February 13, 1992
Some of you may have seen the 90-minute ABC network television show on
February 2 entitled "Growing Up in the Age of AIDS," hosted by Peter
Jennings. I was one of nine guests on that live program, including Dr.
Antonia Novello, the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. James Curran, of the
Centers for Disease Control, and Dr. Timothy Johnson, ABC News medical
editor. Unfortunately, the show's producers attempted to pack too much
into the program, granting each of us less than a minute or two to
speak our minds. In my case, a single 45-second sound bite cost me a
long journey and two hectic days in New York City.
As you will soon read in the March edition of _Focus on the Family_
magazine, I routinely turn down these kinds of network television
"opportunities." In the past few years I've declined invitations to
appear on "Nightline," "20/20," "48 Hours," "Face-to-Face with Connie
Chung," "Crossfire," Bill Buckley's "Firing Line," and the morning
network news programs. I have no desire for that kind of national
exposure, and furthermore, the deck is usually stacked against those
of us with a Judeo-Christian point of view. There are better things to
do with my time.
Why, then, did I travel to The Big Apple for such an insignificant
role? Well, I had hoped for a few more minutes on camera. But more
importantly, I felt a responsibility to express the abstinence
position on national television, and I was afraid if I declined no one
else would be asked. How long has it been since you heard anyone tell
teenagers why it is to their advantage to remain virgins until
marriage? How sad that adolescents hear only the dangerous "safe sex"
message from adults who should know better. Maybe, I thought, I could
get in a few plugs for abstinence and morality that would redeem the
investment of time.
But here I am a few days later, flying home from New York with all the
things I wanted to say still bottled up inside. Jennings permitted me
one brief comment and then ignored my upraised hand through the
remainder of the broadcast. So guess what? *You* get to hear those
unspoken words. There is no issue...no social development throughout
North America...that concerns me more than adolescent sexuality and
what it portends for the future. The AIDS crisis and Magic Johnson's
infection have provided an unprecedented opportunity for Planned
Parenthood and the other condom and abortion promoters to lobby
virtually every teenager in the land. And believe me, they intend to
exploit and indoctrinate the entire generation now in escrow.
We must not sit passively on the sidelines. If you have an adolescent
in your family or know of one who will read a letter like this,
*please* pass it on. They desperately need the truth that is being
withheld from them. Yes, I meant to say "withheld." There are facts
that the "safe-sex" gurus will not tell the youngsters in their
charge. As a result, teen promiscuity will continue and millions of
kids...thinking they are protected...will suffer for the rest of their
lives. Many will die of AIDS. Humanity will eventually lumber back
around to the traditional understanding of morality, I suppose.
Indeed, it *must* do so. Epidemics and pestilence will force a
reconsideration, if the Lord tarries that long. But by then the
consequences of defying God's law will have wreaked havoc among us.
What follows, then is what I would have said on television if Peter
Jennings had wanted to hear it.
Why, apart from moral considerations, do you think teenagers should
be taught to abstain from sex until marriage?
*No other* approach to the epidemic of sexuality transmitted
diseases will work. The so-called "safe-sex" solution is a disaster
in the making. Condoms fail 15.7 percent of the time in preventing
pregnancy among young, unmarried minority women. The overall
failure rate is as high as 44 percent in preventing pregnancy among
unmarried Hispanic women. The _British Medical Journal_ reported
the failure rate due to slippage and breakage to be 26 percent.
Given these findings, it is obvious why we have a word for people
who rely on condoms as a means of birth control. We call
Remembering that a woman can conceive only one or two days per
month, we can only guess how high the rate for condoms must be in
preventing disease, which can be transmitted 365 days per year! If
the devices are not used properly, or if they slip just *once*,
viruses, bacteria, yeast, and fungi are exchanged and the disease
process begins. One mistake after 500 "protected" episodes is all
it takes. The damage is done in a single moment when rational
thought is overridden by passion. Those who would depend on so
insecure a method must use it properly on *every* occasion, and
even then a high failure rate is brought about by factors beyond
their control. The young victim who is told by his elders that this
little latex device is "safe" may not know he is risking lifelong
pain and even death for brief a window of pleasure. What a burden
to place on an immature mind and body!
Then we must recognize, as implied above, that condoms cannot even
be accurately tested for AIDS protection, since the virus is
one-tenth the size of the smallest detectable hole. Viruses are 450
times smaller than sperm, and pass easily through even the smallest
gaps. Researchers studying surgical gloves made out of latex, the
same material in condoms, found "channels of 5 microns that
penetrated the entire thickness of the glove." The HIV virus
measures between .1 and .3 microns. Given these findings, tell me
what rational, informed person would trust his or her very life to
such flimsy armor?
