First, I think that -- in a vaccum -- this is almost the right way to think about sex before marriage. It's healthier, it is the only certain way not to get pregnant, and it ensures that one doesn't wind up having to choose between raising a child alone or having an abortion.
But Second -- and more importantly -- the question is this: while the government may have some interest in reducing illegitimacy, abortion and single-parent families, isn't this none of government's business? Isn't this actually 100% the church's business?
See: what's at issue here -- as I have been trying to tell people in the meta, on the front page, and in private e-mails -- is the sanctity of life and God's design of marriage. But the government has no basis to say, "there are moral reasons to have sex only inside marriage."
"But cent," says one person who can't understand why I'm beating this atonal note which he cannot stand to hear, "this article doesn't say that the Government is making any moral claims. What are you talking about?"
Listen: the claim that having children outside of marriage is bad is a moral claim -- but the basis for saying such a thing (economics, sociology) is so hollow that it's fraudulent morality. It's a statistical analysis posing as a moral affirmation. Why should anyone choose to forgo the pleasure of sex for the sake of what the Government wants or thinks is statistically relevant? Because the ones who get pregnant from such a thing have a higher rate of this or that?
At the heart of that claim is the premise that children are a burden and a curse. What causes poverty among women who have sex outside of marriage? This government progam says: children. It's not "adultery" or "licentiousness": it's children. The equation is simple: children are the cause of the problems related to having sex outside of marriage.
Yes: abstinence is the right class of behavior, but chastity and purity are the right motives for that class of behavior -- not a fear and loathing of children.
And guess what? You can't pass any laws to make people chaste and pure. If you convince them by statistics that having babies is bad, you might get them to lay off the sex, but you will have poisoned their hearts against the blessings of God.
For those who stopped following the cynical faith thread, this is what I am talking about. When the church -- that is, the ones who say they are Christians -- demands that the government "do something" about moral issues that require something more than a binary switch to engage or disengage (libertinism, drunkeness, marriage, welfare), they have stopped being the church. Why? Because only the Gospel can stop men and women from doing these things. Only the Gospel can stop you from having sex before marriage but still have a parental and godly love of children; only the Gospel can stop you from treating liquor like an amusement park ride and still have a responsible drink with friends to "gladden your heart", as the Bible says; only the Gospel can stop you from treating marriage like a leased car which you trade in when the new model is sexier or fast enough; only the Gospel can provide comfort and aid without dehumanizing and making one dependent on fallible men.
It is a cynical faith that thinks that the Government can do better than God and the Gospel through the church. So go ahead: practice abstinence. I endorse the idea that sex is for the marriage bed only. Just don't start spouting statistics at me to try to say that's what I mean.