Posts Tagged “abstinence pledge”

If you think Fox News really is “fair and balanced,” guess again. They’ve been the mouthpieces for the Religious Right ever since the channel began in the mid 90s, and they remain so. The lengths to which Fox News will go, in order to make the Religious Right look good even in the face of obvious facts to the contrary, are ludicrous.

Here is one example which I just came across recently.

On the heels of a metastudy — which I blogged about a little over a week ago — showing that “abstinence-only” sex education is a dismal failure and actually results in more teen pregnancies than other types — Fox News released this story a couple of days later in an attempt to show the opposite:

Study: Religious Teens More Likely to Abstain from Sex

Religious teens lose their virginity later than those who are not religious — waiting on average three years longer than their peers, a recent study reported.

Janet Rosenbaum, a post doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, wrote in this month’s issue of “Pediatrics” that those with strong religious backgrounds became sexually active at about 21 on average — regardless if they took a pledge to remain a virgin until marriage. …

Rosenbaum told FOXNews.com she compared apples to apples. “The behavior of teenagers who have never been to church before is pretty irrelevant when understanding the behavior virginity pledgers,” she said.

Overall, religious students, regardless of whether they take virginity pledges, are more conservative than their non-religious peers. When compared against national averages, “they are having sex an average of about three years later than the average American,” Rosenbaum said.

Note that in this story, Fox News does not dispute that the taking of virginity pledges does not affect whether or not kids have sex. What they are doing is emphasizing — instead — that religious kids are less likely to have sex. Moreover, they are actually dismissing the behavior of non-church-going kids as “irrelevant” to the study.

This is an insane use of the figures in this study. The study ostensibly is examining whether “abstinence-only” sex education coupled with virginity pledges, actually works. Clearly it does not do so. What Fox is doing, here, is plucking out of these results, those kids who are not church-going. But they cannot really do that … since quite obviously these “abstinence-only” sex education programs include both church-going and non-church-going kids! You cannot measure their effectiveness by culling out a big chunk of that group!

What Fox has done, therefore, is to put a happier face on what is truly bad news for the Religious Right, by shining a light only on a tiny part of it and de-emphasizing the rest.

“Fair and balanced”? I think I’ll let “you decide.”

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One of the pitfalls inherent in setting public policy according to metaphysical beliefs, is that not only can you screw things up unintentionally, you can thereafter be unable to correct that screw-up, because doing so would run afoul of the metaphysics itself. A great example of this that was recently exposed, was reported recently by CNN:

s many as one in eight teens in the United States may take a virginity pledge at some point, vowing to wait until they’re married before having sex. But do such pledges work? Are pledge takers more likely than other teens to delay sexual activity?

According to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, pledge takers are as likely to have sex before marriage as other teens who are also religious, but don’t take the pledge. However, pledge takers are less likely than other religious or conservative teens to use condoms or birth control when they do start having sex.

While it’s great to teach that abstinence is the best way to avoid pregnancy — because, in fact, it is! — robbing kids of any knowledge of contraception hamstrings them in the event they choose to violate that principle … and that appears to be as likely among pledge-takers as among others. You end up, ironically, with more unintended pregnancies than you would have otherwise!

The problem is that the hyperreligious fundamentalist Christian beliefs that are the foundation of “abstinence-only” sex education, prevents this failing from being corrected. It is taken as axiomatic that teaching contraception is never acceptable … and this remains the case even if not teaching it turns out to be counter-productive!

I can think of few clearer examples of religionazi lunacy, than this.

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