Monday, July 16, 2007

Believing The Hype

If you read this article in The Independent you would probably come away feeling that Lydia Playfoot had been pretty hard done to. She has lost a court battle for the right to wear a "silver ring thing" chastity ring to school. She has claimed that it's a symbol of her Christianity and points out that students of other faiths are allowed to wear religious bracelets and headscarves. Now I wouldn't expect the Daily Mail to get any further than a quick round of "ATTACK OF THE SECULARISTS/MUSLIMS/PC-BRIGADE" - but I expect better from the Indie. In fact the two stories are basically the same - probably because they were both lazily copied from the same press release without any fact-checking or background research.

Both articles include the same very-reasonable sounding quotes from Ms Playfoot. "I was concerned at the number of teenagers who were catching sexually transmitted diseases, getting pregnant and/or having abortions. The Government's sex education programme is not working, and the pressure on young people to 'give in' to sex continues to increase. This is often because of the media's focus on sex and the expectations of others"

Now that all sounds well and good but the trouble is abstinence programs have about the same failure rate as other methods of preventing pregnancy. And remember that abstainers also miss out on the fun of, well, shagging like crazed bunnies (which is sure how we did it when I was at school!).

But also, more to the point, as I reported ages ago, the whole case is FAKE and MANUFACTURED by a group of people trying to raise the profile of the Silver Ring Thing stuff in the UK. A group of people who are personally making money out of the sales of these rings.

So personally I am delighted the case has ended up as it did, hopefully this will send a message to the abstinence lie-promoters that British schools are not a suitable place to go evangelising.


Jennifer Ewing said...

If you liked that, you'll love Brio Magazine.

I used to have a friend who was a subscriber, and it's full of crap like purity rings and WWJD bracelets for sale, all for "suggested donations" rather than a fixed price. I think you can even buy Christian cosmetics and Christian clothes in the States, don't know if that's the case here.

I'm also kind of creeped out by these girls being "married" to their dad and the whole symbolism of wearing a substitute for a wedding ring until your actual wedding. In fact that bothered me with the whole Alison Stokke thing: on the one hand, she was being perved over on the internet and that must have been crap for her, but the way her dad was going out of his way to protect his daughter's purity seemed kind of excessive and maybe a little possessive.

Cruella said...

Zenobia - that's hilarious. I found this advice column and one girl wanted to know if God wanted her to do an internship or not. The advice:

I’d pray, “Lord, I’m willing to do this internship if it’s Your will, but because the desire isn’t there, I’m assuming You’re OK with me saying no to this opportunity. I’m going to proceed in a different direction unless You make it obvious that I’m not doing what You want me to do.”

This places the responsibility in God’s hands.

By which token the prayer "Lord I'm going to sleep around and if that's not ok could you give me a sign please?" would also be fool proof. No thunderbolts yet...

Jennifer Ewing said...

I thought you'd like it.

Reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer is praying before bed, saying "Lord, if you want me to eat these cookies please give me no sign whatsoever. Amen." *Glomp!* cookies gone.

It's basically libertarianism with Divine justification: you're Christian and you ask this imaginary friend called God before you make any decisions, therefore everything you do has Divine endorsement, and no one can criticise you but God. You don't even need to know anything about your religion or the Bible. This girl I knew even used to ask God to tell her jokes before going to sleep at night. I'm sure that must be a sin of some kind.

Cruella said...

Did it work? As a stand-up comic I would definitely convert to any religion where the deity regularly told you really good jokes! I think if God exists though (s)he's more of a practical joker - look at the outfit (s)he's picked out for the pope!

Stan said...

Matthew 6:5-6 "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men...But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

I knew there was a bit of the Bible that made some kind of sense. Seems to be a part that is ignored by these people.

Public displays of piety make me chuck the heck up - I think they doth protest too much. The biggest noise is made by Televangelists and Catholic Priests, two groups not noted for keeping their hands to themselves.

This endeth the lesson - someone slap me if I quote the Bible again this year.

Jennifer Ewing said...

Yeah, I could fill a book with the stuff my missionary kid friends got up to, in terms of public displays of piety or otherwise. For instance, I witnessed them ask God to help them dodge train fares quite a few times (cause Christians follow the law of Heaven or some such thing).

I'm pretty interested in religion in general though, I've had some pretty good conversations with preachers. But I always tend to think the existence of God is irrelevant to most religions (I think the word for that is ignosticism). Maybe that's from coming to Buddhism and Native American stuff first, where you get the feeling it's all philosophy and metaphors. God as a philosophical concept makes some kind of sense. God as a beardy father figure dude up on a cloud (or, worse, a disembodied, omnipresent, omniscient father figure *shudder*) definitely does not.