Time for abstinence

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A recent article in The Telegram (“More teens are having babies,” Feb. 9) stated that teenage pregnancy rates are soaring in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Newfoundland and Labrador executive director of Planned Parenthood was surprised with those results because he feels that, “… our education system has done a really good job of revamping the curriculum so that it is more informative.” He also mentioned that accessibility of contraception is a factor in teen pregnancy, along with the increasing cost of birth control.

These soaring rates prove that the more young people are recruited into using contraception, the more sexually active they become. They enter an arena of high-risk behaviour that leads to physical and emotional damage.

Sex education literature teaches children that they can make an “informed choice” whether or not to have sex. Whatever choice they make is right for them. Therefore, the basis of sex education is immorality. Young people are being prepared for a life of promiscuous sex.

A list of birth control methods are listed in the present high school biology textbook. Abstinence is at the top of the list. It is the only method with 100 per cent effectiveness, with no risks.

Real abstinence education is essential to reducing premarital sex and improving the emotional and physical well-being among our youth. Abstinence helps young people to develop an understanding of commitment, fidelity and intimacy that will serve them well as the foundation of healthy marital life in the future.

Premarital teen sex violates others’ rights by stealing stability from families; money from taxpayers to fund programs which encourage teen sex; health from youth via sexually transmitted diseases; emotional problems; life itself from each preborn baby whose heartbeat is stopped in abortion.

Let’s reinstate God’s laws, that will in turn, make strong families.

Strong Christian families are at the heart of social order.

Elizabeth A.S. Coleman

St. John’s

Organizations: The Telegram

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Ed Power
    February 22, 2013 - 20:40

    Egad. Everytime I read letters like this one, or the latest diatribe by one rabid fundamentalist or another, I have to check the calendar to see if the date is correct, and confirm that I haven't fallen down Alice's "Rabbit Hole", or walked onto the set of some badly written parody of The Twilight Zone. Poor Ms. Coleman, stuck in the Year of Our Lord, 1313. I blame this outbreak of religious irrationality on Stephen Harper. Ever since that fundementalist little toady managed to grab power - the result of the systemic arrogance and corruption of the Liberal party, and not through any true competence on his part - the religious nutters and right-wing idealogues have emerged from their lairs, eager to turn the calendar back to the pre-Enlightenment days, when the entire Universe revolved around the Created Earth and "education" was the Bronze Age babble the Church taught you. I would be tempted to call them Neanderthals, but this would both insult one of our extinct evolutionary cousins, and the irony would be lost on them anyway, as they don't believe in Evolution and Neanderthals, abundant evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Perhaps, Ms. Coleman, if you wish to make relevant recommendations on sex, education and social development, you should try reading more than one book......

  • Herb Morrison
    February 21, 2013 - 10:03

    Mr. Burke. Ms. Coleman didn't suggest anything. What she did is to state categorically that the use of contraceptives somehow induces in people, specifically teen-agers, a desire to engage in promiscuous sexual behaviour. given that she has not documented this judgement

  • Colin Burke
    February 21, 2013 - 09:36

    S. Cynic, the notion that justice is not real is itself a concept resulting from an evolved intelligence -- the kind of intelligence which in my view needs to "evolve" somewhat further. Saying justice is not real means there is no such thing as justice, which in turn means that no one can do anything that is just: no one can do anything so as to deserve the effect of what he does. (Justice means getting what we deserve or rendering what others deserve from us.) Justice is a "concept," true enough, but it is a truth one discovers rather than a fiction one makes up, and for a thing to be discovered it has to exist: that persons deserve their deeds' effects is indeed a reality which one can see without having had to invent it. I admit it may seem largely irrelevant to life in a society where people rely far less on the effects of what they actually do than on the outcome of what is happening around them, to which they only contribute to its occurring. Mr. Morrison, why do you not apply to the question of Mrs. Coleman's "being judgemental" the same standard you assume for yourself? For, so far as I can see, Mrs. Coleman has not yet condemned anyone to death by stoning, any more than you have. All she did was suggest that a kind of conduct is wrong.

