Virginity on the Auction Block

By | Beverly LaHaye Institute, FemFacts, Social / Cultural Issues | No Comments

“I apologize to everyone who got involved in this story, but I couldn’t go ahead with it. It would be a big mistake.”

The call came from a 21-year-old woman named Sandy who had planned to auction off her virginity on a Santiago radio station to pay for her tuition in the Chilean capital. The student was prepared to offer a doctor’s certificate to prove she was a virgin.

According to La Cuarta online, Sandy said, “I got so many emails offering me marriage, houses, cars and money from many countries around the world. But many people were also offering advice and telling me not to go ahead with the plan.”

Santiago radio show, Radio W, reported receiving thousands of emails from people wanting to place bids. But the highest bidder for this indecent proposal was a woman benefactor who offered to pay for Sandy’s college tuition with no strings attached. And that was an offer the student simply could not refuse.

Virginity was valuable, but it seems keeping it commanded a higher price.

The benefactor knew that to persuade Sandy to hold onto her purity, she must be willing to pay. But in offering to provide for the student’s college education, this benefactor saved Sandy from using her body as bounty and being a slave to sex to further her dreams and ambitions.

“Now I want to save myself for someone I love,” Sandy told Radio W.

Even though this independent and educated young woman chose to remain a virgin, it is this type of story where purity trumps promiscuity that infuriates family planning groups and other fierce proponents of condom distribution. To them, abstinence is the enemy and financially threatens their very existence.

In July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HHS, announced 28 new SPRANS (Special Projects of Regional and National Significance) grants totaling more than $15 million to implement new abstinence education programs for youth ages 12 to 18. SPRANS grants, which last three years, are typically used as seed money to start new abstinence programs. Total abstinence funding, including SPRANS grants, has risen from $102 million in 2002 to $117 million in 2003. President Bush has requested $135 million for his 2004 budget.

But compared to the staggering $5 billion that Title X (one of 26 federal programs with teen pregnancy prevention components) has received since its inception in 1971, Congress has merely tossed abstinence educators a candy bar while handing family planning groups the keys to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. And judging from the success of abstinence programs, these groups are fearful their candy will be taken away.

“Abstinence education has been spreading dramatically over the last five years,” said Scott Phelps, an abstinence educator with Project Reality. “So much more is being accomplished dollar for dollar. (These groups) are really losing. They can see the handwriting on the wall.”

Fueled largely by hundreds of volunteers that continually work in the trenches of their local school districts and health departments, abstinence educators though they lag far behind the more-sophisticated, well-connected, and well-funded family planning groups in the federal grant market are gaining in expertise and some have even begun hiring grant writers to better their chances of procuring federal funds. Of the 302 abstinence programs that applied for a SPRANS grant this year, 147 applications were approved. But due to a “lack of funds,” only 28 grants were awarded.

The Mesilla Valley Pregnancy Resource Center’s grant application for $250,000 was one of the 147 approved by HHS, which would have allowed the 4-year-old non-profit based in Las Cruces, New Mexico to purchase abstinence materials, equipment and training for their volunteers. But they didn’t make the final cut. Will they apply next year?

“You bet,” said Angie Carver, nurse practitioner and part-time volunteer. “It doesn’t change anything. This will be another year of laying the foundation.”

It is a foundation that has well been laid. A study published in Adolescent & Family Health shows that abstinence was the primary cause for the decline in non-marital birth and pregnancy rates for teens from 1991 to 1995. And today, there are more teenagers abstaining from sex than there are teens who are sexually active.

Comprehensive sex education promoters will always have something to push abortions, contraceptives and Planned Parenthood’s “Milk Chocolate Birth Control Pill Pack.” Abstinence, however, has no tangible “product” to sell. How do you package a future and hope? Educators know, however, that presenting teens with a healthier alternative to contraceptives and promiscuous sex will give them the chance to live out their dreams without being shackled to sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and poverty.

And that’s an offer many simply can’t refuse.

Working the Strip in Vegas

By | Beverly LaHaye Institute, FemFacts, Social / Cultural Issues | No Comments

Sin City. A hotbed of glitzy casinos, glossy hotels and glamorous shows swimming in a sea of neon lights. Hundreds shuffle from one casino to the next, hoping to score inside at the craps table or outside on the bustling streets. A burgeoning supply of prostitutes just a phone call away all on Las Vegas Boulevard. It was the strip and we were working it.

