By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
By Joe Eskenazi
By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
For some reason, I'm reminded that there's pay-per-view porn in my hotel room.
"We are presenters of a message," the cool pastor intones, and other speakers take the mike and present away.
"These books aren't written with ink; they're written with blood and tears," explains a crusty, red-haired lady who authored You Are Not Alone -- The Voices of Homosexuality!"If you have any young folks toying with the idea of homosexuality, this will give an idea of the path they'll take. This will help them make good decisions -- life decisions."
"Each of you are heroes to give lives to children that are here today," remarks a stern, gray-suited older man who's wearing glasses and a tie; he represents a foundation named 30 Years in the Cause."I'm thrilled to be with you today and say, 'You are my heroes. You are my heroes!'"
He then hearkens back to the good old days of 1860, when U.S. abortion rates dropped, explaining that more abstinence education could bring things back to that hallowed state once again.
"Change occurs because of heroes! I'm bringing the message of history to you to say we can change it. If history repeats itself, and it does, we can create a culture where women are respected and babies are saved," the stern man says.
Then comes a series of TV commercials produced by his foundation, to be aired during Oregon State Beaver football games, showing the consequences of not practicing abstinence. "This ad changes the English language by changing the view. We need to see the woman as a hero for bringing a baby to term."
The first commercial -- called Night -- Abortion Changes Everything. Think About It-- shows a hot-looking, blond female firefighter (you see them all over the place) saving a tiny baby from a burning building. She mentions that her mother, who almost had an abortion, would be very proud today that her decision saved more than one life. "When you work with women coming to your clinic, they're heroes!"
"The next commercial deals with selling abortion to blacks in inner cities," the gray-suit man dryly explains. "They [the blacks] usually have their first child, so we put the child in the ad." The ad has the feel of a Folgers coffee commercial. We see a smiling, well-adjusted black woman in a middle-class house; she has a small child. With a huge, satisfied smile, she says she's decided to have her next baby as well!
There's more. A 17-year-old white girl is jogging in a nice running outfit. "You can't run away from your problems," she says. "I'm keeping it." She jogs off (I would guess back to her middle-class home).
But a question pops into my mind: Where's the TV commercial with the woman (or hero) who's been raped by her alcoholic stepfather and the words "Abortion -- let's not have two victims!
"Thank you again for being the hero!"
Though it is the week after Hurricane Katrina, there's no mention of praying for the people in New Orleans. I guess the focus should be on saving babies who, currently, might only be a drop of sperm.
For the second day of the teen abstinence educators' conference, I decide to alter my look. I'm now dressed really sleazy -- tight shirt and jean shorts, cut really high. So high, in fact, that I run a risk of one of my balls popping out. Why? To take God's test on this whole born-again virgin thing. Also, I've decided to talk in sexual double-entendres.
"There's just the three of us," says one of two overly nice ladies teaching the workshop, looking a bit disappointed that I'm the only one who turned up for the hands-on training session that details the abstinence curriculum taught in their public schools.
"A threesome," I mutter in a low, breathy voice, biting my lower lip. "That's more personal attention for me." I flash a smile.
"OK, here's something we teach," one of the overly nice ladies says, handing me a paper clip; it is supposed to give me something called a "Life Lesson Analogy." "Make that paper clip as straight as possible."
I do just that, looking proudly at my work. Is that all there is to teen abstinence teaching? Will kids not want to have sex after doing that?!
Oh. There's more. "OK. Now put it back," she insists.
Using professional balloon-twisting skills, I bend the paper clip into the shape of a poodle.
"What would you need to put it back, to make it look identical?" she asks.
"Technology. Maybe tools," I throw out, spreading my legs wide apart. "Perhaps even an assistant."
The paper clip symbolizes life's journey, apparently. "Don't give up; you're going to make mistakes," she says, implying that in life, as in bent paper clips, time is needed to fix things, for example, sexual promiscuousness. "Stop and think before we charge on through. It's not hopeless."
An overhead projector flashes the words "CHOOSING NOT TO DO SOMETHING EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY," and the other overly nice lady takes over. "You decide not to take drugs," she notes. "Sexual abstinence is choosing to reserve sexual expression for marriage."