Another cheap shot.

Those who don’t happen to think it’s a good idea for 16-year-old unmarried girls to have babies and contract STDs may have to put up with a bit of mockery and sexual innuendo from BBC reporter Richard Alwyn. He tries to claim that the abstinence movement is treading dangerously close to unconstitutionality with funding from the Federal Government under the Bush Administration.

The tightrope that these groups must walk, however, is at the heart of the American constitution, which demands the separation of church and state. The Silver Ring Thing cannot spend Bush’s bucks on God.

But is this ultimately possible? The Silver Ring Thing’s ringmaster, Denny Pattyn, is an ordained minister. Abstinence, he says, is the brainchild of God. He has been preaching it for many years, only now he has a secular medical case to add to his Christian arsenal.

Apparently, Mr Alwyn, the US Constitutional Scholar, sees something sinister here. After all, ministers should be seen but not heard unless, of course, they utter some PC mantra. Then, and only then, will the BBC withold judgement. [Note to Mr Alwyn: In point of fact, the tax revenues spent by the US Government are subject to review regularly when voters let their Congressmen, Senators and President know what they think of their revenue spending every two, six and four years, respectively, when they go to the polls.]

Onstage, 16-year-old Nikki insists that being single is cool. She exalts (sic) her young audience not to cheat, as she would have it, on their future wives or husbands.

[Note to any awake BBC copy editor– I think “exalts” should read “exhorts”. Yes, it is confusing, covering these strange gatherings. Don’t get too flustered, ok?]

Mr Alwyn, it would seem, views the Christian minister heading up the abstinence organisation behind this event as a bit of a nutter. The man actually seems to believe the Bible to be true and encourages the young people in his charge to take its teachings seriously! Whoa!

….Denny [the minister] confides that he believes that the end of the world is nigh and that Christ will return within a generation. And so where does abstinence fit into that vision? Well, abstinence, he says, is a tool to reach young people for God, safeguarding them for the Second Coming.

Amazing–a minister who believes in Christ! What will they come up with next?

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10 Responses to Another cheap shot.

  1. Anonymous says:

    2. To glorify, praise, or honor.


  2. Ann Othertake says:

    Some people think that the BBC’s anti-religious take is a violation of the separation between church and state.

    Others think that its leftist bias is a violation of democratic principles.

    Still others think that the UK is a kingdom with a state church. All who oppose church or state should be burned at the stake.


  3. H says:

    I wonder if a BBC article on something similar in another religion would dare to be so close to mocking people of that religion. I do think that the silver ring thing people ought to expect to be sneered at by sophisticated atheist europeans, but then to be fair repressive Arab regimes and the like ought to be too. I think the BBC would actually produce a more balanced article on something similar occuring in the non-christian world. It would essentially be the same article but with all of the bits sneering at the religious “simpletons” cut out.


  4. Susan says:

    Teen-age pregnancies in the US have declined by 35 percent since 1994. (I believe the first abstinence programs started under Clinton, not Bush.)

    Funny the BBC leaves this bit of information out of its “report” doesn’t it?

    As for illiteracy, it’s tough to beat this sentence: “America, says the abstinence lobby, is reaping what it has sewn.”

    Sewn, of course, is what you have done with a needle and thread. “Sown” is what you have done before you reap what you have planted.

    The Guardian also took aim at the sexual abstinence programs a while back, claiming that they would lead to more teen-age pregnancies rather than fewer, which the numbers clearly do not bear out. That’s probably why they didn’t mention the numbers.

    Funny how the tranzis are taking aim at this development all over the place. They must be truly afraid that abstinence programs will wipe out a self-perpetuating vote bank and social services constituency.


  5. chaz says:

    I must have watched a different programme. Or I must have popped out when the “mocking” and the “sneering” occurred that our fellow commentator noticed.

    It explored a controversial area in the US, many of the comments here and seem to be pretending there is no controversy, and the BBC should have been wholly supportive of an abstinence programme wrapped up in a theology that believes we are at the “end of days”, and Jesus will return within the next decade.

    It does appear that Bush is far happier for Federal money to be spent on overtly religious programmes than any other president in the modern era, which is an issue constitutionally.

    It was extremely clear that the group’s leader *did* see the abstinence issue as a tool for religious evangelism, and at one point he did seem to suggest, though obliquely, that this was his primary motivation for his project.

    But I guess you guys must have popped out at that point. All of you, at the same time. Funny that.


  6. PJF says:

    Is it funny, Chaz? Or is it just that Kerry Buttram and the “guys” are referring just to the online article relating to the television programme you sat through? Your posturing looks a bit silly now.

    The article is a typical BBC offering, taking the opportunity to deride a regular target while ostensibly addressing an important issue – the non-establishment of religion in the USA.

    For the (supposed) specific issue of the article, the separation is possibly taken care of by this:
    “They do present a seminar to the youngsters where faith is not mentioned.”
    It appears that the Federally funded abstinence policy aspect of the Silver Ring Thing may actually be presented without recourse to God. The article doesn’t take the trouble to make it clear one way or the other. Funny that.


  7. PJF says:

    It should be noted that the actual meaning of the notion of “separation of church and state” in the US is as controversial, if not more so, than President Bush’s ‘faith-based initiatives’ policy.

    The US Constitution says this on the issue:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”

    Many argue that the Founders intended the non-establishment of religion to mean simply the avoidance of one religion being the official policy of the state, and enjoying exclusive benefits via the state (as is the case in the UK today). The idea that the First Amendment prohibits any association of the state with religion in general is not universally held.

    Alwyn colours and over-simplifies (i.e. biases) the agenda by stating that the US Constitution “demands the separation of church and state”. Whether it does or not is still an open question.


  8. PJF says:

    Ooh, and I do hope that the first comment above is a BBC lackey or fan hoping to embarrass Kerry by offering up justification for Alwyn’s use of the word ‘exalt’. If so, the compounding of the error is a delight.


  9. Kerry Buttram says:

    Chaz, thanks for your comments. I was not able to view the programme (as PJF mentioned–Thanks!), so my critique reflects the tone of the online article.

    PJF, I agree that the BBC article assumes what constitutional scholars do not. Those who criticise Bush for encouraging, even funding faith-based organisations often cite the “separation of church and state” as a bedrock principle which is being violated. This phrase is not actually taken from the US Constitution but from a private letter of Thomas Jefferson which refers to a “wall of separation” the framers of the US Constitution desired which would prevent the establishment of an official or state church (as in Europe). The US founders never intended to banish God from the public square, though this idea is now being read into those documents by constitutional ‘scholars’ like our Mr Alwyn. He could become an honorary member of the ACLU.



  10. Kerry Buttram says:

    By the way, movements such as the Silver Ring Thing, whether easy targets for mockery or not, are grassroots movements, not top-down Euro-social experiments. I hope that any mocker would at least acknowledge that the USA is still a country where religious freedom is a reality and the public expression of one’s belief is not yet under heavy state scrutiny.