Purity rings, or chastity rings originated in the United States in the 1990s among Christian affiliated sexual abstinence groups. The rings are sold to adolescents, or to parents so that they may be given to their adolescent children as gifts.
It is intended that wearing a purity ring is accompanied by a religious vow to practice celibacy until marriage. The ring is usually worn on the left ring finger with the implication that the wearer will remain abstinent until it is replaced with a wedding ring. Although the ring is worn on the hand, where others can see, its main purpose is to serve as a constant reminder to the wearer of their commitment between themselves and God to remain pure until marriage. There is no particular style for purity rings; however, many worn by Christians have a cross in their design in reference to Jesus Christ. Some rings contain a diamond chip or other gemstone and/or "True Love Waits" embossed somewhere on the ring.
Miss Manners' opinion is that "polite society does not recognize such a thing as a chastity ring. It is so polite that it presumes that a lady is chaste unless publicly proven otherwise."Miss Manners: On Teens and All Matters Private - MSN Lifestyle - Relationships
Critics of purity rings argue that virginity pledges are an unrealistic approach to curbing teenage sexuality. A recent review of a number of independent American studies concluded that abstinence programs "show little evidence of sustained impact on attitudes and intentions", and furthermore "show some negative impacts on youth's willingness to use contraception, including condoms, to prevent negative sexual health outcomes related to sexual intercourse".
A reporter David Bario in his article posted in Chicago Tribune, Rutland Herald (on March 29, 2005) and at several other news websites wrote:
"Under the Bush administration, organizations that promote abstinence and encourage teens to sign virginity pledges or wear purity rings have received federal grants. The Silver Ring Thing, a subsidiary of a Pennsylvania Evangelical Church, has received more than $1 million from the government to promote abstinence and to sell its rings in the United States and abroad."The ACLU of Massachusetts brought charges against this decision, because the Silver Ring program did not ensure its secularity and hence was ineligible for federal funding due to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The settlement between ACLU and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says that any further similar applications of Silver Ring Thing must be reported to ACLU and closely scrutinized for separation of church and state.Roundtable Interviews
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