Jewish NewsHere is this week's column from The Jewish News...
Who is really to blame for Barnet's teen pregnancies?
I am not surprised that Barnet has had the largest rise in teenage pregnancies in the country, not while the UK leads Europe in teen pregnancy. What surprises me is the boneheaded comments attributed to Councillor Chris Harris, who apparently blamed this partly on the orthodox Jewish community.
They would indeed be strange comments coming from a man who represents Golders Green on the council; even stranger to be the words of a Conservative Party member – but, hey, this is no longer the party of Thatcher, it’s the party of Dave. In fact I would have placed the comments with the sort of morally degraded woolly thinking of some lefty councillor who has never been in the real world. Surprises all around.
Some perspective; this figure of 42 percent represents a rise from 2.4 percent to 3.5 percent of Barnet’s 15-17 year olds falling pregnant. That is a small number and much lower than other councils in the country – less than half the national average of 8 percent. It is still too many. I would submit that the Jewish community is not, as these unsubstantiated and little thought out comments claimed, the cause of these “high” numbers; in fact, if it wasn’t for such a large faith community in Barnet the numbers would have been far higher.
I would expect a liberal politician to blame the Jewish community, or any faith community, because in their deluded world of secularism –the far greater the cause of our country’s many problems—they see religion as the ideological enemy, not the last best hopes that we have for solving problems such as teen pregnancy. Politicians and agenda prone educators would love to blame the faith community because it shifts the blame from the real problem: the failed policies of our morality free education system.
It is this secular thinking that not only believes, “anything goes,” there are no moral truths or absolutes; homosexuality, straight sex, marriage, living together… all that matters is whatever makes you feel good, so shop around, try it all until you come upon something that floats your boat. A lot different to the moral absolutes of God and religion; but this does not fall in line with the sexual and gender politics of the post modern world.
If anything, educators should be taking lessons from the orthodox community. No orthodox, or any “good Jewish girl” or any young man raised to be a mensch would dare have a child out of wedlock.
And yes, orthodox Jewish girls probably do marry younger, as Harris contemplated; but nowhere near the ages of 15-17. When our secular society is putting off marriage until later and later and families are having less and less children, it is strong committed families, such as in the orthodox community, that should be applauded and followed. Jewish life has been and is still centred on the family; an example for all.
An analogy: To a toddler there is nothing more dangerous than fire. So if the message to them is, under no circumstances play with, touch or go near matches, why do our educators try to teach teens the sex equivalent of how to “close cover before striking.” Teach teens to experiment with this sexual fire and whatever happens at the end of it some young girl is going to get burned.