But instead of advertising sexual favors, our calling cards carried a different message. The faces of six beautiful women were pictured on the front of the cards but the only thing these women were giving away was the message of abstinence. In place of a prostitute’s plea for business, these wallet-sized “Good Girl Cards” carried a bold statement:

Why choose abstinence? There is no scientific evidence that condoms prevent the transmission of most sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including chlamydia, syphilis, chancroid, trichomoniasis, genital herpes and HPV (human papilloma virus). Source: NIH, 2001.

We were the virgin brigade a conservative cadre of teens, youth counselors and abstinence educators hitting the strip on a Friday night in June, countering the message of promiscuous Vegas sex.

Did it work?

“We are here to pique awareness,” said Christina Espenscheid, Education Program Coordinator at the Abstinence Clearinghouse, the group sponsoring the “Good Girl Cards” and holding its annual convention 20 minutes from the strip.

Some took the cards warily; others declined. At Siegfried and Roy Plaza, Leslee Unruh, president of Abstinence Clearinghouse, approached a handful of men who were escorting a young woman. Cracking jokes about STDs, Unruh tried to engage them into a conversation about abstinence. The four men laughed, professing their sexual prowess, but the woman didn’t find their comments amusing at all. Instead, she became silent. Ignoring the men, Unruh gave the woman a card and asked her to call.

Outside another casino, two teenage girls were walking along in tee shirts and miniskirts when one of them was handed a “Good Girl Card.” She read the card aloud, laughing through the STDs. But when she read that married people live longer, are healthier, happier, have more money and even have better sex lives than their single counterparts, her tone became more serious.

“,” she said. “I’m going to hold onto this. Hey Molly, look at this.”

Our abstinence-touting army passed out 500 cards in less than an hour. But what right did we have to preach purity to Sin City? Who were we to ride in and ask people to jump on our moral bandwagon?

The truth is, our excursion had nothing to do with morals or religion. It had everything to do with the facts.

A national study released last week by the Heritage Foundation found that girls who begin sexual activity at age 13 are twice as likely to become infected by a sexually transmitted disease as girls who begin having sex at the age of 21. The study also found that nearly 40 percent of girls who start having sex at ages 13 and 14 will give birth outside of marriage and they’re more than three times as likely to become single mothers.

Early sexual activity seriously undermines girls’ ability to form stable marriages as adults and is linked to higher levels of child and maternal poverty, according to the study.

The truth is, one out of every four sexually active people we were passing on the strip already had an STD but many had not even been tested. And in the same day we chose to hand out a smattering of abstinence cards, 8,000 American teens were becoming infected with a new STD, some of which are incurable.

Our message wasn’t about morals. It was about health. We were standing in the heart of a sex-saturated culture, giving people a message of hope for their physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing. We weren’t handing out chastity belts. We were handing out truth.

We definitely piqued awareness that night. Television crews captured the event on camera and articles appeared in newspapers across the country. But the true test of those cards will be what people will do with the information they’ve been given. Those four men out on the town have long parted ways with the young woman. Will she continue to serve as an escort to other men? Perhaps. But maybe she held onto the number for the Abstinence Clearinghouse. And maybe she’ll start to believe the message that she really is worth waiting for.

The Spin on Condoms

By | Beverly LaHaye Institute, FemFacts, Social / Cultural Issues | No Comments

“You’re entering a no spin zone!”

So cautions Bill O’Reilly on Fox News channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, a program that polls indicate is the most watched cable news program in the USA. The show’s popularity indicates that people are tired of spin; they want to hear information straight, fair, and balanced. While there may be “no spin zones” on cable television and some people debate that assertion what about spin in other arenas?

What about the spin on “safe sex” and condoms?

The topic of sex ignites a controversial debate over the use and effectiveness of condoms. The STD epidemic in America elevates the intensity of the condom debate because condoms are portrayed as the “best” method to cure an epidemic that is thriving on young people. According to a 2000 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 65 million people live with an incurable STD, and in addition, 15 million more people become infected each year. Of those 15 million, young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 represent two-thirds of the total.

In 2000 the National Institutes of Health released a report titled “Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention.” In response to this study conducted by a diverse panel, Dr. Willard Cates Jr., a researcher for Family Health International, expressed concern about the possibility of misinterpretation of some of the negative aspects of condoms found by the study. In a 2002 editorial he wrote,” this negative interpretation might serve to discourage condom use and thus enhance the spread of STDs.” He went on to write, “Thus, we need a positive spin to our messages to encourage their use.”

