Virgin Soldiers by Thomas S. Buchanan

Virgin Soldiers

For it is a shame even to speak of the things they do in secret.
—Ephesians 5:12

We live in a society that is far more interested in promoting vice than virtue. Perhaps all cultures have found sin to be more entertaining than purity, but we seem to be obsessed with sexual impurity to a degree that surpasses that of previous generations this century. Of course, this state of affairs has been much lamented in this journal and in many others.

The Apostle Paul told the Ephesians that it was not appropriate even to speak of the things done by those who lived according to their passions. We, however, not only speak of them, but also record them on film and transmit them into millions of homes throughout the land. Ironically, it is not of sinful things that we dare not speak, but of spiritual things, especially the word that describes a person who adopts a lifestyle of sexual purity: virgin. The word itself is almost embarrassing to utter in our topsy-turvy world. I see college students every day, and I have heard young people described by their sexual orientation, but I do not recall ever hearing someone described as a virgin except in a derogatory way. Even devout Christians do not think of using virgin to describe one another, even when applicable. We seem to miss the fact that what is an embarrassment in our culture was a title of honor throughout most of the history of Christianity.

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Thomas S. Buchanan is the George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. He has studied at UCSD, Northwestern University, and MIT, and has held visiting professorships at the University of Western Australia and the University of Aix-Marseille. He has served as department chairman, deputy dean, and institute director, president of the American Society of Biomechanics, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Biomechanics. He is on the Board of Trustees of Saint Katherine College, the editorial board of Touchstone, and the board of The Fellowship of St. James.

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