Palin, Prejean and Pre-Marital Ambivalence

Unwed, single, teenage mom Bristol Palin was being lauded on talk shows Wednesday — National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy … Continued

Unwed, single, teenage mom Bristol Palin was being lauded on talk shows Wednesday — National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy — for encouraging other teenagers to abstain from sex. Meanwhile, Carrie Prejean (Miss California) was defending her title — and her advocacy of “traditional marriage” — because of sensual and revealing photographs taken of her when she was a teenage model.

I’m confused. Are we in favor of teenage sexuality or not? Are we OK using teenagers to model lingerie until they become public figures? Are we not OK with unwed teenage moms until they admit their mistakes on national TV?

I ask because teenage sexuality is one of the leading causes of illegitimacy, which believe it or not is more pandemic than the swine flu and more damaging to the institutions of family and marriage than any same-gender commitment ceremony in California or Iowa.

You’ve seen the stats on pregnant teens:

And so on. And yet illegitimacy gets a lot less attention from religious and political leaders than other, less pressing and less destructive social issues. A new book called “The Sins of the Fathers: The Law and Theology of Illegitimacy Reconsidered,” by Emory University law school professor John Witte Jr. explains the culture’s (and religion’s) ambivalence about illegitimacy.

“If the historical doctrine of illegitimacy was a Christian theology of sin run amuck, this new form of illegitimacy is a constitutional theory of sexual liberty run wild,” Witte told Religion News Service.

Witte notes that 38 percent of all American children are born illegitimate, and illegitimacy rates have more than doubled since 1975. According to the Institute for American Values, illegitimacy’s cost to American taxpayers is $112 billion annually for anti-poverty, criminal justice, education programs and lost tax revenue.

Talk about a pandemic.

“There are no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents,” Witte says.

So, in a nation awash in illegitimate parents, why aren’t we hearing more from religious and political leaders about this widespread social problem?

Why aren’t Catholic bishops withholding communion from illegitimate parents? Why are evangelical and black church leaders campaigning for opposite-sex marriage to save the family? Why aren’t progressive Christian leaders pushing for more social programs to help children conceived out of wedlock? Why aren’t Mormon leaders opposing polygamous relationships (which are common) rather than polygamy (which is not)?

Why is D.C. council member (and ex-mayor) Marion Barry warning that “All hell is going break loose” if the District isn’t careful in its approval of same-sex marriages. “We may have a civil war,” Barry said Tuesday after the council agreed to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. “The black community is just adamant against this.”

Why isn’t any community adamant against illegitimacy?


  • practica1

    It’s not birth outside of marriage that’s the problem – the birth of a child is a chance to get it right, no matter what the statistical norms suggest.What’s wrong is the unwillingness to make men as interested in the well-being of their children as they are in the resolution of their penile erections.We’ve persuaded girls and women that they need the attention of a man, any man, on any terms, to be considered successful in their gender roles. Unfortunately, we haven’t made men more interested in the manliness of fostering the well-being of their own offspring – we’ve made women less interested.Why should anyone have to be born into a household with a well-off male in order to be allowed to 1) be born; 2) live decently?No reason. We should change the incentives, and change the consequences.

  • dhilleub

    Stupid gits.

  • hmssurprise

    There are a lot of illegitimate people in this country. None of them were born that way.

  • jromaniello

    Illegitimacy? So what, we are living in the Middle Ages again? ALL children are legit– whether they are born into wedlock or not. Please join the 21st century. kthnx.For the most part, I think that a large part of the problem is society and parents as whole, keep teens in the dark about the realties of sex. We view sex as taboo and we don’t want our precious innocent children to know anything about it. Meanwhile, they see very sexualized ads, TV shows, and movies, which only further exacerbate a hormone driven teenager. But the point is, teens do know about sex and are experiencing the desire to do it. Face it, folks. Teens are HORNY. They are curious about their bodies, the bodies of the opposite sex (or same sex), and well, just sex in general. They are raw hormones. If you want to prevent children born out of wedlock, I suggest the following:1. LIVE IN REALITY. Just because you are teaching a teen to abstain from sex, doesn’t mean they will. 2. Educate, educate, educate! Parents AND schools need to educate teens on sex. That means comprehensive and TRUTHFUL facts about the various available forms of birth control, the joys of sex with a loving partner, and possible consequences, like STIs and pregnancy.3. Make sure teens know where to get birth control. Again, just because you encourage abstainence (and I do agree with encouraging it), doesn’t mean teens will abstain. 5. Have faith that you’ve instilled lots of good knowledge and values into your teenager. 6. Remember, teens are amost adults! You need to give them more credit than what you currently do. They are about to join the outside world. They need to know the facts and how to protect themselves. Let them practice their judgement skills now, while the consequences can be potentially less dire. If we would stop stigmatizing sex as this dirty, taboo act, and a natural function of being a living thing, we would have less problems. Educating teens with facts, we would see fewer abortions and teen pregnancies. Ever wonder why they don’t have this problem in Europe? P.S. A lot of you have apparently forgotten what it is like to be that age.

  • alarico

    “Why isn’t any community adamant against illegitimacy?”Because it’s an ancient notion that holds no currency.”Illegitimacy” was a way to make children pay for the errors of the parents and to make sure that only “legitimate” heirs would receive whatever inheritance, titles or possessions the parents had.We’re out of feudal times, however. The Pope doesn’t legitimize kings and queens and biology determines your parentage– not a “holy sacrament”.Now, you can do the verbal trick of shifting ‘illegitimacy” to the parents, but why not just call them IRRESPONSIBLE instead? We have a word for that, and most communities I know are adamant against irresponsible parenthood.Let go of your medieval fix.

  • lildg54

    To: vancemack

  • martiniano

    If Christians truly cared about family values they would focus on illegitimacy and the divorce rate. Those two issue cause so much more damage to our social moral fiber than gay marriage. But you can’t build an “us versus them” with illegitimacy or divorce since so many are guilty. It is easy to single out gays and build hateful emotions. And through emotion you control.It fascinates me that Black Clergy are so willing to throw gays under the bus when it comes to civil rights. They got theirs so do unto others as they did unto you is their new rule.

  • rlj611

    We live in a patriarchal society.I think a lot of the silence you hear is because the burden is on the girl. If boys were forced to take responsiblity I think there would be more of a discussion.

  • charley42

    WELL DUH! Bristol is rich, white and is in a Christian fundamentalist family. That legitimizes everything they do.

  • guez

    What a train wreck of a commentary. A few comments:1) Teenagers include girls who are 13 years 0 days and those who are 19 years 364 days. Generalizing about “low birth rates” among teens is thus ridiculous. Most studies suggest that girls over 15 (like Bristol) don’t have increased risks on birth defects or low birth weights.2) Many of the problems you associate with illegitimacy are a product of either a) the stigma attached to illegitimacy (which you seem determined to perpetuate) or b) the failure of our society to support single mothers by providing affordable day care so that they can stay in school, etc.Illegitimacy as such is not the problem. Many European countries have high rates of illegitimacy without a high incidence of the problems you attach to illegimacy.

  • ProfessorWrightBSU

    The whole issue of teenage pregnancy is a modern issue.Thomas Jefferson’s wife Martha was a widower when they married (she was 23). Her first marriage was at 18.George Washington’s wife Martha was a widower when they married. Her first marriage was at 19 and she had 4 children in 6 years.Benjamin Franklin’s wife Deborah married John Rogers when she was 15, so she and Ben had a common-law marriage since she was in fact already married to someone else.

  • scigeek

    there is no parallel argument between same sex marriage and teen pregnancy. teen pregnancy is a complex issue. sometimes it boils down to bad parenting. ministers focus on many many social issues.this article is one reason why people run to blogs to look for real information.

  • smckaho420

    In response to Comrade01…if you believe that it is O.K. to label our President a “baby killer” because of his views on abortion, then it would be O.K. to state that the previous administration is responsible for every single American life that was lost in Iraq.

  • CB271828

    This article conflates a debatable moral point of view with a practical health problem, in a way which helps nobody.Railng against the “sin” of teenage sexuality, and then describing pregnancy—which is not a disease—as an epidemic. is quite useless.Teenage sexuality is simply a fact, rather like the diameter of the earth. You may be happy about it, or unhappy about it. You may write impassioned essays on how much better off we’d all be if the world were 12,000 miles across instead of 7,900. None of this will have the slightest impact.Instead, if one treats teenage pregnacy as a medical condtion, and skips the tedious business of condemning it, it may be possible to do some good. First, we want to get teenage mothers the help and medical care they need so that they and their children are as healthy as possible, and living in a nurturing environment. That’s the top priority.Second, since getting pregnant too early causes hardship for many young women, we need to provide young people with the tools and information they need to avoid pregnacy until they are ready. That means: we teach teenagers about all the different kinds of contraception that are out there, and make sure they can easily and cheaply get them all.Looked at as a practical matter, abstinence education does nothing whatever to prevent teen sex or teen pregnancy. Contraception education has no impact on teen sex, but it pevents pregnancy — not perfectly, but much much much better than nothing. For God’s sake, look at this as a practical matter, and forgo the wailing and gnashing of teeth over it.

  • ProfessorWrightBSU

    3. It’s most common among politically-incorrect-to-attack groups like blacksPosted by: WmarkW======================================4.8% of white births are to teenage mothers.13.4% of black births are to teenage mothers.What’s not being stated is the fact that blacks make up 12% of the population while non-hispanic white make up 80%. We have 3x the teenage rate, but you have 6.5x times as many teenage mothers.If you want to target the percentage of your people getting pregnant then put your people in the safe sex commercials and make TV-specials on teenage pregnancy with your people as the central characters. Then black people won’t be offended.

  • jromaniello

    “As a Christian, I would agree that there are too many teens having children; however, there are even more teens that are having sex, which is the underlying problem. We tell kids that it’s okay to explore their sexuality. We titillate them with explicit TV shows, movies and music videos. We laugh at abstinence programs, and tell kids we really don’t expect them to save their virginity until marriage. We tell them to wear condoms (which have less than an 80% effective rate); yet we get angry when they end up pregnant. What’s wrong with this picture? *******************************************YOU, madam, are a prime example of “abstainence-only” sex education and why it doesn’t work. Condoms have a less than 80% success rate? Um, no. With proper use, condoms are up to 99% effective. I hope you didn’t teach your daughter that. If she has sex without one, she could get sick! Condoms are shown to be very effective against AIDS, STIs, and pregnancy. Abstainence only sex-ed doesn’t work, because it gives FALSE FACTS about birth control, nor doesn’t teach you how to use it. Perhaps if YOU had known the facts, you wouldn’t be a single mom.Why isn’t it okay to explore your sexuality? Sex is a normal and healthy act. Not only does it create new life, it feels wonderful! I guess you’ve never had an orgasm before? If not, I suggest exploring yourself to find out what twirls your beanie.And as for your presumputous comment about sex only being allowed in a traditional hetero marriage– SAYS WHO? You? Well, then I’m glad you aren’t in charge of the laws. Otherwise, we’d be living in the dark ages, where gays were tortured and killed for being who they are! All I have to say is, get off that moral high horse of yours now, before you fall off, break your neck, and make a bigger idiot out of yourself. Get a clue.

  • vancemack

    Lil…I’ll make it even more simple for you. Take away the religion aspect.Nature- Every species has one unwritten but very obvious rule…law…procreation. Species exist to survive. Homosexuality is a deviation from natural law. Two men or two women will NEVER procreate.Science- The penis is the male sexual organ. The vagina is the female sexual organ. They ‘work’ together. can you stick any numer of things in any number of places? OF COURSE…heck…you can stick it in a toaster…my guess is there will be someone out there that recieves gratification for that. But does it ‘work’? Of course not…and it is a stupid argument to even suggest that it does.Notice Im not going to play your silly tit for tat bible game. there ARE references…Im sure you know them better than I do. Im sure you have some rehearsed response lined up and ready to go…waiting for the gotcha. but Im not going to play your silly game. It comes down to very basic core beliefs. I believe that it is WRONG. Now if you disagree with me…FINE…I could not care less. I will respect your opinion. I wont even call you all kinds of disgusting names because you believe them. But I will hold and maintain mine. And if it comes to a vote, I will cast my vote. Not because I hate gay people, but because I believe it is wrong.

  • danson1

    Look I am a die-hard Liberal and I see there’s nothing wrong with Bristol going around tryin to encourage young people from getting pregnant too soon!However, a stronger message should be applied as to abstinees versus sexual active. Puh-leeze Bristol you have the mike. I think you can just tell your story from your heart (on how the two of you (Levi) sneaked and had sex and how you regret it and explain why you felt that you couldn’t go to your Mother and explain that you were sexual active and having evidently unprotected sex but did not want children at the time.I have a feeling that you could had convinced your mother that you would have to go against the grain and get on some sort of birth control.However, there are million of girls like you who have children and go around telling people “Girl if I could do it all over again I wouldn’t had a child so early in life”This is falling on deaf ears and inviting criticism to our plight!You seem mature enough just don’t let a political cult dictate your life to you!!Your generation are waaaayyyy more smarter

  • bevjims1

    vancemack wrote: “We ALL believe in some form of unprovable theory. Science is every bit as much a faith based practice as is religion. But the great majority of those that dont believe in God also dont have the first clue as to what they believe in the scientific model of ‘creation’…oh…but it IS fun to mock and ridicule others.”Since telling you that you are completely wrong will probably just be met with rolling eyes let me try this: When science is presented with evidence that its theories are wrong it accepts the evidence and developes new theories. When a religion is presented with evidence its tenents are wrong it waves hands, calls the evidence lies or a conspiracy against the religion, or says God put that contradictory evidence there to test the faith.In other words, science is built to follow truth, religion is built to maintain dogma against any truth to the contrary. Now which believes in magic being involved with how things work and why is it not surprising?

  • vancemack

    BevJim…we can have a ‘discussion’ all day long. It might SHOCK you but I actually DO study these things…and guess what…I believe in miracles AND modern medicine. But…It is simply IGNORANT BEYOND WORDS for an agnostic (people of which i really have no problem with BTW) to say that believing in GOD is more of a fairy tale than believing in the big bang. One of the reasons why the scientific model changes so much year in and year out is that we continue to make new discoveries that put lie to old previously held theories…but they were held as scientific ‘truths.’What science has done for centuries is to take givens…knowns…and tried to find a scientific explanation for them. Can they prove them? No. THATS why they call them THEORIES.But MOST people that poopoo religion hold the same mystical belief in theories and do so only because they THINK that is what others told them. There is ABSOLUTELY room for science in my world. I embrace it. I enjoy it. I MARVEL at how many not only DONT find room for spiritual but get downright pissy about it. So if you want to engage in discussion…again…all night long. We will agree…disagree…and thats fine. Want to talk about the evolutionary advantage of the ‘eye’ and how that could POSSIBLY have been created with the standard rules of evolution?