Is it condom spin? You decide.

The back of a Durex condom box states, “Durex High Sensation Condoms set you free to enjoy the pleasure of sex while being confident that you’re protected.” (emphasis added) The next paragraph states, “If used properly, Durex latex condoms will help reduce the risk of . . . catching or spreading HIV infection (AIDS) and many other sexually transmitted diseases.” (emphasis added) Planned Parenthood claimed that the NIH study on condom effectiveness “confirmed that condoms are the best method for sexually active people to prevent STIs.” (emphasis added).

The report did conclude that condoms could reduce the risk of HIV and gonorrhea. However, concerning the other six STDs studied, the panel reported “because of limitations in study designs there was insufficient evidence from the epidemiological studies on these diseases to draw definite conclusions about the effectiveness of the latex male condom in reducing the transmission of these diseases.” The study did not say condoms prevented HIV and gonorrhea but that the risk was reduced. If a condom is used 100% of the time, one has a 50/50 chance of contracting gonorrhea and a 15% chance of contracting HIV. What happens to those individuals in the 15 %? They die; the condom did not prevent HIV. Knowing the extent of the personal risk means a lot to any person in that 15%.

The seriousness of the HIV issue drives the pro-condom debate, but what about the lack of evidence showing that condoms reduce the risk of other “hidden” STDs?

A 2000 CDC study on the trends of STDs found that of the 15 million newly infected people with STDs each year, only 1% of them are infected with HIV. The study also showed that among teenagers the most common STDs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and human papillomairus, HPV.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility if untreated. The Medical Institute for Sexual Health reported that 85% of women with Chlamydia show no symptoms, leaving the disease often undetected until it is too late. According to the CDC, each year one million people contract herpes, and 90% of those infected are unaware they carry the incurable disease. This disease causes reoccurring painful ulcers and increases the risk of one becoming infected with HIV. The most common viral STD is HPV, and this incurable disease infects 5.5 million people every year. The National Institutes of Health reported that HPV causes 93% of all cervical cancers. Ironically, Planned Parenthood spinned this statistic as an “anti-choice radical” myth to distort “scientific fact in order to discourage condom use.” HPV goes undetected by 70% of those with the disease. As reported by the American Cancer Society and the CDC, more deaths occurred in 1999 due to HPV than AIDS.

According to Dr. John Diggs, Jr., “[for HPV] there is evidence that condoms do not work. For [other STDs], there is insufficient evidence that [condoms] do work. In either case, it is dishonest public health policy to tell people to use them for prevention when it is not provable that they work.”

With millions of teens contracting these STDs each year, the false sense of condom protection projected by authority figures (schools) is reprehensible. According to an American Family Physician journal, the number of sexual partners is linked directly as the most important risk factor in contracting an STD. Therefore the only true “preventive” measure against STDs is abstinence until marriage. Pro-condom groups criticize this prescription arguing that it is either dangerous to repress sexual urges or people lack the self-control, especially teens. The message teens receive about sex will shape their decisions with consequences that affect the rest of their lives. Condoms endorse “safe sex,” yet when measured by the data, promiscuous sex even with condoms is still not at all “safe.”

Our founding father George Washington wisely pointed out, “Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.”

How many “failures”- death, disease, emotional devastation – do we have to encounter before we quit spinning excuses for condoms and promiscuous sex?

Sex Ed 101

By | Beverly LaHaye Institute, Family Issues, FemFacts | No Comments

Why do people decide to become parents? (Choose one.)

A. To build up one’s ego
B. To have a child who looks like me
C. To have a child who will carry on the family name
D. To have a child who will inherit the family business, money, or property
E. All of the above

This question and its narcissistic answers are part of a new sex education curriculum recently adopted by the Arlington County (Va.) School Board. (Correct answer is E.) The textbook, “A Teen’s Guide to Sexuality” by Linda Meeks and Philip Heit, gives students other answers as to why people choose to procreate: To try to save one’s marriage, to do what one’s peers are doing, and to keep from being criticized for being childless.

“I have never seen such a self-centered approach to parenthood,” exclaimed Twila Gavin, who serves on the Health and Physical Education Advisory Committee and is leading a crusade against the book. “Have the authors never heard of commitment, covenant, and fruits from the love they share in marriage? They clearly have it all wrong. What a horrible message to our children!”

