Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Going against the 'Current'

With curled lip, Australia's "Current Affair" hostess introduces a segment featuring Ruth Russell, the 20-year-old chastity proponent featured in Monday's Australian, and me (click the image to open the video in a new window):

As you can see, the condescension continues throughout the tabloid-TV segment. It even goes so far as to interject the tale of an abstinence advocate gone to the dark side, with the seeming implication that Ruth might end up the same way. Interestingly, the producers were apparently unable to find a joyful ex-abstinent. The unintended impression is that as the nonmarital sex life begins, the light fades.

Still, it was exciting to be featured on TV, and I am happy that I was able to say what I said. It is great to have any opportunity to drop pennies in the ocean, so to speak.

After the segment aired, I had the blessing of receiving an e-mail of encouragement from an appreciative viewer who had read my book. She wanted to let me know that, contrary to the show's implied message that Ruth was on her own, there was at least one other virgin-'til-marriage in Australia.

Speaking of Ruth, it was a joy to meet her at the show's taping this morning at Bondi Beach. She is a gifted young woman—brave, poised, and on fire for the faith. She is also excellent at explaining what chastity is and how people suffer when they are not chaste, so I was surprised to learn from her that she has only recently begun speaking on the topic—and, she added, the inspiration came from reading my book.

I told her I was surprised and honored that my book would inspire her so, given that I wrote it for people who had sexual experience and wanted to change their lives. She answered that she liked being able to show my book to her friends who were not virgins, saying, "See, it's not impossible!" My boldness in speaking out made her want to do the same, she added. Hearing that touched me more than I can say.

The way Ruth held her own on "Current Affair" impressed me even more when I learned afterwards that it was her second TV appearance that morning, as she had come to the taping straight from Australia's "Today" show (click the image to open the video in a new window).

The "Today" interviewer was more sympathetic than the "Current Affair" one, as you can see. I really like Ruth's answers, especially her observations on how people rationalize choices that are damaging to them by convincing themselves they are "in love."

After taping the "Current Affair" segment, I gave a talk in the hall of the beautiful St. Augustine's in Balmain, sponsored by Juventutem. I would go into detail about it, only I stil have jet lag and need to now get sleep in advance of my talk at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday (today, actually—it's after midnight here) at the Love and Life Site. (Contrary to what the "Current Affair" host said, it will be on "The Magnetic Appeal of the Pro-Life Witness," not "the joys of celibacy.") For now, I just want to thank Juventutem's Hugh Henry, whose fund-raising efforts and organizational talents brought me to Australia, and everyone who came to my talk. It was a beautiful experience, one I will remember, and I am all the more eager to address more pilgrims at my Love and Life Site talk.

TRACKBACK: NewsBusters reports on the reports.