  • octopi213

    It seems to me that many people are confused about what ‘forgiveness from sins’ really means. We as humans are sinful by nature, but because of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, we can be forgiven of our sins by God to come into right standing with Him when we face judgment after our time on Earth. I repeat; we will be forgiven of our sins (if we repent and turn away from them) by God. It DOES NOT mean that our sins don’t have consequences. Using the example of Bristol, she will be forgiven for her sin of premarrital sex by God when it comes time for her to enter His Kingdom, but while on Earth, she still must deal with the consequences of it.While yes, the act of sex is natural with respect to the natural world, what is the biggest thing that separates humans from animals? It’s that we are self-aware and can make determinations between what is right and wrong. Dogs, cats, fish, etc. all start reproducing at the onset of sexual maturity because that is what their instincts are telling them to do, just like with the rest of their behaviors. Your dog isn’t capable of thinking, “Maybe I should be abstinant since I won’t be able to take care of the puppies since I don’t have a job and have not graduated from college.” The whole point of premarrital sex being a sin is for us as humans to ocntrol our physical instincts. Just because so many of today’s teens don’t seem to take heed to this message doesn’t mean we should stop trying to spread it.Government programs are a double-edged sword. The facts about their effects are undeniable: record high divorce rates, higher teen pregnancies, record numbers of children born out of wedlock. All of these numbers eerily spiked since the onset of these government programs; if that’s not a smoking gun, I don’t know what is. It is also undeniable that children of single parents or teen parents have higher rates of school dropouts, teen pregnancies themselves, crime. As a group they make less and are less educated. This is not meant to demean those chidren who have done well in those situations; yes plenty of children of single parents have done well and I’m not disparaging the job those parents and kids did. But the statistics bear that it is better for children to grow up in a 2 parent household than not.Are there a lot of children who have benefitted from government programs? Sure there are. And they probably have saved quite a few children from who knows what. But I would wager that a great many more have been harmed from these effects described above than have been directly helped. Until we honestly assess the effects of these programs these problems will only continue to get worse. One could even argue that we as a society are paying the price for our sins: as long as we continue to accept teenage and premarrital sex as a norm, we, and future children, will continue to deal with these same problems.

  • vancemack

    And BTW…the eye argument isnt my argument…It was Darwins.

  • qqbDEyZW

    When parents allow their teenage daughters to sleep with their boyfriends what did you expect would happen? When Carrie quoted from the Bible on gays while posing nude what did you expect? American Christians have watched Pasters preach the word on Sunday and commit sin the rest of the 6 days. Our Law Makers like Larry Craig demand gays be denied rights while knowing he’s gay himself. Sen. Vitters hires Prostitutes, then confesses ask for forgiveness and then continues hiring Prostitutes. But he gave the Church 100,000 dollars in Govenment Grant money for that forgiveness. We see Bush/Cheney hail God while torturing men/woman/children under God’s Name. The disrepect our Leaders show woman would even make God cry. Lying in the US is normal as it was done for 8 years by Bush/Cheney. Stealing is at the top of the list among Law Makers. The example of Bristol and Carrie are what forms the current US Christian Religion taught by parents, Law Makers, Media, Press, Churches and Pastors. Sarah Palin answered the door of her hotel room with just a towel on as reported by Fox News when she allowed an interview. Children learn from their parents and with the examples of adults above we should really be praying for the children of America.

  • Alex511

    fr vancemack:>…Just because pedophiles believe they are as internally wired to love children as homosexuals believe they are to love their same sex partners deosnt mean we should embrace it. And just because a deviant sexual practice is engaged between consenting adults doesnt mean we have an obligation as a society to legitimize a scientific and natural ‘wrong’.GLBT’s do not “choose” to be gay, just like YOU did not “choose” to be straight.Also, pedophilia is a crime, whereas being glbt is not. Clear as mud now? Good.

  • dcp1

    I think people have pretty much said it correctly here. The church knows that out-of-wedlock pregnancies will occur, so they would rather people have children out of wedlock than kill them in utero. BTW, I don’t like the term illegitimate in this instance. It’s highly offensive.

  • nagatuki

    Why don’t we just take away the infants of very young teens and put them up for adoption?Seriously, I’m with Adam Carolla on this (spoken on Loveline years ago). He made a compelling argument that the state will take away your ownership of pets because of inadaquate care – you can’t keep animals if you don’t provide water, food, shelter, and basic medical care (theoretically).But with kids? It doesn’t matter that you’re a high-school drop-out “in love” and thinking you can take care of your kid. Guess what? You can’t.You can’t get a job, and if you do, it doesn’t pay well. If you do have a job, who’s watching the kid? You can’t afford a sitter, so it’s likely your parents are, and, it’s likely they’re actually now raising you and your kid.You can’t afford your own place, either, because you have no HS degree, let alone college, so now, your parents have both you and your kid to shelter.Seriously. Either force adoption on the grandparents so they have the legal rights (and drive the point home), or take the kid away.

  • vancemack

    Alex…do you believe pedophiles “choose” to be pedophiles? Do you believe actively engaging in pedophilia is wrong? And if you believe it is not a choice and that it is wrong…do you then expect pedophiles to CHOOSE not to engage in their behavior?Pedophilia is a crime only because society has established a standard of right and wrong.Lets not loose focus. Im not advocating homosexuals be NOT ALLOWED to live and love…I simply do not endorse their choice as right and do not believe we should redefine marriage to allow for a ‘wrong’ behavior.

  • vancemack

    and BTW…when you throw out a garbled argument that IS IN FACT clear as mud, you probably shouldnt highlight it by proudly pointing it out.

  • weeniemobile

    parents under the age of 18 who have babies should not have custody until they are 18. if the grandparents do not take custody, then the children would have to go into an increased foster care system. that would give a disincentive to teens to have children as if they were toys.regarding pregnancy for adults, the law only addresses bad parenting, and the government can deem parents do be unfit, for single or married parents.there are too many religions, cultures and micro-societies in the U.S. to generalize how babies should be brought into the world. take religion and culture out of the conversation, and make the civil benefits (WIC, welfare etc) more difficult to maintain.we chose not to have more children because (1) the day care would have been prohibitive and (2) even if i stayed home we would need another car with more seating which we could not get if i stopped working. anyone, even a single adult, can make those choices.i chose not to participate in activities that guarentee (practiced safe sex) pregnancy because i was selfish enough (forward thinking? amibitious? driven?) not to want my immediate future future did not include a 40-year life expectancy, high infant mortality rate, and lots of domestic manual labor. our reproductive cycles have not evolved as humans modernized. preteens are not raised with the same responsiblities as in the past. looking to the past is not relevant.

  • vancemack

    weenie…to be fair…this IS a religous discussion because the writer was simply positing the positions of religous people. I would agree with you in the great grand scheme of things there are more effective means of discussion teen sexual practices, abstinence, safe sex, etc. But again…this discussion stems from an argument wrten by and for religous purposes…directed at religous people, not necessarily the merits of premarital sex, abortion, gay marriage, etc.

  • KathleenN

    “Why aren’t Mormon leaders opposing polygamous relationships (which are common) rather than polygamy (which is not)?”The Mormom church does NOT, nor have they ever, condoned polygamous relationships. Check your facts.

  • forgetthis

    I agree with sapiano. I don’t think age is the issue. Women have been bearing children in their teens since the dawn of our existence (including my grandmother). The problem that exists now is that it is nearly impossible for a couple to become financially independent at that age. Even though, financial independence was not the sole precondition for marriage traditionally, since new couples lived with parents and received dowries and the like. Society is set up now so that marriage is only considered accepted years and years after sexual maturity has occurred.

  • forgetthis

    Oh, I forgot to add that my grandmother was married at the age of 14 and my grandfather was 17. It was okay back then. Some might have assumed that my grandmother was an unwed teen mother, and she was not.

  • MMB42

    It’s always so much fun for pro-lifers to throw out the whole “Murdering Babies” and Barack Hussein is evil rhetoric. Jaacobim, would you please think past the uterus for once. Yes, abortion is a sad choice, but it’s also sad when a child is born into poverty, starves to death, gets no health care, and so on. Did you read the entire article or not? I wish you cared as much for starving children as you do for fertilized eggs. Then, maybe, just maybe, your opinion would matter to me.

  • ramvt84

    “It’s a stupid message for a stupid time, and pretends that girls just won’t because we say don’t. Do we really think women are going to be wedding night virgins after waiting from 11 or 12 to 26 or 27 years of age? It’s nonsense, and since we provide for them no ethic of responsible sexuality and shroud the sex act in guilt and shock, denial and scorn, we get lousy results.”When it WAS shameful to fornicate…like in the 40′s and 50′s we had LESS sexual-social problems. Go figure. Leave it to liberals to call black/white…right/wrong…

  • CCNL

    JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ, You noted:”Why is a woman with fake breasts who posed nude or partially nude as a teenager allowed to marry — legally and within the christian church — whereas two lesbians, who would NEVER do such things, are not?”Because “mutual masterbation” is not part of the marriage action!!!

  • Meepo

    Because “mutual masterbation” is not part of the marriage action!!!Hey, don’t knock this. If it isn’t part of your marriage action, you should make it part of your marriage action.

  • Meepo

    Maybe instead of collectively lunging at a pregnant girl and her boyfriend, categorically illustrating all the mistakes they’ve made, we should collectively run toward a pregnant girl and her boyfriend, categorically offering her and the boyfriend all the services and items the girl, the boy, and the infant, should need. To include everything from diapers to counselling to educational assistance.This is the easiest thing in the world to fix. But we’d rather b*tch about the lack of community and the morals of a few, or b*tch about stupid mistakes and all.We celebrate death every day, executions, missile attacks launched from remote-controlled drones, random shootings, snipings and other military operations. We do our d*mndest to cut down life before it starts, whether it’s an individually with a physical abortion, or mentally with an after-the-fact abortion of care and concern; or even collectively, when it’s a community aborting its obligation to ensure that all people within the community should be made safe.A world turned upside down and blasted apart before the bomb goes off.

  • chipwatkins

    There are many reasons for the increase in sexual activity among unwed couples, but I count four as most important:1. The decline in parental involvement in their children’s lives due to multiple jobs, greater independence of teenagers due to cars, and just parental selfishness. Mom and Dad, faithfully married and sexually monogamous, involved in their children’s lives and knowing their friends, and continuously exercising their responsibility to help their children become responsible adults who themselves are faithfully married and sexually monogamous is the best way to prevent pre-marital sexual activity.2. The decline in adherence to Biblical commands against non-marital sexual activity. 3. The virtual elimination of fear of pre-marital pregnancy (formerly particularly important for women) through use of contraception, abortion, and the loss of societal disapproval. (This is not to say that we should not care for women who are pregnant and unmarried, or for their children.) This factor has also led to a significant relative decrease in domestic adoptions leading to fewer children raised by two married parents (see #1 above), and the poverty experienced by many single mothers and their children. 4. The degradation of sexual love between married couples through the general public prevalence, acceptance, and promotion of non-marital sexual themes, images, and activity in culture (music, films, theater), advertising, and other aspects of our society. As the stories about Bristol Palin and Carrie Prejean well illustrate, as a society, we are ambivalent about this. We decry the degradation of sex, but the Supreme Court says it’s unconstitutional to prohibit the publication of raunchy magazines, or to restrict the distribution of even raunchier sexual images via the Internet. (Does anyone seriously believe the Founding Fathers were interested in protecting pornography–or anything like it–when they wrote the First Amendment?)No one mounts protests or economic boycotts against businesses that use sexual images in advertising. There are protests against blaspheming movies or “art” exhibits, but none against the many movies and now, TV shows and even commercials during sporting events watched by many pubescent boys (how I cringe!), in which non-marital sexual activity–or worse, crude sexually themed jokes–is displayed. We ran cigarette sponsors off radio and TV, and sporting events, but you can still sell a car by draping it with a female model in a bikini, or now, having it driven by an aggressive female driver who is “turned on” by her car. This will not change until advertisers get the message that sex does NOT sell. (Good luck with that!)Conclusion: Until we turn these factors around, we are unlikely to see any significant decline in non-marital sexual activity.

  • ramvt84

    “I agree with another poster that said that the across the board no sex before marriage idea is just not going to work. I live in an area where the average age for first marriage (of women) is 35. Expecting girls to save themselves when they got married at 19 or 20 was one thing but you honestly think that it’s fair or logical to expect them to live a nun-like existance well into their 30s?”

  • squier13

    It’s a really simple issue complicated by the moralists: we have to teach young people how to avoid pregnancy. Use condoms, use condoms, use condoms. If you use a condom, the chances of becoming pregnant are extremely slim. Why isn’t that message made crystal clear to teenagers? For the same reason this discussion takes place in the “Under God” section rather than the “Health” section. This is a public health issue, not a religious issue.

  • davidsawh

    Hey RAMVT84, segregation was also legal back then. Thank god the liberals knew that was wrong as not a single conservative did.

  • jjedif

    That’s the nice thing about being a “Christian”. First, it (whatever “it” may be) is not Palin’ and Prejean’s fault, the Devil (aided by “liberals”) made them do it (Palin having sex before marriage after promising God she’d abstain and Prejean selling nudy pics, respectively).Second, Palin and Prejean are conveniently forgiven and, therefore, righteous in their own eyes, so they don’t actually have to take responsibility for their actions. In fact, Palin’s and Prejean’s forgiven sins are evidence that God loves them (God, on the other hand, hates gays and teens who use condoms, and imagine what God thinks of gay teens who use condoms).Instead like typical hypoChristians, the nude-for-sale Ms. Prejean can preach about the immorality of gays…and the unwed, teenage drop-out Palin who COULDN’T abstain…preaches abstinence…and both plan to profit handsomely.

  • slc11

    Are we really worried about illegitimate (out-of-wedlock) births or teen births? I would argue it’s the latter, so let’s drop the word illegitimate. Most of the sad facts about teen mothers listed above arise because they are unprepared to be a parent, not because they haven’t marched down the aisle. I agree that we want the father to be deeply involved, but marriage alone won’t solve the problems. We should work hard to impress upon teens and young adults that being a parent is hard work, much more than they are ready for, so they’d better do what they can to avoid it; and we should provide more support to the ones who do end up teen parents because the way their children turn out affects us all.

  • ricinro85212

    illegitimate is an outdated term. Institutions like religious marriage or state marriage evolved for the protection, mostly, of the women and child. It is fine if children are to be born out of wedlock if the state will force the father and mother to provide for the child (and each other), financially and emotionally. The option if either parent wishes to opt out should be prison.