  • Herb Morrison
    February 21, 2013 - 08:25

    In an earlier post to a person who identifes themselves as wondering, the opening sentence should have read: I do not have either God's support in this world, nor will I have eternal Spiritual like in the next world, following my physical death because I have earned these things.

  • Herb Morrison
    February 21, 2013 - 06:05

    Mr. Burke. Further to your definition of judgemental. If I were passing judgement on Ms. Colemantht would involve passing a particular sentence of some sort on her, for example condemning her to death by stoning, A.K.A. the woman caught commiting adultry. This I have not done. I have simply stated what is, as I described in an earlier post, is a self-evident truth. Since Ms. Coleman states categorically, and without any supporting documentation, that the use of articifial methods of birth control leads to promiscuous sexual behaviour, she is at least implying , that those women who chose to do so, are lacking morally. Since, in my opinion the only being who truly knows the state of my moral fiber, or lack thereof is God, it follows logically that only God should pass judgement on my actions. Therefore, I stand by my opinion that Ms. Coleman's comments are judgemental.

  • Herb Morrison
    February 20, 2013 - 15:21

    Mr. Burke. Good point regarding the use of the term judgemental. However, nowhere does Ms. Coleman state that the opinoin she expresses is strickly her opinion. She speaks as if her opinion is law and should be adhered to by all. If that is not Godlike , what is?

  • Herb Morrison
    February 20, 2013 - 15:02

    Wondering. I do noot have God's dupport in this world nor will I have eternal Spiritual life in the next world, when my physical death occurs. No mortal being can earn either God'as support in this world or eternall life in the next. These things are granted to me and to anyone else who believes in God and in Christ as Saviour and Lord. By God'srace because of my faith in God and in Christ as Saviour and Lord I have been granted God's support in this world and eternal Spiritual life following my physical death. This offer is open to any human being. No mortal can live up to the call from God to practice Christian principles to the letter. That's why God sent Christ to earth to suffer and to die for my sins and everyone elses. The Spiritual salvation of those who have faith abnd believe is assured because Christ died and conquerewd death by rising from the dead on the third day and later assending into Heaven. No one can earn their way into Heaven .

  • Colin Burke
    February 19, 2013 - 19:54

    It seems to me that teenagers are especially likely to experiment with sex no matter what we tell them if we keep telling them they are going to do that no matter what we tell them, and if the way we say it suggests we rather welcome that prospect than otherwise, which I tend to suspect is what and how most educators about sex today educate them about sex. Mr. Morrison, I'm not sure we quite agree in our use of the word "judgemental." I myself don't deem it judgemental to say that promiscuous fornication is morally wrong any more than I deem it judgemental to say that shoplifting is morally wrong. I would deem it judgemental to declare categorically that all teenagers who fornicate are worthless tramps or negligible tomcats or that all shoplifters are frivolous thieves who could well afford to pay for anything they take. It would be even more "judgemental" to make any such statement about any particular person. It does not seem to me that Mrs. Coleman indulged either in a blanket or a specific assessment of personal moral worth, either of which would look to me like "playing God."

  • Herb Morrison
    February 19, 2013 - 17:46

    Well-said Catherine. This is what I was attempting to articulate in one of my earlier posts pretaining to this issue.

  • Skeptical Cynic
    February 19, 2013 - 16:40

    Colin, you’re reverting to your trademark convoluted, nebulous, rambling, hard-to-follow prose again, which I personally think is actually a literary sleight-of-hand you rely on to try to convince both yourself and your fellow posters you actually know what the heck it is you’re talking about. Nevertheless, I will attempt to rescue you from your theologically-induced philosophical quagmire. You state that “There is a reality we call justice’”. Justice is not a ‘reality’… justice is a concept resulting from an evolved intelligence. You then follow that up with the statement that “Justice deserves to be real.” Again, the term ‘real’ in this context is merely a concept resulting from an evolved intelligence. I can prove this by simply stating that my reality is not your reality, so we both must have differing concepts of reality. So when you state that “justice deserves to be real” … notwithstanding the manner in which the merits of such may be determined… how can one concept possibly “deserve” another? The notion is absurd so as to be nonsensical. Your 3rd statement is predicated on the nonsensical 2nd statement. Thus, by extension, your 3rd statement is itself nonsensical. With regards to your musings about the fatal flaws, or lack thereof, of what you naively perceive to be your irrefutable “argument”… I cannot see how any statement based on nonsense and the absurd can even qualify as an “argument”, flawed or otherwise. However, if there is indeed an identifiable fallacy that has irrevocably tainted the so-called logic of your reasoning, it would seem to be of the type known as “petitio principii”.

