Playing With Teen Sex Statistics: A Lesson in Lies


There are many goofy aspects to this Life Site News story arguing that because a slim majority of teenagers don’t have sex, we don’t need to teach them about contraceptive methods. Perhaps the most puzzling is why they came out with the story on July 14th, since the report came out a month and a half ago.  (In classic Life Site fashion, they don’t actually link the report, for fear that a stray reader may actually read it an clue into the fact that their spin is dishonest.)  Did it take the American Life League this long to craft a response?  If so, you’d expect them to come up with something less transparently silly than this:

ALL says that the CDC report, entitled “Teenagers in the United States: Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Child Bearing, National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG),” debunks Planned Parenthood’s constant mantra that most teens will not abstain. In particular the pro-life organization points to the words of Planned Parenthood Federation of America vice president of medical affairs, Vanessa Cullens, from a YouTube video directed toward teens: “Admit that you are a sexually active individual like most of us, and that you are going to have sex and that you need to take precautions in order to stay healthy.”

The number of lies is this paragraph are astounding, a real feat in maximizing the dishonesty per syllable. As per their usual strategy, Life Site didn’t link so that you can verify their lies yourself, but I’ll happily link it so you can verify.  There is nothing whatsoever to suggest this is a video aimed at adolescents specifically.  In fact, this video is explicitly aimed at people who have already decided to have sex or are already having sex, regardless of age.   

Then there’s the suggestion that because only 42 percent of girls and 43 percent of boys ages 15 to 19 have had sex, then there’s no need whatsoever for anything but abstinence-only education, because a majority don’t need to know about contraception.  This argument only works if you believe that a group of people doesn’t count unless they’re majority.  Let’s apply this argument to other contexts, to see if it holds as well as Life Site seems to think.

  • According to the Humane Society, only 39 percent of Americans are dog owners.  Using ALL’s logic, this means that there is no need in the United States for dog food, leashes, dog parks, or veterinarians that work with dogs.
  • In 2008, the Republican candidate for President only got 46 percent of the vote.  According to the logic laid out by ALL, this means there is no need for the RNC, Republican fund-raisers, or any Republican infrastructure at all.
  • Men only make up 48.9 percent of the U.S. population.  Subsequently, ALL should argue that we have no need for male-specific medical care, clothing, sports teams, or literature.  If you have prostate cancer or need Viagra, fellas, too bad.  You  have to get Pap smears like the majority.

Then there’s the deceit behind conflating abstaining with simply not having sex.  That most teenagers are virgins doesn’t mean most teenagers are abstaining until marriage.  In fact, like 95 percent of Americans before them, teenagers will probably have sex before marriage.  And those who get married will still have a need for comprehensive sex education, and I worry about the health of the marriages of those who insist that married people don’t benefit from being educated about sex.

Life Site tries to shore up the dishonest conflation of abstinence and simply not getting laid yet (with some kids, not for lack of trying) by pointing out that the number one reason that the still-virgins claimed they weren’t having sex is religious or moral reasons. If you read the report, you’ll find that this is true of less than 30 percent of the virgins.  That means that only about 12 percent of teenagers are interested in the moral arguments for abstinence.  Even if you assume—and there’s really no reason to assume this—that all 12 percent of them will stay firm in their convictions, that means that 88 percent of kids have a current or future need to be educated in safe sexual practices for premarital sex.  And that the 12 percent will still need this education should they want to use contraception in marriage, or in the likely event they change their minds about abstaining. 

And sadly, this entire discussion leaves out the teenagers that are queer and disinterested in penis-in-vagina intercourse, which is what the CDC is mainly interested in.

The CDC certainly doesn’t conflate abstinence and simply not having had the opportunity/desire yet to have sex.  That’s why they break down the survey respondents into two groups, basically high school and post-high school aged teenagers.  And we find, if we look at that data, exactly how dishonest Life Site is being.  Twenty-eight percent of girls ages 15 to 17 are having sex, according to the CDC, but 60 percent of having sex at ages 18 to 19.  Not doing it now doesn’t mean avoiding sex forever, which should be a common sense observation, but sadly needs to be spelled out in our current environment.