  • emoterply

    Whoever posted the info below is wacko. You should move to Saudi Arabia!!!Then there are the influences of alcohol and drugs on teen pregnancies. Solutions- Much tougher laws and penalities for those that sell alcohol to those below the drinking age. A national no-alcohol before the age of 21 law is long overdue.

  • retiree11

    My prediction: within two years, Bristol Palin will again be pregnant with another man’s child (not Levi). She will not be married.

  • bfithern

    Would you rather Bristol Palin had had an abortion? Then her sex life would have been as quite as the grave. Say wht you want about Sarah Palin, she’s a good mother.All this talk about “illegitimate”-all children are legitimate-, is as “intelligent” as the Klu Klux Klan. You’re creating a problem that doesn’t exist

  • elgunjduts

    The answers to most of your questions everybody already knows. Most religious people are scum. 99% of the time some “religious” person is the father. When I hear religious I start thinking about witchdoctors and cults. The sickest thing with religion is that most of the time it’s do as I say not as I do. I’ve had any ability to believe destroyed by the utter hypocrisy of the religious. Most religions treat women and sexuality in a unhealthy way. Jesus I thought said judge not by what I say judge by what I do. What our society does is treat women worse than you’d treat a dog.

  • elgunjduts

    The final line should have read women and children.Sorry.

  • roboturkey

    “Why isn’t any community adamant against illegitimacy?”Probably because being adamant against illegitimacy would soon lead to discrimination against children whose parents are not married. How is that fair?Also, if the proponents of abstinence can only come up with Bristol Palin for a spokesperson, how serious can they be and why in the world should anyone listen to hypocrits when they wax eloquent within their hyposcrisy?Those of us who have stayed in long term marriages, provided homes for children from birth through college graduation, and who worked through the normal challenges of a two parent household made our choices. “Illegitimate parents” made theirs. Whose choice was “better” is a question no one can answer until our children grow wise enough and articulate enough to answer for us.

  • vancemack

    PERFECT. ELGUN comes in with guns blasting JUDGING “99%” of religous people and then quotes Jesus on judging people because apparently he or she thinks its wrong to judge people. Hypocrite much? Laughable. Pathetic.

  • bevjims1

    vancemack wrote: “It is simply IGNORANT BEYOND WORDS for an agnostic (people of which i really have no problem with BTW) to say that believing in GOD is more of a fairy tale than believing in the big bang.”Well, there are only one or two scientific theories about the origins of the universe that have survived the rigors of scientific review while there are hundreds of religious versions. Christianity is not the only religion with an origins tale.vancemack wrote: “What science has done for centuries is to take givens…knowns…and tried to find a scientific explanation for them. Can they prove them? No. THATS why they call them THEORIES.”That depends on what you are calling proof and what you think a theory is. There is NO theory for gravity that is widely accepted, yet even believers know gravity exists. We can prove gravity exists. Why it exists and its cause is where theory comes in. vancemack wrote: “But MOST people that poopoo religion hold the same mystical belief in theories and do so only because they THINK that is what others told them.”No, science is built not only on building support for a theory but also on tearing bad theories down. The steady state model of the universe is (was) a good example. Cold Fusion is another.And you would be surprised how spiritual atheists can be. vancemack wrote: “So if you want to engage in discussion…again…all night long. We will agree…disagree…and thats fine. That has been pretty well documented. I think what gets many to point to the eye is its similarity to a camera, something man made, and since its soft tissue a lack of fossil evidence for its structure. You can see one explanation here: But maybe you could explain all those fossils laying around, fossils of life going back millions and in some cases billions of years, and their complexity increasing toward modern times.

  • roboturkey

    The evolutionary advantage of the eye is obvious. We can use it to ogle Ms. Prejean and to squint derisively at any of those Palin snowbillies.

  • bevjims1

    emoterply wrote: “Dope suppliers and sellers get off much too easy. Jail time is not working. Permanent deportation, 20 lashes, loss of public ridicule, posting of pushers/suppliers names/addresses on the internet and permanent attachment of leg GPS tracking units are better options.”Car accidents kill about 40,000 people every year. What should we do about that carnage? String up the Auto CEOs who make our cars not crash survivable? Deport speeders? Toss anyone found running a stop sign in jail for a month? We can make our nation better through tougher laws, but its the balance of freedom, fairness and the principle of measured response that keeps the horrors of your world at bay in America.

  • vancemack

    I agree that there is evolutionary advantage to HAVING an eye. Not JUST to protect yourself as original theory held, but also to see hot babes as Roboturkey purports. The problem is…the EYE doesnt work by itself. The eye requires the receptors in the brain, the genetic coding which enables it to interpret input signals, it requires optic nerves, all the different components of the eye itself, the occular cavity…etc etc etc. One without the others is useless. So…did it evolve as a complete organ? Theorists hold that it takes hundreds of thousands of years for many of the evolutionary steps to occur…so…WHY would there be an evolutionary advantage to allow for an eye socket without an existing eye? For an optic nerve without lens and neuroreceptors, etc etc etc. The question stumped darwin too. I believe his response was “still…it must have occured…becasue look, we have eyes.”And instead of dissecting your post so the whole thread gets comnpletely confused…you DO acknowledge that the scientific thought on the creation of the world is a ‘theory’…great…the creationists view is that there is A GOD. From the single god comes MANY religions and ‘theories’, not unlike from the surviving scientific theories also comes MANY competing theories…and they ARE INDEED…since they are not likely to be ‘proven’…faith based. Correct?And I think you are ignoring the point I made…the VAST MAJORITY of people that profess a belief in science could tell you that the earth formed via the big bang…but they couldnt POSSIBLY explain it…nor could they explain the multitude of minerals found on our world alone…let alone throughout the universe. So their insisted belief on science is little more than ‘faith.’ Their attack on ‘faith’ is blatant hypocrisy.

  • redd1

    The issues concerning these two women, Bristol Palin and Prejean have little in common. Prejean was sandbagged in a beauty contest over a political inquiry. These women are interviewing for a job. How many people need to disclose their political views to obtain employment? Furthermore, Prejean was insulted by the panelist, an openly gay man, later on in one of his blogs. He was an employee of the pageant, and as such was subject to their rules. Prejean should consider a lawsuit against the pageant and Perez Hilton. Bristol Palin and her boyfriend should not have been subjected to this kind of scrutiny. This is what happened when Sarah Palin sought national office. It would be better for the family, and their young son, if someone helped the young parents with their education. There’s alot of harping going on and not alot of helping. If you care so much, set up an educational fund for the parents so they can earn a living to support the child. What I’ve seen so far is foolishness.

  • Chops2

    I admired Bristol intitially when she said abstinence is unrealistic. She was brave and more realistic than her mother.That she is now a champion for abstinence only education is a sincere dissapointment and she has lost all credibility. Rather than articulate a position to encompass all forms of sex ed, she has buried her head in the sand as her mother does on social issues.I dont know, but I fear that she has been forced/pressured into this for Sarah’s political career. It makes her look like a hypocrite and is frankly embarrasing. She truly is a Palin.

  • roboturkey

    The eye REQUIRES the Miss America Pageant, thus causing the evolution of spectacular swimsuits.

  • RichardBunn

    Wow, All kinds of attacks on the article but no one saying this isn’t a problem. The comments on how the media and entertainment industry have been a contributing factor are understated. Look at MTV, VH1, and other youth entertainment and it’s all about sex. Like someone once said in a song “sex sells!”. If your a wealthy socialite you can afford to be a single parent, but for most single moms, both the mom and the kids suffer a great deal. Now a great deal has been suggested that WE the people don’t do enough to support these poor single moms. Maybe if we didn’t support them as much as we do the young girls would think harder about what happens when they have a baby out of wedlock. Why should those of us who do not have this problem be forced to pay for others stupidity?The cure is for the entertainment industry to cut back on the sex and for those who champion single parenthood to look beyond their status to what their example causes.Our biology causes a desire for sex, hard wired into the gene pool. But as humans we should be able to suppress the primal urges. When a young lady has a baby out of wedlock, the law should force the father to step forward and take some perminent responsibility. Why should these guys be allowed to walk away and place the cost on society? It should be support your child or go to jail.

  • lainey681

    I’m a little confused by your article. Which are you more concerned with: teen sexuality or gay marriage?I have to say, I really take issue with your calling children ‘illegitimate’. A child is legitimate, regardless of the circumstances of its birth. I am a parent of an ‘illegitimate’ child. She is a straight ‘A’ student with a good head on her shoulders. Granted, I wasn’t a teen when I had her, but I still take issue with your label.Secondly, your attacks on the ‘black church’ borderlines on racist–are ‘black’ churches the only ones protesting gay marriage?As a Christian, I would agree that there are too many teens having children; however, there are even more teens that are having sex, which is the underlying problem. We tell kids that it’s okay to explore their sexuality. We titillate them with explicit TV shows, movies and music videos. We laugh at abstinence programs, and tell kids we really don’t expect them to save their virginity until marriage. We tell them to wear condoms (which have less than an 80% effective rate); yet we get angry when they end up pregnant. What’s wrong with this picture? It’s okay to get out there and play, but don’t get caught. That’s the message we send, and then we snub our noses at the ones who’ve been ‘caught’. We are a hypocritical society.Sex outside of the bounds of heterosexual marriage is wrong. Period. That’s the message we should send our kids. Maybe then we’d see a decrease in ‘illegitimate’ sex.

  • merrill1

    Ms. Palin and Ms. Prejean exemplify nothing more than two dim girls who steered their life into a ditch believing that either beauty or boyfriend was a goal. Neither is an authority on anything nor does either deserve to be a spokesperson for anything.How about we ask a female premed or female physicist about abstinence, education, religion, and duty to building a better society? These are the people who know how to make smart choices in a complex world, not “models” and “teen moms.”

  • billy8

    Who knew this would turn into “Barrack Hussein is a baby-killer!”?

  • takeadeepbreath

    Wow, I thought we were long past referring to children born out of wedlock as “illegitimate?” No wonder the odds are so stacked against them in some cases.

  • roboturkey

    Ric Hardbunn saidGood luck with that. I suppose there are a few who can even try. I’m with Prospero in the Tempest:Look, thou be true; do not give dalliance

  • liberalrepublican

    If i’ve lived with my significant other out of wedlock for 12 yrs and we have a son, why is he considered illegitimate? i don’t believe in god or the silly piece of paper that states we’ll stay together through sickness and in health. We’ve stayed together longer than most married couples and will do so to the end. How is my son any different than any other child? the whole talk of illegitimacy is ridiculous. why not talk of responsibility?

  • juuliska

    “Nothing human is alien to me.” – AristotleSex is not a retardation of nature. Condemning in a religious context, someone’s sexual inclinations from being expressed will not eliminate them (whether they are gay or straight). However, proselytizing that one’s sexual proclivities are evil or morally wrong creates retardations in otherwise natural behavior. Shame leads to selfish, closeted behavior.”The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” -Mahatma Gandhi

  • imiga

    Relative to all the hoopla about Carrie Prejean; ya know what, after viewing earlier life photos, seeing the hair color change, learning that she (Carrie Prejean – Miss California and 1st runner up Miss USA) had enhancing breast implant surgery, noting that she has moderate scoliosis and that all the fake stuff distracts one from recognizing that she really is not that gorgeously pretty, I have come to the conclusion that any Miss USA contender should be real (the original). So not really worth viewing a fake, one might get just as much pleasure out of viewing an anime.

  • st50taw

    Bristol Palin realizes she made a mistake–she’s trying to help other young ladies to wait until they are married.She will no doubt save hundreds of young women from making the horrible mistake of pre-marital sex.Pre-marital sex isn’t a “horrible mistake”. If it was, most of my friends and I would be facing the consequences. There weren’t any that I can think of. If done with the proper precautions and with reasonable emotional and educational preparation, the act itself isn’t a problem. It’s the lack thereof that is the problem.Kids are going to do it – period. We need to get past that and prepare them to think twice and then take precautions.

  • oracle2world

    Nice article.Anyone forgetting about evolution here? The most closely conserved behaviors are related to reproduction, and any abberation rapidly leaves the gene pool. Simply put, the behaviors of women who put off having children until they can’t have any, for whatever reason, immediately leave the gene pool.I mean we all study the theory of evolution, and those laws hold for all species, and we wouldn’t want to make any exceptions that would make people above all other plants and animals, like the creationists. Would we?So life finds a way, and only those that reproduce with or without permission of the high priests of the day, bring forth the next generation.Back in the olden days when everyone lived on a farm, this wasn’t an issue. Teens married young and another farm hand was always welcomed.But kids are such an annoyance in cities, and best to put off having kids until, well, the Bristol Palins of the world fill in the shortfall.Any questions? I mean the science is settled on this one.

  • roboturkey

    well put oracle2world. With rampaging world population growth I don’t think the human procreation instinct is being stifled by anything. When the hormone siren goes off it is impossible to ignore.I agree with one previous poster: chances are good that Bristol will be pregnant by another guy out of wedlock. I say before her ma can try another run in 2012.

  • demtse

    As long as its only white teen girls having babies out of wedlock its. A-OK. They are given a pass. But when minority teen girls do the same, they are label as irresponsible and lazy.

  • Paganplace

    OK, CCNL, who seems to have managed to take *all* the worst parts of Christianity and retain not a *glimmer* of anything open beyond our little mortal crania….”How in the world do we get this situation under control?Your problem is that of *all* things about sexuality, all you can *see* …even when ‘researching’ lesbianism via ‘girl-on-girl-porn made to capitalize on your kinkiness…. Your problem, CCNL, and in fact most Christian authorities, is that you see such a *big* part of human life, and all you can *see* is a need to control. Frankly, I think you ought to get right with your frustrated alpha primate instincts, you know those that also make Christians start throwing stinky things….And get right with those, before you even start defining ‘problems.’ You claim to be so rational, but it’s clear you have nothing but fear and anger to define your *goals.* Again like Christian authorities. Your expectations are taught in terms made by people who were dumb enough to think their requirements of the time would be needed and enforceable, for all time. If you can’t see that this won’t control people who are biologically in their most intense sexual life-experiences, I don’t know what I can tell you. Except that people who talk like you *do* often seem to find a way to both exploit youngsters *and* demand more repression. Guess they’re motivated, that way. We’re the adults, now. We can do better.

  • mobedda

    When people fight reality for long enoug, they give up. People are designed to procreate concurrent with puberty. Gay people are gay and want to have sex with eachother without making a big deal out of it. We need to make reality easier to live with. We can try it any way you like for a while, but we’ll get back to dealing with reality sooner or later.

  • ernesthua

    To those bozo’s with serious problems about the word “illegitimate” …Dude, kiss my grits.That word was invented by men who needed to possess women as property and produce offsprings that bare their name and receive their inheritance.That was was here LONG BEFORE I was ever born, so go …. yourself, and get a clue about language. There is a real issue here, and you are going off on a irrelevant tangent by flipping out over a word.Did you read even bother to read the rest of the article?It wasn’t that long, and the concepts not that difficult.