  • Katherine
    February 19, 2013 - 08:13

    This sort of thinking can be very dangerous. Young people are going to experiment with sex and sexuality regardless of if you teach them strict abstinence or about contraceptives, so isn't it the intelligent thing to do to teach them about all of their options? Isn't it a smart idea to teach give them all the information and teach them the repercussions, and give them everything they need so they will be able to make a responsible decision on their own? "Let’s reinstate God’s laws, that will in turn, make strong families. Strong Christian families are at the heart of social order." This idea in particular is one from Ms Coleman that worries me. Religious ideology was removed from schools for a reason, and above all, not everyone is of a Christian faith. By demanding "God's law" be reinstated and saying that apparently only "Christian families" result in social order is pretty insulting. My beliefs or lack-thereof are no indication of my sense of social justice or my moral standing, and I don't believe for one second that just because Ms. Coleman is a Christian that she has better morals than anybody else. If this article she wrote is any indication, she may, in fact, be a few decades behind most people in terms of her morals and sense of social order.

  • Petertwo
    February 19, 2013 - 08:09

    I do'nt know how God works, all I know is what I read in the Bible, and I am not fully sure that what I understand is what is really meant. He works in mysterious ways but I do not think that Christianity revolves around sex, there are many other ways to mess up, but all we ever seem to hear revolves around human procreation, which has it's taboos and myths. We are not so far, as a species, from the caves that we think we are, better perhaps then we were but not as good as we could be- still learning.

  • Herb Morrison
    February 18, 2013 - 20:08

    Abstaining from sexual activity is an ideal which teenagers and young adults in particular might find impossible to achieve, perhaps the soundest advice to offer would be advice that which was offered when I was in that particular age range. "Be good. If you can't be good, be careful." Speaking in general terms, it is essential to remember that a loving and forgiving God is always willing to forgive those who come in earnest repentance seeking forgiveness for transgressions which we, in our humaness commit, despite our best efforts to aspire to a high ideal.

  • Anon
    February 18, 2013 - 18:24

    Thank you Peter L I wasn't aware of what the definition of abstinence was... NOT. What I'm saying is, if you promote abstinence only, kids are going to have sex anyway, except now they're not being taught anything about sexual health and you won't be giving them access to contraception if you're only promoting abstinence which is a terrible idea. Abstinence is currently taught in sex-ed as the only surefire way to prevent pregnancy and unwanted STD's. You're also taught to watch your drinks at the bar and at parties even though you're not allowed to drink at 19. The sex ed program as is is pretty good. Access to contraception is a good thing. Preaching abstinence is a good thing. Relying on abstinence and "christian values" is a recipe for disaster - not just because it doesn't work but because of the shame and stigma that exists in a society that shuns sex.

    • PETER L
      February 20, 2013 - 05:31

      Thank you ANON for that clarification, your post didn't seem to say that. I agree with you, even as a devout Christian, that simply teaching abstinence is useless, it hasn't worked since time began, even with prayer as some here have said. It must be taught with all the other facets of sex education, but it MUST BE TAUGHT! Are you aware that it is forbidden to be taught in parts of Europe and the USA today? It's taught that sex anytime, anywhere with anyone is becoming the main theme and is OK and healthy, and abortion is simply another form of birth control. Not much else is being taught, so the result is an increase in pregnancy, abortion, STDs, and the rise in medical costs associated with this.

