A Blind Eye?

E-mail this post

Remember me (?)

All personal information that you provide here will be governed by the Privacy Policy of Blogger.com. More...

Allison is out tonight so I am catching up on my TiVo and I just finished watching Sunday's 60 Minutes program. The first story was about the teaching of abstinence only pledges in schools and churches. They focus in on a particular group called "A Silver Ring Thing" started by Denny Paton who is a Youth Pastor. Over the last two years ASRT has received over $1,000,000 dollars in federal funding to teach abstinence only sex education to teenagers. ASRT can receive this money because it does two shows, one that has a spiritual focus centered on Jesus, and one that does not. The 60 Minutes report was careful to point out that ASRT not only focuses on abstinence, but also on the negatives of using condoms.

Paton says he believes that kids have been lied to by adults who say that sex can be "safe" when two people use a condom. ASRT is eager to point out that pregnancy rate for teens who use condoms is over 16%. The rates of STD's is much higher since a women can only get pregnant four days out of the month. Check out this exchange between Ed Bradley and Denny Paton:
Ed Bradley: A kid is part of your program, he comes to you and says, "ya know, I'm gonna have sex. I've reached a point, and I'm going to do this." Should I use a condom? What do you say?

Denny Paton: I'll simplify it for you even more. My own daughter comes to me, my sixteen year old daughter, and she says I am going to be sexually active. I would not tell her to use a condom."

Bradley: You wouldn't?

Paton: I would not.

Bradley: Why?

Paton: Because I don't think it will protect her. It won't protect her heart it won't protect her emotional life and it's not going to protect her...I don't want her to get out there and think that she is going to be protected using a condom.

Bradley: Won't she be more protected using a condom instead of not using one?

Paton: Not long term.

I wish he had stuck with the Pastor / teenager example instead of upping it to a father / daughter one. In any case, I believe that sex can do tremendous damage to a person emotionally and spiritually both outside and inside of marriage. The absolute safest place to be sexually involved with another person is within the safety of a committed, loving, and healthy marriage. One of the most important things to me is to help teens navigate adolescents in a way that will leave their spirit and soul intact. I also want to protect them from the physical dangers that teens can encounter as they go through adolescence. Things like suicide, violence, and reckless driving are all things teens have to navigate. Sex is also one of those things that can have a tremendous physical consequence. Those physical consequences are real, permanent, and can be deadly.

So I feel confident about my pastoral responsibilities in the emotional and spiritual issues of sexuality. However, when it comes to the physical ones I am not so sure. Mr. Paton's quote about his daughter seems to be irresponsible if not reckless. However, there was a Bush administration official who summed up the reason why they work on a failure assumption of condoms as opposed to a success rate. He said that telling kids to not have sex is the best, but if you do have sex to use a condom sends a mixed message. He likened it to telling teenagers to not drink and drive, but if you do at least wear a seat belt. I can see his point, but there are some real world problems with that argument.

So is it irresponisble for me to just assume that the schools will handle the physical side of sex and I will just deal with emotional and spiritual? How do we create a situation where we would have a teen come to us and say, you know I am going to do this, how can I have sex in the most protected way possible? Am I supposed to react like Mr. Paton and totally disregard the possibility of physical protection with regard to sex?

PS: I posted this on my personal blog with a different question at the end.

2 Responses to “A Blind Eye?”

  1. Blogger Grant 

    I think the fact that he upped it to his own relationship with his daughter frames the issue well.

    What if he's right? Most of us would agree that the spiritual is more real, more important, and more precious than the physical.

    Why shouldn't that same thinking transfer over to our sexuality?

    I wonder if the damage a soul takes with shame, guilt, and pain could be seen the same way a pregnancy or STD is if more us would be repeating Paton's statement.

    I think any approach that separates the physical from the spiritual and emotional is unhealthy and damaging - whether that be sexuality or any other issue.

    Great food for thought...thanks for posting it.

  2. Blogger Jason Retherford 


    Thanks for a great post.

Leave a Reply

      Convert to boldConvert to italicConvert to link


Team Members

Previous posts


referer referrer referers referrers http_referer