world-will-end kind of nonsense. They are quite able to handle a debate about avoiding sexual pressures in the morning, and then get drunk and yield all in the evening.

That's why we used to have religion and shame. They worked quite well at curbing behavior like this, despite 7M's argument otherwise. But these tools are now long abandoned, or disallowed, or mocked for being quaint or ancient. The Amish of morals.

More information? Useless, all of it. Social opprobrium? It works. But gone from our world, perhaps for good.

vnjagvet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Townleybomb said...

And I don't know how many gay guys you've ever been around, but I'll wager that I'm not the only one who would love to hear something about sex from a gym coach.

That happend to me, and about half of one of the classes was devoted to a discussion of homosexuality and how the (then-recent) discovery of a possible gay gene led to hope for its cure. I imagine that the experience would have scarred me somewhat if I were a whinier man than I am.

I did learn that the gym teacher refused to use public bathrooms at all because he'd once been cruised at a Phillies game and that the most famously studly guy in my grade had regular nightmares about a prostate exam he'd been given as a child. Which are both way more important things to know than how to make a dental dam out of an old balloon, to my mind.

vnjagvet said...

This is a generational discussion in many respects.

Amba is six years younger than I am. She remembers the earlier days, and also remembers exactly how they came to be changed.

When she was 20, I was a single 26 year old who was pretty bewildered (but pretty delighted) by the aggressive younger women who from time to time crossed my path.

I have since raised five daughters who now range in age from 25 to 30. They have, so far as I know, whethered the transition from adolescence to adulthood without serious trauma. From this perspective, I can say that the sexual revolution weighed more heavily on young women than on young men.

They all had the standard sex education classes, three in suburban public schools, two in an Episcopalian parochial school.

The public schools did not make abstinence a part of their curriculum, the parochial school did. My wife, a nurse, was able to communicate with each daughter the concept that having sex in middle school or HS was potentially more damaging to the female person than the male, because of the undeniable gender differences in the emotional attitudinal and physical reactions to sex.

This probably had little effect on the girls' behavior. Although I can not be sure about all of them, I would be shocked if they eschewed sexual activity until marriage.
Most probably did confine such activity to "steady" boyfriends or fiances.

Nonetheless, as a dad, it was pretty clear to me when the emotional "issues" connected with the ending of a daughter's relationship seemed more serious than what I was used to with the dumping of a boyfriend or being dumped by one.

WisJoe said...

I think one of the best songs that exists to summarize the sexual feelings of teens is "Sixteen Blue" by the Replacements. Chorus: "Your age is the hardest age. Everything drags and drags. You're looking funny, but you aren't laughing are you?"

Full set of lyrics here:

http://www.lyricsdepot.com/the-replacements/sixteen-blue.html

Alan Kellogg said...

Teens quickly learn to say whatever it takes to keep dad happy. Dad treats coitus in kids as an irredemable stain upon the soul, of course his kids are going to do whatever they can to keep dad from getting upset. For all their supposed indifference adolescents are rather sympathetic characters (as in sympathetic to the feelings of others).

Ninety-nime percent of the time people aren't thinking about pregnancy when having sex. Sex is not about procreation, sex is about recreation. Pregnancy is only an unintended consequence.

Nine year old kids are not capable of understanding that sex can lead to pregnancy. As far as they're concerned having sex with mommy or daddy is just another way of bonding with them, or deepening the bonds. Thirteen year olds understand about pregnancy, but it's still all about the bonding, with other adults added to the circle of possible partners.

Parents want to protect their kids. An understandable and commendable goal. The world is full of potentially dangerous things, especially sex. If anything, the worst threat is psychological harm, and sex is rife with potential psychological harm.

And then you get daddies who go a bit overboard, so daughters and sons do whatever they can to ensure dad doesn't get all out of shape and have a cow. It's the long standing tension between societal expectations and human behavior.

Please note, pedophilia is not about sex with children, pedophilia is about using sex to gain and maintain domination and control over others. In this case, children. It is a pathology, and one that is just about impossible to effectively treat.

To sum up, the best you can do is to be there for your kids when they need you.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Sex is great. It feels great. In fact, when done right, it feels better than anything else that exists. Think about that for a moment. Think about the the power of that.

Anything of such power must be treated with caution and respect. When you consider the consequence - human life - of this powerful thing , the sheer awesomeness of sex starts to make sense.

