Well, it looks like evangelicals can't avoid the big fat pregnant truth when it kicks them in the ass:
The statistics, some evangelicals say, can no longer be ignored.
Eighty percent of young evangelicals have engaged in premarital sex, according to a new video from the National Association of Evangelicals. and almost a third of evangelicals' unplanned pregnancies end in abortion.
It's time to speak honestly about sex because abstinence campaigns and anti-abortion crusades often aren't resonating in their own pews, evangelical leaders say.
In some instances, that is beginning to happen:
- At this month's Q conference in Washington, participants were asked at the end of a session on "reducing abortion" if churches should support the use of contraception among their single 20-somethings. Responding by text message, 64 percent said yes, 36 percent said no.
- A "Sexuality and Covenant" conference this week (April 19-21) co-sponsored by Mercer University and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship includes on its agenda the statement that "marital sexual relationships" are not available for many Christians.
- In addition to its video, the NAE is preparing to distribute information packets to pastors that include testimonies from birth mothers and adoptees, as well as definitions of almost a dozen "prevention methods" ranging from abstinence to sterilization.
"This cultural moment calls for a both/and approach that I think can be challenging for churches," said Jenell Williams Paris, a Messiah College professor, at the Q conference. "Both lift up the ideal of premarital chastity, and support people who do otherwise with knowledge and resources that can help them prevent pregnancy."
Paris, who has authored books on Christian approaches to sexual identity and birth control, also was slated to speak at the Mercer conference.
Sarah Brown, the CEO of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, said the majority of the Q audience probably preferred reducing premarital sex over considering conception. But that may no longer be realistic.
"Isn't it better for unmarried, sexually active young people to use contraception than to not use it, experience a distressing pregnancy and elect abortion?" Brown said. "It's a difficult choice. It's a difficult question, but I think that's what we have to ask ourselves."