Silver Ring Thing… or is it Brown Ring Thing?

I just read Sam Harris’ “Letter to a Christian Nation” – hardly a great achievement given how slender it is: I started reading as we taxied out to the runway at Birmingham, and was finished before we started our descent into Edinburgh.

What it lacks in length, though, it more than makes up for in subject matter. Harris is clear on one thing – the unpleasant impact of so called christian “morality” on the pursuit of happiness and in particular, the downright prudishness of Christian views.

Nowhere is this seen more clearly in the idiotic, pointless and utterly misguided “silver ring thing”. Lydia Playfoot (and isn’t that soooo a porn star name?) claims that it was all her idea, and nothing at all to do with her parents, who just happen to be members of the silver ring thing team (her mother is the UK secretary of the organisation, for christs sake!!).

Liar, Liar, pants on fire. with lust, probably, which is perfectly normal.

Silver Ring Thing is always pushed with the suggestion that it’s a better alternative to proper sex education which provides kids with information about the risks of STDs, teenage pregnancies etc.

What they always seem to miss is the single biggest indicator in teenage pregnancy – as study after study has confirmed, the key factor in teenage pregnancy is the education level of the teenager’s mother. Mothers who achieve higher levels of education impart this to their daughters. They are better parents, smarter parents… and they bring their daughters up with an inherent sense of their own self worth (and dare I say it, a clearer drive to achieve themselves!).

What we are trying to do in school sex education is to compensate for crappy parenting – and the simple fact is, that compensating for piss poor parents is hard to do. That being said – when we provide information about sexual health issues, people can make better decisions.

In stark contrast, “just say no”, abstinence only campaigns have an incredibly negative effect – two incredibly negative effects in fact.

You see, the age at which people who sign up to the Silver Ring Thing indulge in vaginal penetrative sex is delayed by on average 18 months (quite a feat actually, to hold back raging teenage hormones for a whole 18 months!!), but when those people do indulge, they are more than three times as likely to not use a condom, exposing themselves to higher risks of disease.

The other side effect, of course, is where the “brown ring thing” tag comes from – a rather dry observation that girls who have taken the Silver Ring Thing pledge are much, much more likely than their peers to indulge in Anal sex: again, without a condom, thereby exposing themselves to an even greater risk.

Ultimately, it highlights one of the darkest parts of the christian faith. They honestly believe that a super powered creator god cares more about whether teens rub their genitals together, than about the countless thousands of people suffering horrible illness, hunger and so on.

Their idea of a “moral crusade” isn’t just ineffective and laughable – it’s downright repugnant.