Parents are protesting other messages in the text, namely the token lip service paid glibly to abstinence, coupled with overtly graphic illustrations of birth control methods, including graphic pictures of condom application. There has also been discussion among academia to equip classrooms with plastic models for students.

Gavin’s parental objections very definitely fall within the mainstream. A recent poll found that 61% of parents disapprove or strongly disapprove of ‘comprehensive’ or ‘safe sex’ education and 75% of parents disapprove or strongly disapprove of the Center for Disease Control sex education curriculum.

And a recent study by the Heritage Foundation found that sexually active teenagers are more likely to be depressed and attempt suicide than teenagers who are not sexually active. The study showed sexually active girls are nearly three times more likely to attempt suicide than are girls who are not sexually active while sexually active teenage boys are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than are boys who are not sexually active.

“There’s a big difference between the legitimate parental desire to have their children well educated and the indoctrination that permeates the ‘comprehensive’ sex-ed curriculums,” said Dr. Janice Crouse, BLI’s Senior Fellow. “These materials are chock full of the wrong kind of ‘values’ values that are not shared by mainstream parents nor do they enhance the well-being of the nation’s children.”

Kathleen Grove, Arlington County’s Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, defended the curriculum, saying she met with parents and two advisory committees concerning the recommended text and can’t understand why parents are protesting.

“We do not intend to promote premarital sexual activity, nor radical egocentrism, nor incorrect use of birth control,” said Grove.

But Dr. John Diggs disagreed, claiming in a letter to the school board that the curriculum “fails on several counts” and an abstinence label had been “slapped on as an afterthought.”

The South Hadley, Massachusetts physician reviewed portions of the text and charged the authors with having “an inadequate background in the medical issues to accurately address the reproductive technologies they extensively discuss.” Diggs also claims the curriculum is slipshod in its definition of terms, and has several errors abortifacient mechanisms are misrepresented, ova are said to implant when they do not and abstinence is listed as reducing rather than eliminating the risk of STDs.

“It becomes clear that the facilitation of sex without pregnancy is the priority of the curriculum,” wrote Diggs.

According to Grove, the newly adopted textbooks, grades kindergarten through grade ten, are being purchased over two years. Grades six through twelve will have new books in the fall along with some selected elementary schools. And ‘A Teen’s Guide to Sexuality’ will be used as a supplement for grade nine.

Our Hunger for the Truth

By | Beverly LaHaye Institute, FemFacts, Politics/National Sovereignty | No Comments

A lot can happen in a week

Sammy Sosa’s cork-laden bat won him widespread speculation on June 3 and an eight-game suspension. The next day home-decorating queen Martha Stewart was indicted on federal charges of securities fraud and obstruction of justice in an insider-trading scandal, forcing her to relinquish her post as CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. And on June 5 The New York Times accepted resignations from its top two editors, Howell Raines and Gerald Boyd, hoping to push past the newspaper’s mishandling of journalistic fraud in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal.

So what do these headlines have in common? They point to our insatiable hunger for truth.

No sooner had the Chicago Cubs home-run king been ejected from last Tuesday night’s game against the New York Yankees, when baseball officials confiscated 76 bats from Sosa’s locker to X-ray for cork. They were searching for the truth. Did this 34-year-old hero, who may have a chance to beat Hank Aaron’s record of 755 home runs, achieve his success legitimately or was this a simple mistake of using a practice bat, as Sosa claims?

Stewart claims that lost business opportunities, declining company stock and legal fees have cost her $400 million. Yet when she stepped aside as chairman and CEO, she said in a statement, “It is the right thing to do.”

And Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger who weeks ago told his staff he would not accept Mr. Raines’s resignation if it were offered apparently had a change of heart. Why?

“The morale of the newsroom is critical,” Sulzberger said in The Times.

It seems staff reporter Blair’s propensity to inflate stories with concocted quotes and phony details roiled the newsroom more than expected and Sulzberger learned public trust had a higher price tag than he cared to admit.

We want the truth. And we don’t just want honest athletes, upright businesses and trustworthy newspapers. We want honest spouses, presidents, teachers, bosses and doctors. We need the truth.

Of course we’re lied to. We quickly lose our innocence and even come to expect government officials, corporate executives, politicians and lawyers to spin, cover up and switch to “damage control.” But we view them with cynicism, rather than admiration.