  • David
    February 18, 2013 - 16:48

    The Americans tried a similar approach to combat teen pregnancy when George W. Bush was in the White House. Instead of funding sex education and other useful programs they put funding into abstinence programs and promoted things like purity rings etc. etc. But guess what? It didn't work. In fact it actually increased teen pregnancy because they removed condoms dispensers from schools and kids had unprotected sex instead. The point is, teenagers will have sex regardless whether they're in an abstinence program or not. Sex education is not immoral, it's realistic and it prepares our youth to enter into the world we live in, not the dream world which is suggested in this editorial. Sex ed, doesn't promote "promiscuous sex", it provides youth with unbiased information about the biology behind reproduction and tries to promote responsible decision making. It even touches on the emotional aspects of sex, how it can change a relationship. I firmly believe Sex Education is the best, most proactive approach to combating teen pregnancy, it provides teens with the FACTS surrounding sex and lets them know that the hormonal changes their bodies are going through are perfectly normal. The idea that it is somehow a flashing billboard ad to help push teens into the sack prematurely is absolutely false and anyone with that opinion clearly hasn't attended any sexual education classes. Finally, there is no room in our education system for the religious right and religious zealotry. If parents want to educate their children in religion take them to a church and leave the public school system out of it. I find the notion of "reinstating God's laws" to be revolting and down right offensive, I suppose Ms. Coleman's next editorial will be about burning the gay community at the stake because that's one of God's laws as well is it not? I also find the assumption that the only strong families that exist are "Christian" to be completely arrogant and incredibly insulting to the many excellent parents out there who happen of a different faith. Who are you to tell the general public what to believe or talk of social order when it is so painstakingly clear you know nothing of it?

  • Colin Burke
    February 18, 2013 - 14:47

    Religion has at least this much to do with the matter in question: Catholicism pretty well agrees that "teaching abstinence doesn't work": that teaching that abstinence is healthy and even morally necessary is clearly not enough; that it cannot succeed unless we also teach our children to pray for God's help in being abstinent (chaste) and to practice self-discipline generally. Those who don't believe in God and cannot pray have therefore good reason from human psychology in general, and doubtless from personal experience, to hold that "teaching abstinence doesn't work," so that the best they can do is regret that instead of being glad of it.

  • Herb Morrison
    February 18, 2013 - 14:33

    Mr. Burke. My statement that Ms. Coleman's article is both judgemental and Godlike is the expression of a self-evident truth and not the result of any attempt on my part to be judgemental on my part. Anyone who thinks that they have all the answers when it comes to any issue is suffering from a God complex. Ms. Coleman's undocumented assertion that the use of contraceptives automatically leads to promiscuous sexual behaviour or a rise in the incidences of sexually transmitted diseases is, at best,. Unreliable.

  • paulSt.John's
    February 18, 2013 - 13:35

    Colin Burke...I can accept that kids should be taught that the most surefire way to avoid unwanted pregnancies and STD's is to abstain from sex. I completely and utterly reject however, the notion that "strong Christian families are at the heart of social order". Religion has absoultely nothing to do with it.

  • Colin Burke
    February 18, 2013 - 13:26

    Anon, do you really want an argument purely rational and not confused with mythology? How, then, about this: (1) There is a reality we call justice. (2) Justice deserves to be real. (3) Anything that deserves to be real cannot owe its existence to a different cause, but must simply be itself and always have been itself, and that is the kind of reality which philosophers call God. If you are learned enough in philosophy and theology to demonstrate logically that the God whom Christians worship cannot reasonably be the God whose existence philosophy can demonstrate, then I invite you by all means to proceed. Go, b'y, go! (If only to blazes.) It might be easier, though, simply to point out the flaw in my own argument, for I keep suspecting, no matter how often I present that argument without anyone refuting it, that it does indeed have a fatal flaw.

  • Anon
    February 18, 2013 - 12:48

    Are we still debating the existence of a mythical being or are we talking rationale and commonsense? No? God talk:? Ok. Can't wait to see how well abstinence works out... especially when you don't give them access to rubbers.

    • PETER L
      February 18, 2013 - 13:02

      @ANON, Abstinence doesn't require "rubbers", it requires nothing but the will to sustain from sexual activity, at least until marriage. Get your facts straight at least. This isn't about the existence of God, but about going back to the best way to avoid pregnancy, disease and abortion, by abstaining whether you are Christian, or other belief or no belief. It is the best form of birth control, especially in young teens, but is no longer taught.

