Last year we were treated to stories about the Unitarian pastor who ended a sermon on aids by handing out condoms to his congregation and about a prominent pastor in Hawaii who said he is developing a “theology of condoms.”

Let’s face it: with Jim and Tammy, and Oral, and preachers waxing philosophical on condoms, it was a bad year for the clergy.

Of course, we need complete information on AIDS and its prevention. Religious communities must minister to those who are victims of this new and terrible disease. But let it also be said that the popular slogan Safe Sex is a lie. Condoms or not, sex is risky. As someone who ministers at a place where we have nearly 150 weddings a year (Duke University Chapel), I think it is time to tell couples that “There’s no ‘safe sex.’ ”

Booming Weddings, Busted Marriages

Susan Littwin, in her perceptive study The Postponed Generation (Morrow, 1986), notes that “committed, lasting relationships are a critical aspect of maturity. Today’s young adults are having more trouble with relationships than with almost any other area of their lives. They are having problems for two reasons: (1) They have trouble with commitment in general, … a subheading of their overall reluctance to define themselves. (2) The menu of choices makes life more confusing … they are in unmapped territory, looking for trails of crumbs.”

Don’t believe the hype about marriage being back in style, says Littwin; statistics are misleading. There is “a wedding boom. But there is no marriage boom.” We have shifted, she says, from a society of families to a nation of individuals—singles bars, Lean Cuisine self-contained dinners, Club ...

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