  • michael_from_sydney

    WMARKW (at 4:59pm May 6) – what a breath of fresh air your remark was! Common sense in under 50 words. For your first two reasons alone, all devout Christians ought to oppose any attempt by governments to punish or shame parents of children out of wedlock. How dare a society punish innocent children in its zeal to punish their parents. This is what King Herod did to the Holy Innocents 2000 years ago in his zeal to destroy the infant Messiah. How dare a society give additional active encouragement to young women to cover up an unwanted pregancy, then punish her further for actually acting on that inducement. This is what the elders did to the adulteress they wanmted to stone to death. Jesus shamed them, then saved and forgave her. Men like them slept with women like her, then ganged up to cover up their own guilt by fixing it on the women. This is just the sort of hypocrisy Jesus condemned above all else.I don’t agree that your third point is a valid reason to opposed attempts to shame or punish illegitimate children, but I can see your heart is definitely in the right place here as well.

  • pilgrim1629

    Isn’t there a more Christian word we could use to refer to these innocent children than “illegitimate”?

  • ernesthua

    vancemack …Dude, you are debating Evolution versus Creationism in a Washington Post blog about teen sex and unwanted pregnancies.Perhaps you should try a scientific forum?You Creationism nuts seem to want to debate this stuff anywhere BUT in a scientific forum. I am assuming, of course, that you aren’t lying when you say that scientific evidence contradicts evolution.What are you afraid of?No one is holding you back.I’m sure you’ll be famous for coming up with new theories that are better supported by the evidence.We are all waiting with bated breath …

  • chrisronin

    Interesting that the mayor says that the black community is against giving a minority civil liberties…when they’ve only just gained a foothold themselves.

  • chrisronin

    @PILGRIM1629The Christian term for “illegitimate” is “bastard”.

  • Sapiando

    Human beings have procriated as teenagers since the beginning of times. Most women of 13 y. old are ready to have a baby. How did we arrive at this culture that this is so much a problem and prohibited? Why and how can we go against millions of years of evolution?

  • pepperjade

    Levi Johnston is the poster boy for birth control.

  • pepperjade

    Levi Johnston is the poster boy for birth control. Unless you want your daughter to end up with some hillbilly baby daddy like Levi, make sure she understands how contraception works.Parents like Sarah Palin believe if you educate your children about birth control, you are giving them permission to have sex. I believe if you fail to educate them about birth control, you are giving them permission to procreate, even if you tell them just say no.

  • exbrown

    POSTED BY: WMARKW. “It’s most common among politically-incorrect-to-attack groups like blacks” Why do you think it is so common amongst these groups you want to attack but feel pressured not too? If these “politically incorrect groups to attack” have a high rate of child birth out of wedlock you can thank the dominate US society as a whole for creating the circumstances for it to prosper. A couple of hundred years of chattel slavery which did not permit the enslaved to marry, followed by another 100 plus years of Jim Crow segregation with lack of opportunity that made it difficult to afford to get married, and a social welfare system that aggressively discouraged marriage and this is what you get.

  • Paganplace

    It’d also be a good start, if ‘ilegitimate’ children are your problem, Christians, …start acknowledging other circumstances than your own as not your place to call ‘illegitimate.’ Gods, this isn’t that hard. You claim to ‘love life,’ insist people be born to circumstances you can always call ‘illegitimate’ if you so choose, and then wonder why it’s no real system at all.

  • CaseyGoodDog

    Teen pregnancy is a complicated issue. The teen mothers are left holding the bag. In order for children not to suffer for the “sins” of their parents, in most cases the government pays for the prenatural care, birth, after birth medical, daycare, food and supplements housing. Makes you wonder if the true break down in marriage of these couples started when it became more financially feasible to be a single mom, than a responsible couple. Unfortunately the need for government sponsored programs had to do with children not suffering when their mothers needed to be divorced because they were abused, among other reasons. There was a time in this country that if a woman became a widow or divorced her husband she had no choice but to put her children up for adoption. Where are the fathers of these children? Off making more children with other girls? If we want to bring religion into this, then it becomes obvious that the churches have done a poor job in teaching young people values. Perhaps if the black ministers whom are so outraged by marriage equality would expend the same energy on helping those within their own communities the teen pregnancy issue would decrease. Yet, they spend their time trying to prevent equal rights for couples who can only have children through a long, thoughtful and responsible process. Makes you wonder what their motivation is. I’ve often wondered how it can be that the black community who claims to be so religious that marriage equality is unacceptable also has the highest rates of teen, unwed mothers. Strange…..

  • charlietuna666

    as pretty and desirable as these two are, is it any wonder the male sex drive wouldn’t want to impregnate either of them?

  • _kt_

    “Why aren’t Mormon leaders opposing polygamous relationships (which are common) rather than polygamy (which is not)?”Are you kidding? Mormon teenagers get the importance of chastity preached to them constantly. Abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage are absolute requirements. The Mormon church takes that stuff really seriously, and church leaders who mess around get excommunicated. In contrast, they spend no time in church preaching against polygamy because no one wants to do it anyway. “Poygamous relationships (which are common)”? That’ll get you thrown right out of the church. If you focus on “illegitimate children,” you’re kind of late. Religion focuses on keeping sex within marriage.

  • patmatthews

    “There are no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents,” Witte says.Perhaps it is statements like this that takes thge focus away from unwanted children to the usual finger pointing, while the unwanted children languish in kisery at eh behest oof the catholic Churhc and others that are inactive in unwanted children or grown up unwanted children.There are plenty of unwanted illegitimate children that are unwanted by either parent.Patrick

  • jjjjjjj

    Why is a woman with fake breasts who posed nude or partially nude as a teenager allowed to marry — legally and within the christian church — whereas two lesbians, who would NEVER do such things, are not? Why aren’t ALL people who have the propensity and desire to create long term, committed, and stable relationships allowed to do so legally, regardless of sexual orientation? Why do some conservative christians fear the prospect of additional stable, committed couples on the planet? How come all I ever see in the media are reports of yet another wife murdered or beaten by her husband — her face blown off, set on fire, whatever — and yet all of those relationships were legally sanctioned and probably conducted in a church somewhere, simply because one person possessed a vagina and the other a penis?

  • sunflower571

    I blame our “anything goes” society. Back in the days of my grandparents it was shocking to have a child out of wedlock and the parents would have a shot-gun wedding. Not ideal to get married that young but at least the kids grew up in a two household home.

  • robinsnest

    I was a teen mom – at 17. My daughter was born prematurely and died two days later (this was not due to age, but a medical condition). I was raised a “good” Catholic – and “good” Catholic girls get married in this circumstance, so I did. Huge mistake. I was no more ready to be married than I was to be a mom. And, being married meant sex was okay, which meant two more babies in two years (I had lots of medical problems associated with multiple forms of birth control, making not having babies tough). I love my children, but being a child with children was tough for me and for them.

  • willemkraal

    bristol should have used protection before she allowed 8 inches to enter her body, even though she said she kept her legs crossed and prayed!!! what a girl!! do we have a great country or not i ask you fellow americans??

  • bevjims1

    Its actually rather simple. The religious believe in forgiveness IF you believe in God. So Bristol is forgiven for her sin. Prejean talks about family values, etc, so it doesn’t matter what her past was. Its who they are now and so all is forgiven. And although pre-marital sex is an absolute no-no, having a baby out of weblock is good because the alternative is abortion, a no-no, so Bristol did a “good thing”.It really is no different than watching the fundamentalists building museums with humans hunting and taming dinosaurs. They ignore facts of archeology and evolution for the belief in an old books speculations. When you can ignore reality for a belief, then all else is possible, including teen mothers being examples on how not to be a teen mother, or a teen model in provacative poses being an example of family values for teens. I wonder if these same people would take financial advice from someone who maxed out their credit cards, had their homes forclosed and no job. My guess, probably, if the person said they were putting their life in God’s hands.

  • stevehoeschele

    Jeers to the writers/Washington Post for using the term “scourge of illegitimacy.” Slavery is a scourge; school shootings are a scourge. You know what’s not a scourge? A baby made by two people who don’t have a certificate from the state.I’m glad you challenge conventional notions with the line, “There are no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents.” Still, perfectly legitimate humans have been producing perfectly legitimate babies for thousands of years before societal ideas of marriage developed.Please don’t call any person “illegitimate.”

  • EarlC

    To keep a campaign going, Sarah Palin pushed unwed, teenage pregnancy in our faces. This event comes from the “just say no” crowd who got caught in this dilemma and had to find a way to glorify it. Awareness is one thing, using poor roll models to push this agenda is another. At the same time that the Palin crowd was pitching this, they were encouraging the most vile attacks I have even seen in a national campaign against the opposition. Fortunatetly, I do not have to push my response or this issue. I know that God will have the ultimate voice in this matter. Hypocrites will not go unpunished.

  • rohitcuny

    Male chauvinism is certainly a problem, but a problem just as big is feminist chauvinism, which is abetted by society and the law. The current laws are written solely from the point of view of what women want, and there is little consideration for the rights of well meaning fathers. There is a tacit assumption that all fathers are “dead beat dads”, “wife abusers”, etc and in our anger we write laws which leave the father out of the picture because he is a “bad guy”. The result is that men feel disenfranchised. If marriage gives you no rights, why get married? If you want men back in the picture, try to use more carrots and fewer sticks.

  • tiredalready

    I agree with the writer that teen pregnancy and the acceptance of rampant reproduction by anyone at any time, and and unlimited number of times, are far more dangerous to the health — all kinds of health — of our country than any flu. If you don’t think it’s a problem, or if you think it’s a problem only of one skin color or another, come to the deep south. You will be absolutely amazed at the ever-increasing numbers of pregnant women of any and all ages, races, religions, and probably even sexual preference. There is a very dangerous population explosion in this country and I believe it will eat us alive in not too many years. I believe everyone is to blame: the media for promoting sex over and over and over all day long for any product and every product, the churches for not teaching the dangers of sin (go ahead, snicker, the problem is still there and I don’t know how anyone can think what happens to most of the children after conception and birth is not a sin), parents for not giving a darn but just loving having a grandbaby to show off, the schools for allowing anyone in any stage of pregnancy to be in class (yeah, i know they need education but …), politicians for being too scared to try to legislate morality (yeah, I know, it can’t done but it is sure is done in other areas that don’t involve little pink and blue bundles)and every other institution we can name. I would like to be able to accuse one “culture” down here of being the most prevalent because I have literally heard young black girls being chastized for not having a baby, but the problem really knows no definable borders any more. And before you call me racist, check your own conscience first. There are differences in what people of all categories believe and promote and value. It is a very sad situation and we will reap the consequences much longer than we will reap those of irresponsible bankers and other financial genuises. If you think it’s not a dire situation, make friends with someone who works with abused children and listen to some of the stories they can share. What is the answer? Heck if I know. I just know that kids need to think beyond the moment and realize that poverty — because that is usually the end result — sucks. And adults need to be doing whatever they can to see that their future and this country’s future depends on them realizing that, among other truths.

  • logcabin1836

    Yes its true that 38% of all births in the US are illegitmate. And did you know that the highest rates of those illegitmate births were in “Red” States in the South and Mid-West.

  • teammugs

    you republicants had 12 years to pass laws against abortion and gay marriage when you had a majority in congress- plus you had a bonehead in the oval office to sign the bills – why didn’t that happen- why aren’t you holding those on the right responsible – I wonder how many republicant doctors are gainfully employed performing abortions and what is the position of the Log Cabin Republicants on gay marriage…look in the mirror

  • rosepetals64

    This article is mixing up teen pregnancy with illegitimacy in general. If you want more marriage among parents, get rid of the marriage penalty in the tax code and certain federal benefit programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. It just costs too much money for some people to get married. For teen pregnancy (whether they get married or not is really not the issue, because then you just get a higher divorce rate), the answer is lots more sex education and access to birth control in schools, at churches, at home, in the subway, at the boys and girls clubs, in the pharmacy, wherever.

  • bevjims1

    charko825 wrote: “Bristol Palin realizes she made a mistake–she’s trying to help other young ladies to wait until they are married.”But before she said telling kids to just not have sex was unrealistic. She now says that was taken out of context, but I don’t see how a statement like that can be interpreted in a different way. And she is right, on the whole it is unrealistic. charko825 wrote: “Bristol is totally awesome–a young lady who has character.”Bristol is not the first teen to find herself in this situation. Where are all the awesome inner-city black teens with their babies. Oh yea, they are called welfare moms and are using our tax money to support their babies. My message to my teen daughter: Bristol is not awesome. She’s a good example of a stupid teen who lied to her parents and is not holding the boy responsible, and now she’s only famous because her mom is famous. Her friends graduated high school, unlike Bristol, and are living normal lives. Bristol’s life may become normal someday, maybe.charko825 wrote: “She will no doubt save hundreds of young women from making the horrible mistake of pre-marital sex.”No, teens who are thinking of having sex will see Bristol in your terms, totally awesome, and will learn that even having a baby when you are a teen can get you on TV. Oh, and taking your clothes off as a teen model can make you a Miss USA winner. If you think kids see it differently you are deluding yourself to thinking that teens think like mature adults. Far from it. What teens need are role models who made the right decisions, not glamorous people who made the wrong decisions but still came out on top.

  • aepelbaum

    Teenage pregnancies are wrong for mothers and for their babies, who are expected to be taken care of by parents of teenage mother or by state, as, otherwise, the care would be insufficient. The promotion of teenage sexuality produces numerous lolitas-home breakers for many households, which is very bad for children in these households. Such promotion also shapes lives of these lolitas. Usually the glamorous ones are following, and they-themselves, and their loving relatives would not want to prohibit them these glamorous lives. The conclusion is: all these teenage sex queens should know well that sex is one thing and reproduction is just another. It is a kind of the same tendency as with the same sex marriages – everything is aimed against healthy reproduction. Sad, is it not?

  • AnnsThought

    I applaud Bristol Palin for her remarks yesterday. Abstinence is the correct behavior. Bill Moyers produced a program years ago, in which he concluded that young girls who believed they had a future were more likely than not to say no to the pressure to have sex. The future that they saw for themselves looked bright, and they did not want to ruin their chances.Girls who felt they had no opportunities were more likely to be reckless and have pre-marital sex.We need more mentors for young girls. We need strong women who will advise these girls that sexual promiscuity won’t liberate them; it will only give them a reputation. I have always found the word “illegitimate” so offensive. I too thought we were long past using that offensive word. If you are a believer, then you know that all children are a gift from God. God places the child in the womb. So how can humans say it is illegitimate? God doesn’t want people to have sex outside of marriage; but if He chooses to give a child, it must be for a greater good to serve His purpose.