Truth is not something we create. It already exists. We can invent lies. We can twist and distort and fabricate information. But we cannot create truth. Our search is for that which already exists. Indeed, many spend a lifetime searching for truth.

So what will we do with tomorrow’s headlines?

Will we finally agree with science that a fetus is a human being and deserves constitutional rights? Will we look back on all of civilization and admit that no society has ever accepted a homosexual union because it contradicts a natural order and marriage is defined as a union between a man and woman? Will the frightening epidemic of STDs and subsequent increased rates of depression and suicide among our youth force us to admit that “safe sex” is a government-funded myth and we owe it to our teenagers’ physical and psychological health to teach them abstinence?

We can try to suppress the truth. And it even seems we can get by with it for days, months or even years. But it never stays concealed. It always emerges because truth is always stronger than a lie. Just ask Jayson Blair.

Sex Sells, Right?

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Sex sells, right?

Those glossy magazine covers strategically displayed at the checkout counter not only catch our eye with pictures of voluptuous women scantily clad and headlines that stir the imagination but cause some of us to buy.

More skin equals more revenue. Isn’t that how it works?

Like Pavlov’s dog, publishers are hoping we’ll buy their sex-glutted magazines and scratch the itch we didn’t realize was so strong. They’re counting on the fact that great photos of beautiful models will make us flip through the pages and not only buy a copy but pay for a subscription. Why go to the store when we can have it mailed to our home? And they’ll even make renewing easy anything to keep us happy and our dollars committed. But just how many of our dollars do we commit?

Sure, sex sells. Hugh Hefner took that premise five decades ago and turned his magazine business into a multi-million dollar empire. But how well do skin magazines fare compared to publications that keep their clothes on?

According to Magazine Publishers of America, or MPA, Playboy‘s total circulation revenue in 2001 was nearly $109 million. But that was nothing compared to Reader’s Digest, which garnered almost $317 million the same year. It seems more people were willing to plunk down their dollars to enrich their word power than to take a peek at the centerfold. Playboy landed as the 17th top magazine that year; Reader’s Digest came in at number three.

Maybe Hefner’s offerings are too hardcore and what readers really want is just to be tantalized, leaving much more to the imagination. Maybe they want sex tips and bodacious bedroom behavior described but not pictured.


Better Homes and Gardens boasted total circulation revenue of $150.5 million in 2001, according to MPA, while Cosmopolitan garnered $103.5 million. More women picked up Good Housekeeping ($97 million in total circulation revenue) than Glamour ($81 million) and snatched up more copies of Family Circle ($110 million) than Vogue (nearly $38 million), Elle ($27 million) and Vanity Fair ($35 million) combined.

Woman’s Day topped Mademoiselle, Boy’s Life beat out FHM, and The American Legion Magazine sold more copies than Maxim.

There is no skin in the top ten, unless you count the bare-breasted African tribal women that are occasionally featured in National Geographic Magazine. And speaking of the publication known for its prize-winning photography and in-depth articles on world travel and exploration, National Geographic Magazine‘s total circulation revenue for 2001 was nearly $230 million. That figure tops Penthouse and Playboy circulation revenue combined. There are more little Jacque Cousteaus and Jane Goodalls out there than there are Hugh Hefners. Sex sells, but sextants sell more.

So what did make the top ten in terms of circulation numbers? AARP Bulletin, Modern Maturity, Reader’s Digest, TV Guide, National Geographic Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day and Time The Weekly Magazine, in that order.

Steamy magazines tantalize, but the majority of readers are more interested in family. They want tips on cooking, gardening and relationship building. They want to read inspirational stories of people who overcame extraordinary odds to accomplish great feats. They want to take better care of their bodies and their minds, expand their vocabulary and read of places far away.

As for the skin magazines, they’ll leave those at the checkout counter there just isn’t enough there.

Want to Reduce Poverty? Get Married

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“First comes love, then comes marriage. Then comes a baby in a baby carriage.”

This tune sung by thousands of jump-roping little girls as far back as the 1940s is no longer a popular playtime song. Little girls are now growing up with the idea that babies come without marriage. In fact, 33.5 percent of all children born in the United States in 2001 were born out of wedlock.

But children born outside of marriage are seven times more likely to be poor, compared to children raised in intact families which is why President Bush wants to use government funds to promote healthy marriages.

