Roland Burris’ wife, Berlean M. Burris, on abstinence sex ed?

Berlean Miller Burris is the wife of Roland Burris (D-IL). Lynn Norment of Ebony magazine interviewed them both about their marriage in February of 1991, and I found the article that describes their approach.

“Roland Burris decided she was the woman he wanted at his side when he pursued a career in politics. “I didn’t propose; I told her we were getting married,” recalls Burris, newly elected Illinois Attorney General.

(Well, that’s nice and consensual. Not to mention the fact that she’s the person by his side as he “pursues a career.”)

Furthermore, while researching, I came across this letter (also below), signed by Berlean M. Burris, praising abstinence education and clothes (reminiscent of the EX-MASTURBATOR shirts). Letter and analysis below the jump.

Considering the current state of morality in the world today, I was pleasantly surprised to see an article entitled “New clothing line makes sexual abstinence a fashion statement.” Taking abstinence education into
the 21st century, a new clothing line called Wait Wear gives teens and young adults the opportunity to literally wear their commitment to abstain from sexual activity on their sleeves. The clothing line combines hip fashion and and moral conviction and creatively demonstrate its owner is waiting until marriage to engage in sex. The company slogan is W2. It offers a wide range of clothing options and provides a symbolic badge which youth can use to remind themselves and others of the standards by which they have chosen to live their lives.

The clothing line called Wait Wear also features items with slogans such as “No Vow, No Sex,” “Virginity Lane: Exit When Married,” “Traffic Control: Wait for Marriage,” and “No Overnight Parking” to name a few. The creator of this clothing line believes Wait Wear gives teens and young adults the ability to express their convictions boldly. She further states, it’s about being proud of the choice that I have made as it relates to my sexuality.[1] Recently, it seems that the abstinence as an option before marriage has gained significant support. President Bush increased federal funding for abstinence programs, doubling it from $135 million to $270 million.

According to a recent study in Newsweek, more than one third of U.S. high schools include abstinence in their sex education curricula, and there are over 700 individual abstinence programs operating across the country. One such program is “The Advantage Plan” in Illinois. Recently it held an awards banquet to honor those persons who had volunteered and participated in the program. The goal of this group is to reach 8,640 youth in Cook County. To date, their abstinence educators have been in 67 schools and community
organizations. They expect to reach 9,500 young people with the message of abstinence as a lifestyle by the end of the summer. The group attributes its success in great part to youth being aware and determined to make a positive change in their lives. These are certainly worthwhile values for every young person.

As I read this article, I was reminded of Paul’s instructions to Timothy wherein he tells him to “watch [his] life and to set an example in purity.”[2] It seems that the young people in this article have gotten the essence of what it means to live a wholesome life. As believers we must be about the business of modeling and teaching our young people about abstinence and what it means to live a godly life.
-Berlean M. Burris

[1] “New clothing line makes sexual abstinence a fashion statement.”
Defender. Fashion. 20 May 2004.

[2] 1 Timothy 4:16.

Certain things make me believe that despite the crackpot blog source, this letter is real.

1. The sources it cites include the Chicago Defender, which is of course an Illinois newspaper.
2. Berlean Burris has been a professor at the Moody Bible Institute since 1999. Bible institute professors tend to quote the bible and believe in abstinence programs.

Berlean’s affiliation and opinions would not be troublesome, except that her husband is one of the necessary 60 in the Senate for everything that needs to get done in the next year. We already know that he identifies as Baptist, and has affiliations with the ever-problematic Boy Scouts of America. But was he too eager to allow his party to stop spending money on family planning? His voting record so far only encompasses 3 issues, all stimulus-related, and all Democratic party line votes. How will he vote on the Matthew Shepard Act? Will he maintain the past administration’s policies of abstinence-only sex miseducation?

I think we should stop worrying about whether he deserves to be there and start worrying about what his record actually is– we know he’s worked for civil rights and social justice with Jesse Jackson, used alienating race-related rhetoric against his detractors, and served as Attorney General.

But what does he believe, really?

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