  • readerny

    Why is this discussion about teen girls and not the men who impregnate teen girls? Regarding Ms. Prejean, if she is so in favor of “traditional marriage,” would she please stop flaunting her body in front of married men? Thank you.

  • markscheuer

    Kudos to Dr. Witte for pointing out the horrible stigma the word “illegitimate” places on a child. Shame on anyone who attaches that word to a child.

  • va2bkk

    The author is misguided in his criticisms of Catholic and Mormon leaders. Regarding Catholics, does the author really think that communion should be denied to “illegitimate parents” indefinitely? Of course, sexual sin is serious, but Catholics and other Christians also believe in forgiveness and being allowed to move forward. Just because the church is not unduly punitive does not mean they don’t take the problem seriously. Regarding Mormons, I just want to echo previous comments to the effect that Mormons do take abstinence before marriage and monogamy within marriage very seriously; the emphasis on polygamy originates with the mass media, not church leadership. I think overall churches do more good than harm when it comes to this issue.

  • bevjims1

    AnnsThought wrote: “If you are a believer, then you know that all children are a gift from God. God places the child in the womb. So how can humans say it is illegitimate? God doesn’t want people to have sex outside of marriage; but if He chooses to give a child, it must be for a greater good to serve His purpose. So what are you telling people here? That God does not want you to have sex outside marriage but if you decide to do so, and get pregnant, it was not your fault, God put the baby there? I find your logic quite twisted but its not the first time I’ve heard it. I heard it when we found out Bristol was pregnant and her mother announced that the baby was a gift from God that Bristol would not abort, to the cheers of many. Sorta like cheering Bernie Madoff when he admitted he was guilty. I really doubt that if your teen came home and said she was pregnant you would not drop to your knees and thank God for his “gift”, except maybe to other people of course as Sarah Palin exemplified.

  • Utahreb

    Bristol and Carrie are not what good examples should be for young women and teen-age girls. If you want an example to discourage teen pregnancy, then a teen mother in a homeless shelter with no high school diploma, no home, no family support, no father of the baby in sight, and no job would be a better example than Bristol.As for Carrie – seems a little hypocritical to be complaining about losing the Miss America title because of her ill-thought-out remarks about same sex marriage when she has had ill-thought-out actions in the past. And what is all this about breast implants? I thought the Miss America contest was for “natural” beauties and not augmented breasts.

  • bevjims1


  • ekim53

    Why Why Why Who are you people that ask these questions? Why did many reject Jesus when He walked the earth? Why do people wind up in prison when we have free schooling, social programs more than you can count and penalties for breaking the law? More programs? We’ve had a war on poverty for 50 years, spending billions…we have the same amount of poverty if not more. How do you change the will of people or should you? Communist countries and Islamic countries have strict control over the freedoms and will of their people but look at the results.

  • lcarter0311

    We are against illegitimacy. But, there are so many teenage mother’s walking around with babies that it has become the norm. Additionally, many of the parents of the these teenage mother’s and father’s have truly not been in their children’s lives to parent them. So, before they know it, the child is pregnant. These kids are looking for love and wanting to be loved, but do not realize what real love is.In other words, many of the parents of these teenagers are already emotionally messed up themselves and do not know how to provide to their children what is really needed, which is love, guidance, and direction. The bigger question that I have, is why would Sarah Palin allow her daughter to be peddled around on National T.V., telling her story about being a teenage mother? Teenage pregnancy is NOT new. This problem did not just start with Bristol Palin and she should not be the poster child for speaking on this highly ‘sensitive’ issue. It seems to me that Sarah Palin is using her own daughter to find empathy amongst the masses, so that she can run for office again in 2012.

  • bevjims1

    readerny wrote: “Why is this discussion about teen girls and not the men who impregnate teen girls?”Good question. And as someone else pointed out, in the past there would have been a shotgun wedding. The word is Bristol and Levi mutually decided not to get married. No one would have asked during a shotgun wedding. And no one is questioning their mutual decision even though it means the baby will grow up without a father in the house. These kids are being let off easy, even applauding approvingly, by those who come down hard on other kids in the same situation.readerny wrote: “Regarding Ms. Prejean, if she is so in favor of “traditional marriage,” would she please stop flaunting her body in front of married men? Thank you.”Well, when you hear the very religious talk about how without religion people would just run wild, commiting crime, having sex with anyone, etc, even though that may not make sense to you, it makes sense to them, for a reason.

  • LifeBeforePrinciple

    We must change morality and re-structure society.1. Do away with the institution of marriage. Allow people to have relationships that can change and end. 2. Move away from the nuclear family structure. Live in larger groups. Do away with houses designed for the nuclear family. Develop societal nurseries that nurture children born from relationships. Allow parents to be as involved as they want in the child’s life.3. Allow teenagers to have babies. This arrangement eliminates the problems inherent in our current structure and is less stressful on everyone.

  • sunflower571

    Why don’t we talk about personal responsibility? Really these days there are so many forms of affordable birth control readily available that no one should get pregnant unless they are trying. I just have to feel bad for the kids of these people who can’t keep their own lives under control.

  • 84erbl

    Today’s society does not insist on self-control or emphasize the fact that there are consequences for actions and decisions. To say that abstinence is just too far-fetched to work as a deterrent against teen pregnancy is not only ridiculous (it’s the only method that works 100% of the time) but it’s also a clear indicator of the very unfortunate but typical attitude of today’s society. Control myself until the appropriate time (marriage)? No, no. That’s restrictive. I’ll just hope I can avoid the consequences.

  • smckaho420

    First and foremost, if a teenager becomes pregnant, I blame the parents for not educating their children on this issue. Secondly, this is another key reason as to why abortion is a necessary evil.

  • sunflower571

    I agree parents should educate their children more and they should also express high expectations. I knew my whole family would have been very disappointed in me had I become pregnant out of wedlock so it was never an option for me.

  • bs2004

    There is a fundamental disconnect between Fundamentalists and the, ah, “real world.”Ask pious people if they’ve ever heard the three words “baby mama drama” spoken in a row, and they’re confused. Saliva drools out of their mouths. Their eyes roll back in their heads. They delve into psychobabble.Bamas.

  • whocares666

    Maybe Bristol Palin missed this during her “home schooling”. Bas⋅tard -  noun, a person born of unmarried parents; an illegitimate child.

  • dlkimura

    Great.An article about to brainless bimbos.

  • bevjims1

    ekim53 wrote: “Why do people wind up in prison when we have free schooling, social programs more than you can count and penalties for breaking the law?”Its not a new phenomenon, but I attribute it to providing kids with nothing but school. Even summer jobs are hard to come by. Kids have no life outside of school unless they are athletic. Kids need to be included in society, not stuffed into schools and forgotten until they are 18. We need a teen jobs program to provide a job, no matter how small, for every teen. It could be volunteer work, 10 hours a week, etc. Something for them to be proud of and feel like they are part of the general society.ekim53 wrote: “More programs? We’ve had a war on poverty for 50 years, spending billions…we have the same amount of poverty if not more.”Poverty is relative. In the 60s I remember the extended bellies of kids in Appalachia who had no shoes, tatered clothing and unheated homes. I remember people literally starving. I remember people begging from door to door in my well-to-do neighborhood. Today no one in America is starving and anyone who wants it can have a roof over their heads. Much has been improved through government sponsored social programs. What we call poverty today would have been a godsend for anyone in poverty 50 years ago.ekim53 wrote: “Raising your children in righteousness and love is the best we can do, that’s the importance of families. The fight is not of the flesh but of principalities. We are ALL sinners but we don’t have to stay there. Peter denied Jesus, Paul killed Christians. Government programs have done a lot. Just look how we lived after the last major economic collapse and compare that to today. But we should all learn from the major point in this article: Kids who see no future, even if we can see one for them, will act out destructively. Give a kid a solid future and they will work to not screw it up. So, you can either recite biblical passages and throw up your hands, or you can learn what statistical analysis of the problem is telling us and do something to provide not only your kids with a forseeably bright future, but also any kid you know.

  • Comrade01

    @Jaaaacobim Perhaps you can provide a list of babies President Barack Obama has killed, since you claim to be so high and mighty.

  • sunflower571

    BEVJIMS1 what are you talking about there are no jobs for kids? I worked as a preteen and teen as did my brother. Maybe you should stop looking for the government to hand you opportunities and you should open your eyes and see the opportunities around you. And I am sure that any teen could find somewhere to volunteer. That is the problem with our society today-people like you who want to sit back and be handed things rather than looking on their own.

  • madison_dines

    This is all really simple you know.Mandatory birth control for under 18 year olds.Free, readily available birth control for anyone over 18.People are going to have sex. Period. There is nothing that will make them less likely to have sex. Teenage pregnancy is rampant within the christian community, case in point.The only way to put a dent in the amount of teenage pregnancies is to assume that every teenager is going to have sex, and then force them to take contraceptives.Yes, this is completely draconian (though honestly, if someone told me I had to take free, government issued birth control I would do so with much gusto and happiness) but this really comes down to the fact that contraceptives are not readily available.Really, we should be subsidizing birth control and making the processes to get it much easier. Education about contraceptives, showing people where to get it, and making it free will cover such a huge portion of unwanted teenage pregnancies, that only the teens who want to get pregnant or are just that stupid will.

  • analyst72

    Sex is the driving force of the animal kingdom, like or not. That’s how we were all “made’. Abstinence is something you can preach to an adult, who is supposed to have better control of himself but to an adolescence whose, hormones are awakening with extraordinary NATURAL force, is absurd and counterproductive.

  • pamelahart

    There are a few proactive non-profit organizations in the city that offer support to teen mothers and their babies. One such organization is called Young Lives DC. If you don’t want to be in the ambivalent category, get involved today. Check us out at:

  • mac7

    This is a social issue and a pregnant teen who had a baby is not one to be giving advice to anyone. She is the one who needs education and advice. Besides as for Bristol Palin–what better way to get yourself out there to find herself a rich man. An older man will come along and get himself a young bride and they will go off like Cinderella and the prince and live happily ever after. Not

  • bevjims1

    sunflower571 wrote: “BEVJIMS1 what are you talking about there are no jobs for kids? I worked as a preteen and teen as did my brother.”Maybe I should have worded that better. There are jobs but kids are not required to get a job when in high school. The only positive reinforcement these kids get from work is when they work at home (mowing the lawn, etc) or from good grades. What I’m advocating is that kids be required to work even a few hours per week on a regular basis, say starting in 10th grade. It can be a regular paid job as you described (and I also did when in high school), or something provided through the school system, such as tutoring elementary kids, candy striping at a hospital, etc. We teach kids in school all the skills they will need in a job but we never require working in a job. And it would not have to be government provided work but the schools could coordinate it.sunflower571 wrote: “Maybe you should stop looking for the government to hand you opportunities and you should open your eyes and see the opportunities around you.”I lived through the 70s when even as an adult, due to the severe recessions back then, jobs were very hard to find. Government does provide opportunities which should not be belittled just because they come from government. I remember republicans belittling midnight basketball programs yet for many kids that was all they had in life that was of importance. I think a job would have been better though.sunflower571 wrote: “And I am sure that any teen could find somewhere to volunteer. That is the problem with our society today-people like you who want to sit back and be handed things rather than looking on their own.”I agree, but who is going to prod the teenager who would rather sit at home and watch TV all year long? We require parents to educate their kids by telling them that if they do not send them to private schools on their own they MUST send them to public schools. All I am advocating is that the requirement include some sort of work to give the child work experience. It can be work the child finds on their own or it can be work the government finds for the child. It would be modeled on the community service requirements for graduation many school districts now have. Not every kid knows how to go out and find a job, not every kid wants to work, not every kid has parents who will help in the process. All I’m saying is that every kid should get out of high school with work experience, and the school would be the place for this to be managed.

  • laughternforgetting

    Maybe a problem lies in making a distinction between “legitimate” and “illegitimate” births. When nearly 40% of children are born of parents who are not married to each other, is it still “illegitimate”? It seems to me that such births must now be considered “legitimate.” Perhaps as a nation we need to support the raising of all our nation’s children. Other nations provide free health care for all children and free or low-cost high-quality day care. It is time to stop denigrating and slandering these children by calling them “illegitimate.”

  • Paganus

    VA@BKK wrote: “Of course, sexual sin is serious, but Catholics and other Christians also believe in forgiveness and being allowed to move forward. Just because the church is not unduly punitive does not mean they don’t take the problem seriously.”That is not the point. From the Catholic perspective at least, there should be no question. BTB, I am not a practicing Catholic, so don’t yell at me. This is just the Church’s position, as best I understand it. Those who have had sex out of wedlock, whether or not they have had a child, have committed a mortal sin. Without confession, they cannot participate in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist. So if an unmarried couple, with or without children, continue to come to mass, week after week, they are either in a state of mortal sin or are making a mockery of another sacrament: confession. Either way, the priest should not allow them to participate in communion.

  • ConcernedInvestor

    To all of you bible tards out there claiming that children born out of wedlock are illegitimate, what about Cain and Abel, the children born of Eve and Adam, out of wedlock… hum? Good foundation for your beliefs you freakin hypocrites…

  • vancemack

    Mr Waters…just what IS your point? That people dont ‘do’ Christianity your way they are somewhat less than? My…how judgmental and holier than thou of you!Bristol Palin speaks to HER position. She made mistakes. She is advocating a better path. God forgive her for not being as perfect as a Washington Post writer. Thank GOODNESS you are perfect so you have all those stones to cast!Miss Prejean took a principled stand on a national stage when given the opportunity to take a cheap, politically correct stance. And you bash her…for…what exactly? Ive seen the photos. God forbid there be sexuality or modeling or advertisement. And…umm…isnt it just a LITTLE hypocritical of the pageant when her swimsuit competition was at LEAST as revealing as the other photos?Catholics…damn you! break out the stones…come on…kill the sinners! Mormons…well…Im sure you dont fit the authors model for “Christian” status anyway. Seriously…You write an article and slam two VERY young woman that are making principled stands in todays day and age? May God bless them for their actions and forgive them (and forgive me too…cuz…hey…I make these girls look like saints and angels) their imperfections. And when I face the holy troika (God, Jesus, and apparently, Mr Waters) may the first two be more loving and forgiving and nonjudgemental than the last.

  • hyjanks

    “Why aren’t Catholic bishops withholding communion from illegitimate parents?”Oh,I don’t know. Could it be that they are still wrestling with the Illegitimate sex with choir boys by Catholic priests thingy?

  • hyphen_va

    I actually like this article and the questions it presents toward where the root(s) of “our” societal problems may lie. However, with that being said what I do not agree with is the consistent error in reporting statistical data. Read the charts people,

  • davidsawh

    No assistance whatsoever should be given to any teenager who chooses to have a child. People who cannot even support themselves should not have children. Don’t care if they are brown, black or blue. Have all the sex you want but don’t assume it is more moral to have a child than to get rid of those cells. Those brats are going to grow up and murder people.

