matt tullos

the compost pile of writer, matt tullos. mostly poems, prayers, rants and naratives... "Gods passion for the world has compelled me to be a contributor in the warfare of grace rather than a spectator in the warfare of religion."

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Location: Alexandria, LA, United States

Monday, August 23, 2004

A biblical principle remedies the world’s biggest social and political problem

By Chris Turner

Several hundred people assembled Sunday night in one of the many amphitheatres that dot the Athenian cityscape to publicly take an international stand in support of sexual abstinence until after marriage. Ironic, considering that just a few blocks away in the Olympic village the athletes were at the midway point of what amounts to a two-week international orgy.

What else could it be called when more than 130,000 condoms were supplied to the 17,000 participating athletes? The quantity is projected to remedy the shortage of available condoms that resulted during the 2000 Sydney Games when an emergency shipment of 20,000 had to be flown in during the last week.

The theatre rally in Greece was led by members of LifeWay Christian Resources’ True Love Waits ministry team. More than 3 million American young people have pledged to remain abstinent in the 10 years since True Love Waits began. The ministry is truly changing lives and impacting cultures. There have been significant moral shifts among the young people of the world in countries like Uganda, South Africa, Thailand, the Philippines and Guyana. Many of those countries have been AIDS ravaged, but True Love Waits has been a beacon of hope across a landscape of endless death. Results in places like Uganda, where the number of newly diagnosed cases of AIDS has decreased more than 30 percent, prove the fallacy that a public policy whose cornerstone is financial aid is ineffective and misses the deeper issue. The problem is spiritual.

The Bush Administration committed more than $15 billion to fight AIDS in Africa and recently earmarked an additional $3 billion for Vietnam. Some of that money is specifically designated while much of it is left to the discretion of the governments. It’s dumping money into a black hole. The Clinton Administration six years ago threw $3 billion at Colombia to eradicate the drug trade and the guerrilla presence there. Money hasn’t changed the Colombian situation and money won’t change the AIDS crisis.

Unfortunately, too often Americans think the prescription that remedies the world’s ills comes in the color green. It’s an unoriginal solution. We—Americans—are too easily wowed by money sums like $15 billion. We shouldn’t be. I’ve traveled in enough third-world countries to whom we supposedly provide financial aid to know that much of what we contribute never makes it to the people who need it the most.

The world faces a sin problem, not public policy or even social problems. Most political liberals—and many conservatives—don’t see it that way, but what’s more, the United States, a supposedly “godly” nation, is at the epicenter of the sin business. Our nation lives a double standard. On the one hand we are trying to solve the world’s biggest crisis—the exploding AIDS epidemic—while being the world’s largest sex exporter.

A few years ago I stood outside the National Mosque in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and had a conversation with a middle-aged Muslim man who was a bank executive. He wanted me to tell him honestly what Americans thought of middle-eastern Muslims. I told him we generally thought they were all fanatics with bombs strapped to their bodies blowing up buses and Marine barracks. He vehemently denied the generalization. I returned the question. His impression of America was that we are a sex-crazed society infatuated with television’s Bay Watch and that we all had Pamela Anderson posters pasted on our bedroom walls. Indicting. One of the reasons we’re hated so much is because many countries see us as corrupting their cultures. Tough to argue the point when evidence shows we are also corrupting our own.

Organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the National Organization of Women worship the condom, seeing it as the solution for teen sexuality. The issue is not the condom but sexual promiscuity. Any proposed solution other than the one God outlines in the Bible—sex being within the boundaries of a marital relationship between one man and one woman—misses the mark. But why should we expect teens to understand that principle and act like something other than animals when we teach them that they’ve evolved from animals?

Wouldn’t it speak better of us across the globe if we invested in cultures—including our own—with an eye toward lasting change? Uganda was a dying country when International Mission Board missionaries Larry and Sharon Pumpelly introduced True Love Waits into that culture. A decade later there is hope. Young people can dream dreams and actually live to realize those dreams. That is true freedom and it is found only through a spiritual remedy that cures a social ill.

Abstinence is a call to a disciplined life based on a biblical precept. Bluntly stated, God expects His creation to practice self-control. That is a hard concept for a fallen world to comprehend, but true love truly does wait if we expect it to.

American—Christian—if you want to make the world a better place and want the rest of the world to respect us, then start by standing with those assembled in an amphitheatre in Athens, Greece. Start by taking a vocal and public stand in support of premarital sexual abstinence.

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