That Silver Ring Thing You Do


I have no problem in principle with sex-ed programs that focus on abstinence—assuming they're actually effective and don't make those who end up having sex more likely to become sick or pregnant for lack of information, which is a significant if. But it was a little disturbing to see that federal tax dollars have been funding this:

Teenage graduates of the program sign a covenant "before God Almighty" to remain virgins and earn a silver ring inscribed with a Bible passage reminding them to "keep clear of sexual sin." Many of its events are held at churches.

Until the ACLU filed a lawsuit alleging misuse of government funds, the Silver Ring Thing's website apparently laid out their goals pretty clearly:

Among the removed items are the organization's newsletters, which contained a clear statement of the Silver Ring Thing's religious purpose: "The mission is to saturate the United States with a generation of young people who have taken a vow of sexual abstinence until marriage and put on the silver ring. This mission can only be achieved by offering a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as the best way to live a sexually pure life."

Additionally, the Silver Ring Thing's original "12 Step Follow-Up Program" has been modified. Prior to the lawsuit, the website contained only one version of a follow-up program. Now, the site offers a "10 Step Secular Follow-Up Program" and has renamed its 12-step version to include the words "faith-centered" in the title. The new program removes step two, which encourages using the Abstinence Study Bible and step four, which asks students to understand that "God has a plan for his or her life, and a plan for his or her sexuality." And "Deb's Diary," a section of the website that encouraged students to pursue faith and to find completion in Christ, has also been removed.