In response to Ready…Steady…Don’t shoot

Reader provides response to guest columnist article about abstinence-only program

I am writing in response to the Opinion piece written by guest columnist Amelia Naismith entitled “Ready…steady…don’t shoot.”

Ms. Naismith suggests that an abstinence-only program that teaches no sexual relations until marriage is “laughable.” But in my role, as youth pastor in earlier years, and now as a pastor I have discovered many consequences of a lifestyle of not abstaining that are certainly not laughable. Sexually transmitted infections are not laughable. A pregnancy when you are a teenager is not laughable. While a condom may address these first two, there are other far more common consequences, which our standard sexual education does not take into account. Shame is not laughable. Regret is not laughable. A broken heart and deep mistrust of people is not laughable.

A wise friend and senior leader in our community recently said to me, “The prescription must match the description.” His meaning was, our prescribed answers for life must match our description of life. If man is nothing more than another animal that should answer every urge immediately, then abstinence is not the answer. However, if we believe mankind has been intentionally designed and created for eternal purpose by a complex and loving God, or at the very least we believe man is intelligent enough to recognize harmful behavior, perhaps we should give attention to educating people in a way that doesn’t leave our world so screwed up. Perhaps we should pay attention to what God says about the matter when it comes to our sexuality.

I agree that sexual education is important. Unfortunately, the average parent has resigned their privilege and responsibility to educate their children in the importance of purity in their sexuality, and turned sex-ed over to our government and school system. Fear of answering awkward questions has created a void that makes society ripe for brokenness. We are caught in a vicious downward cycle. The current trend will not reverse the course. Nothing is more sacred than sex. Nothing creates greater intimacy between a man and wife. Unfortunately, nothing can more deeply wound or scar a person than the sort of lifestyle Ms. Naismith suggests should be the norm in society. The mistrusting, broken world we live in full of regret and shame would indeed confirm this.

Pastor Rob McArthur