The Ring Thing

By now nothing that goes on in public schools should surprise me. We live in a through-the-looking-glass world where students are suspended for smoking cigarettes, but can get free condoms from the school nurse, where prayer is not allowed but t-shirts glorifying rap music and its odious messages are commonly worn, and where students graduate knowing how to TM while barely being able to read and speak articulately.

So why should it surprise me that an English school has forbidden a fifteen year old Christian girl from wearing a small silver ring that symbolizes her commitment to chastity until marriage? If you want the details, see this article here, although a Google search of Lydia Playfoot turns up quite a bit of material. Suffice to say, she has been told by the school to remove the ring or face expulsion.

I have two BIG problems with this.

First, this same school allows Muslim girls to wear their head scarves, and Sikh girls to wear the silver bracelets of their faiths. This I have no problem with. Freedom to express one’s religion is a basic human right. But don’t Christian girls have the same rights as Muslims and Sikhs?

And perhaps more importantly, does anyone really think it’s such a hot idea to punish a teenager when she’s actually trying to do the right thing? Anyone who has ever been the parent of a teenager knows what a demoralizing experience this can be. There are just so many ways teens can screw up their lives: drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, gangs. No matter how hard you try to steer them away from these, many just blithely embrace some or all of these self destructive behaviors while regarding their parents as hopelessly out of touch simpletons. Any parent who can shepherd their teen to adulthood while keeping them in one piece has done something to be proud of.

This process is made harder than ever because there are just so many other influences on teens that parents must now compete with. Peer pressure used to mean the kids at school. Now, thanks to the Internet, it means kids all over the world. Kids are being urged by way too many people to make really, really bad decisions.

So in a world where teenagers kill just because they want to “see what it feels like”, it is refreshing to hear about a girl like Lydia Playfoot, who is actually doing the right thing and encouraging others to do the same. But instead of getting the praise she deserves, all she’s getting is a whole lot of undeserved aggravation. It is a sad indictment of our culture when a teenage girl is turned into a pariah for NOT having sex. The scarlet letter A used to stand for “adulteress”. I guess now it stands for “abstinence”.

In our increasingly secular world, there are many who find her extroverted brand of Christian faith cloying, but that is more of a reflection of our society than it is on her. I find it rather ironic that while the western world is predominantly Christian, Christianity itself is becoming ever more marginalized. Devout Christians are often looked down upon by the intelligentsia as rubes and simpletons. And yet in Muslim, Jewish, and other cultures, religious faith is still viewed as a virtue.

But one does not need to embrace devout Christianity to recognize the value of her message, or to be disturbed by the school administration’s attempts to squash that message, which should be regarded as a breath of fresh air. What parent in the world wouldn’t sell their soul just to hear their teen say, “Mom, Dad, I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve decided not to have sex until I’m married. Is that OK?” In a world where so many influences are telling her to do otherwise, Lydia Playfoot is doing the right thing. Ring or no ring.


7 Responses to “The Ring Thing”

  1. July 18, 2007 at 8:01 am

    How right you are. Thanks for this post.I read about it in our papers too and fumed.What else are they going to forbid in England at the expense of the British.We fought two world wars for our freedom and now it seems every one else has it except us.Why is every one afraid to support this young woman.

    It’s sad to see that political correctness is as rampant in England as it is here in the U. S.

    Thanks also for photo as I’m so out of touch I didn’t Know what these rings looked like.!
    When I see one I’ll buy it in protest,and I sincerely hope other people are doing the same.

    Excellent thought!


  2. 2 Red
    July 18, 2007 at 11:57 am

    We live in a sick and twisted world, MrSmith. That only proves it.

    Red, you’re right again!

  3. July 18, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    Certain things I hear, don’t make sense to me. Generally that is because I don’t have all the details.
    I read the article. One one hand the ring above looks like rings I used to buy as a teenager at the local markets, they ended up being friendship rings, memory keepers, etc. I wonder whether the school would have less of an issue if they were wearing crosses around their neck as that is a better known religious symbol.
    Still, either one sticks with the rule “no jewelery” and that means no bracelets, or one has to be equally tolerant to all faiths. So I guess, bottom line is, I agree with you.
    As for the whole abstinence until marriage thing, even that should be looked at from an equally tolerant angle (if tolerant is the way we want to go, that is). I had a conversation with someone with that same belief and she pretty much insisted that my entry ticket to heaven was severely jeopardized cause I chose not to wait. I guess what frustrates me at times is that some people insist on having a right to their beliefs but then won’t grant others theirs.
    But as I said, I probably just don’t understand enough.

    The post really wasn’t about religion, it was about the absurdity of discouraging teenage good behavior in an era when it’s in short supply. Personally I find religious zealots annoying or abhorrent, depending on what they do in the name of their zealotry. But if this girl’s faith helps her resist temptation in a world where it’s all to prevalent, then I say more power to her.


  4. 4 joebec
    July 18, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    it’s so sad isn’t it? trying to raise our kids with morals when i guess we should be teaching them to skip school and drink and be little adults by the age of 13. what are we thinking?

    The problem is, they’re NOT thinking!


  5. July 19, 2007 at 10:38 am

    Good post.

    thank you!

  6. July 19, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Wow what a good post. I totally agree with you. It’s not like its a big gawdy ring. It is sad that they are doing it for the right reason. This world is so twisted.

    I agree.

  7. 7 Ray Harrington-Vail
    November 23, 2007 at 4:04 am

    You have got this so wrong! Rings of all sorts are banned in most UK schools for safety reasons. Schools must have the right to decide on uniforms and dress. This case wasted tax payers money which should have been used on education. Christians are permitted to wear crosses in school – the traditional symbol.

    Condoms are not ‘handed out’ in schools and offensive tshirts and extreem hair cuts are often banned too.

    This may be true in the UK, but it is not true in many part of the US.

    As a parent I would have supported the school in suspending this pupil. I would also back suspending any pupil who sought to stir up hatred against other pupils and their beliefs.

    I see you points. But the larger point of my post was that I found it somewhat ironic that when a teener, for once, was making a good decision, her “reward” was that she had to put up with a lot of unnecessary grief, when she should have been help up to other teens as a role model.

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