By Ron Wood / guest columnist
The Meridian Star
Girls without a father are much more likely to get pregnant in their teens. Many studies bear this out. The reasons are twofold: she is missing a man’s fatherly affection, so she is more vulnerable. And a young stud with raging hormones is on the prowl, looking for a young lady who has let her guard down. In both cases, the odds of making a baby out of wedlock go up when the father has gone AWOL – a man “absent without leave.”
This is not a racial issue but a cultural issue. The first unmarried teen I knew was our neighbor’s daughter in Texas. She was white, prosperous, in a two-parent, church-going family. Her father loved her but was indulgent and failed to discipline the kids.
Gov. Phil Bryant has launched a new initiative to lower the teen pregnancy rate in our state by 15 percent over five years. This effort is vital since Mississippi has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation. But hey, we’re talking about sex here in the “anything goes” no-restraint society of modern America. If it feels good, do it, right?
OK, let’s be blunt here: girls do NOT become pregnant alone… right? It takes two people to make a baby. So I say to all young men: “Young ladies are to honored and protected, not taken advantage of.”
I approach things a little differently than Gov. Bryant. I focus on the family. Let’s cure the problem before the horse gets out of the barn. If we can have more marriages and fewer teen moms we reap many benefits: we get lower taxes; grandma won’t raise grandkids; young people have a better chance at a happy life or good marriage; get an education; train for a career; if they don’t make babies before marriage. It would also mean fewer abortions and less sexually transmitted disease.
As a Christian writer, I want all teenagers to know this: God is not anti-sex! The Bible is not against pleasure; it simply puts a protective boundary around it, the marriage covenant. Indeed, the capacity for pleasure was designed into us by our Creator. The biblical model of marriage - one man, one woman, for life - is the best basis for lasting companionship and by all reliable research, produces the most satisfying sex life there is.
Another important point: Marriage is for grown-ups! It used to be that young adults in America shared in the chores, worked hard, and grew up helping in the family business. They learned responsibility, grew up faster, and got married younger. Now, the average age for marriage is over 25, so delayed gratification sets up tremendous temptation.
Underage sex has consequences. Baby-daddy walks away with another notch on his belt but baby-momma is left with stretch marks. She quits school, takes a low wage job, has a diminished chance of getting married, goes on welfare, and will have a hard life. Plus, we lose the talent, training, and work that a skilled young woman could have contributed to our nation except she dropped out of school to raise her baby.
What’s the ancient wisdom for this? We used to think sex outside of wedlock was immoral. Well guess what ... it is! How do we change this sad scenario? I think churches need to quit being silent. We can’t leave this topic to schools or government. Sex is a vital subject in the Bible. We need to speak up about what’s right, what’s wrong, and what God’s plan is for real happiness. Young people are smart enough that when they know the truth, they can choose to live it. I’m for early marriage, lasting marriage, and kids having both parents in the home, living in a loving covenant that endures!
Ron Wood is pastor of Trinity Assembly of God, located on Chandler Road at State Boulevard in Meridian. Website: www.trinitymeridian.com Phone: 601-483-8189.