Posted by: Beverly Dale | April 27, 2010

Media Ponders Unplanned Pregnancies: Church Remains Oblivious

It has been fifty years since the birth control pill first went on the market in the US. In a review of the successes and failures of the variety of contraceptive methods, the Wall Street Journal is pondering why half of all pregnancies in the US are still unplanned. And why, even though the rate “or unplanned pregnancy was the same in 1994,” ..”smaller studies have found that even newer birth control methods haven’t made much of a dent.” Their response is simply that it is “complex” and suggests “cultural, religious, behavioral, educational and economic factors.” So focusing on the religious ones…

It seems pretty obvious to me as I talk with young Penn women, and to a lesser degree the men, on University of Penn’s campus, the guilt,  sexual shame and sex negativity that Christianity teaches permeates our culture. A loud minority of Protestant churches as well as the Catholic Church still promote a double standard for men and women (or a “natural order”) that effectively undermines the growth of positive sexual self-confidence for women and minimizes the male’s sexual responsibility for having protected sex.

The church must take direct responsibility,when not teaching against contraceptive use, that its negativity toward sex creates an ambivalence or shame in young people that inhibits responsible behavior of contraceptive use.  (I’ve heard, “I am going to be sexual and since I am only going so far I won’t need protection.” Or, “I  will look like a slut if I am actually prepared for sex.”)

But Passion Works, our sexuality ministry, is teaching a positive message and grounding it in scripture. After a five week Bible study one woman said, “Women empowerment was a new topic … I enjoyed learning how Jesus changed how women should be viewed in society.”

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