  • vancemack

    Hyphen…first, your link doesnt work…second…your explanation of statistics ignores the point. If there are 100,000 kids and 10,000 kids have babies out of wedlock that is a SIGNIFICANT problem with 10%. If there are 10,000 kids in a certain minority population and 4,000 of those kids have babies out of wedlock that is a SIGNIFICANT problem with 40%. Simple numbers dont do justice to the problem. You HAVE to look at percentages.

  • ekim53

    Government programs have done a lot. Just look how we lived after the last major economic collapse and compare that to today. But we should all learn from the major point in this article: Kids who see no future, even if we can see one for them, will act out destructively. Give a kid a solid future and they will work to not screw it up. So, you can either recite biblical passages and throw up your hands, or you can learn what statistical analysis of the problem is telling us and do something to provide not only your kids with a forseeably bright future, but also any kid you know.Who’s throwing up their hands? The good news is that EVERYONE has the free will to do WHATEVER they want. That’s the good news. Don’t discount those bible verses, they’re truthful and ENCOURAGING. Many people don’t recognize the existence of evil and their solution is just another government program. Some people think if I dump enough government money on a problem that it will fix it. This has been proven wrong over and over again. We’re spending 5 to 10 thousand dollars on each student per semester and this administration will mistakenly spend more. MONEY is NOT the issue but it will happen any way. How do you translate money into a work ethic?

  • Renee5

    The problem is we are constantly being told not to ‘judge’ anyone’s bad behavior when that’s exactly what kept people from behaving badly for centuries.The shame of un-wed pregnancy or shacking up is pretty much gone so people just do what feels good and ignore the consequences.We all should be taught to be judgmental again.

  • Comunista

    Paganus: so you’re telling me if a priest sees a young mother holding a baby and no ring on her finger, he should just assume she’s an unwed teen mother, meaning she sinned by having pre-marital sex, and automatically withhold communion? What I hate about the whole ‘withholding communion’ thing (and this is coming from a practicing Catholic) is that much of it is relatively unenforcable by the clergy. Though they specifically administer the sacrament of confession, they’re not keeping a running tally of who they’re seeing (especially if there’s multiple priests in a parish), and so they have no idea how an individual is handling their behavior and reconciling it with the God they believe in. Ergo, it’d be disastrously presumptive for said priest to see said woman before him awaiting communion, and then refuse her the sacrament. Since it’s 99.999999%-whatever likely he isn’t intimately knowledgeable with her every action and decision in life, he has absolutely no basis to do so. And he wouldnt. Though I’d eat my hat -and get way pissed- if I ever saw that happen.

  • RichardKefalos

    Someone once pointed out to me a person described as an “illegitimate child,” so I took a closer look at the phenomenon. The child had one head, two arms, two legs, and, at least superficially, seemed to possess all the characteristics one normally associates with a human. So I concluded that yes, the individual looked like a thoroughly legitimate child to me. The people who refer to some children as “illegitimate” must have eye problems, or brain problems, whichever is the worse. The illness and resulting misperceptions seems to be especially prevalent among those bitten by the religion virus. I hope that a cure is on the horizon.

  • davidsawh

    It should be pointed out that religion is a ridiculous superstition. It clearly has not made a single believer any the better. People have to mature and not believe in their invisible friend. Just use your brains and things will improve.

  • kevin1231

    When would the authors who see themselves as guardians of morality, as a facade for their backward thinking and immorality, realize that a child born is never illegitimate. Get it through stupid head.

  • catweasel3

    This is a dumb article. Adam and eve had no marriage ceremony, okay? So get over it already.Practica1 hit the nail on the head. Get men interested in being responsible and not just looking at women and girls as sex objects, and you’ve solved most of the problem.

  • steve82

    Good Catholics are by very definition Calvinists. In another words, everything is the way GOD knows it will be. So shut up and stop complaining. If you believe in the party line, then everything is GOD’s will. If you question this tenet, you question everything else. Individual thought is not to expected from folks who’ve been programmed to turn off their brains.

  • probashi

    CCNL commented: “Develop a pill to temporarily eliminate the sex drive…..” Yes, until we find out about the side effects. And what is the rationale for justifying such drugs when teaching use of condoms and the morning-after pill are not favored by many religious groups? Strange people. One glaring fact that stands out in the position held by pro-lifers is their lack of interest in the welfare of mothers and babies after birth takes place. They spend their time railing about “murder”, “sin”,etc.,but do nothing to care for infants who need, nourishment, health care, and shelter. Their god does not do anything either.

  • andym108

    Mr. Waters asks:”Why aren’t Catholic bishops withholding communion from illegitimate parents? Why are evangelical and black church leaders campaigning for opposite-sex marriage to save the family? Why aren’t progressive Christian leaders pushing for more social programs to help children conceived out of wedlock? Why aren’t Mormon leaders opposing polygamous relationships (which are common) rather than polygamy (which is not)?”I don’t want to say that that’s a dumb question, but isn’t the answer as plain as day?The reason that these leaders aren’t following Mr. Waters’ advice is that they’ve tried it, and it’s like screaming in the desert. The people who are acting out this behavior, with all the disastrous consequences that he mentions, just don’t want to hear the message.Every society chooses to make tradeoffs, and in the cultural realm we’ve made ours. Individual autonomy and choice trumps everything else. And the consequences? Well, as Jerry Seinfeld might put it: “That’s a shame.”If stable family values are “heaven,” then as a preacher might put it, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but don’t nobody want to die.”It’s the same short range, zero attention span mentality that permeates so much of modern life, and there is NOTHING that is EVER going to be done about it—there’s simply too much money to be made by keeping things as they are.

  • kallieh

    I agree with another poster that said that the across the board no sex before marriage idea is just not going to work. I live in an area where the average age for first marriage (of women) is 35. Expecting girls to save themselves when they got married at 19 or 20 was one thing but you honestly think that it’s fair or logical to expect them to live a nun-like existance well into their 30s?The key is giving women the tools to make good decisions. Talking frankly with them about the lines guys will use to get their way, against using their sexuality as a tool or a lure for the wrong men, respecting themselves to wait for committed healthy relationships and make sure that they know that the “Sex and the City” life isn’t reality. Making sure they understand contraception options and their pros and cons is part of that.The bigger problem is that many incredibly religious households refuse to talk about sex, mention sex, talk about contraception, etc. They instead give the impression that it’s a dirty act and you will go to hell which just harms the psyche of girls and leaves them unequipped to handle relationships in the real world.

  • bevjims1

    Ekim53 wrote: “Don’t discount those bible verses, they’re truthful and ENCOURAGING.”But those verses did’t seem to have done much to help Bristol or Carrie unless a teen mom and a teen model are what all women should strive for. There will always be women who ignore the verses, but what I’m wondering about is those who value the verses holding these women up as examples of good women. When I see either on TV I tell my daughter that she does not want to end up like them, of course that is diffucult when people on TV are cheering them.Ekim53 wrote: “Many people don’t recognize the existence of evil and their solution is just another government program.”So evil is to be ignored? Why must we fight the Taliban half a world away but ignore poverty in our own streets, or those mentally challenged and cannot hold jobs?Ekim53 wrote: “Some people think if I dump enough government money on a problem that it will fix it.”It has happened you know. Do you think every government program fails? Where are the starving Americans?Ekim53 wrote: “This has been proven wrong over and over again.”Examples?Ekim53 wrote: “We’re spending 5 to 10 thousand dollars on each student per semester and this administration will mistakenly spend more. MONEY is NOT the issue but it will happen any way. How do you translate money into a work ethic?”By requiring high school kids to get a job of some sort, even voluntary. A job where the work ethic is learned by example. A job the kid can be proud of. My daughter spent a week on a habitat for humanity project. She was nervous since she is not one who likes to get dirty. She helped demo homes in coal country, where people were poor as dirt, where the local ice cream store was the only hangout for local teens. She had to wake up and show up at her worksite on time, bring her tools, was supervised by the company overseeing the demoing of the homes. She loved it and tells the story of how, when pulling down a ceiling, got a mouthful of that coal dust. It taught her more than a semester class ever could have. When I was in high school I worked at a bus boy. I learned about immigration as the INS (as it was called back them) had regular raids. I learned about waiters not sharing their tips as required. I learned about the unfairness of lazy managers. I learned there were some places you do not want to work. All kids should have these real world experiences before they graduate high school. Instead we only require them to study and watch TV with little more required. Yes, I think throwing money at giving kids work experience and bringing kids into our society as workers, even in a small way, instead of just isolating them in school, will translate into a work ethic that cannot be taught in school.

  • HarrisTheYounger

    Maybe branding 38% of American kids as ‘illegitimate’ isn’t all that useful? What an ugly term for a human. As for the parents, a great many of them are kids themselves.’Why don’t churches get involved in the issue?’ Could it be that they don’t have a solution and they know it? Could it be that they’re more concerned with the future membership than the life-conditions of those future members?

  • minco_007

    This is sooo typical of Conservatives. We need strong leadership not hypocrisy. Bristol Palins participation in this is like having a pig farmer teach me Rocket science. Kids don’t buy into this do as I say not as I do theory. An unwed high school drop-out is now speaking on behalf of values? C’mon! Who are you trying to reach? Just wayward teens? There are some good kids out there who have yet to get into trouble and don’t need these two hypocrites teaching them exceptions to the rule. Which is the example they set no matter the cause. You can put lipstick on a pig………….

  • outragex

    I wish I knew how to discourage teen births (and adult births into unsuitable situations) without stigmatizing the child. My spouse and I have an adopted child who was born to unmarried parents. The term illegtimate is never applied to her-she is as legitimate as anyone!

  • HarrisTheYounger

    LCARTER0311 wrote:Yup. Her kid is a bumpersticker for her political future. No better proof than the interview in which Bristol Palin stated that abstinence wasn’t a realistic expectation, and then her mother stepped in and commandeered the rest of the interview, putting words in her daughter’s mouth. A disgusting display.

  • tellthetruth01

    I guess the old adage, “It’s OK as long as you’re a Republican” applies. That’s why David Vitter is still a senator, Rush Limbaugh is still on the air and not in jail for trafficking in prescription narcotics, and why an unwed, teenaged mother is suddenly being held up as the ultimate symbol of conservative family values. Contrary to the headline, this isn’t about ambivalence; it’s plain-and-simple hypocrisy at its finest.

  • beargulch

    What an incredible set of offensive posts. The reason that there are so many teenage unmarried pregnancies is pretty simple: parents and society aren’t doing their jobs. So many religious people are so messed up about sex they can’t talk to their children about it. Or they are do dogmatic that they think they can make their children abstain from sex on their say-so, or by telling them God wants them to abstain. By the time kids are teenagers, they know very well whether or not they can trust what their parents tell them. I remember all too well what my parents taught me as a teenager: if I didn’t want to get yelled at, I shouldn’t tell them anything about my life that they would yell at me about. If that’s the kind of relationship you have with your children, don’t expect great results. (I was lucky, as a gay man I didn’t get anyone pregnant, and at age 56, I am HIV-negative and married to a great guy for 20 years).

  • JohnO3

    This just demonstrates our society’s hypocracy. We have our little fantasies where teenage girls don’t get pregnant (even though if God didn’t want teenage girls to get pregnant God wouldn’t have “designed” females to get pregnant at that age) and that somehow other means of preventing teen pregnancy, besides choosing the “right thing”, i.e. abstinence, is somehow just not as efficient. After all, Bristol was raised in a home where abstinence was ingrained in the culture that surrounds her…and look how successful that was. So, I’m sure having Bristol parade her kid around apparently not having as much difficulty and at the same time getting positive feedback from everyone for it, is sure going to give teenage girls everywhere a clear message that abstinence till marriage is the only solution to teen pregnancy. Right.And I’m sure Miss USA-runnerup telling everyone that homosexual marriage should not be legal because it goes against the Bible-is certainly not in conflict with other Biblical principles. The majority of people know that Miss USA pageants are mostly about celebrating the flesh and materialism. You can’t tell me that somehow the lustful thoughts induced from seeing a teenage hottie in bikinies can somehow be suppressed, because as you know just about every heterosexual male that is watching the pageant is really paying close attention to what the contestants have to say. Right. And these same guys buy Playboys for the articles. So, let me get this straight, homosexuality is against the Bible’s principles with regards to marriage, but lust isn’t or not as bad? Okay.And not to mention all the little girls out there watching these pageants who are feeling a bit more insecure now because deep down they know they’re not as pretty or as sexy as these celebrated girls are. Little Sussie over here is thinking someday she can have breast implants and dye her hair blond. But hey, old Jim over here who just wants “to get some”, can certainly fill that void created by the insecurity about how Sussie feels about her physical makeup; Jim can tell her she is beautiful-even more so than those “fake” girls on TV. And for a night she does feel beautiful-she thinks Jim is really into her…add a little hormonial passion for a split second she thinks about Bristol’s message and then goes, “well, she doesn’t have it that bad…besides, I know Bob loves me, he said so.” Then again, Jim never used a Jimmy, cause-you know, his mama and daddy told him it only encourages sex.

  • kimk1

    Christians need to look inward, not outward. We cannot control other people’s choices: only our own. We must make sure we educate our children so they can make the best choices.

  • gwymer

    Question. How many who have posted on this article are intellectually illegitimate? If this is the genetic material we have to work with in the United States of America, then let us be afraid.

  • kjohnson3

    In the interest of compassion, could we dispense with the term “illegitimate” to describe a human being? While one of the outdated dictionary definitions may be “born out of wedlock,” the connotation of the word nowadays is more along the lines of “not intended,” “not meant to be,” “unwanted.”And these definitions are what brand the child — not the parents — for the rest of her/his life.Once again, extremist Christians have so skewed the perspective on unplanned pregnancies that they’ve guaranteed no one can come out unscathed — least of all the child.If the mother decides not to have an abortion — which is what all the religious fanatics want all women to do — the child is then saddled with the lifelong punishment of feeling “I’m not supposed to be here. I’m not a ‘legitimate’ person; I wasn’t wanted; I shouldn’t be alive.”How sick is that?

  • semidouble

    Bristol Palin is exactly like her Mom: a hypocrate of the highest order! “Do as I say, not as I do” is their motto.Interesting to note that the US has the strictest laws when it comes to nudity and sex in the media and movies and yet has the highest teeenage pregnancy rates in the western world. You can show people being mutilated and killed many times over on TV or in video games, but when a nipple is shown, uproar and legal action is the result! Maybe we have our priorities wrong?

  • Mike542

    So, the rate of illigitimate births is through the roof, but at the same time abstinance is unrealistic. How come the illig birth rates were low before? Is it because back then everyone was more aware of their birth control options. Is it because sex education was available to all and was effective?

