Wednesday, September 07, 2005

No Sex Please - We're Teenagers

It seems that evangelical Christians are really learning how to exploit the “reality-TV” format, After the uncritical exposure they got on the faux-reality “documentary” three years ago – Alpha: will it change their lives – it seems like they’re back for another shot.

This time they’re touting the Silver Ring Thing-style challenge to a group of teenagers to, as the BBC (who is airing the show) puts it: challenged 12 teenagers to stay celibate for five months.

The BBC describes the show thus:

In No Sex Please, We're Teenagers, two Christian youth workers tried to get participants to swap "casual sex for old-fashioned courting rituals".

"This is not a reality show in the Big Brother sense," a BBC spokeswoman said. "It is a three-part observational documentary series."

The teenagers, aged between 15 and 17 and from Harrow, north-west London, attended weekly "Romance Academy" sessions with the youth workers.

The first part of the series aired on BBC 2 last night.

The BBC excuses this partisan evangelising on the grounds that the two Christian youth workers, Rachel and Dan, “have both practised celibacy and think that teenagers would be much happier if they were involved in long-term, serious relationships. With teenage pregnancy and STD rates in Britain the highest in Europe, this documentary gives them the chance to test their beliefs."

The show is already getting extensive media coverage, including on the BBC’s ‘Breakfast Show’ (Watch the video)

GALHA member Jim Thorne became “quite irritated” by the discussion on the Breakfast programme that he dashed off the following email to them:

"There seemed to be an assumption in your early morning discussion of this programme that the choice is between a Christian morality or being amoral. Morality and ethics predate Christianity and humans from their earliest incarnations have always developed appropriate codes for living. In a modern world the codes for responsible sexual behaviour are based on the need to avoid unwanted pregnancies and the spread of SDIs. Placing sexual behaviour within a secure relationship goes towards meeting these needs but none of this is in any way dependent on the Christian religion. The introduction's emphasis on 'Christian' morality detracts from the universality of the issue."

He’ll let us know if he gets a response.


At 12:01 PM, Anonymous marc said...

Typical Christians. Sorry, but these folks really piss on my campfire - as if we need THEM to tell us how to live our lives!

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Andy said...

Quite right, Marc. There's always this crazy belief that theirs is somehow the default position on everything, and anything else is a deviation from that. Hence their view that morality is a Christian thing (or a Muzzie thing, because that lot talk about how bloody moral they are, too) and anything else isn't moral. I'm sure that, if you sat down with many of them (Christians, that is) and simply talked through what in essence is the content of Jim Thorne's email, they might conceded that, yes, human beings were around before JC and morals and ethics were being discussed in scholarly circles and people were living their lives according to ethical codes.

But another default thing is that everyone, including atheists, has a belef system as such but theirs is the one. And they include atheists in that. You hear them talk of atheists' 'beliefs', whereas atheism is the entirely neutral state of not believing - unless you consider that this in itself is a belief (i.e. I believe there is no deity), but you're tally getting into the semantics there.

At 1:53 AM, Anonymous David Drozdowski said...

Regardles of whether one is or is not a Christian, I wonder why anybody needs to be angered by a religious group. No matter how much influence they do or do not have, nobody's happy. I mean, Christians in fundamentalist areas bicker all the time, despite having a stronghold, and non-Christians in many other areas bicker, despite having a stronghold. I mean, most of the media is non-Christian anyway, so why shouldn't they say what they want when they have a chance. It's a funny paradox: Christians shouldn't tell us what to do, but we sure as hell have a right to tell them to keep their beliefs away from our TVs, out of our schools, etc... I dunno, I just think we'll always be left with the question "what if there really is only one way?" Whatever belief system it is, IF one group is right and those who disagree are wrong, it makes no sense to call them bigots. There are arrogant and humble Christians and non-Christians of every kind, but if some people do glorify themselves as wodnerfully moral, that doesn't mean their faith is wrong; it might just mean they aren't practising it.


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