Parents with girls should consider having them actively engaged in Pentecostal churches, if findings of a new study are anything to go by.
According to the study by the University of Southampton UK, which was published in the Journal Reproductive Health, religious girls from protestant churches are unlikely to get early pregnancies compared to those from the Catholic Church, Muslims and those who are non-religious.
The researchers arrived at their findings by carrying out a detailed analysis of the most recent (2008/2009) demographic and health surveys from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
According to the data, out of all women who had a first pregnancy by the time they were 16 years, 15.4 per cent were Muslims, 10 per cent Catholics and 6.5 were Protestants. Of the girls who got pregnant by the age of 20, 56.9 were Muslims, 55.3 per cent Catholics and Protestants at 44.9 per cent.
“In Kenya girls who stated that they were Muslims or Catholics have higher percentages of adolescent first births than Protestants and those who state they are of no religion have markedly higher percentage of adolescent births.” The report says.
The Nyanza region recorded the highest concentration of young mothers in Kenya; Western Uganda had the highest in the country while in Tanzania, the Tabora region takes the lead.
Coincidentally, the findings of the link between religion and early sex among teenagers by the UK study resonates with those of another study by Kyalo wa Ngula of Nazarene university and the University of Central Florida; PREDICTORS OF SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR AMONG CHURCH-GOING YOUTHS IN NAIROBI, KENYA: A CROSS-DENOMINATIONAL STUDY, which also concluded that Pentecostal/evangelical youth were much more restrained from sexual activities.
“We surveyed church-going youths in Nairobi, Kenya, to investigate denominational differences in their sexual behaviour and to identify factors related to those differences. In comparison with youths attending mainline churches, the youths surveyed at Pentecostal/evangelical churches were less likely to have ever had sex,” says the report which was published in the African Journal of AIDS Research.
THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH’S POSITION ON HUMAN SEXUALITY
In a report published in the Africa Regional Sexuality Resource Centre; Religion And Sexuality: Individuality, Choice And Sexual Rights In Nigerian Christianity, PROFESSOR MATTHEWS A. OJO Department of Religious Studies Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria argues that “the control of sexual behaviour by Christian groups is an institutional way and the most ubiquitous modalities through which religious groups demonstrate power and exercise social control over their members,”
He maintains that although personal choices are not totally ruled out, this freedom to choose is often moderated by the Scriptural prescription on sexuality.
“The central concept in capturing the Christian perspective about sexuality is chastity. It is around this concept that abstinence from pre-marital sex is taught, around which healthy relationships between boys and girls is promoted, around which the value of virginity until marriage is endorsed, around which fidelity to one’s spouse in sexual activity is affirmed, around which marriage and the home are regulated, and generally around which sexual rights can be expressed, “he says. See the report.
Well, let’s get more girls going to church.