Of course, the whole point of comprehensive sex education is not and has never been only to address itself to non-virgins.  In an ideal world, you get good sex education before you start having sex, so that you’re better prepared to make healthy choices when you do start having sex.  This common sense realization that time actually moves on, and what is true today (that someone is a virgin) may not be true tomorrow (when they fall in love and/or just get really horny and start having sex) should be underpinning our sex education, instead of these frantic, illogical missives from anti-choice organizations that put their loathing of human sexuality before public health needs. If most high school kids aren’t having sex yet, that means that it’s that much more important to get them good sex education, so when they start having sex—and statistics overwhelmingly show that they will—they know how to make healthy choices.

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  • crowepps

    It would be just as silly to say most teens don’t have car accidents, and most teens don’t die in accidents, so there’s no point in driver’s training to reduce the number of teens who die in wrecks, even though that number is disproportionately high compared to adult drivers.

     

    Waiting until teens are already sexually active to provide necessary information is silly.  The whole POINT of any kind of education or training is to hopefully provide it BEFORE the person needs it.  Great-grandpa called failing to do so “closing the barn door after the cows have left”.

  • invalid-0

    Except in your great-grandpa’s analogy, you’re not attempting to close the barn door, you’re trying to teach the cows how to stay safe once they leave the barn.  Groups like ALL advocate teaching the cows to stay in the barn.  I think ALL’s point seems to be that educating 100% of the cows on how to stay safe outside of the barn is unnecessary when only 43% have any desire to leave at all.  They believe that 43% could and should be reduced, too.

  • stacey-burns

    Reminds me of the “Abstinence-Only Drivers Ed” piece in McSweeneys a couple of years ago:

     

    The ONLY 100 percent effective method for avoiding car accidents is to ABSTAIN from driving until marriage.


    “What about seat belts?” you might be saying to yourself. “Don’t seat belts GUARANTEE that I CANT POSSIBLY die in a car?” Bzzzt! Wrongo. Every single day in this country, seat belts FAIL. In fact, I know of a study that proves—CONCLUSIVELY proves, people—that seat belts will fail 75 percent of the time.

  • crowepps

    43% of the cows are ALREADY out of the barn, without any training, and have unnecessarily contracted STDs and had unwanted pregnancies, and since it is known that only 12% of the cows are willing to remain in the barn voluntarily, and the other 45% will be moseying along out any time now, then there is hope that a careful herdsman can hopefully prevent that 45% from duplicating the problems that the 43% have already demonstrated results from lack of training.

  • squirrely-girl

    Adolescents aren’t cows… or animals in general. Teaching a cow to stay in a barn would be simple conditioning… which is not all that effective with human adolescents. The problem with your analogy is that cows aren’t standing in the barn or field critically analyzing the farmer’s directives with their newfound sense of abstract and critical reasoning.

  • invalid-0

    Not my analogy.  I think it’s ridiculous.

     

    Personally, I see a world where there’s simply no such thing as safe sex, unless you’re dealing with two monogamous STD-free virgins.  There’s “safer” sex.

     

    The car analogy makes more sense to me.  There’s no such thing as safe driving.  There’s safer driving – but as long as you get behind a wheel, you do put yourself at risk.  Of course, we license drivers.  

     

    Oooh… now there’s something interesting as a hypo.  What if you needed to be licensed to have sex outside of marriage?  And the training procedures were “comprehensive” in the sense that both the ALL’s and the Marcotte’s of the world had half of the class to teach?  And you had to be 18 (or in some states 17) to get your license?

     

    (I’m just bantering here, but what does everyone think about that hypo?)

  • wcshields

    43% of anything is a lot of something

  • bj-survivor

    consider sex outside of marriage to be a crime and since such policies have NEVER worked in the real world, I suggest that you come down off your high horse and deal with the reality of the situation.

