July 19, 2007
More good news for advocates of abstinence programs: a five-year study cited by the New York Times found that 49% of teenagers who had, er, benefited from abstinence education had never had sex—while 55% hadn’t had sex in the past year. Sadly, the equivalent statistics for teenagers who hadn’t had abstinence education were 49% and 56%—and the study also found no difference in the age at which each group first had sex. Although there was the odd outlier:
Through a combination of less sex and more contraception, pregnancy and birth rates among American teenagers as a whole have been falling since about 1991. Texas, however, has seen the smallest decline despite receiving almost $17 million in the name of virginity.
Small wonder that many states are reconsidering the millions of taxpayer dollars they have squandered on the religious right’s sex-obsessed agenda. The Times reports that 11 state health departments rejected abstinence education so far this year, while legislatures in Colorado, Iowa and Washington have passed laws that could take it out of public schools for good.
July 14, 2007
How to spot the one true church
If there’s anything Christians truly want to believe, it’s that their hard-earned dollars will miraculously do the loaves-to-fishes thing. Enter British con artist Howard Welsh and his wonderfully named American girlfriend, Lee Hope Thrasher, who managed to take American Christians for more than $30 million.
And yet still they believe:
One investor of £60,000 [$120,000], Greg del Ferro, told the local newspaper, even as the trial was underway last July, that he still did not believe it was a con.
“It was about helping other people. That’s what Lee Hope and Howard were stressing. By all means they made mistakes, but they are not the types to deceive or take advantage,” he said. Mr Del Ferro wondered whether the pair may have had problems after inviting the “wrong people” to invest.
Sounds to me like they invited all the right people.
July 8, 2007
The creator of “creation care”
If you were wondering when the religious right would jump on the global-warming bandwagon, meet Joel Hunter, one of America’s “New Guard” evangelicals:
Until recently, the national evangelical leadership included those who denied the scientific consensus that global warming exists. They rejected the notion that climate change is primarily a result of human activity and feared that significant remedies would cost too many jobs.
Hunter and his allies reject these notions and have adopted the term “Creation Care” as an evangelical euphemism for environmentalism. “We’re approaching it with a biblical agenda rather than a political agenda,” he said. “The church should be about replenishing as much as repenting.”
This should have been obvious, said the Rev. Fred Morris, former executive director of the Florida Council of Churches, who has long urged Hunter to become involved in environ-
“Anyone who professes to believe in a Creator God has a moral and spiritual obligation to care for and defend God’s Creation,” Morris said. “I think he is going to get into hotter and hotter water with his evangelical colleagues, but he is willing to do that, because he knows it is a crucial issue.”
Plus Hunter knows that with a Democrat in the White House, the deranged Dobson/
Robertson axis will lose its grip on power faster than California is burning up—and he wants to fill that vacuum.
July 7, 2007
Regula Sancti Benedicti
Pope Benedict turns back the Vatican clock another century. Pissing off everyone from liberal Catholics to Jews (“a body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations”) in the process.