“Abstinence Isn’t Working”

…Salon.com backs it up:

Earlier this week, when the CDC announced a record low in the teen birth rate, it listed two possible causes: “The impact of strong pregnancy prevention messages” and “increased use of contraception.” The Guttmacher Institute came out with an even stronger message: “The most recent decline in teen births can be linked almost exclusively to improvements in teens’ contraceptive use,” the organization said in a press release, which pointed to another CDC study for evidence.

But that hasn’t stopped conservatives from claiming that the drop is a result of, you guessed it, abstinence education and, paradoxically, an increase in abortions.

Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America expressed her outrage over the CDC analysis: “They don’t even mention the fact there’s been a tremendous increase in effectiveness and pervasiveness of abstinence education. They don’t mention the fact that teen sexual activity, by their own admission, is down.” As Think Progress noted this week, teen birth rates are actually highest in states with abstinence-only policies. Not only has it been widely documented that such programs are largely ineffective, it’s also been shown that such programsmay prevent contraception use.

Now, it’s true that teens — specifically 15- and 16-year-olds — are delaying sexual activity, but the change in contraceptive use over the years has been much more profound, and there has been no significant change in sexual activity among 18- and 19-year-olds. What’s more, there was no change in sexual activity among teens, period, from 2008 on, says Laura Lindberg, senior research associate at Guttmacher, so the recent decline in teens births certainly can’t be attributed to abstinence. Also, it should be noted that abstinence can be the result of any number of social influences, not necessarily abstinence-only education. (Consider research showing that teens who receive sex educationare much more likely to delay sex.)

Full story here:

Presbyterian Pastor Stops Preaching Against Gays

Excellent Story from Salon.com:

A recent poll shows a huge shift in American attitudes toward gay marriage, from a 32 percent approval in 2004 to 53 percent today.

I am one of those people who changed their minds.

In 1989 when I was ordained as a minister to serve a small church in North Carolina, homosexuality was an invisible issue. Gay rights were barely on the radar of mainstream churches. The idea of an openly gay pastor was beyond the pale. 
 I knew there were “gay churches,” of course, but I did not believe one could be a practicing homosexual and a Christian. The Bible was straightforward on this issue. It all seemed incredibly obvious to me.

But over the next five years, homosexuality not only became an issue — it became The Issue. Sides were drawn, and those of us in the middle were pulled to either end. I was a biblical Christian, of the “hate the sin, love the sinner” crowd. And so it seemed clear that I could not fully accept, ordain and marry gays. If I was going to be forced to choose a side, that was mine.

The truth is, I was put out that this was an issue. Feeding the hungry, preaching the gospel, comforting the afflicted, standing up to racial intolerance — these were the struggles I signed up for, not determining the morality of what adults did in their bedrooms.

Interesting, especially since the Coastal Carolina Presbytery voted to refuse to ordain homosexuals just two days ago. Read the rest of Pastor Murray Richmond’s essay here.