     

    The idea that I should have remained a virgin until age 37 (which is when I got married) is absolutely ludicrous. Sex is a beautiful, pleasurable, physically and emotionally satisfying part of my life. It is shown to lower blood pressure, elevate mood, reduce stress, et cetera. Why would I want to deny myself, or others, such a life-affirming choice? Of course, if I felt that I should remain a virgin until marriage, it is far more likely that I would have married young to the first guy I had the hots for, been vastly unsatisfied, and then either gotten divorced or been saddled with more children than I really could handle without marketable job skills that would allow me to escape my miserable marriage.

     

    Apparently, in your little world, the only acceptable thing is to make sure that adolescents and adults who don’t want to follow your life script are punished by contracting an entirely preventable sexually-transmitted infection or an unintended, unwanted pregnancy. And even if they do follow your script, they will not have the tools to negotiate healthy boundaries for mutually enjoyable sexual congress nor control the size of their families within their marriage.

     

    The sad part is that you and others like you consider this to be “ethical.”

  • bj-survivor

    but the statistics I’ve seen show that 95% of Americans have sex before marriage, not 88%. So, really, arex and his authoritarian, fundamentalist ilk believe that policy should be based on what 5% of all Americans do.

  • bj-survivor

    Personally, I see a world where there’s simply no such thing as safe sex, unless you’re dealing with two monogamous STD-free virgins.  There’s “safer” sex.

     

    But there is also no 100% safe abstinence, since, you know, 1 in 13 women is raped in this country (1 in 6 is a combination of attempted and completed rapes of women).

     

    In any event, safer sex has allowed me and many people I know to enjoy a lovely sex life with many wonderful people without contracting a STI.

    • katwa

      Absinence is not only not 100% safe due to rapes, but also because who the hell knows what “abstinence” even is?? Everyone has a different variation. Some people think it’s penis in vagina intercourse, only, which leaves out any gay and lesbian sex, kissing, oral, anal, manual, toy play, etc, all of which can transmit STIs. 

       

      I’m straight and the kind of “sex” I enjoy most isn’t even considered sex at all by a ton of people!

  • colleen

    So, really, arex and his authoritarian, fundamentalist ilk believe that policy should be based on what 5% of all Americans do.

    When you add in the pedophile scandals and the fact that most of the Catholic clergy are closeted gay men or men who are sexually attracted to children or early adolescents (the more disabled the better!) and that these are the folks the 5% look up to for advice about human sexuality the cognitive dissonance becomes even more glaring.
    Add to THAT the sexual proclivities of elected and non-elected ‘family values’ conservatives including David Vitter, Newt Gingrich and the ‘C’ Street crowd and….well, you see where this is going.

    • digitalzen

      I was raised by a gay Catholic priest.  My mother was his housekeeper.  He never touched or made any pass at my younger brother or I.  He was not a pedophile.  While I am no longer a Catholic (I am a practicing Buddhist), I find statements such as “most of the Catholic clergy are closeted gay men or men who are sexually attracted to children or early adolescents” incredibly offensive.

       

       Although some surveys have reported that roughly 50% of priests are gay (and I have no particular reason to doubt that) you will be hard-pressed to find figures from any reputable source that support the contention that most of the others are “men who are sexually attracted to children or early adolescents.”  This is clearly your own opinion, or one based on the opinions of others.  There is no factual basis for such a contention.

       

      That some priests are pedophiles is undeniable.  So are some cops, some writers, some clergy of other sects, some fighter pilots, and some people who write comments that trash priests (as well as some who defend them).  But “some” is not the same as “most,” and statements like that only reveal personal prejudice, not verifiable facts.

       

      A friend of mine, an attorney, is presently in the process of suing Benedict XVI in a class action on the part of several dozen people who were molested by priests.  Even he, with a huge axe to grind, does not claim that “most” are either gay or pedophiles, and he has been assiduously gathering information on the subject for years.

       

      If you cannot quote substantive figures to support such statements, then you should at least say who told you, or where you read it, or how you have come to believe it.  Better yet, if you can’t support it as fact, keep it to yourself.  You insult many fine men who are trying to fulfill the letter of their vocations.

