Unification News for August - September 1999
Pure Love 2000 - Teens Tour Two Continents with Message of Abstinence
Robert S. Kittel
President, Pure Love Alliance
Pure Love 2000 was our 4th annual summer tour. It was also our largest tour and the first to span two continents – North America and Europe.
Starting in Chicago in the middle of July, the U.S. portion of the tour ended two weeks and seven cities later in Times Square, New York City (8 cities in all). From the Midwest to the Northeast, 360 teenagers rallied, marched, served, studied and taught other teens that abstinence until marriage is not only possible, it is also the best lifestyle choice. In the words of one participant, "Abstinence is your own personal Declaration of Independence. It is your guarantee of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’"
On August 1st, about half of the U.S. contingent went on to Europe (on Virgin Airlines no less). They were joined by an equal number of Europeans and together for two weeks traveled to England, France and Germany. The total number of participants in both the U.S. and Europe added up to nearly 700 people, no 700 teenagers!
More than the size of the tour and its inter-continental nature, there were numerous important breakthroughs.
Outreach To Christian Churches
Churches opened their doors to welcome us. Imagine opening ones home, not only to one or two teenagers for an overnight stay, but giving the key to the front door to a group of 360 unknown teenagers to stay for three days and nights. During the course of the tour, it happened not once, but four times!
In America and in Europe, Christian ministers let us sleep in the sanctuaries of their churches and in their banquet halls. They fed us from their kitchens, hosted us on their radio broadcasts, featured the Pure Love Alliance (PLA) on their TV programs, and wrote about us in their newspapers. They invited us to church services and to revivals. More importantly, knowing that most of the Pure Love Alliance members were children of Rev. Moon’s marriage blessings, they joined us at our public programs. On the issue of abstinence, doctrinal differences were set aside. Baptist, Evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, Muslims and Bahi’s marched with us on the streets and spoke at PLA rallies.
Community Support and Recognition
In addition to public awareness programs, the Pure Love Alliance has always promoted community service along with the abstinence message. Abstinence is more than just virginity and more than the best contraceptive. Abstinence is preparation for marriage. Why? There is an element of abstinence even within successful marriages. When you say, "I do," to that one special person while taking your wedding vows, you are also saying, "I don’t" to everyone else. In other words, after marriage instead of calling it abstinence we use another word; it is called fidelity.
Abstinence is also preparation for marriage because it builds character and teaches unselfishness. Refraining from sex until marriage puts the safety and well-being of others above personal sexual gratification. Basically, it is about self-control and public-mindedness, not sex-control. Therefore, community service is a part of the abstinence message since living for the sake of others is a learned ability. It is this willingness to sacrifice oneself for the benefit of others, more than being a virgin on your wedding night, which will create strong marriages and successful families. More than having sex, husbands and wives must create love between them. This can only be done through willing personal self-sacrifice.
In addition to constantly picking up after ourselves (you know how hard it is to get a teenager to clean his or her room), we cleaned football fields, parking lots, playgrounds, the undergrowth in national parks, and the banks of the Thames River. We painted school lockers and the graffiti on pedestrian underpasses. We also dedicated a day to organic farming where food was donated to the needy.
Seeing hundreds of teenage volunteers work so hard deeply touched the hearts of City Council members in many cities. In Columbus, Ohio representatives of the PLA were brought into City Council chambers during the City Council meeting and publicly thanked by the entire City Council. In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania the City Council supplemented the costs of our accommodation so we could stay at a 5-star hotel instead of camping out in a park (we budgeted $5 per person). In Greenwich, England a member of the City Council set up five different service projects, visited each site and brought the local press with him. He was so inspired about the work of the PLA he invited us back to teach abstinence in their pubic schools.
Contact with the United Nations
In Paris, the PLA had its first ever program in the United Nations. At the UNESCO headquarters UN representatives organized a panel discussion pertaining to three topics: the vision and work of UNESCO, cultivating a culture for world peace, and issues that deal with youth throughout the world. These presentations were followed by questions and answers. It was in this part of the program that PLA participants were articulate, clear, insightful and challenging.
For example, one UN representative described the need for world peace and the nature of peace. He mentioned that peace is more than the absence of war; it is not passive, it is active—it is about understanding, cooperation and caring. Following this one PLA tour participant asked, "How can you talk of world peace and never ever mention marriage or family?" She continued by saying, "It is in the family that we learn the qualities of human nature that best foster peace. The family is the school where we learn to care for others, to be unselfish, sacrificial, and loving. In order to build good families, we need strong marriages. Why then do you avoid the subject of marriage and family when you talk about world peace?"
