Silver Ring Thing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Silver Ring Thing logo
Example silver ring

Silver Ring Thing is a virginity pledge program which encourages teens and young adults to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. It is based in the United States and was until 2005 partially funded by the U.S. federal government.[1] Drawing on Christian theology,[2] SRT uses rock/hip hop concert-style events in an attempt to appeal to 21st-century teenagers.

SRT events feature high-energy music, club-style lighting and sound, music videos, sketch comedy, and a faith-based abstinence message. During the gathering, participants commit to a vow of sexual abstinence until marriage by purchasing rings.

Shortly before the end of the event, they receive their silver rings inscribed with Bible verses, which are usually worn on the ring finger of the left hand. The verse is First Thessalonians 4:3-4 and it states "God wants you to be holy, so you should keep clear of all sexual sin. Then each of you will control your body and live in holiness and honor." The rings are tokens of their vow, a reminder of their decision to remain celibate. The rings also are a way to signal to others that they are pledged to celibacy. After they put on their rings, they take a vow to remain abstinent.

Some studies of the efficacy of virginity pledges have found they may be effective in delaying vaginal intercourse but ineffective in reducing the rate of sexually transmitted infection. They also reduce the likelihood of contraceptive use.[3] Additionally, it has been reported that pledgers replace vaginal intercourse with other sexual activities, such as oral or anal sex.[3][4] At least one study has found no difference in the sexual behavior of pledgers and non-pledgers after controlling for pre-existing differences between the groups.[5]

History[edit]

Silver Ring Thing was created in 1995 by Denny Pattyn, an evangelical Christian youth minister from Yuma, Arizona, as a way to combat what he saw as rising rates of STDs and pregnancies amongst teenagers, as well as a way to protect teens from what the founders saw as a distinctly American[6] obsession with unhealthy (in opposition to biblical standards) sex, which, according to Pattyn,[this quote needs a citation] was a byproduct of the “promiscuity [of] the sexual revolution of the ‘60s”.[7]

In 2000, Pattyn became Executive Director of the John Guest Evangelistic Team of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, and SRT became part of the national outreach of the John Guest Team.

In 2004, SRT claimed to have won pledges of chastity of more than 16,000 young adults since its inception, and Pattyn stated that SRT planned to have rings on the fingers of 2 million youngsters by 2010.[8]

Initially, SRT was funded entirely by private sources, but beginning in 2003, SRT began receiving money from the federal faith-based initiatives program. By 2004, SRT had received more than US $1,100,000 in U.S. government federal funding.

In 2004, SRT began expanding operations into the United Kingdom, with mixed results. While some teens in the UK embraced the message of abstinence, some critics rejected and ridiculed SRT, claiming it was anti-sex or unrealistic, and have stated that it seems unlikely that abstinence programs will attract widespread support in the UK because of the UK's different attitude about sexuality and sex education, but the group's Assistant National Director for the UK, Denise Pfeiffer, says there is a real need for such a movement in the UK to curb what she sees as the ever-increasing rates of sexually transmitted infections and teenage pregnancies, both of which she claims are the highest in Western Europe.[9][10]

Legal actions[edit]

United States[edit]

In 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services because it believed SRT used tax dollars to promote Christianity.[11] SRT presented a two-part programme, the first part about abstinence; the second about how Christianity fits into an abstinence commitment. The ACLU claimed federal funding given to this program violated the separation of Church and State.

On 22 August, the Department suspended SRT's $75,000 federal grant until it submitted a "corrective action plan".[12]

In 2006, a corrective action plan was accepted by the Department, the lawsuit was dismissed and SRT received its federal funding.

United Kingdom[edit]

In 2007, Lydia Playfoot, a 16-year-old from Horsham, West Sussex, took a case to the High Court of Justice alleging that her school had violated her rights under the Human Rights Act by forbidding her from wearing a purity ring.[13] The case was funded by individual donations gathered through the group Christian Concern For Our Nation.[13] On 16 July 2007, the High Court ruled that Playfoot's human rights were not violated, with the judge finding the school's actions to have been "fully justified" and that wearing the ring was not "intimately linked" to Playfoot's beliefs.[13] Her father, Phil Playfoot, was the UK pastor for Silver Ring Thing at the time,[14] and was ordered to pay £12,000 towards the school's costs.[13]

Criticism[edit]

In the 2011 book Making Chastity Sexy: The Rhetoric of Evangelical Abstinence Campaigns, Christine Gardner criticizes Silver Ring Thing[15] for "using sex to sell abstinence" by promising more satisfying sexual activity within marriage for those who abstain from premarital sex; she argues that this rhetoric reinforces selfish desires for gratification, sets people up for divorce and dissatisfaction with marriage, and simply adapts "secular forms for religious ends".[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Connolly, Ceci (2005-08-23). "Federal Funds For Abstinence Group Withheld". The Washington Post (Katharine Weymouth). Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  2. ^ "Silver Ring Thing". Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  3. ^ a b "Virginity Pledges Don't Cut STD Rates". WebMD.com. 
  4. ^ Brückner, H.; Bearman, P. (2005). "After the promise: The STD consequences of adolescent virginity pledges". Journal of Adolescent Health 36 (4): 271–278. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2005.01.005. PMID 15780782.  edit
  5. ^ Rosenbaum, J. E. (2009). "Patient Teenagers? A Comparison of the Sexual Behavior of Virginity Pledgers and Matched Nonpledgers". Pediatrics 123 (1): e110–e120. doi:10.1542/peds.2008-0407. PMC 2768056. PMID 19117832.  edit
  6. ^ Bradley, Ed (2005-09-18). "Taking The Pledge". 60 Minutes (CBS News Productions). Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  7. ^ Cynthia, Cooper L. (2005-06-05). "ACLU: Fed Chastity Program Ringed With Religion". Women's eNews. Women's eNews Inc. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  8. ^ Lumsden, Michael (November 2003). "American Virgins". BBC World News (British Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  9. ^ Zoepf, Katherine (2004-07-07). "A Plea for Chastity, but Will It Play in Randy Britain?". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  10. ^ Rice-Oxley, Mark (2004-06-23). "US charity crusade gest cool response in secular Britain". The Christian Science Monitor (Christian Science Publishing Society). Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  11. ^ American Civil Liberties Union : ACLU of Massachusetts v. Secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  12. ^ Sostek, Anya (2006-02-24). "Abstinence group loses federal grant over 1st Amendment". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (John Robinson Block). Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  13. ^ a b c d "'Chastity ring' girl loses case". BBC News. July 16, 2007. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Teen Girl Banned From School for Chastity Ring Heads to Court". London Times (Fox News). June 23, 2007. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  15. ^ Hennie Weiss (March 27, 2012). "Review - Making Chastity Sexy". Metapsychology Online Reviews 16 (13). Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  16. ^ Sarah Pulliam Bailey (November 18, 2011). "The Rhetoric of Chastity: Making Abstinence Sexy". Christianity Today. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]