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American Evangelicals Bring Abstinence-Only Sex Ed to China

American Evangelicals Bring Abstinence-Only Sex Ed to China

Given its track record in the United States, the last thing that China (or any country) needs is abstinence-only sex education.  But thanks to Focus on the Family, an American evangelical Christian non-profit which most recently denounced LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying programs as part of an insidious gay agenda, is bringing abstinence-only-until-marriage programming to schools in China’s Yunnan province starting this year.  The goal, promoters say, is to reduce STDs and out-of-wedlock births, as well as limiting population growth and maintaining traditional values.  This, based on the success rate of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in the U.S., it is unlikely to do.

The curriculum, which took two years to translate into Chinese and another two years to run through bureaucratic channels, warns against the dangers of STDs, abortion, and teenage pregnancy; it also gives girls suggestions for ways to turn down men, like:

“Do you want to bet my future on that condom?”

“I’m not like everyone else.”

“If you want to celebrate our love, bring me roses at 7 p.m. and let’s go to dinner.”

The idea of abstinence-only sex education was apparently appealing to conservative leaders in the Chinese government, despite the fact that previous abstinence-only programs, which involved virginity pledges, were ended by leaders who pointed out that youth should be pledging only to the communist government.  However, Focus on the Family seems determined to get a piece of this market, sparked by China’s rapidly changing sexual mores. 

According to the Washington Post, “Condom companies are vying to capture a lucrative share of China’s population of 1.3 billion. The United Nations, HIV-prevention groups and others are pouring millions into safe-sex programs.”  And so abstinence-only seems, to groups like Focus on the Family, to be the next step, despite the fact that such programs, which rely on fear and shame to convey limiting messages, will only exacerbate the problems that they’re ostensibly trying to solve.  Stigma and discrimination remain massive problems for STD testing and treatment in China, particularly with regard to HIV/AIDS, and for a country trying to deal with rapid population growth, sex education programs that don’t mention contraceptives are the wrong way to go.

It’s unclear whether programs like these will be successful; certainly, they’re Focus on the Family’s attempt to promote a very specific ideology abroad, although oddly enough, they’ve promised the Chinese government that there would be no religion in the programming.  We can only hope that the government’s apparent desire to promote “traditional” values will dwindle as officials realize that these programs are completely ineffective, but since such pragmatism seems to elude many U.S. lawmakers, it’s hard to know what will happen in China.

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Photo from CoolVirginity.com.

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180 comments

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5:11AM PDT on Jun 10, 2012

It has never worked!

9:52PM PDT on Sep 15, 2010

These evangelical / religious groups are bunch of hypocritical jerks who teach exactly that they dont practice. They shud take their abstinence b###s!!t and stick it in their A$$

3:35PM PDT on Sep 15, 2010

Thanks for posting.

3:58PM PDT on Sep 13, 2010

As a concept, it sounds like it might have a small impact. Where talking about a country that drowns a baby girl if it's a first born!

1:17PM PDT on Sep 13, 2010

Ms. Margaret B.,
Please do allow me a final remark, regarding your comment.

You say:

"...Its like quitting anything else in life,...".

This is exactly WHAT I am trying to say:
EROS, LOVE, LUST and ALL EMOTIONS and FEELINGS that go along are the MAIN and INDISPENSABLE "INGREDIENTS" OF HUMAN LIFE.
HOW, then, CAN ONE "QUIT THEM LIKE ANYTHING ELSE IN LIFE"???
And, no doubt, THESE ARE EXACTLY THE "INGREDIENTS" OF HUMAN LIFE, which the CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS OF ALL DENOMINATIONS ARE TRYING (and HAVE TRIED) TO DENY THE MANKIND - and HAVE SUCCEEDED IN A GREAT EXTENT...

1:04PM PDT on Sep 13, 2010

Ms. Margaret B.,
Do allow me one final remark regarding your comment.
You say:

"...Its like quitting anything else in life,..."

