If premarital sex made the baby Jesus cry, he'd be a pretty hoarse, colic-y baby. Because evangelical teens, despite the fact that they're told day in and day out that bumping uglies before God says it's okay is wrong (like going to hell wrong) are having all kinds of secret sex with each other. And because of their good Christian abstinence only educations, they don't know how to protect themselves, end up pregnant, and — gasp — have abortions. Finally, some adults in the community are saying enough is enough and advocating for reality-based sex education rather than denial-based shamemongering.
The pesky evangelical belief that the only way that kids will get the idea to have sex is if adults tell them about it was, to put it lightly, not working out so well, as The Daily Beast's David Sessions points out. States with high concentrations of evangelicals have correspondingly high concentrations of telltale side effects of evangelical beliefs on public health — unplanned pregnancies, abortions, and STD's. That's because very few young evangelicals actually practice what they preach; 80% of them will have premarital sex, and of those who have premarital sex, many will get pregnant since birth control pills aren't something you learn about in Don't Touch Yourself Or Each Other Or You'll Go To Hell Class. And what happens to those evangelical pregnancies? 30% of them result in abortions. Whether or not you believe that abortion is a moral or immoral act, it's fairly safe to say that most women who have abortions would probably have preferred to never have been pregnant in the first place. This is bad. Unrealistic expectations of morality coupled with rampant culture-wide hypocrisy are messing with people's health.
Thankfully, some evangelical leaders are waking up and smelling the spermicidal lubricant. Sessions reports rumblings within Christian nonprofit organizations, religious conferences, and in conservative religious magazines urging church leaders to accept the fact that unless they stop blocking young flock members from medically accurate information about birth control, they're essentially leading their followers down a path that ends in abortion. And, in the evangelical mind, premarital sex is bad, but abortion is worse — to them, premarital sex results in besotting the body, the temple of God. But abortion, in the minds these people, is literally murder. Pee on some hymnals versus kill a baby.
So, gosh oh golly gee whiz, how can evangelicals prevent sex outside of marriage and unplanned pregnancy? Some branches of the movement are advocating people get married very, very young, before they've had enough time to drive themselves crazy with insane sex thoughts. But that's not a very practical idea, either (although it does explain why everyone pictured in cutesy DIY wedding blogs looks like they're 12). In other cases, leaders encourage young unmarrieds to learn about birth control "just in case" and "as a backup plan."
Does this mean the beginning of the end of the US government pouring millions of dollars into programs that teach children that if they have sex before they're married, they're like a glass of water filled with chewed up food? I hope so. There has to be literally dozens of stupider things we could be doing with our money.