Chastity Ring

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.

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3 replies on “Chastity Ring”

At our school there was a rule that you couldn’t wear a coat indoors. As there was no lockers, your only option was to carry it around. This, in my opinion, was ridiculous so I tended to keep it on. For repeatedly offending I was hauled into the head of years office. I was told I should put my coat in my bag, to which I replied that it wouldn’t fit. He told me to get a smaller coat. I told him if he wanted me to do that he would have to pay for it. This seemed to annoy him and he told me he would phone my parents. I said he should go ahead and my dad would agree that the school were being stupid. At this he seemed to turn a redder shade and screamed “get out”. I took this to mean I was allowed to go on wearing my coat.

I don’t know if this strategy would have worked for Lydia Playfoot. Would certainly have been cheaper all round.

In case you hadn’t seen it, the Ministry of Truth wrote an interesting article about this case. It turns out that the girl in question has some financial links to the franchise which sells the rings and other merchandise. So it is hard not to be cynical.

Robert, it was clear from the start that Lydia’s parents were in leading positions in the SRT UK ministry. Note that it is “a not for profit company”, and according to the BBC article “Mr Playfoot and his wife Heather are part of the volunteer team”, which means that they can have no financial interest. Given the modest prices quoted and the small size of the UK evangelical market it would surprise me if they even cover their expenses. Of course the company will benefit from the extra publicity, but the benefit is unlikely to be financial.

The “Playfeet” joke is lifted straight from Lord of the Rings, so the Ministry of Truth may get a visit from Christopher Tolkien’s lawyers.

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