British schoolgirl Lydia Playfoot has been banned from wearing her chastity ring in school; a story which has made most of the mainstream media over the last few days. (BBC story here.) I must admit that my thoughts on this story are a little bit mixed. I agree with Andrew that it seems a little petty to make such a fuss over a ring, and surely it must be a positive thing for a girl to signal that she doesn’t want to have sex till she is married – especially in a country with the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Europe.
Then again, this is being presented as a case of religious freedom. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for religious freedom, but I don’t see how wearing a ring actually can be seen as an essential part of the Christian faith. To my way of thinking one of the identifying marks of Christianity is that we have actually done away with most external, temporal symbols. The important signs of the faith are actually internal – a circumcised heart, not a circumcised willy is the mark of a believer. Much though I applaud the sentiments behind Lydia wearing the ring and although I think the school is being rather silly in it’s attitude, I can’t see that a case can be made for her wearing it on religious grounds.
The wonderful Dave Walker sums the thing up for me in his latest blog post.