  • Draesop

    America is always late to any socially conscious change. They maintained slavery for a generation or more than the British then altered it after a horrible war. It survived as legalized racism for more than a hundred years after. The public school system here is 24th in the industrial world in High school math and 28th in science at the same level. America has the highest incarceration rate in the world and the difference between the rates for black men and white men is atrociously skewed. We spend more time talking about evolution (a documented fact) and homosexuality ( a documented mammalian trait). These are just red herrings that fools steeped in religiosity use to distract an increasingly inappropriately educated populace from really important issues. We are just plain idiotic and we seem to elect idiots who live in the same dream world. Small wonder that we also fool around with teenage sexuality. Children are breeding like rabbits and we are advising them to “just say no” while we kill physicians who offer termination services and otherwise discourage safe abortions and the sensible discussion of sex in our educational system. It is idiotic but also right in line with our approach to many of our social, educational, health and justice issues of the present time.

  • SwingState

    Bristol Palin’s experience is just more evidence that abstinence doesn’t work well as a method of birth control. Maybe we should focus on preventing teen pregnancy through providing sex education and making safe, inexpensive, effective, birth control widely available to teens.

  • djmolter

    We can educate our children all we want, but in the end they will do what they will do. Adults don’t need to be told that the urge to have sex is sometimes irresistible, yet they insist on telling their children that it CAN be resisted with (name your own solution). OK, prayer can stop a kid from doing it. Fear can stop a kid from doing it. Rationality can stop a kid from doing it. But not always.The only rational response to this sexual “pandemic” is to admit that sex is going to happen among the unwed and underage and to address how best to prevent conception. Still, all the sex education in the world cannot prevent a kid from just plain doing it. Having your son or daughter carry a condom at all times doesn’t mean he or she will have the presence of mind to use it in the heat of battle.And if prevention fails, we need to allow women the choice of keeping the child, placing it up for adoption or having an abortion without feeling the need to force her into the “correct” choice. Each of us is responsible for our own decisions.

  • SwingState

    A fact for those folks who bemoan the loss of morality in today’s culture: I think 1957 still holds the record for the most teen-aged pregnancies in America. The difference between then and now? Polite society required those teens to marry and accepted the pretense that the child was conceived after the marriage. My mother was one of those teen brides. She had three children in under three years before joining a clinical trial for the birth control pill.

  • BorincanoDC

    A society gets the results it deserves… and it should be no surprise that we are getting these results with our confused, panicky, and hypocritical handling of teenage sex.For decades now, the age at first menstrual period has been declining, and the age at first marriage has been getting later. And what do we tell girls? Don’t… just don’t. It’s a stupid message for a stupid time, and pretends that girls just won’t because we say don’t. Do we really think women are going to be wedding night virgins after waiting from 11 or 12 to 26 or 27 years of age? It’s nonsense, and since we provide for them no ethic of responsible sexuality and shroud the sex act in guilt and shock, denial and scorn, we get lousy results.Like I say, we’re getting the results we deserve. But our children deserve better from us.

  • mt23823

    Thank you to those that are saying that these children are not “illegitimate.” Did it occur to anyone that stigmatizing children that way might make their young, innocent lives worse?Has anyone considered what poverty has to do with the high instances of teen pregnancy? That people in poverty are less empowered to make decisions because there is a lack of resources for them? Maybe they don’t get the proper medical attention because they can’t afford to? Maybe they have a dysfunctional family, and feel empowered by having a family of their own? Whatever the reason, to bash them is socially irresponsible and completely counter-productive.To compare Bristol Palin to a teen mom living with little familial support in the Bronx is not entirely accurate, because of their different social positions. But young women have often been sexual targets (re: the famous women mentioned above, and the very fact that we’re paying this kind of attention to them) and they might feel the need to do risky, irresponsible things to feel that they fit into a society that will only see them as desirable by doing certain things. This goes for women across the social strata. We are all a part of this problem because we don’t tell these girls that they are more than their bodies, and that they are strong and don’t need to treat their bodies they way that they do. How about we do that? No matter what your political/religious affliation, you can agree that we need to reduce teen pregnancy, but it’s a matter of means. We can educate the girls adequately about all that sex entails (in a non-judgmental way), but also FOCUS ON BOYS. They need to know that there are consquences to their behavior, and that treating women with respect goes a long way.

  • daved1

    Well, that was quite a parade, I especially enjoyed the elephants.

  • blankinships

    With white Protestants, for 400 years the majority, to now be another minority, it is not surprising to see then turn a blind eye to births out of wedlock. What no one wants to talk about is that it reflects a collective will to try to stay on top by indulging in a breeding war.

  • mcroriel

    People have sex, especially young people whose hormones are raging. Rather than teaching our children not to have sex. As we’ve seen Abstinence education works so well. We should be teaching them how to have sex.Condoms prevent a myriad of issues yet most schools are barred from even discussing them.Leon

  • bbirdy202

    I don’t read the bible. I guess if the bible talks about illegitimacy it can be interpreted as many ways as same sex marriage. Why should the catholic church or any other church care. If the families supporting the child in question belong to a church, that is another parishoner to fill the coffer. Churches are a business after all.

  • jlm101514

    Many angry words!

  • hailtopher

    Mormons are pretty adamant against not only illegitimacy, but all pre-marital sexual relations.

  • Kain

    What a ridiculous article. This is a completly made up story. At no point in the article does this person prove any of their claims. They use statistics to make her case, but doesn’t state any study taken or what the criteria for the study’s were. This is an opinion piece that is trying to come off as a report on fact.

  • vancemack

    To those that used this article as an opportunity to attack religion…lets talk the amazing gullibility of those mindless fools who believe that all life…all matter…every mineral, plant and animal, every planet…all existed magically and was brought to ‘birth’ by a mythical implosion…one we can never see, or prove, and one whose theory of relative existence changes frequently by false prophets of science…a theory of matter…and…oh…wait…DARK mattertoo…which always but never existed…that this gigantic gaseous mass through its gravity callapsed on itself to form the sun…that…every species ‘evolved’ from the most simple and minute cells which ALSO somehow magically existed…and that complex organs…things which cannot ‘evolve’ independently still somehow evolved to create neural pathways, optic nerves, occular cavities, skin openings for eyes…lenses…etc…We ALL believe in some form of unprovable theory. Science is every bit as much a faith based practice as is religion. But the great majority of those that dont believe in God also dont have the first clue as to what they believe in the scientific model of ‘creation’…oh…but it IS fun to mock and ridicule others.

  • chrisfox8

    Evident to all but the most simpleminded: you can’t campaign against teen pregnancy with hate as you can campaign against gay marriage. Hate is the hook upon which fundamentalist values hang their issues, and since excoriating teen moms would be distasteful, there is no interest. Campaigning against homosexuals charges up the “base,” for whom hate is the alpha and the omega of politics.

  • arunalan

    hello ladies, just in case to know, the american ladies who’s not able to proudly be accepted theirs babies, what a shame, i mean are you sure if theirs doing babies for them or others, because if they doing for themselves, they will be proud and respectfull with themselves, do you can controll by love the ejaculation conception process?, now you know about th bubble moods of impact others by the other desire? and where are the oppinion of the 50 percent male impact desire of the final project

  • Darrellfb

    i am offended that marion barry, of all people, makes the audacious claim to speak for the black community. we are and have never been a monolithic group. this marion barry is the same person that showed blatant disregard for his own marriage by continually being caught with prostitutes, continues to evade his tax responsibilities and have continually been a part of the drug problem. and yet he claims to have the moral high-ground. what baffoonery!

  • BlueStapler

    Let me think…we have the Catholic Church pounding the pulpit that premarital sex is a sin. We have the Catholic Church teaching the ANY form of birth control is a sin. (I’m a recovering Catholic.) We have our ex president insisting on funding for abstinence only programs, although they’ve been shown not to work. We have children who don’t know the basics of human reproduction taking virginity oaths. We have parents who don’t take it upon themselves to inform their own children. Then there are the urban legends passed down…you can’t get pregnant on your first time…you can’t get pregnant using the withdrawl method, etc. etc. Everything from toothpaste to mattresses are sold with sex. We have parents placing their children in private schools to avoid public sex education. You ask why the number are so high?

  • vancemack

    Leon…you haveyour facts wrong…most school DO discuss condoms…they DONT discuss abstinence.Still…I would be full on board with your comments if you said “IN ADDITION” to teaching abstinence as opposed to “instead of”. I believe MANY kids live to the level of modeling and expectation. Healthy realationships with parents that model consistent healthy beliefs will likely contribute to a child not seeking validation through immature sexual relationships. Premarital sex is INDEED a potential, it is NOT necessarily an expecation or definite happening. Remove a healthy parental relationship and children will frequently turn to immature ‘luv’ing relationships to fill the void.

  • Kain

    When you become a parent you become an adult. This has been true throughout human history. At the end of the day we (humans) are animals and like every other species on the planet our main biological goal is to procreate. Call it evil or the devil’s work if you want but the truth is it is imprinted in us to have children. Our hormones rage when we are capable of procreating for a reason. It makes us want to have sex so that we can have kids. This is how our species has survived over the centuries.

  • BlueStapler

    Many, many issues are involved here.Also, if a man gets a woman pregnant, the woman has total control as to what to do. She can abort, she can adopt, she can have the baby. A man can offer to take the baby, but the woman can refuse. The man has absolutely no legal right, except being forced to pay child support if the woman keeps the child.

  • scigeek

    there are way too many generalizations in this article.religious institutions during weekly services do discuss and discourage teenage pregnancy.but one cannot merely make a general statement that religious folks are too focused on a.) b.) or c.). especially if one is not sitting in on every ceremony in every church, temple, or mosque.

  • vancemack

    Chris…have you ever SEEN a discussion between proponents and opponents of gay marriage? Tell me…WHO exactly is the instigator of hatred? Look at the exchange between perez hilton and ms prejean…who comes across as compassionate yet committed to their beliefs and who comes across as a bitter angry hate filled little creep? I dont HATE homosexuals. I believe it is as wrong as anything in nature…but I dont hate them. I certainly hope for them to find happiness. But I feel no sense of obligation to redefine marriage for a practice that I believe is WRONG. and that is MY belief on oh yes…I will SPEAK my belief, And I wont HATE you…but I highly doubt or disagreement will be mutually respectful.There is no accounting for love or attraction and I dont try to explain it. There ARE somethings that we have accepted as ‘wrong.’ Brothers and Sisters…just because they CAN mate doesnt mean they SHOULD. Just because pedophiles believe they are as internally wired to love children as homosexuals believe they are to love their same sex partners deosnt mean we should embrace it. And just because a deviant sexual practice is engaged between consenting adults doesnt mean we have an obligation as a society to legitimize a scientific and natural ‘wrong’.

  • stantonb

    I think there is a great alternative to illegitimacy- ADOPTION. It’s no secret that healthiest child development includes two parents. Single parents, while commendable are usually strapped with the problem of lack of resources and support for their unborn children. Why not place the child with a family that is absolutely decided on raising a child together.The adoption process requires the most invasive investigation of the prospective adoptive families lives (finances, relational health, mental health, FBI background checks, etc). Why not do what’s ultimately best for the child and ADOPT? Sadly most girls never know they have this option…a loving family waiting for that child…

  • lildg54

    Neiher one of these phony self-righteous young ladys are any kind of role model or example to follow. Bristol is manipulated by her mother who is a self serving phony and Prejean hides behind her religion wow they are both a piece of work

  • theartistpoet

    Religious leaders DO discourage teenagers from engaging in sexual behavior. The principle difference between this issue and the issue of same sex marriages is media coverage. Point the finger of blame squarely at the media for this one. The media outlets (TV stations, newspapers pubs., radio stations, etc.) aren’t interested in covering teenage sexuality because it just doesn’t sell and they aren’t going to cover it like the hot issue of same-sex marriage. This author is sorely mistaken if they think religious leaders haven’t harped on this issue in big ways for years and years already. Sadly, the media outlets distort reality. This article is an example of that if the author seriously believes that religious leaders do not actively promote measures to prevent teenage sexuality on all levels.As for Mormons encoraging polygamy… is this author from the dark ages? The principle “Mormon Church” has discouraged polygamy for over 110 years. The groups who call themselves “mormon” are totally different from the church that garnered so much media attention by opposing same-sex marriages in California. The author should not imply they are the same. That’s like implying that Catholics and Baptists are the same. Furthermore, “The Mormon Church” STRONGLY discourages teenage sexuality. Someone who publishes for a living ought to do better fact checking before making categorical statements.

  • Frigistan

    These debates are always pointless since you can’t legislate morality. One things for sure, Palin’s running in 2012. How else to explain Bristol’s 180 on saying abstinence is not a realistic option?

  • asoders22

    Young people will always have sex because it’s in the human nature. By demanding an abstinence that just can’t be exercised, unfriendly and controlling Christians have provided themselves with an endless supply of people to condemn. To call anyone “illegitimate” is an insult and utterly unloving. As someone posted here earlier, in pre-marriage eras giving birth was the natural thing and all females helped taking care of babies, later on all adults. Fatherhood wasn’t even known.To prevent very young teenagers (boys and girls) from having babies they are not ready for, one should motivate them to use conception by showing them that giving birth is a big task and that looking after children is a real job. Also, they should be taught to never have sex with anyone who is not fully consenting, or if they don’t really feel like it themselves – I am talking about boys nagging girls. But basically every young teenager has a strong sexual drive and many will give in to it, and they must have access to contraception and day-after-pills when things go wrong. When babies are born, the young mothers must get loving assistance in being mothers – financially, educationally. The classic “Christian” solution of giving up the baby for adoption is utterly cruel and the very last resort. No one should be forced to do it simply out of poverty. There must be adequate support for mothers, young or not, married or not, because a newborn is always a miracle and the mother has the absolute right to be happy.

  • Chops2

    Illigitemate is an offensive term. Alot of people simply dont believe in marriage, they have stable relationships and have “illegitimate kids”.And to the person above who said we are all against “illegitimacy”: no we are not. I’m against relics like you who cant grasp anything outside the nuclear family.

  • davidsawh

    I just wish that people who can’t wipe their bottoms properly didn’t have children they can’t possibly afford. People should have children only when they are old enough to afford the expenses having a baby entails. It is astonishing that this society encourages wastrels to have children by paying for the support of that child when the parents are still snot nosed kids. What I am saying is that only responsible adults should have children and only when they can afford them. Why should society have to put up with the juvenile delinquents that such young parents will produce. This nonsense should be stopped. The preachers in African American churches must stop gay bashing -it is truly stupid- and start exhorting the loose younsters in their churches to stop having children that the rest of society has to pay to raise. I personally would never assist a teenage parent in their quest to ruin society. I think people should have all the sex they want but not to bring children that other people have to support financially. It is ridiculous. It is immoral.

