Wednesday, January 07, 2009

True Love (Can't) Wait
by: slowfo

Ah....the South...nothin' but country charm, bluegrass, and lots and lots and lots of unprotected, teenage sex. My Yahoo front page today told me that a new report is out and Mississippi is finally #1 for something other than being the fattest state in the union: highest number of teenage babies being born (and please, stop having mental images of what all the fat Mississippi teens are doing with their free's gross). Cheer up though of the fifty states had to take the prize. And if it wasn't going to be Mississippi, it would be Texas, New Mexico, or Arkansas (Arkansas wasn't mentioned in the article, but come's Arkansas). Although frankly, I was inwardly hoping that Alaska would have been #1 because the comedians and late-night hosts would have been both relentless and hilarious with it.

What I find most interesting about the report is that the states with the highest teenage birth percentages all come from a very familiar band of states also known as "The Bible Belt." So what is going on here besides the obvious? Is it that this strip of states is more ignorant than the rest and doesn't think ahead about either a) using some sort of protection, b) abstinence, or c) the repercussions that having unprotected sex might actually lead to dragging a newborn baby onto the school bus next fall?

I throw out a few more questions for discussion:
1. As some Christians advocate, should the Church just accept that kids are going to have sex and help them use protection to avoid disease and unwanted pregnancies?

2. If Christianity really is more prevalent in the South, then why haven't these same people (who are more theologically conservative and apt to preach abstinence to teens) been able to make more of a difference?

3. Is this more about how Christianity is played out among different races? If you go directly to the report, it shows that Non-Hispanic Whites have a teenage birth rate that is more than 50% less than Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians. Why the difference if the same or similar theology is preached in all churches?

Whatever your conclusion, it looks as though there's a whole lot more going on in the South than just Whistlin' Dixie....then again, maybe Dixie's skillful whistlin' was part of the problem to begin with.