An AP article in today's Daily Herald points out that one in four teenaged girls (14-19) have an STD. According to the article, the rate is one out of two amongst black teens, and twenty percent for white girls. Doesn't matter, neither deserves any credit. Two "experts" were cited who both looked to abstinence only policies as being a big part of the reason for the sorry numbers. This is a patently lazy analysis of the situation. They immediately take the abdication route, stating that "they're going to do it anyway, so..." and they increase the handout of rubbers. If they really cared about these kids, they'd take their heads from their own posteriors and face the obvious facts. The following are the standouts:
1. The removal of God from schools has had a negative impact on childhood development. I don't much care to discuss freedom of religion here, that's a topic for another time. My point in mentioning this is that in lieu of God in schools we have, what exactly? We have no replacement for God with as compelling an influence. Kids develop the respect for the fact that there is always someone watching and taking notes. Without God in schools, there's only ambiguous subjectivity regarding behaviors and their consequences.
And having God in schools was an extention of most families. There was the natural continuity of God throughout one's daily life, and the knowledge that He is always to be considered. The closest replacements we have without God in schools is man-made and usually man himself, and a more sorry replacement for God one can't find. So there is a void in the public life of kids that allows for self-directed morality, rather than God directed, which has no equivalent. The results are in the lax restraints that would normally be felt by the kid, at a time when firm guidance is a must.
2. The removal of God from the public arena. This further serves to harm the kid's moral development as the wrong kind of continuity seeks to establish itself by adding to the time a child can experience, and be influenced by, a God-less society. The public arena includes media, both print and broadcast, movies, music and political or social discussions or events. God restricted to religious buildings or events only allows for all sorts of subjective notions of what it means to live a righteous and holy life, adding more confusion into the developing logic centers of the kids' brains. All this blurs the decision making processes as kids struggle to absorb the varied and goofy data that assumes that human harmony is enhanced by moral relativism and its infinite possibilities.
I note here that points 1 & 2 affect kids of other faiths as well, since they exist in the same culture.
3. Parental abdication. The aforementioned, "they gonna do it anyway..." drivel. Kids thrive under expectations. When parents are involved with their kids, laying down ABSOLUTES, kids form positive habits and opinions. Face the fact: kids will form habits and opinions no matter what. It is a result of their adapting minds as they journey toward adulthood. Might as well spend time influencing the best into them and they will respond by being the best they can be. Kids love to impress the authority figures in their lives, particularly the ultimate such figure, their parents. And this is something for which parents don't need a lot of experience because everybody knows right from wrong, or knows someone who does.
4. Adult abdication. This is the influence that every adult has upon the kids that might somehow be paying attention to them. Parents were mentioned, but all adults are responsible for setting good examples of how to live life. When kids begin to notice the stories in the news, like Spitzer of New York, for example, it alters how they look at life and ultimately it affects their perception of just how much effort needed to live a righteous life, and why they oughta try.
All of the above points work together to impact the moral development of our youth. The more modest and puritan influences of 50-75 years ago did indeed have an impact on the behavior of youth, as well as on society in general. Something is having an impact now, just not a good one with 1 in 4 teen girls infected with an STD.