Tuesday, November 22, 2011

When Abstinence Isn't Enough, Try Asceticism

With the recent death of Andy Rooney, his long-running commentary on "60 Minutes" also comes to an end. If you are of a certain age, you might remember what segment filled the last few minutes of each week's show before Andy took over. It was called Point-Counterpoint.

I was reminded of Point-Counterpoint when browsing my usual news sources today. The subject is sex education in schools. The two commentaries are from Unfair Park's Rob Wilonsky and from my favorite crunchy conservative, The American Conservative's Rod Dreher.

After the jump, two different world views.

Point: Rob Wilonsky. His report on the growing number of school districts in Texas that are adding contraception to abstinence in the sex education curriculum leaves little doubt that he thinks this is a good idea.

Just three years ago, 94 percent of the state's school districts told their kiddos: Just say no to sex. And that was that when it came to sex ed -- abstinence only and nothing but, which was working out real well considering that Texas's teen-pregnancy rate was the third-highest in all the land. Still is, or close to, say most -- and tops in repeat teen pregnancies. But, just maybe, things are looking up
Source: Unfair Park.

Counterpoint: Rod Dreher. He talks about how Evangelicals are implicitly acknowledging the failure of abstinence-only sex ed. Their solution? Tweak the message from "Don't do it or ELSE" to "Abstaining now guarantees great sex later, within marriage." Dreher isn't buying it. His solution? He's doubling down on abstinence.

I think you have to start early, by building a personal culture of asceticism

Asceticism! Well, sure, if Dreher is successful in turning American teens into ascetics then teen pregnancy will cease to be a problem. The time kids spend flogging themselves will be time that won't be available to have sex. Afterwards, the kids will be hurting too much to even think about sex. Good luck with that, Rod.

For some reason, I imagined Rod Dreher playing Dan Ackroyd to Rob Wilonsky's Jane Curtin on the old Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update.

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