Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Purity Ball Part 1

The New York Times published a nice story about the ninth annual Father-Daughter Purity Ball. Fathers took their daughters, stepdaughters and future daughters-in-law out for an evening of dinning, dancing and prayer. Purity pledges were made, but not by the daughters. On this night, it was the fathers who pledged to guard the the purity of their daughters. In the words of the organizer:

“Fathers, our daughters are waiting for us,” Mr. Wilson, 49, told the men. “They are desperately waiting for us in a culture that lures them into the murky waters of exploitation. They need to be rescued by you, their dad.”

I cannot do justice to the article in this short post, so I recommend you read it. Plus, the photos are great and the New York Times gave an mostly (but not completely) balanced report. The Times recognizes the crucial role of fathers:

Recent studies have suggested that close relationships between fathers and daughters can reduce the risk of early sexual activity among girls and teenage pregnancy.

However, the author could not resist making this comment about the absitnence movement:

But studies have also shown that most teenagers who say they will remain abstinent, like those at the ball, end up having sex before marriage, and they are far less likely to use condoms than their peers.

I'm not sure why writers/editors at NYT felt compelled to add this last comment. If I read the Times correctly, they seems to be saying a strong father-daughter relationship is good, but promoting abstinence is bad. I've read the studies to which the NYT seems to be referring, and they would not support that conclusion. I'll explain why in a future post.

However, I applaud the Times for dedicating over half a page to reporting on the purity ball. Despite the NYT's suggestion to the contrary, teens whose fathers take a strong role in encouraging their daughters to wait until marriage are less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior.

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