  • Usama1

    I read a lot of people offended by terms and insinuations. All of that is irrelevant. Turn on the show The Wire to get a fictional yet authentic portrayal of the state of affairs of America’s urban underclass. The consequences of illegitimacy, or children born without a father’s involvement, is destroying lives, costing America billions, and holding America back.

  • davidsawh

    I do wonder about the intelligence of people who think there is a god. Apparently they don’t ask their god to feed the starving billions.

  • MHawke

    For me, the first beatitude (“Blessed are the poor in spirit”) talks to the illegitimate mother (…and many others) and how we need to love them and perform acts of charity for them.There are real people out there. 14 year-old pregnant girls in group homes exist in the thousands. They are victims of their upbringings, culture (supported through the type casting media) and very often brutal family behavior. Hypocrites like the Palins are the least qualified people to be of any assistance in ensuring babies have stable homes to grow up in. Their continued presentation of themselves as escapees from a Jerry Springer episode, while carrying the banner of the religious right does more harm than good. Forget Bristol, her soul sits in a jar in the governor’s office. Reach out to someone who really needs help.

  • dyst

    Doubt illegitimate children & extramarital sex are really stoked by media, clothing and car ads. I think they come w/human sexuality and hormones. Indian parent, who use marriage as an economic alliance of two families, are careful to indoctrinate their pre teen and teen children about hormonal urges. India’s middle class childen can often distinguish between soap opera myths of love and passion versus marriage and childrearing.I think, as several bloggers have said, that when we send conflicting messages to teens about love, success,sex, and parenting, we get what we deserve. Chaos

  • msilva2

    Push education and provide protection. It would be the most logical. Acting like a fanatical police state is not the answer. We have done that for decades and it has not worked. Time to change direction.

  • davewyman

    I too am amazed at the use of the term “illegitimate.” Children in our society today are never “illegitimate.”

  • kaycwagner

    Could it be that religious leaders take their values and beliefs from the political commentary that issues forth from the pulpit nowdays? Perhaps if organized religions paid more attention to the modern issues of society and the realities of the real world, they could find it easier to revise the values of ancient times to meet today’s realities. Civilization changes and so must values.

  • widener1973

    It is a sad fact that too many things in this country work by ID intead of IQ. You need a license to fish, yet anyone can become a parent.

  • kcbob

    The reason we’re not adamant against teen pregnancy is that it requires two admissions: First, that many teens always have and always will be sexually active. Second, that abstinence training without training in use of condoms and anti-pregnancy devices makes the situation worse, not better.We will not stop all kids from having sex. We must make sure those who do engage in sexual activity are less likely to compound it with an unwanted pregnancy.

  • maryannevans2

    As an atheist mother of three children, I would like to debunk a few stereotypes. We are as misunderstood as the Mormons-maybe more so. Atheists and other religiously liberal Americans are less likely to divorce or have out of wedlock children than evangelical Christians ( my source: “Red Sex, Blue Sex” by Margaret Talbot, New Yorker Nov 2008): Our teenagers usually delay sex longer, but they do become sexually active before marriage like 90% or so of young Americans, so let’s get our heads out of the sand, shall we? Religious groups that are really serious about abstinence should make it easier for young couples to marry. That would mean generous help with setting up households and continuing education-what are they doing with all those tithes, anyway? I understand the Mormons do provide a lot of support to young families.

  • bevjims1

    maryannevans2,And I agree religious groups should help young married couples, and I would add young unwed mothers. I always wonder where the day care centers are at the churches. Churches lay empty Monday through Friday, then on Sunday preach about how we all need to help one another. If a church wants to help its community, free day care, which allows young people with kids to work or continue school, would go a long way. It would also make those considering abortion because a baby would disrupt their life less inclined to make that choice. But all I hear is how abortion should be outlawed and after the baby is born you are on your own.

  • TomE2

    Thank you! Although we may differ on many divisive issues, I agree with you about the urgency of preventing unwanted – especially teenage – pregnancies.With the highest teenage pregnancy and infant mortality rates in the developed world, what’s wrong with taking a realistic look at how to prevent it?I beleive education is the key – not just sex education, but education in general. But so-many people feel that informing our children will somehow lead to them making bad choices when, in reality, other countries who put more emphasis on education have some of the lowest rates of teenage pregnacy, and the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

  • jjedif

    “Illegimate” and “bastard” are terms that have no relevance to the modern person. You father than child or bring the child into the world, you should pay to support him/her.However, these are terms are historically important to “Christians.”Such terms have used in the past to stigmatize the children of lecherous Christian MEN (even though it wasn’t the children’s fault their mother was violated) and, thus, deny the children of these Christian MEN having to support or leave an inheritance to the children of their prostitutes, concubines and massage parlor employees and any other unfortunate young women that fell into their paths.

  • johnhouse

    I wholeheartedly agreed with everything you said until your final paragraph, “Why aren’t Mormon leaders opposing polygamous relationships (which are common) rather than polygamy (which is not)?” This is a non-sensical statement. “Mormons” have been opposed to polygamy AND polygamous relationships for over 100 years. Those misguided few who call themselves Fundamentalist Mormons are living a concept that was denounced by church leaders in the 1890s and which is grounds for excommunication in the Mormon Church today. Please don’t let your bias against Mormons discredit your otherwise strong argument.

  • jjedif

    In fact, the height of the pro-lifer’s megalomaniac hypocrisy is that according to the pro-life “life begins at conception” philosophy, if a 12-year-old girl is raped and made pregnant by her own father, the GIRL owes it to God to have the baby for God’s glory; if she has an abortion SHE (not HE) is condemned to Hell. And if her father gives HER AIDS by not wearing a condom, God is glorified even more.In fact, George Orwell would be impressed on how pro-death the average pro-lifer is. E.g., it’s a fact that many men on death row were severely abused as children. Where was God and his army of pro-lifers then? They were no where to be seen. Thus, the capital punishment that most pro-lifers support…is really nothing more than an extremely late term abortion.

  • aries4

    When unmarried teen/college age girls with children such as Ms. Palin and many others, say ‘I wish I had waited to have sex’ what they really mean is ‘I wish I had not have gotten pregnant’. Pregancy being an all too common and usually predictable consequence. It isn’t usually the sex the girls’ regret.Had she not gotten knocked up by that low rent redneck, I’m sure they would have continued to happily “do it” every chance and every where they could.At least until Mama Palin caught em’ at it and stuck a shot gun in loverboy’s face. “Marry her or else!” No wonder the boy bailed and dumped Ms. Bristol as quickly as he could. Being trapped in a marriage he probably did not want and with Mama Palin as a Ma in Law. And of course 18 years of child support until he would be legally safe and they would no longer have any hold over him And When unmarried teen/college boys with children comment ‘I wish I had waited to have sex’, they are liars and what they really mean ‘oh, fu@@!, !, why couldn’t I talk, threaten, pressure her into an abortion?’.

  • bevjims1

    vancemack wrote: “So…did it [eye] evolve as a complete organ?”Yes. You can see this by watching the embryo develop and see that the eye starts as tissue in the brain and migrates out to the sockets. Here’s a nice explanation, including a video, of the eye developing out from the brain:vancemack wrote: “WHY would there be an evolutionary advantage to allow for an eye socket without an existing eye? For an optic nerve without lens and neuroreceptors, etc etc etc.”Its very rare that a trait appear out of nowhere. Usually it started somewhere, possibly with a different function which found new usefulness. But in the case of the eye it likely was simple photoreceptive tissue in the brain of a primitive organism with translucent tissue, so light could get through to the brain itself. It evolved from there.vancemack wrote: “…you DO acknowledge that the scientific thought on the creation of the world is a ‘theory’…great…the creationists view is that there is A GOD.”Well, we can now see evidence for planet formation around other stars. We can see, by observing many stars and from their ages, about how long it takes. We can even detect and see planets around other stars. We also know how elements form in stars. None of this is just theory. Its been observed in various ways. But there is no evidence of a God, no evidence of the biblical description of genesis having happened. Science is not faith based.vancemack wrote: “From the single god comes MANY religions and ‘theories’, not unlike from the surviving scientific theories also comes MANY competing theories…and they ARE INDEED…since they are not likely to be ‘proven’…faith based. Correct?”No. Its clear you do not understand what a theory is. A theory in technical use is a more or less verified or established explanation accounting for known facts. I think you are using “theory” to mean “hypothesis”, which is an idea but unproven. And there is no evidence all religions came from one religion or one God. If anything one (judaeo-christian) God came from multiple religions which had many gods.

  • HeathenChemist

    I’m not smart enough to post an intelligent response, so I’ll just state the obvious:This Carrie Prejean is SMOKIN’ HOT!!

  • CCNL

    And from the lips of the Rev. Jesse Jackson who failed to heed his own advice: “There is simply too much intercourse without discourse!!”

  • WmarkW

    “This Carrie Prejean is SMOKIN’ HOT!!”True, and because of this she’s going to have a better career than the winner.Quick… without looking it up… name Miss North Carolina.

  • HeathenChemist

    “Quick… without looking it up… name Miss North Carolina.”Don’t know. Never seen her picture or name. Don’t care. I’m going to marry Carrie, as soon as I figure out what to do with my existing family.

  • Fontana1

    So to recap WaPost’s outstanding balanced coverage: Gay Marriage is good and children out of wedlock is bad.I have to agree that having children in a situation where the father is absent is a matter of great concern for society but WaPost should not sneak in Gay marriage into the story to prop it up and make it look innocent. It is common knowledge that the media is pro Gay marriage so why does WaPost even try to cover it up anymore? You mock the intelligence of your readers once again.

  • forgetthis

    I agree with another poster. I don’t think “legitimacy” is the real issue here. It’s age and financial independence that most people have a problem with in modern society. No one is complaining about Brangelina’s litter and the other thousands of Hollywood designer babies with no married couple raising them. So if it’s okay if the mother is rich, then is the problem morality or money?

  • tinkabell1

    Posted by: lainey681 | May 7, 2009 5:04 AM Sex outside of the bounds of heterosexual marriage is wrong. Period. That’s the message we should send our kids. Maybe then we’d see a decrease in ‘illegitimate’ sex.I guess you didn’t get the message.So you had a kid out of wedlock and that is ok, but it is not ok for anyone else?Sounds somewhat hypocritical!

  • bevjims1

    HeathenChemist wrote: “This Carrie Prejean is SMOKIN’ HOT!!”Yea, but so is a Barbie doll. Its amazing how plastic can assume so many pleasing shapes!

  • US-conscience

    this is the natural outcome of living in a genesis 3 world. Only the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit can change people ( and teenagers ) hearts and affections from self and gratification and sin to God and holiness and sanctity. Check out the “virgin lips” movement: this is true revelution.

  • rb-freedom-for-all

    “Sex outside of the bounds of heterosexual marriage is wrong. Period.”Posted by: lainey681 *********************************Says who? That may be your religious belief, but don’t impose your religious beliefs on the rest of us.

  • hd1225

    The closing paragraphs of the piece make me question what kind of experience the author has with religious institutions to be asking those kinds of questions. There are religious leaders grappling up close with issues of discouraging unwed parenthood while caring for children of unwed parents at the community level, who do not have the national news media to cover their every word and do not necessarily feel the need to champion government programs to accomplish their goals. It is unfortunate that the author has not obtained a better understanding from his sources of the current challenges local leaders face. My encouragement would be that he actually talks to the people he is writing about and not just the others who write about them.I’ll ask a foolish question of my own. Is it just me or have others seen more adults becoming too strongly invested in seeing teens becoming sexually active? I mean those who go out of their way to insist that young people, and even specific young people, cannot delay sexual activity. Those who make a point of skewering any teen silly enough to say they wish to try. Where is the encouragement? Sure education is key, but what kind of success should these adults expect while continually droning “You can’t control yourself. You can’t control yourself. You can’t control yourself.” It struck me how ridiculous the situation has become seeing some recent examples of teens being publicly ridiculed by adults (at least in the legal sense), for having done nothing wrong.After all that, this article really seems to be less about teen pregnancy than same-sex marriage.

  • bugaboo1

    71.6 percent of black babies are illegitimate according to a Reuters article published on March 18, 2009.Anyone can reference this by doing a web search for the phrase “71.6 percent of black babies”Not just babies born to teenage mothers, that is 71.6 percent of all black babies.

  • theobserver4

    Babies from un-wed teenagers (or anyone else for that matter) are little miracles from god until they take their first breath. Then they immediately turn into welfare queens.Such is Christian Taliban logic. They love the unborn and condemn the living.

  • notfromvenus

    I think it’s pretty obvious why the Religious Right isn’t doing anything serious to fight illegitimacy (and teen pregnancy, which I think is the overlapping and probably more important issue). It’s because the only effective and humane way to do this is to have universal comprehensive sex education, to have birth control be easily and affordably available over the counter to people of any age, and for abortion to be an option. And the Religious Right will fight all of those things tooth and nail.

  • Tuckleberry

    What motivates people to attack faith/religion so vociferously? It is really off-putting, to say the least.

  • Nevermore531

    Mr. Waters:”Why is D.C. council member (and ex-mayor) Marion Barry warning that “All hell is going break loose” if the District isn’t careful in its approval of same-sex marriages. “We may have a civil war,” Barry said Tuesday after the council agreed to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. “The black community is just adamant against this.”"Out of all people you could have quoted, you had to pick this philandering druggie, who has more dirt under his carpet and more skeletons in his closet than anyone I haver ever met in my lifetime???? (I am 56 BTW)You really want us to take you seriously??? Give me a break!Bristol Palin is hopping the media circuit spouting abstinence because of her mother, not because she believes in it.That little California twit modeled semi-nude, so what? Who on earth cares??? What is wrong with you media people?The you write:”Witte notes that 38 percent of all American children are born illegitimate, and illegitimacy rates have more than doubled since 1975. According to the Institute for American Values, illegitimacy’s cost to American taxpayers is $112 billion annually for anti-poverty, criminal justice, education programs and lost tax revenue. “38 percent? I wonder who conducted that poll? Also, could it be that those 38% include all the professional women who prefer not to get married yet want to be mothers? I know quite a few of those. These women are highly educated, have good paying jobs and they are quite capable of bring up a child or more by themselves without having to rely on public assistance.It appears you people confuse teenage sex which results in babies with carefully planned pregnancies by un-married women.

  • Nevermore531

    Robinsnest:” Mormon teenagers get the importance of chastity preached to them constantly. Abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage are absolute requirements”That may be so. But I can tell you also, that when my daughters were teenagers, they and their friends (both male and female) all told me that the Mormom girls at their High School were some of the most promiscuous. Hypocracy at its best!

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