Teen sex and pregnancy in UK: The Daily Mail and The Times abstain from discussing religion

Teen sex and pregnancy in UK: The Daily Mail and The Times abstain from discussing religion

“If you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less of something, tax it,” argued Ronald Reagan.

A study released last month in Britain reports this maxim is true not only of economics, but sex. 

The Daily Mail, The Times and other outlets report that claims that cutting government spending on sexual education would lead to a rise in teen pregnancy have been shown to be untrue.

Researchers actually discovered the obverse: cutting sex-ed spending leads to a decline in the rate of teen pregnancies. The question GetReligion readers will want answered, of course, is this: Might there be a religious or moral angle to this news story?

The lede in the May 30, 2017, story in The Times entitled “Teenage pregnancies decline as funding for sex education is cut” states: 

Teenage pregnancy rates have been reduced because of government cuts to spending on sex education and birth control for young women, according to a study that challenges conventional wisdom. The state’s efforts to teach adolescents about sex and make access to contraceptives easier may have encouraged risky behavior rather than curbed it, the research suggests.

The Times story is behind their paywall, but the Daily Mail’s version, entitled “Sex education classes DON'T help to curb teenage pregnancy rates and may encourage youngsters to have unprotected intercourse” lays out the same story.


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Religion ghosts in the Silicon Valley suicides? It would have helped to ask that question

Religion ghosts in the Silicon Valley suicides? It would have helped to ask that question

If you have been following mainstream religion-news coverage in recent decades, like quite a few GetReligion readers (and all of our writers), then you know the byline of Hanna Rosin, who once covered the beat for The Washington Post. If you have followed her work since then, both in her books and in The Atlantic, you know that her interest in topics linked to religion, culture and family life remains strong and her skills as a reporter and word stylist are unquestioned.

In recent days, several GetReligion readers have sent me URLs to her new Atlantic cover story on "The Silicon Valley Suicides."

One of the messages perfectly captured the message in the others: "See any ghosts in this one?"

This is a stunning story and it was worth reading to the very end. That said, I found it amazingly haunted and free of the moral and religious depth usually found in Rosin's work.

Ghosts? Totally haunted.

The story opens with the story of the suicide of at popular athlete and super-achieving student named Cameron Lee, the kind of normal young man who went out of his way to join friends for morning donuts and make people feel at home.

You need to read this one long passage to grasp the tone of Rosin's piece:

That morning the school district’s superintendent, Glenn “Max” McGee, called Kim Diorio, the principal of the system’s other public high school, Palo Alto High, to warn her, “This is going to hit everyone really hard.” McGee was new to the district that year, but he’d known the history when he took the job. The 10-year suicide rate for the two high schools is between four and five times the national average. Starting in the spring of 2009 and stretching over nine months, three Gunn students, one incoming freshman, and one recent graduate had put themselves in front of an oncoming Caltrain. Another recent graduate had hung himself. While the intervening years had been quieter, they had not been comforting.

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Jewish & Christian? Weekend think piece I would have posted, except I was driving on mountain roads

Jewish & Christian? Weekend think piece I would have posted, except I was driving on mountain roads

When I was growing up Southern Baptist in Texas, the "intermarriage" issue that everyone talked about was unions of Baptists and Catholics, especially Cajuns. Some people worried that folks involved in these marriages would lose touch with their faith -- period -- and that children would be raised either confused or apathetic.

It wasn't until I hit graduate school at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign that, while doing a readings class on trends in post-Holocaust Jewish life, I hit a large body of material about interfaith marriages between Christians and Jews and the their impact on Jewish demographics.

Then, in the early 1980s, I moved to Denver and ended up covering story after story linked to the famous Denver Jewish Population Study of 1981. Although this study touched on a wide variety of issues, the one that everyone ended up focusing on was the rising number of interfaith marriages and how many of the resulting children were being raised, in any meaningful sense of the word, as Jews.

It was the front edge of a national wave of debate on this topic that continues to this day. Hold that thought.

The moment that I remember the most vividly was a seminar in which a rabbi, putting a poignant spin on some of the data, pled with parents in interfaith marriages not to raise their children in both faiths at the same time. Pick one, he said, because the dual-faith approach actually teaches children that faith is confusing and irrelevant. A child in an interfaith home who is raised Christian has a better chance of choosing to practice the Jewish faith later in life than a child "raised in both," since most of these children end up with no meaningful faith at all.

Today, we would say that this rabbi was warning that most children "raised both" end up becoming "nones," joining the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated.

This brings me to an interesting think piece in The Forward that, literally, I saw on my smartphone yesterday during a break in my family's drive back to Oak Ridge from some downtime in the North Carolina mountains.

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U.S. Catholic bishops quietly offer update on Moralistic Therapeutic Deism in the pews

U.S. Catholic bishops quietly offer update on Moralistic Therapeutic Deism in the pews

The U.S. Catholic bishops just heard a major -- terrifying is a better word -- presentation on the doctrinal state of life in their pews, especially among the young. I realize that arguments about Pope Francis and politics are fun, and all that, but this new survey offered some really crucial stuff, folks, if you care about the future of the church (and the news that it makes).

Good luck trying to find this in the news today. Am I missing something? What are the magic search terms?

Meanwhile, sink your journalistic teeth into the Catholic News Agency story, which ran with this headline: "Agree to disagree: Why young Catholics pose a unique challenge for the Church."

For more than three years, a working group at the bishops’ conference has conducted research aimed at finding ways to more effectively communicate the Catholic faith.  The research examined “Catholics in the pew,” looking at why they accept or disregard Church teaching on various subjects.  ...

Many engaged parishioners, regular Mass attendees involved in parish life, demonstrate great pride in their faith and are deeply tied to their community, the study showed. However, they have a tendency to set aside rules that they do not understand, complain about the Church being involved in politics, and avoid causes that they see as “judgmental.”

And among the young? 

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