What I am trying to say is exactly this, namely ABSISTENCE/CELIBACY is NOT LIKE ANYTHING ELSE IN LIFE.
EROS, and LOVE, and LUST make us FULFILLED, and HAPPY, and HUMANS...

And these INGREDIENTS of HUMAN LIFE are exactly WHAT the CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS (of "AE" kind) ARE TRYING (and have ALWAYS TRIED) TO DENY TO THE MANKIND...

12:52PM PDT on Sep 13, 2010

Ms. Margaret B., please read my phrase
"becoming permanently EUNUCH..." as:

"becoming temporarily EUNUCH..."

However, the MONKS become PERMANENT "EUNUCHS" after decades of ABSTINENCE and CELIBACY.
On the other hand, during the centuries of CHRISTIAN history, there have been lots of "HIGH PROFILERS" of CHRISTIANITY, namely "CHRISTIAN FATHERS", who were SELF-CASTRATED and became REAL EUNUCHS.
The example of ORIGEN is well known:

"...This third century "religious fanatic" gave up his job, slept on the floor, ate no meat, drank no wine, fasted twice a week, owned no shoes, and reportedly castrated himself for the faith..."
(http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/131christians/scholarsandscientists/origen.html)

12:34PM PDT on Sep 13, 2010

Ms. Margaret B.,

With all due respect, HOW does one "CHOOSE" ABSTINENCE, IF one has NOT been undergone CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALIST BRAINWASH during her/his early childhood, either CATHOLIC, or EVANGELICAL, or ORTHODOX, or otherwise???
WE, HUMANS, are inherently possessed of "LIBIDO" (or "LIFE REPRODUCTION POWER" - if you wish). By SUPPRESSING this INHERENT HUMAN ATTRIBUTE, the only thing one may achieve is becoming permanently EUNUCH...
And being a "EUNUCH" might be FINE by all these FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN GROUPS (see for example the notion of "EUNUCH" during the Byzantine history).
If "they" ("AMERICAN EVANGELICALS": AE) want to become MONKS and NUNS and ABIDE by ABSTINENCE and CELIBACY, "WELL" DONE AS FAR AS "THEY" ARE CONCERNED...
"They" CANNOT and SHOULD NOT IMPOSE THEIR ILL and INHUMANE DESIRES, though, TO PEOPLE OF AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT CULTURE AND TRADITION.

Please DO REMEMBER the FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIANS' AGENDA:

- ODIUM THEOLOGICUM
- ODIUM HUMANI GENERIS
- HOMOPHOBIA
- MISOGYNY...

12:13PM PDT on Sep 13, 2010

If a person chooses abstinence and is not forced into it, I think its a viable, healthy choice. Its like quitting anything else in life, you have to WANT to do it in order to do it successfully. Abstinence works for me...keeps me from entering BAD, destructive relationships. How can a person say that this choice is always wrong? I don't think I ever benefited from having sex outside marriage.

11:41AM PDT on Sep 13, 2010

Ms. Courtney V., the only "motive" of the "AMERICAN EVANGELICALS" (AE) is just to INCREASE their RELIGIOUS "CLIENTELE" in the huge "market" of China.
The AE have to tell the world IN WHAT WAY EXACTLY they are trying to BRAINWASH the Chinese youngsters and "CONVINCE" them on ABSOLUTE ABSTINENCE before the wedding ceremony.
HIV/AIDS, STDs as well as UNWANTED BIRTHS may be NARROWED DOWN to the MINIMUM by "PROTECTION" and by the "WAY" ALL CIVILIZED PEOPLE ON EARTH (SHOULD) KNOW...
This much should and MUST BE DONE BY THE AE, if "they" really want to CONTRIBUTE to China's relevant problems.
In case AE INSISTS ON ITS FUNDAMENTALIST POLICY and on its so-called "EDUCATION PROGRAM", we are going to see again the same TOTAL FAILURE with VATICAN's policy in AFRICA (MILLIONS of HIV/AIDS INFECTED and MILLIONS of BIRTHS)...

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