-- From "Abstinence ridiculed on 'American Idol'" by Erin Roach, Baptist Press 2/1/08
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--A teenage contestant in a preliminary round of this season's "American Idol" was mocked for his abstinence stance, sending a message to thousands of viewers about how the culture treats the issue.
Bruce Dickson, a 19-year-old from Bastrop, Texas, was asked to tell something about himself during the Dallas auditions for the reality show, and he said he had never kissed a girl.
"What?" Randy Jackson, one of the show's judges, asked. "On purpose?"
"On purpose," Dickson said. "On my wedding day, that will be my first kiss."
The home-schooled, Christian teenager went on to explain that he has made a commitment to abstain from sexual activity until marriage, and his father holds him accountable in his decision.
"Maybe next year he'll come back less a boy and more a man," host Ryan Seacrest quipped as Dickson's segment ended.
In related news, a Boston University School of Medicine study said teens with positive attitudes about delaying sexual activity are more likely to practice abstinence. Influences like parental opinions on sex, personal beliefs and their friends' sexual behavior help determine whether a teen will have sex, the study said, while fears of pregnancy and STDs did not make teens more likely to abstain.
"This study proves that when teens are given the skill sets needed to make the best health choice about sex, it is clear they are capable of choosing to abstain," Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association, said Jan. 16. "The core teachings of abstinence education include character building, goal-setting and exploring the emotional risks of casual sex. Abstinence education is the only curriculum that offers such a clear, risk-avoidance approach to sexual health."
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