Critics argue that pushing single mothers toward marriage could lead to an increase in domestic violence and that raising wages is a better cure for poverty. Feminists claim the government program would force women to depend on men instead of helping women support their families.

But a new study from the Heritage Foundation found that among non-married mothers romantically involved with the fathers at the time of the child’s birth, marriage would reduce the odds that a mother and child will live in poverty by more than 70 percent.

The study analyzed data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study and found that if these mothers do not marry but remain single, approximately 55 percent will be poor. But if the mothers married the father of their child, the poverty rate would plummet to less than 17 percent.

On the issue of domestic violence, 98 percent of the mothers said that the father has never slapped them when angry. Only 12 percent of the mothers reported arguing with the father of their child about a drug or alcohol problem in the last month, and 2.5 percent stated that drugs or alcohol inhibit the father’s ability to maintain a job.

The study showed that 97 percent of these fathers were employed during the prior year and 82 percent were employed at the time of their child’s birth. The median annual income of these fathers was between $15,000 and $20,000, and their median wage rate was $8.55 per hour.

Dr. Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families in the Department of Heath and Human Services, asserts that marriage alone is not an anti-poverty strategy, but marriage coupled with employment is a “very powerful anti-poverty strategy.”

He claims that with a married couple, chances are greater that one parent is working full time. Horn also said that earnings increase among married males compared to cohabiting males because the marriage focuses a man’s attention on taking care of others, which translates into a more consistent work history.

“Cohabitation is a very weak substitute for marriage,” said Horn.

And he’s right.

According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, poverty among blacks nationwide while still twice as high as whites declined from 26.4 percent in 1996 to 23 percent in 2002. At the same time, black families with incomes of $50,000 or more increased from 21 percent in 1995 to 33 percent in 2001.

Why the decrease in poverty? Marriage.

Nearly half of all black couples are married, up from 46 percent in 1996. The census report showed that while 16 percent of all black families have incomes of $75,000 or more, among married black couples, 27 percent earn at least $75,000 annually.

The poverty rate for black single mothers is 35 percent, compared to only 8 percent for black married couples.

“Marital unions are more stable than cohabitation,” said Bush’s point man on the family. And “marriage is effective for child wellbeing.”

It appears the data prove the President’s point – it is best when baby carriages come after marriage.

Court Deems Handicapped Girl,

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A Dutch court has ruled that the life of a severely handicapped girl was not worth living and has ordered a hospital responsible for her care to pay compensation to the family because she was born. The “wrongful life” claim was the first of its kind in the Netherlands.

Dr. Alexander von Schmid, philosopher and ethics instructor at Rotterdam Business School, agreed with the ruling.

“If a baby is denied contact with other human beings, it will never become a real human being,” von Schmid told Radio Netherlands. “So for me, the starting point of human life is not the conception but the moment at which a baby enters relationships with other human beings. Usually this process starts on the day of birth.”

Mirjam den Boer, director of a crisis pregnancy care center, argued, “Pregnant women already experience interaction with their unborn children,” adding that religion should be considered in such a decision.

“It is well known that many women who were pro-abortion because they thought, ‘It’s my body. I have the right to decide not to have a child’ change their values when they are pregnant,” she told Radio Netherlands. “Then they feel it’s their child and they have a relationship with the child and they feel responsible for the child.”

But von Schmid disagreed, claiming, “You can never mix religious arguments in legal or ethical debates in society. You don’t need religion to see that, for example, murdering your neighbor is really bad. You don’t need religion to justify that it is a crime, that it is bad for society.”

But what if your neighbor is a severely handicapped little girl? And what if a court has ruled that child should never have been born and a hospital should be faulted for delivering the baby and giving her the best medical attention possible? If her parents chose to murder her, how could they be faulted for killing a “wrongful life?” Wouldn’t they just be righting a wrong?

Von Schmid isn’t just willing but has already fallen headlong down a slippery slope.

At the heart of this issue aside from mankind’s devious attempt to play God is the question of an individual’s worth. What makes a person worthy of living? Is it one’s ability to become a productive member of society? Is it intelligence or character? Is it the level of pain a person struggles with?

Imagine you are having dinner with your family when, all of a sudden, your father gasps for air and clutches his chest. Filled with fear, you rush to the phone and dial 9-1-1. You quickly explain to the operator that your father is having a heart attack and beg for an ambulance to come. The operator tries to calm you down, asking for your father’s symptoms and your address. And then she asks, ‘How much does he make?”


