When it comes to self-control, the government has a hard enough time practicing it — let alone promoting it! That’s why last week’s announcement from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was so important. After years of burying its head in the sand and throwing billions of dollars at an STD problem it helped create, the government finally admitted what the Bible and common sense made abundantly clear: abstinence and monogamy are the only ways to avoid disease.
In its 2015 “Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines,” a two-word change made all the difference. Five years ago, the CDC used to say abstinence and monogamy were “a reliable way to avoid disease.” As of last Friday, the agency agrees it’s “the most reliable way.” That may not seem like a radical edit to most people, but in this administration, moral purity is as foreign a concept as political transparency.
For years, FRC and other groups have fought the spread — not just of infection and disease — but the mentality that sexual liberalism should be promoted in schools, prioritized in health care, and paid for by taxpayers. As a result, the government is spending $16 billion a year cleaning up the mess it helped make with the “if-it-feels-good-do-it” approach. With more than 20 million new cases of STDs cropping up every year, America’s biggest health crisis may be the one nobody’s talking about. A monster strain of gonorrhea is spreading, and experts say it might be worse than AIDS. That explosion, along with the spike in chlamydia infections, syphilis, HIV, Hepatitis, and herpes is panicking the medical community, which sees that young people are disproportionately affected — “accounting for half of all new [sexually-transmitted infections].”
Fortunately, the CDC is finally acknowledging that the only way to stem the tide is to put new energy into an old strategy: saving sex for marriage. And thanks to Congress, the government will have another $50 million a year to try. Under GOP control, the House and Senate just authorized the biggest raise for abstinence education since President Obama significantly slashed funding in 2009.
“If sex education were on the ballot,” the National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA) has said, “abstinence education would win by a landslide — and not just with Republicans.” Most people wrongly assume that the “save sex” message is a conservative one. Not so, says NAEA’s Valerie Huber. In extensive polling, Huber’s organization found that almost eight in 10 Democratic parents support abstinence education. Altogether, 85% of moms and dads think young people could benefit from the abstinence message.
Even the American College of Pediatricians recognizes that programs teaching kids to wait until marriage are about a lot more than postponing sex. “They assist adolescents in establishing positive character traits, formulating long-term goals, and developing emotionally healthy relationships… These programs increase the likelihood of strong marriages and families — the single most essential resource for the strength and survival of our nation.”
Somewhere along the way, too many adults started operating from a position of lower expectations, as if teenagers were incapable of exercising any self-restraint. It became assumed, not discouraged, that children would have sex. With or without the government’s help, it’s time for parents to speak up and encourage their teens to do what’s counter-cultural. Too many moms and dads think their kids aren’t listening to what they say about abstinence. Think again. Parents are the single biggest influence on their children’s sexual decisions. If the cultural influences from Hollywood and the media are committed to marketing promiscuity and immodesty at every turn, then as parents, we have to be just as committed to helping our teenagers fight those temptations.
It’s time for parents to challenge their children to live by a higher standard — otherwise, they’ll continue meeting the low standards the culture sets for them.
LifeNews Note: Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council.