The Department of Magical Thinking

You won’t believe what a British health agency has done to help teens avoid pregnancy and disease. Well, maybe you will after all.

We’re all familiar with the condescending comments about Christians. We are anti-science, and live by the uptight rules of a magical sky God. How ironic, then, that there’s more and more evidence that Christians are the ones who rely on science, while secular thinkers engage in magical thinking.

Exhibit A: a branch of Britain’s National Health Service in Sheffield just published a leaflet titled Pleasure. The leaflet’s writers were concerned that—what with all the warnings about safe sex and all—teenagers might forget “the principal reason that many people have sex” in the first place: because it’s pleasurable.

Oh, sure. We all know that teenagers need to be reminded of what their hormones are screaming at them.

But the real magical thinking comes in here. According to the leaflet, daily sexual gratification is good for you. Since we all need plenty of cardiovascular exercise, why not meet that need with sex?

Well, if they really want to know why not (which I doubt), listen to this.

First, girls say they often feel pressured into sex—and then feel used afterward. Now, British girls will have to deal with even more pressure. Boys will be able to wave this leaflet in their faces and say, “See? The government says that daily sex is good for you!”

Second: Teen sex frequently leads to pregnancy, even with the use of contraceptives. (Possibly the Head Magician at the National Health Service in Britain forgot that British teens lead the civilized world in pregnancy rates.) Babies born to teens are more likely to live in poverty than the children of married adults. And if teens abort their babies, they will risk all the physical and emotional consequences of abortion.

Third, casual sex spreads disease, including HIV/AIDS. Women pay the highest price in the form of infertility and cervical cancer. Fifth, there is strong evidence that casual sex will damage teenagers’ abilities to form lasting marital relationships.

Whatever the authors of this pamphlet had in mind, it certainly wasn’t the physical, emotional, or moral health of teenagers. Instead, their writings reflect the teachings of Margaret Sanger and Alfred Kinsey, whose sexual views were based not on science, but on an intensely held personal belief system. function fbs_click() {u=location.href.substring(0,location.href.lastIndexOf(‘/’));t=document.title;window.open(‘http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=’+encodeURIComponent(u)+’&t=’+encodeURIComponent(t),’sharer’,'toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436′);return false;}

Sanger and Kinsey’s ideology elevated sexuality into a means of salvation. The goal of sexual liberation was not merely sensual gratification. It offers a complete worldview that aims at freeing the inner self from the evils of repression and then renewing all society.

But one test of whether a worldview is true is whether it corresponds to reality. That is, can you live with it? The truth is that sexual licentiousness has produced epidemics of abortion, disease, divorce, broken families—and great unhappiness.

And the National Health Service notwithstanding, pollsters tell us that those who report the highest levels of sexual satisfaction are monogamous married couples who were chaste before marriage.

But it this Britain, you say. Ok, but beware: This is what that British National Health Service thinks it’s appropriate to do with taxpayers’ funds. And we’re debating nationalized health care here? Hmm.

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