Recent figures from the National Association of Evangelicals suggest that Christians may have to re-evaluate their strategies when approaching subjects like sex. Will the church be forced to decide on whether sex or abortion is the greater sin, or can it present itself in a new light that allows youth to openly express themselves?
Christian parents have often preached abstinence to their kids when approaching the topic of the "birds and the bees." However, new figures presented in the organization's publication have revealed that 80 percent of young evangelicals have partaken in premarital sex.
The "Insight" publication also revealed that 30 percent of those youth relations resulted in pregnancy. If those figures were not troubling enough for many Evangelicals, adding to the concern is the fact that 32 percent of unplanned pregnancies result in abortion. Given the numbers, it appears that Christians may be forced to make a compromise.
Can the church accept birth control as an option, if it means saving the lives of unborn children?
"Our churches must talk about a biblical theology of sex, show compassion for those with unplanned pregnancies, give support to bring babies to birth, encourage abstinence from premarital sex, discourage married couples from choosing abortions, discuss contraceptives and specially recognize the needs of those considering second and third abortions," Leith Anderson, President of the National Association of Evangelicals, stated in the publication.
Some religious leaders supported the conversation by suggesting that birth control was a better option than an unplanned pregnancy.
"Unmarried sex with contraception is not God's plan, but unmarried sex without contraception is not a plan at all," Joel Hunter, Pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed, said in response to the article.
"Contraception is a product of human ingenuity that may be used by Christians to plan families and preserve a woman's health," Jenell Paris, Professor of Sociology at Messiah College added.
Others strongly opposed birth control as a means of addressing the issue, suggesting that it is an attempt to control what should be considered a God-given gift.
"After praying over this for years, having six children, and counseling many, I believe children are the greatest gift God gives us," Ron Boehme, Director of Youth With A Mission U.S. Renewal, commented. "Unless specifically directly by God for health or other reasons, I believe we should let the Author of Life have his way. Hence, I am generally opposed to artificial methods of contraception."
One youth has suggested that the best results will likely come out of having open discussions about sex, opposed to making it a "taboo" topic.
"I go to a Unitarian Universalist church with a very large congregation- more than 750 families. In the 18 years I've attended Unitarian services, I've not known a single teen mom among us, as opposed to the high school I work at, where I know of at least three in a single class," Tazo Wolf, a medical student at Colorado University stated.
"Rather than making sex a taboo subject, we invite discussion," Wolf stated. "At the Junior high level, Sunday School becomes an open forum, 'Exploring your Sexuality.' We don't invite kids to engage in sexual activity- quite the opposite- but we provide a safe place where they can ask their questions ... ANY questions ... without ridicule, and they get real answers."
Has the church backed itself into a wall and forced themselves into a position of having to decide between two greater evils? Or does it stand a chance at reaching youth by presenting itself as an open forum for kids to discuss sex?