An overview of the problems young people are facing worldwide was presented by another UNESCO representative. She stated that currently over 39 million people have the AIDS virus. Abstinence, she reiterated several times, was definitely the best policy. Without question it was the most effective means to control sexual diseases, including AIDS. She concluded by saying that people should delay sexual relationships for the benefit of themselves as well as their partners.
Image what was going on inside the minds of PLA members, especially as many had taught abstinence in public schools. The obvious questions were inevitable, "If sexual abstinence is truly the best, then how much of UNESCO’s financial budget is allocated to teaching abstinence?" "How much of the curriculum is dedicated to discussing the issues of abstinence and the related subjects of marriage and family?" This line of thinking prompted yet another question, "Delay sex until when?"
The UN representative shocked the audience by saying sexual intercourse should be delayed until a man and a woman can communicate openly and honestly about sex. Noticing the avoidance of the "M" word again, one PLA representative explained that without marriage as the goal abstinence has little appeal. When marriage is removed from the radar screens of a teenager’s mindset, the alternatives would be a lifetime of celibacy or having sex. Equally damaging, the kids are left to decide for themselves if and when they want to have sex.
The misuse of sexuality is not a communication problem, it is an selfishness problem. Marriage is an act of total unselfishness; it is the total commitment to ones partner and the life that springs from that relationship and therefore the proper place for sexual activity. In essence, marriage makes sex unselfish.
In summary, the dialogue was real and engaging. PLA participants could see the difficulty in which the UNESCO representatives were in because at one point their line of defense was, "This is the United Nation policy and we cannot change it." Assuredly, however, the UN panelists were taken back by the passionate hearts and high spirits of these "teenagers."
Teacher Training Seminars
Sex educators are selling our children short by telling us that abstinence is "unreal." These teens and thousands more are proof that voluntary sexual restraint is possible and beneficial.
Our abstinence and character education curriculum, CLUE 2000, has been taught in public schools in six states of the United States and in many other countries throughout the world. The acronym CLUE stands for Creating Love and Uplifting Esteem. This is the only character and abstinence education curriculum created on a one-to-one basis complying with the guidelines of the U.S. Congress. Federal lawmakers passed abstinence education legislation in 1996 because the decades-old policy of condoms-for-kids failed.
Hundreds of principals, counselors, teachers and parents have endorsed the CLUE 2000 program. For example, four teachers from Byrne Elementary School, in Chicago, IL (elementary school goes up to 8th grade) said the "ten-week program touches an area of sex-education that has been missing from schools programs for many years – the choice of abstinence." Another teacher at the Jonathan Burr Elementary School wrote, "I truly believe this program should be mandatory in part or in whole, to supplement or replace the current "sex education" programs…"
In addition to marches, rallies and social service, we planned a teacher training workshop in each city we visited to share this success with others. The program was so welcomed that in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a member of the City Council invited us to use the City Council Chambers to hold two abstinence seminars. One program was for teens from that community and the other a workshop to train teachers. The high back, leather cushioned chairs behind the dark-brown oak bench, similar to a courtroom, created an environment that seemed to say, "This is what public officials should be doing… helping our youth make the right choices."
Second Generation Leadership
More than any previous tour, Pure Love 2000 was genuinely the result of the teamwork, sacrifice, and absolute investment of the Second Generation. Starting from the very top. With the change in the advisory leadership roles, Hyun Jin Nim’s support was indispensable. From his success, experience and educational background in the business world, he brought a sense of fiscal responsibility to the tour.
Hyun Jin Nim took time from his schedule—and family—to be with tour participants on two occasions, once during the U.S. tour in Washington D.C. and again on the European leg in Frankfurt, Germany. Both times he emphasized the importance of marriage and family, reinforcing the idea that abstinence must be more than mere sexual purity. Abstinence education must inculcate elements of character development that are the basic tools for creating lasting marriages and good families.
Following the example of total investment, tour directors Bow Jones and MoSook Park, along with other PLA volunteers organized, planned and directed the entire tour. These leaders worked the hardest, slept the least and invested the most. In the end, many of their younger brothers and sisters renewed their commitment to abstinence and, more importantly, wanted to fulfill the last point of the Pure Love Pledge, to "encourage others to do the same."
Robert Kittel is the President of Pure Love Alliance.
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