Observing the killing, maiming and torture inflicted in
the name of the US, religion & George Bush, I would suggest that the only
abstinence should be that of 'American morality'.
Based on an article from
America's moral right, backed with massive funding from George Bush, is
to target British teenagers in a mission to protect their virginity.
The Silver Ring Thing movement, which preaches a gospel of sexual purity
before marriage, will this week launch a seven-city tour of the UK and
Ireland. A young crew of virgins will be flown over to spread the word.
The moral message from across the Atlantic will coincide with the launch
of a campaign by British politicians and religious leaders to tone down sex
education in schools, because they say it is encouraging young people to
experiment with sex too soon.
Up to 20,000 young Americans are said to have bought the Silver Ring
Thing's $12 silver-coloured rings, which pledge the wearers to a life of
pre-marital chastity, supported with programmes of Bible classes and the
endorsement of Erika Harold, Miss America 2003.
Now the group is focusing on this side of the Atlantic. With the highest
rates of teen pregnancy in Western Europe and rising levels of sexually
transmitted infection, Britain might seem a natural target for its
The group's road show features lights, music, stand-up comedy and a rap
track titled, "Oh no, don't give it away ..." It will target audiences in
London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Belfast and Dublin at the
end of June.
There was little surprise last year when Britney Spears, the one-time
pin-up girl for teenage virginity, came crashing down from her pedestal,
admitting to something more than chastity with boyfriend Justin Timberlake.
Despite that very public fall from grace, the US abstinence movement is
thriving. Last year it received $120m from the federal government and, of
that, the Silver Ring Thing received $700,000 - by far the largest single
Some have accused it of scaremongering about the scale and risk of sexual
infection. There is no such thing as safe sex, said the evangelical
nutter who heads the group, Denny Pattyn, as he prepared to fly to Britain
last week. Prominent on the movement's website is a book called Epidemic:
How Teen Sex Is Killing Our Kids.
He described the group's silver ring as a reminder for
when you're in
the back seat of the car and you're tempted, and you need that extra
The Silver Ring Thing, based in Pittsburgh, is prominent among a range of
US abstinence programmes, which include True Love Waits, once associated
with Ms Spears. The Silver Ring Thing also wants a piece of the $1.5bn
allocated by the Bush government to combat Aids in Africa.
In Britain, teen pregnancy and infection are major concerns for
campaigners, churches and the Government, which launched a sex education
strategy in 1999. Pregnancy rates have fallen, but sexually transmitted
infection rates are rising sharply.
The deputy director of the conservative think-tank Civitas , Robert
Whelan said it was "scandalous" abstinence approaches did not form part of
government strategy. The few groups that do exist in the UK, such as Love
For Life, receive no official funding.
A meeting, to be hosted by Catholic Labour MP Geraldine Smith, has been
set up next month to promote an overhaul of sex education. Publicity for the
meeting, to be held on 15 June, praised the work of campaigns such as the
Silver Ring Thing. Behind the meeting is Dr Hans Christian Raabe, a GP who
who believes the young should abstain from sex before marriage . He is a
member of the Manchester-based Maranatha Community, a Christian congregation
which has also campaigned vigorously against cannabis.
But whether such an openly evangelical approach will work is a different
matter. British sex educators warn that the "just say no" method is at best
ineffective, and at worst dangerous.
A 2001 study from Columbia University, published in the American Journal
of Sociology, suggested that abstinence pledges do prolong virginity for a
year or two, but that nine out of 10 pledgers end up breaking the promise.
Worse still, when they do, they are less likely to use contraception.