Thursday, March 4, 2010

Public vs. private virginity pledges

The abstinence movement has been marked by grand gestures, and yet Melanie Bersamin found that teens who promise themselves to abstain until marriage are more likely to delay sex, while teens who take virginity pledges are not likely to delay sex. I gave a presentation about virginity pledges recently, so when I read the following, I thought of it:

The first tablets of the Ten Commandments, given with so much drama, were
destroyed. The second tablets, given privately and quietly, survived and became
the spiritual foundation of the people of Israel.

The Me'am Lo'ez points to the moral of this story: the really important and
lasting things in life are often done by individuals in privacy, through their
own exertions. Things done with much publicity may not be as permanent. (Marc Angel)

Perhaps the virginity pledge movement was a victim of its own success: the public nature of the pledges, the 1.5 billion in abstinence funding, and the attempts to seem trendy may have been the sound and fury signifying nothing of the first ten commandments.