Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Arizona Daily Star of Bethlehem

The Tucson Daily Star was purchased by Lee Enterprises some time ago, maybe a year, maybe a bit more, went through a couple of editors and format changes, and now appears to be seriously challenging the Phoenix paper for the coveted position as biggest religious trumpet in Arizona. Faced with so many choices for today's above-the-fold front page story, the editors bypassed the rising earthquake toll in Indonesia, the anti-American riots in Kabul, another 48+ dead in a Baghdad bombing, and the deaths and critical injuries suffered by a CBS news crew in a separate bombing for this story about a Christian teen abstinence dance group.

The real news was tucked away on page 2, conveniently flogged as "a second Page One" for national news, in the Star's quest to place local news more prominently. Yet again, a piece far more suited to the Accent section (if not the Sunday morning religion page) is popped into the hot spot, complete with links to more articles about faith.

Don't get me wrong. The fewer kids getting pregnant the better, and if taking an abstinence pledge contributes to that, great. Unfortunately, the real world doesn't work that way, and the abstinence kids are at least as likely as the rest of us to engage in sexual activity before marriage; unlike the rest of us, they haven't--for the most part--been properly educated about the physiology of human reproduction, STD transmission, or barrier contraceptive methods. They're more likely to engage in oral or anal sex because they think only penis-vagina action is banned.

More disturbing is the fact that they're taking this act on the road in a huge way:
On July 14, BreakDown will travel to Kampala, Uganda, where it will connect with pastor and Pentecostal leader Alex Mitala with hopes of educating Ugandans about finding God and waiting until marriage to have sex.

Though they will not be promoting the use of condoms, group members hope their message, which is also anti-abortion, will help reduce the spread of the HIV virus that causes AIDS.
Phenomenal. I hope they include some mention of marital fidelity in their spiel, and perhaps also do something to disabuse men of the belief that sex with a virgin cures HIV, and maaaaaaybe clue the Ugandan women in on the fact that being married won't do shit to keep you healthy if your husband comes to the relationship already infected. I'm not holding my breath on that one, though.

The founder of the Tucson group is one Aimee Short.
Short's paying job is director of the Sexual Abstinence Values Education Program for Crisis Pregnancy Centers of Tucson, where her mother also works, and where Short said she practically grew up.
She practically grew up in a conservative Christian setting, so perhaps we should not be surprised that
Short, who was married briefly in her early 20s, also has re-pledged.
There seem to be plenty of those folks in this movement--they got their freak on as teenagers and young adults, but now get to "re-pledge" and become not just virgins again, but righteous virgins set on shaming other teenagers and young adults out of any sexual experience, set on reducing sex ed for these people to "don't." Maybe it's because the ringleaders of these movements know full well that they don't work, but will result in more pregnancies incurred by young women who have been taught that the only resolution to their shameful behavior is to have the babies and bring 'em up as succeeding generations of uninformed true believers who will beget prodigious numbers of their own uninformed progeny.

Anyway. Thank you, Daily Star, for the news that matters.


Homer said...

I wish they had reviewed their dance performance. Must be rather hard to dance with your legs clamped shut.

Anonymous said...

Hi. THE Aimee Short here. I figured someone with some actual knowledge about the program should write something. There seem to be a lot of critics who like to write about things they know nothing about.

Homer, it is possible to dance in a non-sexual manner without having your legs clamped together. We prove that hip-hop can be clean and cool. You should see us perform sometime. Seriously.

It's interesting that the writer of this little blog assumed that because I was married briefly in my early 20s that I "got my freak on in my teen years or early 20s" and "got" to re-pledge. I will not even begin to tell the story, but I was a virgin on my wedding night. If you knew what happened with my marriage you would feel like a jerk for even attempting to presume I did anything wrong. And just so everyone knows, I will not have sex again until I am married. Nobody is trying to deny any young person of having fun or "getting their freak on" as you put it. We ARE trying to help young people avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, STDs, and the emotional heartbreak associated with pre-marital sex. And, we have young people all over that tell us how much this program has affected their lives in a positive way.

I am not even going to try and convince the readers of this blog (which I am sure already share your viewpoint, however uneducated it may be) that what we do helps teenagers and that it is effective. You will only understand that when it directly impacts your life. So, in that case, I hope we go to the school of someone that you love and radically change his/her world by making them feel valued and that their life and body is worth more than a few "i love you's" or the popularity or acceptance they long for. We offer hope to those who have none and encourage those who may be discouraged. I will never understand how anyone can speak negatively about that. Unless they truely do not know what we are about... which you don't... so it can't be held against you. You should come and see us sometime.

We didn't derserve the front page. There are many other things more important than what we are doing... or are there? Hmm. Sure makes me wonder. Someone seems to think it's pretty important. We'll just see what becomes of BreakDown. Keep your eyes and ears open, because you haven't heard the last from us.

Have a beautiful, hope filled day!


I know this is kind of late (4 years) but to anyone reading this Breakdown and the message they send has helped change peoples lives including mine. And i think if one persons life can be changed out of 1 million then they have made a difference.