“Has he been a good husband, a good father?”

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand what that has to do with Please send an ambulance!”

“O.k. ma’am calm down. First we have to determine if he’s worth saving.”

Ridiculous, isn’t it? Why?

Life is never about the person, their characteristics or relationships. Rather, life is given to a person. The Creator bestows life upon all human beings, which is why every person’s life has intrinsic and unalterable value. This reality is what propelled hundreds of New York City firefighters not only to enter the World Trade Center on 9/11, but sacrifice their lives to save others. A Dutch court that views a severely handicapped child as a “wrongful life” has disregarded the value of that life but it has not altered it.

The Political Correctness of an Epidemic

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You’ve seen the images in newspapers and on television. Frightened residents of Beijing, Toronto and Hong Kong don masks as their only means of protection against severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

At least 507 people have died from the disease and more than 7,000 are infected worldwide. The World Health Organization, WHO, now estimates the SARS death rate is between 14 to 15 percent. And while thousands of officials work to contain and eliminate the disease, this mysterious malady has not only left its mark, it’s taken parts of the world by storm.

SARS and fear of SARS is causing one of the worst economic crises in Southeast Asia. With restaurants, hotels, airlines and cinemas servicing fewer customers, the economies of Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan haven’t just stopped growing they’ve started shrinking.

Health officials have taken extraordinary measures to contain the disease, quarantining hospitals with SARS patients, screening travelers and closing reservoirs to protect the water supply. Hong Kong recently announced a new research center to study SARS and Chinese authorities revoked the licenses of two doctors for refusing to attend SARS prevention meetings and refusing to see patients with fevers.

Unless the number of deaths falls drastically worldwide, SARS will be placed among infectious diseases with the highest death rates.

No one knows the cause. No one knows the cure.

Now imagine for a moment that an outbreak of SARS is detected primarily among American teenagers. Public officials quarantine thousands of high schools and middle schools while medical teams are dispatched to convert the schools into wards. Hundreds of teens die as fear grips the nation. Families and loved ones build makeshift memorials outside schools while Congress passes emergency legislation to deal with the epidemic.

Now imagine that the Centers for Disease Control discovers that SARS is related to sexual health and that if teenagers will simply stop having sex before marriage, the disease can be completely eradicated and lives can be saved.

What would we do?

Would we commit federal dollars to encourage teens to abstain from sex, explaining that their lives are at stake? Or would we be divided, wanting to save their lives, but also wanting to preserve their freedom to explore their sexuality? Would Congress continue to funnel taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood and their ‘have-sex-today-we’ll-take-care-of-the-consequences-tomorrow’ message to teens? Or would they redirect those funds to abstinence programs?

The fact is, SARS has not broken out in American high schools and middle schools. Health officials are not quarantining school campuses and the Center for Disease Control is not focusing the majority of its attention on America’s youth.

But something just as dangerous has gripped our teenagers and it is related to their decision to have sex before marriage. The culprit is sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, and health officials have called it “a hidden epidemic.”

Every day, more than 8,000 teenagers become infected with a new STD, some of them incurable. One out of every four sexually active teens is living with an STD at this moment, but 70 percent of them have never been tested for STDs.

But can a person die from STDs?

There are currently 80 to 100 strains of human papilloma virus, or HPV, which is the most common STD and causes 99.7 percent of all cervical cancers. Kids are getting cancer from having sex and dying.

But what about condoms?

The National Institutes of Health, or NIH, declared that there was not enough evidence to determine that male latex condoms were effective in reducing the risk of most sexually transmitted diseases. The NIH’s Condom Report stated “condoms have no impact on the risk of sexual transmission of human papilloma virus in women.”

The incubation period for SARS is between ten to fourteen days. The incubation period for some STDs could be as much as ten years.

Perhaps the greatest SARS success story is Vietnam, which WHO declared to be the first nation to contain and eliminate the disease. Virtually the entire government was mobilized to fight SARS, including the departments of transportation, customs, finance, education, the interior and the medical community. Officials were mandated to file daily reports while health experts tracked down and closely monitored hundreds of people who had been exposed to SARS patients.

Imagine if our government took the same approach to STDs. Imagine health experts tracking down teenagers with genital herpes, HPV and hepatitis, tracing back to all their sexual partners so they could be tested and treated.