I'm sure this explains why not one of 800 sexologists at a recent
conference raised a hand when asked if they would trust a thin
rubber sheath to protect them during intercourse with a known
HIV-infected person. I don't blame them. They're not crazy, after
all. And yet they're perfectly willing to tell our kids that "safe
sex" is within reach and that they can sleep around with punity.
there is only one way to protect ourselves from the deadly diseases
that lie in wait. It is abstinence before marriage, then marriage
and mutual fidelity for life to an uninfected partner. Anything
less is potentially suicidal.
That position is simply NOT realistic today. It's an unworkable
solution: Kids will NOT implement it.
Some will. Some won't. It's still the only answer. But let's talk
about an "unworkable solution" of the first order. Since 1970, the
federal government has spent over $2 billion to promote condom
usage and "safe sex." This year alone, $450 million of your tax
dollars will go down that drain! (Compared with less than $8
million for abstinence programs, which Sen Teddy Kennedy and
company have sought repeatedly to eliminate altogether.) Is it time
we ask what we've gotten for our money? After 22 years and $2
billion, some 57 percent of sexually active teens still never use
contraceptives during intercourse! Of the remaining 43 percent,
many use condoms improperly or only occasionally. That is the
success ratio of the experts who call abstinence "unrealistic" and
Even if we spent another $50 billion to promote condom usage, most
teenagers would still not use them consistently and properly. the
nature of human beings and the passion of the act simply do not
lend themselves to a disciplined response in young romantics.
But if you knew a teenager was going to have intercourse, wouldn't
you rather he would use a condom?
No, because that approach has an unintended consequence. The
process of recommending condom usage to teenagers inevitably
conveys five dangerous ideas: (1) that "safe sex" is achievable;
(2) that everybody is doing it; (3) that responsible adults expect
them to do it; (4) that it's a good thing; and (5) that their peers
know they know these things, breeding promiscuity. Those are very
destructive messages to give our kids.
Furthermore, Planned Parenthood's own data show that the number one
reason teenagers engage in intercourse is peer pressure! Therefore,
anything we do to imply that "everybody is doing it" results in
more...not fewer...people who give the game a try. What I'm saying
is that our condom distribution programs do not reduce the number
of kids exposed to disease...they radically increase it!
Want proof of that fact? Since the Planned Parenthood-type programs
began in 1970, unwed pregnancies have increased 87 percent among
18- to 19-year-olds. Likewise, abortions among teens rose to
346,900 in 1988;unplanned births went up 61 percent. And venereal
disease has infected a generation of young people. Nice job,
Planned parenthood. Good thinking, senators and congressmen. Nice
Having made a blunder that now threatens the human family, the same
people who got us into this mess are continuing to establish our
approach to teen sexuality. When will we recognize that they *are*
the problem, not the solution to it.
Let me press you further. If you were a parent and knew that your
son or daughter was having sex, wouldn't you talk to him or her
about proper condom usage?
Having said that the failure rate of condom usage is incredibly
high, perhaps 50 percent or greater in disease prevention, why
would I recommend his "solution" to my son or daughter? Suppose
they were sky divers whose parachutes had a 50 percent failure
rate. Would I recommend that they simply buckle the chutes tighter?
Certainly not. I would say "Please don't jump. Your life is at
stake!" How could I, as a loving father, do less?
But there is another reason for talking to our kids about
abstinence rather than "safe sex." It is even more important than
the life-and-death issue cited above. I'm referring to rebellion
against God and His promise to punish sin. Jesus said, Fear not
them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but
rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in
hell" (Matt. 10:28 KJV). spiritual death is infinitely worse than
physical disability or death, and our kids deserve to know about
this divine reality from the days of childhood.
Never! Never! Never would I withhold that vital information in
favor of a "safe sex" distortion.
Again I say, kids won't listen to the abstinence message. You're
just wasting your breath to try to sell them a notion like that.
It is a popular myth that teenagers are incapable of understanding
that it is in their best interest to save themselves until
marriage. Almost 50 percent of all high school students are virgins
today, even though hardly anybody has told them it is a good thing.
(Even many churches preach the "safe sex" message. I noticed while
in New York City that Faye Wattleton, the former president of the
Planned Parenthood Federation of America, was scheduled to speak at
the famous Marble Collegiate Church!)
As further evidence, I submit the record of an event held in
Lexington, Ky., several years ago. It featured ex-convict Harold
Morris talking about abstinence, among other subjects. The coliseum
seated 18,000 people, but 26,000 teenagers showed up! Eventually,
more than 2,000 stood outside the packed auditorium and listened
over a hastily prepared public address system. Who says kids won't
listen to this time-honored message?
