The question of religious conviction, or the symbols that represent these convictions, made the news in the UK recently. A sixteen year old girl took her fight for her right to wear a 'purity ring' to the High Court. Her school has determined that her chastity ring was jewelry and therefore under the normal school rules, not allowed. Her ring represented her wow to abstain from sex. One would imagine she would abstain until marriage. It does not actually state in the newspaper report when the deadline of her absence would expire.
To some extent this young girl has some justification in making her request. There are other forms of apparel that are allowed, which show off religious allegiance. Of these a more obvious one is the head gear worn by Muslim girls and women. These scarves are permitted in schools in the UK. What would one then say is the difference between a narrow ring, and a full-on head covering. If she were to wear a head scarf as an image of her wow, would that be allowed then?
One of her arguments has been that there have been several young girls at her school who have fallen pregnant and have had babies. She feels this ring presents a movement which could protect girls from unwanted pregnancy. The symbol, she feet, would assist girls in reminding them of the promise they have made, and possibly also act as a warning to young men that the girl would not wish to participate in sex. As one can imagine, the girl's parents are quite supportive.
Many years ago I taught at a Girls' High School. At the end of the final year saw everyone having to write national examinations. Every year we had to set up a special room to accommodate the pregnant girls. The reason we separated them was because the rest of the girls would be more concerned with the well-being of these few expectant mothers, than with writing their examinations. One year, the girl who was to be awarded the top academic prize was pregnant. The issue of falling pregnant was there before not in any way related to intelligence or the lack thereof.
What was even more amazing was the fact that during the time I was teaching, the school regularly received visits by female nurses who would spend several hours with the senior girls explaining the basic principles of 'the facts of live'. With other words, it was explained in fairly explicit detail as to what sex was and what consequences unprotected sex could have. During this, birth control was part of these sessions. There was no excuse for these girls to fall pregnant. And yet they did, on average four of them, annually.
If knowledge and the intelligence to apply that knowledge, do not make any difference, one would roll ones eyes and say, what would work. Of course most people would not agree with me, when I say that a solution would be to put all girls onto birth control. They would be asking what sort of promiscuous behavior would be encouraged then. That is a valid point if one still attaches morals to sex.
If one were then not to go the birth control route, what would work then. Instilling in young people some fervent belief that not having sex is a morally acceptable behavior and in fact would lead to a virtuous existence and entrance into heaven in the after life. The Catholic church certainly supports this, and other faiths such as Islam have similar beliefs. However, modern society does not really support religious beliefs such as these. Society in the western developed world, does not frown on sexual activity and it is fairly common practice to have several sexual partners during ones life.
There is therefore a conflict between what the religion may dictate and what the norm is. Only a small number of people will buy into the religious mores and not being tempted to have sex. The gap, and this is where the true problem lies, is not being met by society though. If there is no support of a moral code towards sex, then society has to introduce strong support for birth control measures. What is in fact happening, is that young people are left to determine these issues for themselves. They watch TV, movies, DVDs, adult behavior around them and they see adults instantly involved in sex.
At the same time we are trying to bring up young people to have their own opinions, make their own decisions, be independent with other words. We tell them, do not do as I do, do as I tell you to. Young people are no longer prepared to listen to that. They want honesty and some kind of ethical standards that they can follow. They are not interested in following guidelines set down by adults, which adults themselves are not prepared to abide by. I think young people, better than adults, are able to recognize double standards, and they are certainly not going to buy into them.
Source by Anja Merret