       

  • invalid-0

    I guess people really didn’t get the whole “hypothetical” part.  You all need to chill.

     

    I’m just anti-abortion, I couldn’t care less what people do in their private sex life.  The fact that there’s so much debate about what should be taught in school just tickles me.  I mean, c’mon, parents – raise your own damn kids.  That’s why my kids will go to private schools, and get any sex education from me or my wife.  

     

    The reason I agreed with crowepps on the driving analogy is because I can’t think of anything more similar in situation.  We have millions of adolescents and pre-adolescents running around and deciding to participate in a dangerous activity without any sort of discouragement or, at least, a seat belt.

     

    By the by, if you’re ever talking with one of us “conservative nutjobs”, I would insist to you that we’re not against burning books on condoms or anything like that.  Strictly speaking, what we don’t like are curriculum that treat virgins like crazy people, but rather an admirable standard.  Choosing to remain abstinent CAN be treated as admirable.  Staying abstinent until marriage, saving your sexuality for your one and only partner, is (as y’all noted with the 5-12% comments) extremely difficult, but something kids can be encouraged to strive for.  We really couldn’t care less about condoms or the pill.  I promise you that.

  • bj-survivor

    Yet they continue to claim a moral superiority to which they have no legitimate claim whatsoever on the basis of their bigoted, misogynistic, authoritarian dogma. The rape and pedophile priest apology engaged in by arex, Paul Bradford, et al, never ceases to give me the urge to punch their lights out through the Internet, if such a thing were possible. My husband agrees, which is why he refuses to subject himself to the crap Catholic “pro-lifers” spew. I, apparently, am a masochist.

     

    It’s also really frustrating to be continually accused of treating virgins “like crazy people.” Who ever claimed that being or remaining a virgin is crazy? Neither is it something admirable, but merely one valid choice amongst many sexual and relationship choices and proclivities. Comprehensive sex ed actually helps virgins to navigate their way through relationship minefields to avoiding coercive sex and to be prepared to negotiate a healthy sexual relationship when the time comes that they no longer are abstinent, whether it’s because they’re married or otherwise deem themselves ready. It’s apparent that arex et al cannot grasp the idea that MOST people are sexual beings and don’t want to/find they are unable to remain abstinent. And then, of course, since these same people are against same-sex marriage, they then condemn GLBT to a either a life of celibacy or self-hatred for being an “abomination” who cannot help that they love and have sex with other people who possess the same-shaped genitalia. These same culture warriors also cannot grasp that some people are completely asexual, and that’s also just a variation of normal.

  • amanda-marcotte

    None proven. They tried. They failed. And they refuse to admit that even if you make it to 19 as a virgin—and the majority of people don’t (not that they should)—you probably will have sex even after that.

    Their mission to stomp out human sexuality is about the most futile thing in the world.

  • amanda-marcotte

    Have sex before marriage, yes. But the 88% number was the percentage of teenagers who have no moral or religious objections. That means most people intend to have sex before marriage and even more do. I don’t know if the 7% of people who have a problem with premarital sex but do it anyway change their mind. I’m guessing yes.

  • amanda-marcotte

    I fail to see the value in one person teaching sex is evil and that contraception doesn’t work, and the other person teaching the truth. That’s just going to confuse kids.

    You seem to be under the false impression that comprehensive sex education doesn’t include abstinence. That is incorrect. All sex education highlights that abstinence is 100% effective if used correctly, just as the birth control pill is 99% effective is used correctly. But abstinence has a user error rate that’s far higher than any other method of birth control. The vast majority of people who use abstinence fail to use it correctly, by not having sexual intercourse. They swear to be abstinent, in other words, and then have intercourse. Comprehensive sex education would let them know that if their first method (abstaining) fails, they should use back-up methods. And that those who choose not to abstain also have options.

    Comprehensive sex education doesn’t encourage those who don’t want to to have sex. The opposite! It teaches you that your choices are your own, and if you choose to abstain, that’s good. But it’s also okay to choose not to.

