Abstinence & Marriage Education Partnership director: Children 'haven't heard' abstinence message
Scott Phelps is on a mission to change the way he sees young people viewing themselves and the way many of them have come to live their lives.
“We’re just passionate that kids at least have the opportunity to learn about the benefits of marriage and family,” Phelps, executive director of the Abstinence & Marriage Education Partnership, said during a recent appearance on the "Chicago's Morning Answer" radio show. “We want to go in and help young people understand that if you simply can reserve sexual activity and child-bearing until marriage, you’re going to do a whole lot better.”
Phelps has long known that his task won’t be easy, but with a few subtle changes he sees it as being more than obtainable.
The group’s mission statement is that every single teenager in the country be afforded the opportunity to hear a reasoned and positive presentation about the benefits of abstinence until marriage and instruction on preparing for a healthy future marriage.
“Believe it or not, that’s not a message they’re getting,” Phelps said on the show. “We believe that this should be a foundational message, instead of just having a teacher to come in and speak about it. The idea that kids will do it anyway isn’t factually true.”
Phelps said some recent statistics point to as many as 70 percent of kids not being sexually active.
“We just believe it is really important to give kids a message to encourage them to stay on the path they’re on,” he said on the show.
Later, Phelps told the story of having worked with someone at the organization that spent 40-years in the Chicago Public School system. Over that time, the person shared that many of the students she talked to admitted to her that no one had ever talked to them about abstinence until marriage.
“Kids haven’t rejected the message of abstinence, they just haven’t heard it,” he said on the snow. “All that dysfunction has become the primary messaging of sex education in our schools. Saving sex until marriage has become the alternative message.”
Phelps said one of the things now of most concern to the organization is that the non-marital birth rate now stands at an all-time high of 40 percent.
In addition, he said the fertility rate is stuck at an all-time low of below 50 percent.
“I don’t think you change any of these trends unless adults in the room get serious and have a systematic effort to work through schools and churches and equip parents across the nation to help a new generation of young people have an appreciation for the beauty of marriage and family,” Phelps said on the radio show.
A&M Partnership was founded in 2004 with “a vision of providing training and support for educators around the country with the purpose of reaching every teenager in the country with the abstinence and marriage message,” according to its website.
Since its inception, the Illinois-based nonprofit and leading provider of abstinence education certification training has trained more than 4,000 educators across the country.
Dan Proft, one of the hosts of "Chicago's Morning Answer," is a principal in Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.