But even absent the creation of life, sex has serious consequences. Avoidable and rarely constructive psychic trauma is the end of all sexual relationships that are not till death do us part. Such pain is of course part of life. But you don't have to touch fire to know that it burns.

Seven Machos said...

Okay, Elizabeth. I'm not huffy. I'm not judging you. You do sound a little snippy, though.

More importantly, I am a huge believer in State and National Guards and military spending. Also, I yield to no one in my Jacksonian warmongering, and I know that successful Jacksonian warmongering does not come cheap. And I don't even do drugs! So how can I POSSIBLY be a libertarian? Spare me the insults.

I think you are making some pretty huge assumptions about me in terms of marriage. For the record, I was most interested in keeping the CHURCH out of my wedding. We were going to ask a law professor to marry us but, at least in our state, that would not have been recognized by the State. We had -- emphasis on HAD -- to get a justice of the peace.

Why did we want our marriage recognized by the State? It's a good question. It certainly doesn't rise to a constitutional issue, or an issue of criminality, or legality. It was us just going through the motions. It would not bother me if the State did not recognize my marriage, because my marriage exists independently of the State, just as your love for whomever you love exists independently of the State. (If the country plunged into anarchy, I would first want to be with my wife, then the National Guard.)
Anyway, the ceremony was about four minutes. We had a big party, spent way too much money, and people still tell me my wedding was the funnest wedding they ever went to.

So, let's see: rent banquet facility + get deejay + get food and lots of liquor + have big party + law professor to say vows.

Which part of my original wedding plan as I envisioned it BEFORE encountering the law could you not have? You have more freedom than I did.

knoxgirl said...

There's no question that girls are under extreme and increasing pressure to have sex younger and younger. It's patently ridiculous to act like including abstinence in sex education is pointless or naive. Girls have a lot more to lose, physically and emotionally. I agree with Jennifer, and I sympathise with monkeyboy when he said about his daughter:

I wish that society at large was not on the side of the horny teenager boys she will be around. She should not think that refusing to have sex at sixteen makes her a freak.

And the current trend that giving boys blowjobs is the "safe," preferred alternative to intercourse is sick.

Simon said...

"the current trend that giving boys blowjobs is the "safe," preferred alternative to intercourse is sick."

Not least because one would think that as good an alternative would be cunnilingus...

Ann Althouse said...

Please note my update to this post. I think it's very important to teach young people about abstinence, as I've said before on this blog. I have a problem with the state level politics about it however.

knoxgirl said...

Ann, I totally agree with you that abstinence as a political football is gross. I hate that kind of posturing.

However, those who really push state-taught sex ed are almost always adamantly dismissive of even the *suggestion* to include abstinence. If it takes some dumb politician to get on his soapbox to stop them from limiting the curriculum to: it's open season out there, kids, just use a condom, and everything will be 0-kay! then so be it.

I use the word "limiting" above, intentionally. Those against abstinence want to limit a discussion that they are always telling everyone should be fully informative and demystfying.

To me it's almost nihilistic to reject the simple message "really, the safest and healthiest way to respond to your changing body is to wait as long as you can to start acting on what are new and exciting--BUT VERY VERY VERY VERY RISKY!!!!--impulses."

Seven Machos said...

The best thing would be if there would be no sex ed at all in public schools. It's not the place for it. If parents want to tell their kids to be abstinent, I support them fervently. That's their right. That's their family.

The second-best thing, I wholeheartedly agree, would be if individual communities could decide what to teach in sex ed. There's not much I hold more dear than the sacred right of people to actually, truly govern themselves.

The third-best thing would be uniformity and IF there must be uniformity, it would be best if there could a well-rounded program in schools that presents different options.

I find it untenable that a state full of all different kinds of people on the cusp of losing their virginities are being told, across the board, simply that not losing your virginity until you are MARRIED is the best course. It's just obtuse.

Michael Farris said...

Again, I'm very in favor of telling high school kids that the high school years are not the optimum time for sex with other people for lots of reasons, not the least being you don't even have your own place for crying out loud, how pathetic is that?
But I think there needs to be some alternatives to cold showers discussed, like having sex alone (the discreet practice of which should be encouraged, as if that were needed).
And issues of protection need to be discussed a long time before they're needed (forewarned is forearmed as it were).