  • Colin Burke
    February 18, 2013 - 11:43

    Saelcove, I refer you to G.K. Chesterton who said that any of us at all could have made a better world than God did, the only difficulty being that none of us could in fact have made any world at all. But anyway, you now have a chance to improve on the job he did on you, if you find fault with that also.

  • saelcove
    February 18, 2013 - 10:28

    I would not put to much faith in god,He did not do much of a job putting this planet together

    • PETER l
      February 18, 2013 - 12:16

      @SAELCOVE, Actually HE did a wonderful job at putting the planet together, it is people who have made a mess of it. HE gave us the freedom to choose, this mess the planet is in is the choice of humans.

  • Colin Burke
    February 18, 2013 - 10:16

    Paul St. John's, do you really believe that an education which had taught people to reason as well as to read would approve of pursuing a process while rejecting its purpose? If you do not deny that people deserve the effects of what they do, which is a direct perception of right reason, how would you logically deny that people who do what makes people parents deserve to be parents. Mr. Morrison, I would not judge you for the world, but does it not seem a little judgemental to decide when others are "playing God"? Not every attempt to imitate God, which could include having children because God himself has a Son or trying to teach what is right, as I believe both you and I have attempted on occasion, is necessarily what most of us understand as "playing God." Even the Bible tells us to be holy as God is holy; I suggest that that means we are to try to imitate him in ways which are not attempts actually to replace him.

  • Doug Smith
    February 18, 2013 - 09:38

    Ms. Coleman, I’m all for preventing teenage pregnancy, teen sex, I don’t know what can be done about that, if anything needs to be done, however, I must object to you promoting an imposition of your anti-democratic religious beliefs on others. In one of your last sentences you state, “ Let’s reinstate God’s laws.” If you would keep abreast of current world affairs and read some history , you would then know that religious tyranny puts an end to people’s freedom. So lets not use teenage pregnancy as an excuse to try an end democratic liberty in favour of a theocracy. Doug Smith, GFW

  • Anonymous
    February 18, 2013 - 08:32

    What a load of BS. Abstinence worked real well for the catholic church too.

  • Herb Morrison
    February 18, 2013 - 08:09

    Mr. Saieed.Excellent point. While I myself am a Christian, I acknowlege that Christians do not have a monopoly when it comes to having a strong sense of values and high moral standards. Persons who are part of other religious groups and athiests who don't believe in God at all, can and do have high standards of morality which determine the manner in which they live their lives

    • Wondering
      February 18, 2013 - 13:08

      Herb, you say "I myself am a Christain". On what grounds are you confident of that? Was Father Hickey a Christain? Not to suggest you have such flaws. I too was christained as a child. I would like to say I am Christain, but feel I fall short of that standard. Is it not a high standard? Do you have love for your enemies? Is any war just? Are you pure in heart? Even Jimmie Carter said he had felt lust. Most feel they are subject to judgement after death. A real Christain must be as innocent as a new born baby, no? With sins honestly admitted in prayer and forgiveness assured . It takes a lot to be a True Christain. A worthy goal, no doubt. But I doubt there are many True Christains. Those so good they expect no judgement after death. Wish I had such self confidence.

  • Abdul Saieed
    February 18, 2013 - 07:26

    And what about those of us who don't have Christian families?

  • paulSt.John's
    February 18, 2013 - 07:11

    God's laws are great for those who believe in a magic being in the sky who thinks we should only have sex only when we want to have babies and to do otherwise is immoral. The rest of the world needs contraception and education, however.

    • PETER
      February 18, 2013 - 09:38

      @PAUL ST JOHN'S, And that education should also teach abstinence and diseases caused by promiscuity and the results of abortion. Without out that it is only partial education and we are telling our children that sex anytime and anywhere with anyone is OK. And it should also include the health cost to all of us with regard to abortion and sexually transmitted disease as wel as the family ussies arising from pregnancies, abortions and diseases, only then will it be true education.

  • Herb Morrison
    February 18, 2013 - 06:58

    Ms. Coleman, I couldn't agree more. What this world needs is God. What this world does not need are people, not unlike yourslf, who insist on playing God.