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ONE-ON-ONE | Mary Duke Straight talk to teens concerning sexual abstinence



Published: Mon, November 5, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



You preach abstinence.

Total. Make sure you say total abstinence. There is also what they call "abstinence-based." That means throwing everything into the mix -- abstinence, safe sex, a little bit of everything, which confuses the kids. Our children need to be directed.

What is the mission of Teen Straight Talk?

Reaching and teaching our youth the truth. That is the bottom line. The truth.

The truth?

The truth is abstinence, no sex before marriage. It's a biblical principle, and that principle came from God. He created us, and we need to know that he set up rules and regulations for us.

So, he was the one who said, "No sex until marriage." OK? But we certainly have gotten away from that.

I don't think that people now even consider where that truth came from.

Truth never changed, so when you get off the base of truth, there are going to be consequences. So, in 1960, safe sex came to the United States, and we offered it to our young people.

Safe sex and free sex are not total abstinence. So, we were off base for, like, 40 years. Now we are at epidemic level in pregnancies, epidemic level in sexually transmitted diseases, epidemic level in abortions, and now we are looking at death.

Do you ever have any complaints about bringing a Bible-based message into the schools?

Well, actually, we bring the principles into the schools. I don't open up my Bible. The Bible says sex outside of marriage is a sin, so I don't go into the schools talking about the sin. I talk about building self-respect, your character, building discipline. We want them to see the benefits of making good choices.

See, we believe that if you apply truth to your life, it is going to build character. But if you defy the truth, there are going to be consequences. So we show some of the consequences in the classroom. We show what a sexually transmitted disease looks like. We show gonorrhea; we show herpes.

You say "safe sex," and the kids feel safe. We are saying there is no such thing. Abstinence is your only safe sex.

Are the kids receptive to this message? Is it effective?

It is 100 percent effective, because once we offer the truth, we must leave every child to make a choice.

It is unfair to bring them a half-truth, or no truth, which is safe sex. A condom will never protect a broken heart. A condom will never protect your reputation. It will never protect your self-respect.

Do you do any reading for pleasure?

I do read my Bible every day. I'm trying to think of the last book I read for pleasure. Most of my reading is to validate what I'm doing, to keep me abreast and to keep me current.

Do you watch TV much or go to the movies?

I don't go to movies. I'm a realist. I don't like to watch fake. And I think, when it comes down to television, 90 percent of our television is sex and violence. So, If I am teaching abstinence, I am saying abstain from anything that I would take into the windows of my eyes.

I know you play tennis for fun.

Well, I play to beat somebody. I want to beat you if I get you on the court. That's the fun of it.

Do you play in tournaments?

Local tournaments.

Do you win them?

I got enough trophies at home to show that I, um ... I have some losses too.

What else do you do for fun?

The whole family, we are family nuts. We all play tennis; we are a very close-knitted family. We go camping; we go hiking; we go perch fishing. And I love to socialize. I have a great bunch of girls here to socialize with. We have six on the staff, wonderful girls, and they are all as committed to the truth as I am, so it is like one big family. We don't feel like we should ever compromise.




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