Purity rings enter world of sex, drugs, rock'n' roll

Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:32pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Teen star Miley Cyrus wears one, so does "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks and the members of the hit boy band The Jonas Brothers.

But it took the ridicule of a British comedian at a music awards show this week to highlight the entry of purity rings into the old equation of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll -- minus the drugs.

Purity rings, also known as chastity or promise rings, are worn by tens of thousands of young American teens who have pledged to remain virgins until marriage.

Originating in the United States in the 1990s among Christian groups, the rings are embossed with words like "True Love Waits" or "One Life One Love" and are worn by both sexes.

The concept has increasingly entered the world of pop rock music that once was the dominion of teen rebellion, and that fact perplexed Russell Brand, the anarchic host of Sunday's MTV Music Video Awards show in Los Angeles.

"It is a little bit ungrateful because (the Jonas Brothers) could literally have sex with any woman they want, but they're just not going to do it!", Brand told the audience. "That's like Superman just deciding not to fly, but to go home on a bus."

Sparks, 18, stood up for teen heartthrobs Kevin Jonas, 20, and his brothers Joe, 19 and Nick, 16, telling a cheering audience of rock stars. "I just wanna say, it's not bad to wear a promise ring because not every guy and a girl wants to be a slut, OK?"

Denny Pattyn, an evangelical pastor who founded the Silver Ring Thing 12 years ago, says celebrities can both help and hurt his group's quest to create a cultural shift in America where premarital abstinence becomes the rule rather than the exception.   Continued...

<p>Members of the pop music group Jonas Brothers pose at Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards in Los Angeles, March 29, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>