Abstinence Marriage Challenge Draws No Takers
A "challenge" promising $10,000 for a wedding to couples who agree to abstain from sex and undergo religious counseling is going down in flames. No one has stepped up to enter the contest, and now the organizers are relaxing the standards saying they’re open to couples who’ve had premarital sex but acknowledge it’s the "wrong choice."
Worse, the prize money for this small-minded and out-of-step stunt involves federal funds…
There seems to be one small problem with a contest that would pay $10,000 to an engaged couple — they can’t be engaged in premarital sex.
How else to explain that in this sinking economy, no one has stepped forward to enter the Marriage for a Lifetime contest?
Did we mention the cash prize? Or the free flowers, the invitations and other bridal goodies?
The Oct. 31 deadline is fast approaching — but so far, no entries.
“Someone asked me, ‘Is anyone going to respond?’ ” said contest organizer Phillippia Faust, director of an abstinence education program for Rockdale, DeKalb and Newton counties. “In our society, it is going to be hard to find [a couple who has not had premarital sex]. … But the standard is the standard.”
Yet in a recent interview, Faust seemed inclined to relax the rules, saying couples engaging in sex can still qualify but they must acknowledge, “The right choice is probably not to have had done it.”
She will, however, draw the line at couples living together.
“If the couple is living together, definitely not, because they are set up for the kill.”
The contest is only open to couples with at least one of them living in Rockdale, DeKalb or Newton. And there are other strings attached, too. The winning couple must agree to open up the ceremony to the public (up to 100 people) and undergo premarital counseling.
Faust said the stipulations are designed to promote a marriage that will “really last a lifetime.”
“There is a romantic end of it, but we are also looking for a couple that is committed and who will work through struggles,” said Faust, director of Marriage Appreciation Training Uplifting Relationship Education, a nonprofit organization not affiliated with any church. “And we are looking for a couple that is choosing a lifestyle that is not compromising, and premarital sex is a compromiser.”
The giveaway is among a host of events with a sex-can-wait gospel. Faust, who goes by “Miss Flip,” visits schools throughout the year with a program pressing abstinence as well as teaching conflict resolution and financial management skills.
In 2006, her program, implemented through Rockdale Medical Center, was awarded a federal grant of $455,510 annually for five years (a total of $2.27 million). The wedding prize involves some of those federal funds.
In a footnote with the official contest rules, the happy winning couple has to promise not to serve alcohol at their reception. Federal funds, people. This is how religion holds government hostage. Your tax dollars at work.