News and Commentary

Brazil Government Champions Return To Tradition: Sexual Abstinence Before Marriage
A couple kisses at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, August 03, 2016.
Photo by Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images

Leftists usually insist that since the sexual revolution of the 1960’s, the return to the traditional mores of sexual abstinence until marriage is as dead as a doornail, but of all places, in the historically sexually libertine nation of Brazil, the right-wing government of President Jair Bolsonaro is championing the return of the idea.

A campaign titled “I Chose To Wait,” which was created by evangelical pastors, according to The New York Times, has consulted with Damares Alves, the minister of human rights, family and women, who herself is an evangelical pastor. The campaign states it  “has a message centered on the importance of living a life in holiness and purity based on the holy scriptures.” Alves has stated, “Our young people, by and large, are having sex as a result of social pressure. You can go to a party and have lots of fun without having sex.”

Fox5 Vegas reported, “Damares Alves, the minister of women, family and human rights, recently shared news of an approach to fighting teen pregnancy that would focus on advocating sexual abstinence. The campaign, expected to be unveiled in the coming days, will target youths, but also parents, educators and health workers, said Angela Gandra, secretary of family affairs at Alvares’ ministry … ‘We want to bring reflection to the parents and the children about what human relations are,’ Gandra said …”

The Times notes, “The country’s teenage pregnancy rate, which peaked in the 1990s at about 80 per 1,000 births, followed the global downward trend in recent decades, but remains stubbornly high, at about 62 per 1,000 births, well above the global average of 44 per 1,000, according to a United Nations report issued last year. The rate in the United States was 18 per 1,000 in 2017.”

After she was named to her post, Alves stated,“The greatest human right is the right to life … I am against abortion. We want a Brazil without abortion. How? A Brazil that prioritizes public policies of family planning, where abortion is never seen as a contraceptive method … I do not think women want to have an abortion. They take that option because they believe there was no other option… if pregnancy is a ‘problem’ that lasts only 9 months, abortion is a burden you carry your whole life. We will always fight to save the two lives: the woman and the child.”

In an interview last June, Alves stated, “I would like abstinence also to be a method to be discussed in the classroom. I would very much like to discuss this with youths.”

PRI noted, “Bolsonaro supports federal legislation that would limit sex education in classrooms, and since 2017 more than eight Brazilian cities have passed similar laws at the local level. Bolsonaro also supports a conservative social movement that instructs parents to lobby local governments and school principals — who have broad autonomy to set sex education curriculums — to cut them back.”

Roughly two-thirds of Brazil’s population is Catholic. The Catholic News Agency has explained the Catholic Church’s position on chastity this way as they quoted from the Catholic catechism:

“All Christ’s faithful are called to lead a chaste life in keeping with their particular states of life.” By “states of life,” the Church means that there is unmarried chastity, and there is married chastity. Part of chastity entails the proper ordering of sexual pleasure — which means engaging in it only within marriage. But more than that, it is really a way to look at all of one’s relationships so that they no longer become mere exchanges of commodities. It means experiencing others’ presence — not just what they do, but their existence itself — as a gift.



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