    Guilt-tripping and lying to kids—ALL’s preferred method—isn’t necessary.

    • invalid-0

      I fail to see the value in one person teaching sex is evil and that contraception doesn’t work, and the other person teaching the truth. 

      Your failure may have something to do with a absurd level of narrow-mindedness, Amanda.

  • squirrely-girl

    Interesting hypothetical… but I think the problem you’d run into is the same one we have problems with now. There is no “standard” for sex. We license drivers by testing both their knowledge and skills based on objective standards that all people must meet before they’re allowed to drive.

     

    While I think we could possibly measure knowledge, who decides what questions we would ask? We can’t get the fundie crowd to accept science and reality with regard to even the basics of reproduction and sexual education… what makes you think they would be okay with questions about contraception? For that matter, could they claim some kind of religious exception (like the Amish with vaccinations)? For that matter, why should a person who doesn’t believe in God have to sit through the half taught by the religious fundies? I didn’t have to listen to somebody tell me about their views on God when I took driver’s ed. 

     

    Would there be separate male and female versions or would we (finally) expect the sexes to know just as much about themselves as the others? What about intersexed or transsexual individuals? Do we give different versions based on sexual orientation? Do the bisexuals have to take both versions? If you pass the M4F version, does this mean you can’t have sex with men? What would be the minimum passing score?

     

    And how could we even begin to measure the sex “skills” of people? Again, whose standard would we use? Would we require people to demonstrate skills with condoms or birth control if they don’t believe in these things? Would we require them to bring another person (like they do their car to the driving exam) and prove they know how to have sex safely? If there’s a skills section this would imply or necessitate some “hands on” training before the test. So are people now losing their virginity under the watchful eye of a sex-ed instructor? And, given that there were always two other students riding along in driver’s ed, does this mean students get to watch each other have sex? Do we include oral and anal skills or would those be considered “special endorsements (like motorcycles and semis)? What about group sex? How do we note that somebody is taking drugs like Viagra? 

     

    With any licensing comes fees (to administer the licensing of course). So are poor people denied the ability to have sex? Likewise, with licensing comes potential consequences for violating the terms of the licensing codes/laws. How do we punish those who have sex without a license? Probation?Make them wait even longer to get their license? What about repeated violations? Jail? Similarly, do we revoke licenses of rapists and those with STD’s or just “ticket them?”

    • invalid-0

      Haha.  And jail time for having sex under the influence!

       

      Or, would we treat unmarried couples not using protection similarly as driving without insurance?  

       

      Imagine having to pass a test with your driving instructor!  … and getting a bad score :-(

  • arekushieru

    But abstinence has a user error rate that’s far higher than any other methodof birth control.”

     

    I am SO glad you said this, Amanda.  ABsolutely true!                                                                            

  • squirrely-girl

    Conversely, we don’t like curriculum that treat sexually active adolescent like pariahs, failures, and sinners. Good sex ed should never treat anybody like they’re crazy people with regard to their sexual choices (well, except those with coercive sexual practices), that’s just hateful and mean. 

     

    But why is virginity such an admirable standard? And why should it be the ONLY standard? Why is staying abstinent until marriage something all kids should be encouraged to strive for? What about the kids who are gay and can’t get married? Not everybody gets married. What about those kids?

     

    One of the biggest failures of abstinence only is using the ONE SIZE FITS ALL mentality… which if you didn’t get the memo, rarely does one size fit ALL. 

     

    Another significant limitation of this approach is that it is it’s failure to plan for the future. The educational system represents one of the few times in life that we (theoretically) have the undivided attention of all or most of the people. If we don’t give people REAL and TRUTHFUL information then, when were we expecting them to get it? Do the Ab Only people think we’re just mystically “bestowed” with all the knowledge of sex on our wedding day? For example, what if nobody ever talked about cooking and even actively worked to hide it and everything related to it (kitchens, all tools and utensils except those absolutely necessary for eating, etc.) from you until some arbitrary age or event, let’s say the day you graduate college?  You may have sneaked some glances at whole foods and you’ve seen the finished product, but how do you actually learn to cook? Read a book? What if you don’t know which books to read? I mean, crap, what if you ended up with one of those weird survival texts or a something from the macrobiotic crowd? Watch a video? But what video – I mean, they’re probably not ready for Emeril. And what if they accidentally rent a splooshing video/food porn? Do you think we’d have some people cutting and burning themselves? What about the people who never go to college or just don’t graduate? Do we just expect them to never cook? Do we just expect them to starve?

