High school cheerleaders with short-shorts and ribboned hair took the coliseum's stage and chanted, "Stop, don't touch me there, this is my no, no square," while drawing boxes in the air in front of their va (clap) jay (clap) jays. The crowd of thousands of teenagers erupted with giddy applause at the sight of the girls' bouncy tendrils and playful gesticulation. Preachers led the crowd in prayer, speakers reviewed the Bible and the Ten Commandments, performers danced to Christian gospel music and Jesus' name was repeatedly invoked -- all as a means of convincing teens that there is no option but to save sex for marriage. Now try to guess who paid for this purity pep rally.
Taxpayers! Talk about a "no, no square" -- isn't there supposed to be a chastity belt separating the church and state in this country? The American Civil Liberties Union seems to think so and has filed an official complaint with Mississippi's Department of Human Services, which sponsored the event, but hasn't yet gotten a response. Beyond the Christian maxims, there was plenty of misleading medical information -- for example, minister David Mahan exclaimed, "Our government is telling us that all we have to do is wear a see-through piece of rubber and be safe. That's bull" -- so just wait until your wedding day, because unprotected sex in marriage is totally safe!
There was also some awesomely awful attitudes toward women on display. Take this comment from David Mahan, CEO of Frontline Youth Communications: "There is nothing more beautiful and nasty than childbirth. A pregnant woman will rip the skin off your arm." He also provided a "ditsy, high-pitched" imitation of an underage girl calling his wife, a pregnancy crisis counselor, in the middle of the night, according to Kate Royals, who details the event at length in a blog post on the Huffington Post.
The kicker: Mississippi not only has the highest teen birth rate in the country, but also the eighth-highest HIV rate among those in their early 20s. Check out the ACLU video of the event below -- it's yet one more reason to be happy about the education bill that eliminates abstinence-only funding for 2010.