This essay has a total of 2141 words and 10 pages.
During the twentieth century, premarital sex has become an important issue. Sexual abstinence was the normal society lifestyle until the late 1950’s. Most men and women would not have ever slept with another person out of wedlock. While this sexual abstinence lifestyle was in effect, a mentality of independence struck the adolescence of the United States. They felt as though they must engage in sexual activity, just to defy society’s view of what was morally right. The reason sexual abstinence is an issue today is because many people claim premarital sex is wrong. People base their opinions on what the Bible has said. When the Bible is used to justify any means of behavior, it usually becomes a moral issue. The main issue at hand is whether premarital sex is classified as morally right or wrong. The Catholic Church claims that premarital sex is wrong and immoral. Not only does the Catholic Church believe this, so does nearly every other Christian faith. In many other countries, premarital sex is not as huge of an issue as it is here in the US. The basis for this is unsure, but religion and culture seem to play into it largely.
In the 1990’s, the teaching of abstinence is beginning to be implemented into the public school systems. The enthusiasm for the just-say-no approach began with the G.O.P. Welfare Reform Act, known as Title V. It appropriates fifty million dollars a year for five years to programs that instruct teens to stay abstinent until marriage. Since the measure took effect two years ago, forty-eight states have decided to participate. Of these forty-eight states, five states have gone one step further, requiring that abstinence be the only programs taught. California and New Hampshire are the only two states that have returned their federal grants, because they refused to participate in this program. Some schools in Minnesota have a dual-track sex education program. It is up to the parents to decide what they would like their children to study.
There is a lot of controversy about these programs because the issue of sexual abstinence is so controversial. Debra Hauser, Vice President of Advocates for Youth in Washington says, “in the last couple years we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of public schools that are restricting the amount and type of information teachers can provide in the classroom.” (Gardner, Christian Science Monitor, p. B1) School nurse Esther Splaine argues, “Every year, twelve million American teens are sexually active. Nearly one million teens become pregnant, and three million contract a sexually transmitted disease. On through abstinence will teenagers avoid these and other problems related to too-early sex.” (Gardener, Christian Science Monitor, p. B1) The largest obstacle of this issue is that there is no consensus on the nature of the crisis. On top of that, there is not an effective solution for easing the plight.
While there are many programs, other than schools, that support this idea of abstinence only teaching, there are just as many that are opposed. Most public health experts have concern that these abstinence only programs could undo year’s worth of progress in education concerning safe sex. Of the five states that hold the abstinence only policy, studies have shown that there was not a delay in the onset of sexual intercourse. In another eleven studies, results show that programs that combined abstinence and contraceptive programs either delayed teen sexual activity, or reduced its frequency. In another survey conducted by Eric Tooley, “of the 200 participants in their second year of abstinence-only classes, sixty percent have already lost their virginity, and ten of the girls are pregnant.” (Morse; Hylton, Time, p. 79) This shows that the programs need to be refined in order to be effective. With new programs such as these, it is extremely difficult to instate them in a way that it benefits everyone.
The Catholic Church feels as though it is best to save sex until marriage. Many catholic leaders foresaw the danger of casual sex, especially with college students. Pope John Paul II often speaks out on the wounds that result from pre-marital sex. As stated in Crisis magazine the Pope claims, “one of the consequences of removing human sexuality from the context of married love is a depersonalization of the human body. The body becomes nothing more than an object for use, while the broader and deeper requirements of human dignity and happiness are ignored.” (Desmond, Crisis, p. 12) As the Pope continues to preach these words of wisdom a majority of the warnings go unnoticed, in universities and high schools alike. The Catholic Church looks at research done, and uses it to explain what has gone wrong. Many experts say that teen sex is at a high due to what the media and business world put out. In many teen magazines, there are “answers” to almost any teen’s sexual question. They use these magazines to help figure out the technical requirements of sexual appeal and performance. The church also believes that family breakdown, the pill, and a neo-Enlightenment belief in the natural goodness of children weakened parental resolve to transmit moral values.
These are not the only reasons the church does not condone sex before marriage. Many pastors and clergymen look to the Bible for the answers as to why one should abstain from premarital sex. The Bible says in Acts 15:29 to the Gentiles, “You are to abstain from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well if you avoid these things.” In Hebrews 13:4 it states, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Not only does the bible speak of staying pure in the New Testament, it is also spoken of in the Old Testament, or the Hebrew Bible. In Genesis 2:24 it is stated, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh.” The idea of one flesh is the bond between a man and his wife and the spiritual and sexual bond that is formed.
From these one can assess that one should rem
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