     

    It’s like throwing kids into the deep end to “teach” them how to swim. Telling teens to abstain doesn’t actually give them any useful knowledge or tools for when they do start having sex… be it the next week or the night of their wedding. Promoting purposeful ignorance is NOT “education.”

     

    PROHIBITION IN ANY OF IT’S FORMS DOES NOT WORK.

     

     

  • corey

    “Red States” that teach Abstinence only have more unwanted teen pregnancies….just ask Bristol Palin. Along with that, countries that teach ONLY abstinence only, tend to have higher rates of HIV.

  • bj-survivor

    This was freaking hilarious, sq! Thanks for this. ;p

     

    It brought to mind Monty Python’s Meaning of Life wherein John Cleese teaches sex ed to a classroom of prep school boys.

  • nimue

    Just for the people who were disputing this, according to the Guttmacher report:

    New Mexico had the highest teenage pregnancy rate (93 per 1,000), followed by Nevada,
    Arizona, Texas and Mississippi. The lowest rates were in New Hampshire (33), Vermont, Maine,
    Minnesota and North Dakota.
    • In 2005, teenage birthrates were highest in Texas (62 per 1,000), New Mexico, Mississippi,
    Arkansas and Arizona. The states with the lowest teenage birthrates were New Hampshire (18
    per 1,000), Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey.
    • Teenage abortion rates were highest in New York (41 per 1,000), New Jersey, Nevada,
    Delaware and Connecticut.
    • By contrast, teenagers in South Dakota (6 per 1,000), Utah, Kentucky, Nebraska and North
    Dakota all had abortion rates of eight or fewer per 1,000 women aged 15–19.

     

    So, yes, red stated have higher teen pregnancy and birth rates, and blue states have higher abortion rates. In terms of actual number (not rate) of (precious snowflake) abortions, red states may still have higher numbers. It depends on which you care about.

    • bornin1984

      I will just repeat here what I said in another thread. There is no discrepancy between teenage pregnancy rates between red and blue states (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/USTPtrends.pdf, page 14)(The two states with the highest teen pregnancy rate when blue last election. The state with the lowest went red). The only discrepancy that exists is between the birth and abortion rates, with birth rates being higher in red states because the abortion rate is lower, and it being the opposite in blue states.

      And, no, as far as actual numbers goes, blue states account for the majority of abortions.

  • crowepps

    But abstinence has a user error rate that’s far higher than any other method of birth control. The vast majority of people who use abstinence fail to use it correctly, by not having sexual intercourse.

    Reminds me of an interview I saw with a teenage boy:

    “My girlfriend and I are abstinent most of the time.”

    There are 720 hours in a month.  If a couple has sex for one hour on two days of that month they are ‘abstinent’ .002% of the time — and still may contract an STD or have an unwanted pregnancy.

  • crowepps

    Considering that even with driver’s training, licensing, fines and imprisonment for breaking the rules, refresher courses, etc., ones lifetime risk of being killed in an automobile accident is STILL 1 in 83, and people routinely dismiss the dangerousness of their own driving habits while exaggerating and deploring the dangerousness of the exact same driving habits of others, somehow I don’t think licensing would help.

     

    http://reason.com/archives/2006/08/11/dont-be-terrorized

     

    http://www.trafficviolationlawfirms.com/Statistics.cfm

  • catseye71352

    arex, if you projected any harder, you’d be a movie theatre.

  • arekushieru

    So science is narrow-minded? Once again a ProLifer proves that they have no interest in consistency.

