Friday, November 25, 2011
VIRGINITY! WHAT’S THAT?
“Hattie, my fifteen year old grandbaby is pregnant and I don’t know how it happened.”
Over the years I’ve heard some version of this sentence coming out of the mouths of far too many of my friends and acquaintances, and lately I’ve noticed that it’s only getting worse. You can fill in the blank on what relative it is having the baby, but the results are always the same. Someone who is too young and totally unprepared to bring a human life into the world is about to do so.
Most of the people who break the news to me throw the “I don’t know how it happened” into the sentence not because they’re ignorant of the process. What they mean is that the young person in question has been raised in a Christian household where they attended Sunday services and Sunday school on a weekly basis and were well acquainted with the Word of the Lord, and it still happened. Of course we all know that being acquainted with rules and following them is another story—even divine rules. So when I read an article in a Christian magazine titled “(Almost) Everyone’s Doing It”, I wasn’t shocked or surprised by the information that it provided.
According to a 2009 study conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, “80% of unmarried evangelical young adults (18-29) said that they have had sex—slightly less than 88 percent of unmarried adults…” Now that’s only counting the young people of age, and that’s in a two year old study. The numbers are probably off the chart by now. Sex sells, and having sex could make you rich. At least that’s what my grandchildren seem to think. It’s my understanding that one of the biggest reality stars today is a young woman who became famous because of a sex tape. What a role model she must be.
I thank God every day that neither my son nor my daughter had any babies before they got married. Were they virgins when they married? I’d rather not know the answer to that, so I don’t think about it; but the article did give me something to think about. It said that in the days when the scripture about abstinence was written, marriages were arranged and folks could be as young as 13 when they married. That gave them less time for temptation when it came to sex. These days there are Christians in their 30s, 40s, 50s and up, who remain unmarried, and many may never get married. That’s a long time to avoid temptation, much longer than in the old days.
I’m not going to lie, before reading that I was too quick to condemn any Christian who came into our church with a big belly and who wasn’t married. Pregnancy was the living proof of what they had been doing. Of course, there’s never be any need in denying that there were plenty of folks in the church who were doing the same thing and hadn’t been caught. Much too often we Christians choose to ignore facts.
The bottom line is that the social rules and mores in this country about virginity seemed to have changed. For someone of my generation it’s confusing, especially when the rules of the Bible have been the ones that I’ve been taught to follow. Yet, even the church seems to be faced with a dilemma that it doesn’t quite know how to solve. The article concluded with the following questions: “So what should a Christian parent or youth pastor do? How do they convince more young Christians to wait until marriage, or should they stop trying?”
Should we give up trying to expect moral behavior? Uh, I don’t think so, but until someone wiser than me comes up with a solution, I guess we’ll all have to muse on it. Meanwhile, the unplanned pregnancies and the increase in HIV/AIDS cases as well as other sexually transmitted diseases will be the price that we’ll have to pay for our indecision.