We can’t talk about teen pregnancy in Mississippi without talking about religion


Religion – Christianity specifically – is inescapable in Mississippi.  I went to the Office Depot the other day to flesh out my roaming office.  If you look closely at the photo above, you will see Signs First (quickest sign company in town!).  To indicate their banner printing prowess, the selected a quote from an 18 aught-something SCOTUS quote, “…This is a religious people…a Christian Nation”.

I have seen bible verses on:

  • Coffee bags
  • County offices
  • School office doors in Canton
  • Billboards
  • Bumper stickers
  • The side of mini-malls….

To name just a few.

Religion is so inextricably married to public policy making and thought leadership in the government it is unclear how or if they will ever untangle.

This is from the PEW Forum on Religion and Public Life:

Screen shot 2012-12-04 at 9.06.48 AM

But do not paint Mississippi with a broad religious brush.  There are many non-believers, alternative believers and Christians who believe the Christians in power – those with the public face – are giving the real Christians a bad name.

When thinking about abstinence only until marriage programs, keep in mind the entire idea of ab-only is predicated on a Christian worldview of marriage:  between one man, one woman, for eternity, only within the confines of marriage is intercourse allowed, birth control should not be used – your childbearing is up to God.

This is a closely held belief of many churches (SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) churches, Evangelical, Pentecostal, African Methodist Churches and certain African-American Baptist churches – SBC isn’t closely aligned with Black Baptists – and independents).  School board members, superintendents and hyper local school district administrators bring those beliefs into their decision-making to fulfill the requirements of HB 999.

Ab-only also serves to reinforce gender stereotypes – woman as responsible for a man’s sexual appetite, cautioning modest dress and reminding young girls how sex driven boys are because of all those raging hormones.

This is from a piece I wrote on WAIT Training, a Denver based only curriculum and training business.  WAIT has been selected by several Mississippi schools as ab-only and ab-plus curriculum (as allowed by the state). In this clip – and more are available if you follow the above link – is about a girl who has sex with a new boy every semester.  The girl, symbolized by a piece of clear packing tape, is repeated tapped to boys’ arms.  She peels up flakes of skin, hair, germs, etc.  By the time the WAIT spokesperson, Shelley Donahue is done, the girl is ruined:

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