Is AIDS God's plague sent to homosexuals, lesbians and other
Let's put it this way. If I choose to leap off a 10-story building,
I will die when my body hits the ground below. It's inevitable. But
gravity was not designed by God to punish my folly. He established
physical laws that can be violated only at great peril. So it is
with His moral laws. They are as real and predictable as the
principles that govern the physical universe. thus, we knew (and He
knew) with the onset of the sexual revolution back in 1968 that
this day of disease and promiscuity would come. It is here, and
what we do with our situation will determine how much we and our
children will suffer in the future.
Well, that is but a small fraction of what I wanted to say on the
Jennings television special. I also wanted to make a comment or
two, with proper respect, about the hypocrisy of a program of that
nature. All four networks and the cable television entities are
wringing their hands about this terrible epidemic that has now
invaded our bodies. They profess to be very concerned about those
who are infected, and perhaps they are sincere. However, TV
executives and movie moguls have contributed mightily to the
existence of this plague. for decades, they have depicted teens and
young adults climbing in and out of each others' beds like so many
sexual robots. Only the nerds were chaste, and they were too stupid
or ugly to find partners.
Of course, the beautiful young fornicators in those steamy dramas
never faced any consequences for their sin. No one ever came down
with herpes, or syphilis, or chlamydia, or pelvic inflammatory
disease, or infertility, or AIDS, or genital warts, or cervical
cancer. No patients were ever told by a physician that there was no
cure for their disease or that they would have to deal with the
pain for the rest of their lives. No one ever heard that the human
popilloma virus (HPV) kills more women than AIDS, or that a strain
of gonorrhea is now resistant to antibiotics. No, there was no
downside. It all looked like so much fun. But what a price we are
paying now for the lies we have been told. Pardon us, ABC, if your
compassion seems a bit contrived. (By the way, it was on ABC that
the young Doogie Howser said, "A man is a lot of things, but he's
not a virgin" Sept. 25, 1991).
Maybe this is why Peter Jennings didn't ask for a further comment
from me. He knew from my only remark that I was definitely not
"politically correct." I also learned since returning to Colorado
Springs that Mr. Jennings served on the honorary committee for a
homosexual political organization last fall. He shared this honor
with Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, Phil Donohue and two homosexual
members of Congress. that explains the philosophy that drives the
Before I leave this disturbing subject, I want to share with you a
brochure I received this morning from the federal Centers for
Disease Control and the City of New York. It is entitled, "Teens
Have the Right," and is apparently intended to free adolescents
from adult authority. Inside are the six declarations that make up
a "Teenager's Bill of Rights," as follows:
o I HAVE THE RIGHT TO THINK FOR MYSELF
o I HAVE THE RIGHT TO DECIDE WHETHER TO HAVE SEX AND WHO(M)
TO HAVE IT WITH.
o I HAVE THE RIGHT TO USE PROTECTION WHEN I HAVE SEX.
o I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BUY AND USE CONDOMS.
o I HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXPRESS MYSELF.
o I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK FOR HELP IF I NEED IT.
Under this final item is a list of organizations and phone numbers
that readers are encouraged to call. The organizations provide a
range of services including dispensing condoms to counseling
"at-risk" teens. The philosophy of these programs reflects the
homosexual agenda, which includes recruitment of the young.
Your tax dollars at work!
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to say something to you at this point
that has not bee written in any of my monthly letters. It is this:
I need to hear from you on this subject. I've been airing radio
programs, writing books and now, appearing (briefly) as a
television guest in a lonely effort to counteract the assault on
our kids. Frankly the silence in response has been deafening at
times. Gary Bauer and I expressed the danger in a book and video
series entitled _Children at Risk_, to which (according to the
publisher) many pastors have responded, "I don't want to get
involved." Our inability to rally good people is depressing.
Frankly, I would find it very encouraging to know that you
recognize the danger as well...that you are concerned about a
generation of our best and brightest. No, writing a letter to me
won't change our precarious situation, but it will help carry on
with the struggle. At this moment, it seems like the opposition
outnumbers our troops about 10,000 to one. A word or two of support
would be welcome, and your prayers would be most appreciated.
I know our cause is just. God bless you all!
James C. Dobson, Ph.D. President
P.S. We are working hard on a television program and a school video
on this important subject. Please pray with us specifically as we
attempt to convey these ideas to today's teenagers.
This file brought to you by SMCIS BBS 301-862-3160 and 1527, home of
NewLife Christian Network.
P.O. Box 463
California, MD 20619
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