Marriage, I think, is not necessarily a realistic milestone for starting to have sex for most people today. And if abstinence is defined as 'no sex before marriage' then I think you're trying to sweep back the tides. It might work for those for whom their religion is more important than sexual or emotional fulfillment but that's not the majority. If that's a value of the parents, then let the parents try to instill it in their teenage kids.

Joe said...

Including abstinence as part of sex ed is not for the majority of kids who will engage in premarital sex, but for that minority who will not, whatever their reasons. They should be made to feel that abstinence is a legitimate choice, that they are not freaks for so abstaining.

Ann Althouse said...

Joe: "Including abstinence as part of sex ed is not for the majority of kids who will engage in premarital sex, but for that minority who will not, whatever their reasons. They should be made to feel that abstinence is a legitimate choice, that they are not freaks for so abstaining."

I think some info on abstinence is useful even for kids who don't entirely abstain. They may wait longer and they may resist sex on more occasions. There's a great danger that young people will feel that sex is something they ought to do or that they don't know how to say no to. It's important to equip everyone with some powers of resistance, even if most of them will have sex some of the time. It would be doing a lot if you could just get kids to avoid casual or recreational sex and to wait until they have a serious relationship.

Marghlar said...

Seven,

My wife and I are married, and the state was never involved. For similar reasons as the one's you describe. Neither of us had any religious reasons to have an official wedding, and the state recognition, at the time, would have cost us more than it would have benefitted us.

So, we are married in precisely the sense you describe, and it works out wonderfully for us at the moment. We've contracted around most of the major differences (it helps that we are both legal-types), and are very happy with the arrangment.

Now, all that might change a bit if we decide in the future that we want to have kids. There are issues there that are much harder to contract around, and we might end up going and getting the justice of the peace to do his thing.

But that's not really what marriage ultimately is. None of which changes my view that the state shouldn't be discriminating in that area of the basis of sexual orientation, but that's a separate issue than what real marriage is.

Oh, on the general topic, my views are pretty well expressed by geoduck. Tell 'em everything, good and bad, and let them make up their own damn minds. Plenty of people of both genders have sex in their teenage years without many negative repurcusions. It should be up to each kid, once they are armed with the proper info. Which can and should include the message that not having sex is a perfectly acceptable choice, just as having sex can be.

John in Nashville said...

I can see an establishment clause problem with public schools teaching that abstinence is 100 percent effective to prevent pregnancy. To affirm that statement is to deny the religious dogma which holds that Jesus was born of a virgin.

That sound you hear is the heads of fundamentlists exploding from cognitive dissonance.

Seven Machos said...

John -- You are obviously someone who styles himself as an intellectual but, in fact, you have no understanding of the Christian faith and the role played in that faith by miracles.

That actually makes you the person with the problem in your head, not the fundamentalists.

me said...

How about this -- instead of any "teaching", we just give each kid a short book.

First chapter: why abstinence is best, with info on emotional, physical harms of sex as a teen, STD's, why teenage pregnancy sucks, etc. With pictures for the semi-literate.

Second chapter: comprehensive info on how to use birth control and how said birth control works (the pill, etc.). With picutures for the semi-literate.

Appendix: Complete explanation of how the male and female reproductive systems work, with accurage diagrams and explanations about ovulation, etc (most kids and even many adults really have no clue).

Parents could opt of having their child given the book.


PS: In an ideal world, schools shouldn't have to teach this stuff. Unfortunately, even great parents abtain from the responsibility of discussing sex. My parents talked ot me about smoking and drinking, but not sex, and they had great powers of self-delusion -- they would belive anything I told them. Luckily for them I was smart enough and had enough resources (car, money for gas, free time) to get to planned parenthood and get a prescription for the pill on my own. I assure you, if I hadn't, I would have continued having sex just using condoms -- once you start, its hard to stop. But I guess some people think we should ban condoms for teenagers too? Heck, some people think we should ban condoms altogether . . .

John in Nashville said...

Seven:

Actually I understand Christian fundamentalism very well. FWIW, my father for many years preached the gospel at a church of Christ in Cheatham County, Tennessee. I was reared believing that Southern Baptists were damned to hell for being insufficiently literalist in their application of scripture.

A single exception, however, completely negates the phrase "100 percent effective". Even most fundamentlists accept simple arithmetic.