  • feminazi

    I reached a conclusion about why the abstinence-only people, with all of their Christian, high-minded, we truly care about aborted unborn babies and people contracting STDs talk, don’t seem to want to prevent those unwanted babies from being conceived to begin with or to prevent those STDs from being spread through simple education. Those of us who did have sex while in our teen years, or had sex before marriage, are dirty sinners who deserve whatever’s coming to us.

     

    Incidentally, though, I have to add that, as a sports fan who is very much a female, I’m really surprised by your unbelievably sexist assertion that a society in which males are a minority has no need for sports teams.

  • arekushieru

    (The two states with the highest teen pregnancy rate when blue last election. The state with the lowest went red).

     

    How does that prove your point and not ours?

  • arekushieru

    I don’t understand what you are replying to with your last point, FN?

  • bornin1984

    There is no red state/blue state divide when it comes to teen pregnancy rates, that is why. Some red states have high teen pregnancy rates, and some have low teen pregnancy rates. Conversely, some blue states have high teen pregnancy rates, while others have low teen pregnancy rates. The only discrepancies lie in the abortion and birth rates, with blue states having a higher abortion rate and obtaining a disproportionate amount of abortions given their population when compared to red states. That should be a cause of concern for pro-choice advocates, except that they do not care what the abortion rate is so long as women can continue to procure them.

    At any rate, please click on the link and scroll to page 14. The data is there.

  • colleen

    Although some surveys have reported that roughly 50% of priests are gay (and I have no particular reason to doubt that) you will be hard-pressed to find figures from any reputable source that support the contention that most of the others are “men who are sexually attracted to children or early adolescents.”

    Perhaps you would be less “incredibly offended” if you came down off your high horse and recognized that that she wasn’t claiming that “most of the others” are pedophiles. She was saying (or at least this is my understanding of her meaning) that if you added up the gay men and the pedophiles who are priests you would have a majority. You’re welcome to be offended by what might be conflating ‘gay’ with ‘pedophile’, I know that I am when William Donohue does it. I personally believe that most of the troubles in the world including unwanted pregnancies can be laid directly at the feet of straight men.

    That some priests are pedophiles is undeniable. So are some cops, some writers, some clergy of other sects, some fighter pilots, and some people who write comments that trash priests (as well as some who defend them). But “some” is not the same as “most,” and statements like that only reveal personal prejudice, not verifiable facts.

    The Bishop Accountability Project here:

    http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/data.htm

    sources extrapolations ranging from the self reporting of US Bishops (who, sadly,are not a credible source) at 5.3% of US priests (since 1950) to the example of Providence RI which, if it’s any indication, extrapolates to over 10% of it’s priests. And, while there are a distressing number of men in the US who are sexually attracted to under aged adolescents and children, does even the low of 5.3% not strike you as a high percentage? Particularly amongst a group of men who have taken vows of celibacy?

    That said, I’m disturbed by the fact that you apparently believe that, because pedophiles fill other occupational categories, the priesthood and the actions of the RCC in response to the criminal activities of it’s employees should be excused or not spoken of. The mere fact that the occupation of ‘priest’ is a magnet for men who are sexually attracted to children isn’t the problem. Everyone here understands that most priests aren’t pedophiles. The problem lies in the way the church dealt and still deals with the problem. It’s an institutional problem. The church protected and enabled it’s pedophiles, it nurtured them and it did so as a matter of institutional policy. There are almost endless links to material supporting this and, as the past year or two has demonstrated, the scandals are, global and ongoing and, because the institutional rot and arrogance is so well established I believe the revelations and lawsuits will continue on for many decades to come.

    Better yet, if you can’t support it as fact, keep it to yourself. You insult many fine men who are trying to fulfill the letter of their vocations.

    Before telling us what we can and cannot discuss you might want to read the ‘about us’ section of the blog:

    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/about-us

    That said while I am glad that the priest who raised you loved you and was a good father to you, this isn’t a place where we’re required to pretend a respect and deference towards an institution whose dogma is unremittingly hostile to reproductive rights and to the dignity of women.