The virtue of "purity", like every other Christian virtue, has been hijacked by the sex-obsessed fundamentalists of the Christian right.
Commended by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, the "pure in heart" shall see God.
Parables and other sayings of the Lord add a dimension to the concept of "purity" that is sadly lacking among those who identify "purity" entirely with chastity.
(N.B. Â Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing by SÃ¶ren Kierkegaard)
One can lament the manipulation of sexual feelings and interests in the marketplace, the vulgarization of sexual feeling in popular culture, and still be creeped out by the "Purity Balls" in which fathers dance with their pubescent daughters and take solemn oaths to safeguard their "purity".
"Abstinence education", whose poster child is Bristol Palin, is directly related to the increase in teen pregnancies in recent years.Â While teen pregnancy declined throughout the Clinton years, it rose again, especially in Texas and the Bible belt, during the Bush years.
For adolescents who had fallen into sins of fornication before taking the "save it for marriage" vows that are a highlight of abstinence education, the religious right has a solution.
After a period of abstinence and "pure" living, the young sex machine could become a virgin once more.
Virgin recovery programs are widely-promoted as a method of reducing teen-age sexual activity.
I was never clear about the amount of time that one needed to remain abstinent in order to be declared a "virgin" once again.
I'm guessing it was more than two weeks.