Singers Turn 'American Idol' into Platform for Abstinence

The teens aspiring to become the next "American Idol" for the 2008 season are vocal about more than just their passion for singing.

Potential stars like Amy Catherine Flynn, who got a green light from judges at the Knoxville, S.C., auditions on Wednesday, are making it no secret to the public that they support sexual abstinence.

When the 17-year-old Catholic High School student was asked to share something about herself, she said was the captain of the school's dance team and a STARS (Students Teaching And Respecting Sexuality) panelist.

Flynn said she goes to schools to talk about abstaining from sex, drugs and alcohol.

Before she sang her rendition of "Reflections" to the judges, Flynn even gave Simon Cowell a short speech on abstinence.

If Flynn makes it pass the Hollywood semifinals, which will air next month, she would follow in the pro-abstinence footsteps of late American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, who says she wears a purity ring as symbol of her commitment to sexual abstinence before marriage.

At the Dallas auditions last Wednesday, 19-year-old Bruce Dickson also stood by his position on abstinence.

Asked to share something about himself, Dickson told judges and millions of viewers that he had never kissed a girl.

"What?" Randy Jackson asked. "On purpose?"

"On purpose," Dickson said. "On my wedding day, that will be my first kiss."

He told judges that he wanted to "save everything for that one special woman."

But his commitment to purity was not well received.

Jackson's advice to Dickson after judges voted him out was to "go kiss some girls."

Ryan Seacrest, the host of the show, ended the segment with these remarks: "Maybe next year he'll come back less a boy and more a man."

However, Dickson said he has not been dissuaded from his decision despite the ridicule he has received.

In response to Seacrest's comments, Dickson replied, "A real man would rather wait than just do whatever with whoever," reported Cybercast News Service.

"I respect women and don't think of them as a sexual object, and I'm the freak?" Dickson said.

On last week's segment, Dickson was shown wearing a key pendant on a necklace, which represents his commitment to remain pure before marriage.

His father, Mike, was shown wearing a heart pendant with a cut-out where the key fits into. His father would give the heart necklace to Dickson's future wife when he eventually does marry.

Dickson, who said his family is Christian and attends a non-denominational church, shared that divorce and other problems in their extended family led the Dicksons to challenge their children to practice abstinence.

He added that his decision wasn't forced but something he made after he was taught how important it was.

"This is an important thing for me, and I knew I might not be able to handle it on my own, so I asked my father to help me," Dickson told CNS.

Many groups which promote abstinence among teens often encourage parents to play a supportive role in their children's decision.

For example, Purity Ball, an event hosted by several youth ministries around the nation, fathers are asked to show their daughters how special they are and how much they are loved. At the end of the dinner and dance event, daughters make a pledge to their fathers to remain virgins until marriage.

True Love Waits and A Silver Ring Thing are other organizations that emboldened teens to respect themselves despite a culture that tells them to give in to peer pressure.

Idol singer Sparks is one of many teens who wears a ring reading "True Love Waits," given to her by her parents when she was 13.

"My parents gave me a purity ring and talked to me about waiting until I'm married to have sex," she said in earlier reports. "It wasn't forced; it just made perfect sense. It's going to be awesome to say to my husband that I waited my whole life for him."

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