Back in May, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the federal government for its funding of religious activities in the abstinence-only-until-marriage program the Silver Ring Thing. Today, the ACLU finally has a settlement in the case.
The Silver Ring Thing is a nationwide ministry program that uses abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education as a means to bring “unchurched” students to Jesus Christ. Over the past three years the federal government awarded over one million taxpayer dollars to the program.
During the Silver Ring Thing’s flagship three-hour program members testify about how accepting Jesus Christ improved their lives, quote Bible passages, and urge audience members to ask the Lord Jesus Christ to come into their lives. In addition, the official silver ring of the program is inscribed with a reference to the biblical verse “1 Thess. 4:3-4,” which reads “God wants you to be holy, so you should keep clear of all sexual sin. Then each of you will control your body and live in holiness and honor.”
Obviously the Silver Ring Thing is free to hold these types of programs; however, a problem arises, and the ACLU gets involved, when taxpayer dollars are used to fund religious activities.
Now, just over nine months later, the government has agreed to settle the lawsuit and not to fund the Silver Ring Thing’s abstinence-only-until-marriage education program as it is currently structured. Additionally, any future funding of the program is contingent on the Silver Ring Thing’s compliance with federal law prohibiting the use of federal funds to support religious activities, and the government has agreed to closely monitor any future grants to the program.