Americans are not aggressively stamping out STDs like Asian countries are attacking SARS for one simple reason. Teenagers having sex is politically correct. We’ve handed condoms to teens for “safe sex” and told them to call Planned Parenthood if they get into trouble. We’ve told them that exploring their sexuality is more important than changing their behavior. We’ve handed them a loaded revolver and showed them how to pull the trigger.

According to Reuters, China’s center for disease control is “80 percent sure” a chlamydia-like agent has caused an outbreak of SARS. This report has received scant attention in the mainstream press. But what if China is right? What if the 3 to 4 million Americans the majority of which are 15- to 19-years-old infected with chlamydia every year are more likely to fall victim to SARS?

What would we do?

The Most Powerful Words

By | Beverly LaHaye Institute, FemFacts, Religious Issues | No Comments

Deep in the Capitol chambers, there’s a whole lot of talk going on.

Senators and members of Congress are caught up in their supremely significant roles of cajoling, persuading, wrangling, and debating their colleagues on legislation that affects thousands of lives. While certain Senators continue their obstinate filibuster of the President’s judicial nominees, Representatives carve up the Global AIDS bill, some lobbying for abstinence amendments while others fight for increased condom distribution. Deals will be made, promises broken and political favors called upon.

But despite their pomp and circumstance, despite the media fanfare that will ensue, these are not the most powerful words spoken from the Capitol this week.

Ironically, the most powerful words being spoken are receiving very little attention. There are no TV cameras, no spotlights, and no big names.

On the west side of the Capitol steps, a modest podium sits on a grassy lawn flanked by a few wooden benches. Atop the podium rests a thick Bible with large print and worn pages. And since Monday morning, April 28, scores of individuals have taken part in a Capitol Bible Readathon, reading 24 hours a day from cover to cover the Word of God.

The event began in 1990 when John Hash, founder of Bible Pathways, and Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, read the entire Bible on the Mount of Olives in Israel. Eventually, the Readathon, which takes approximately 90 hours to complete, was moved to the nation’s capital to coincide with the National Day of Prayer.

Those coming to read hail from all walks of life. Teachers, truck drivers, members of Congress, Senators, housewives, police officers, school children and passersby all take part, reading the Creation story, the words of the major and minor prophets, the Gospels and the Pauline epistles.

Foreign visitors are welcome to participate, as 65 translations of the Bible rest on tables close to the podium; Ukranian, Russian, Cambodian, and Greek Bibles sit alongside Indian, Italian, Korean and Turkish scriptures.

According to Terry Hall, who coordinates the project with her husband Rev. Michael Hall, Christian tourists from other nations have passed the Capitol and been so amazed at the liberties Americans have, that they’ve wept openly and taken part, reading in their own language.

This year Zoma Belete, an American citizen from Ethiopia, took vacation days from her job as a supermarket cashier to read aloud the words of Isaiah.

“God said that the word that comes from Him would not return in vain without accomplishing His purposes,” she said, referring to Isaiah 55:11 as her reason for participating.

Belete learned of the event through a local women’s Bible study. After reading verses in English, she then read aloud the words of Jeremiah from her own Ethiopian Bible, tears streaming down her face.

“I was just speaking out to the people in the offices,” she said, pointing to federal agencies, Smithsonian museums and government monuments.

School children from Christian academies are also eager to participate, sometimes preparing weeks ahead for the event. A few years ago, 28 first-grade students from Calvary Christian Academy in Washington, D.C. lined up in front of the podium in their uniforms to read in perfect unison and with perfect pronunciation the first ten chapters of Isaiah.

It took them an hour to complete the passage and as the determined group of 7-year-olds read, “Put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil. Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow,” those standing by were speechless.

One year a Congressman stumbled over a difficult Hebrew name, but a youngster standing nearby quickly came to his aid, offering the correct pronunciation. Another year, a 7-year-old boy recited the entire book of Ephesians from memory.

“The body of Christ is so varied and that’s what’s represented,” said Rev. Hall, coordinator of the event for the past seven years and pastor of the nondenominational People’s Church on Capitol Hill.

They’ll return next spring, gathering to read God’s redemptive story from Genesis to Revelation. They’ll read the accounts of Moses, David, Esther and Joseph. They’ll read of the birth of Jesus and His return for the church. They’ll struggle over words at times and stand amazed at the message of God’s love.

And every year they gather to proclaim the Word of God, theirs will always be the most powerful words spoken from the Capitol.